April 2017

April, 2017

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Next Meeting

When:  Monday, April 3, 2017 at 7:00p.m.
Where:  Mounts Auditorium
Refreshments:   Ed whalen & Vicky Alleyne
Badge Plant:     Ed Whalen
Program:  - Show What You Are Growing

President: Pat Dempsey   Vice-president: Ed Whalen   Treasurer: Frances Drescher    Secretary: Petra Russell
Special Events and Refreshment Chair: Susan Roberts    Membership: Sandy Schlar   Newsletter: Johanna Kitson

April Program

This month we are trying something new in having a begonia program with the entire membership involved. Every member brings in at least one of their best begonia plants, begonia terrarium, begonia container garden, begonia strawberry pot, begonia in an unusual container, etc. It will be nice to see what other members are growing. Everyone who won at Begonia Bingo, a badge plant, a raffle, or bought something at an auction or Mounts sale, should have a nice begonia to bring. Many of us have something they were growing long before these events that would be worthy to show off as well. You are encouraged to bring in more than one begonia!

No pressure. Just groom them at home by removing bad leaves, removing spent blooms, cleaning the pot up a bit, and bringing them to the meeting between 6:30 and 6:45 p.m. Please bring them in at this time so we can start the meeting promptly at 7:30 p.m.

Ribbons will be given out for the best rhizomatous, best cane, best trailing-scandent, best thick- stemmed, best shrub-like, best unusual container, best terrarium, best tuberous, best wax begonia, best rex, best begonia strawberry pot, and best begonia dish garden. Bags of Nutricote will be given as prizes. A big zip-lock bag for First, a medium zip-lock bag for Second, and a sandwich-sized bag for Third.

Ed Whalen, Program Chair

Why have a begonia show and tell?

So, we can learn more about this plant family, of course! It’s not just about winning prizes or ribbons. Learning to grow a plant to its full potential is many times a reward in itself. In the case of rare begonias, it is also about keeping a rare plant from going extinct. Passing leaves or small begonias around at meetings or conventions is a great way to keep the gene pool going and it is always fun to get a new plant.

Now is the time to prepare your mature begonia plant for April 3.

It does not have to be blooming. Remove all bad leaves. Clean out debris that has fallen into the pot. Clean the pot so dirt and algae are not a detraction to the plant. (Sometimes it is easier to just buy a new pot and transfer the plant into the same sized pot). The begonia and pot should be in a balanced proportion to each other. (You don’t want a tiny plant in a large pot, for example). Canes can be properly staked if they are floppy – this will prevent the canes from snapping off. Make sure the plant is pest free.

This program is also a teaching program so we can learn some of the details that go into a judged American Begonia Society show. In a few years, it will be our turn once again to have the convention in south Florida so this is a great way to ‘learn by doing’. Sometimes local plant shows are open to the public and this program will help you get ready for something like that in the future as well.

Most importantly, we are to have fun sharing our begonias with one another.

Any questions? Call Johanna at 772-224-2712

>>> Whenever you are looking for information about a certain begonia, try looking at the American Begonia Society website. At your fingertips is more information than you can take in.

There are some great begonia growers in our group, and, therefore, we have some great begonias to show each other. This is another great time to ask a friend to attend the meeting as it will show off this great family of plants. Let's share our begonia passion!

Begonia Sports
By Charles Jaros

Have you ever noticed a portion of a begonia that differs from the rest of the plant? If you have, you have probably noticed a ‘sport’. The definition of a sport is as follows: is a part of a plant that shows morphological differences from the rest of the plant. Sports may differ by foliage shape or color, flowers or branch structure. Examples would be leaves that have different coloration or shape from the usual variety, blooms of a different color or a branch that is noticeably different from the rest of the plant. ‘Sports’ that may be familiar to begonia growers are Begonia ‘Erythrophylla Bunchii’ and B. ‘Erythrophylla Helix’ as both are sports of B. ‘Erythrophylla’ (commonly called the Beefsteak Begonia). Do you have a new variety when these morphological differences occur? Often times, yes, but propagating that section of the plant to see if the offspring stays true to the ‘sport’ is necessary. Depending on the type of begonia, this is done by stem, rhizome or leaf propagation. It is best to repeat this propagation process at least two times to be sure that results stay true to the ‘sport’; often times it will revert back to the original plant, then it is not a viable ‘sport’. But, if it propagates the same then a new variety has been created by you and nature and a name can be attached to it. So, when looking at your plants, keep an eye out for something out of the ordinary; you may have a ‘sport’.

Figure 1: A sport of B. ‘Thelma O’Reilly’; normally this begonia has pink stalks of
flowers, but this sport has lovely yellow flower stalks (quite unusual). This is the
second year of propagation and both leaf and rhizome propagation have resulted in
the same yellow flowering stalks. It has been named B. ‘Yto’. Now it is being tested
to see if the pollen and seed are viable, if so, hybridizers will be flocking to this lovely
begonia. This ‘sport’ was developed by Merle DeLand.

Figure 2: The plant is B. U501. The normal leaves are to the right of the picture
and are heavily silvered. The ‘sport’ on the plant has a significantly reduced silver
color and is much darker in appearance (the left side of the picture).
This ‘sport’ is in the process of its propagation testing by Harmony Foliage.

Figure 3: This is a begonia that has the ‘sport’ growing within the host plant.
The solid leaf color is B. ‘Madame O’Reilly’ and the mottled leaf is the new
sport that has been tested and given the name B. ‘Harmony’s Sporty Madame’.
This ‘sport’ was developed by Harmony Foliage.

Thanks, Charles, for this informative article.

If there are other topics you would like to hear about, email me at oetkbtytc@aol.com

>>> Many of the new members may have heard us talk about THE THOMPSON BOOK. This begonia book is the best and quite comprehensive when it comes to the begonia family. The title is “Begonias, The Complete Reference Guide” by Mildred and Edward Thompson. Unfortunately, it is out of print. Fortunately, it is available at some online sites. Unfortunately, it is expensive buying it this way. But, fortunately, a large reprint paperback version is for sale through our American Begonia Society bookstore. And, it does not cost over $100 dollars like it can often be online. To inquire about getting this book, turn to the last page of your “Begonian” magazine. Under appointed chairman look for “book store” and then contact the person listed there. Many books are listed under “ABS Bookstore” in the back couple of pages of the “Begonian”. Ordering instruction are also given there.


President Patrick Dempsey called the meeting to order at 7:30pm.

Thanks to Lee Statkewicz for getting to the building by 5:00 p.m. to hold the room open for our meeting.

Treasurer’s report was given by Frances Drescher reporting $6,200.38 in the bank.

Welcomed Guests: Pattie Kroness and Maureen Morris.

Refreshments : Marsha Baghdadi, Victoria Lang, Vicki, Alleyne, Susan Roberts, Donnie Brown.

Patrick thanked Susan for ordering plants for upcoming plant sale at Mounts.

Susan asked for volunteers for plant raffle for April and May.

Upcoming events : Garden Tour and Begonia Propagation party at Doris Happel’s house on March 18th at 9:30am.

Patrick - Volunteers will be need for upcoming plant sale at Mounts Botanical Garden April 29th and 30th.

Patrick gave garden report, the garden was cleaned up by the botanical garden , plants were taken off trees and layers of pine bark were put down. The Begonia garden will need to be rebuilt before plant sale at Mounts.

Beverly Lichtenstein gave report on the financial review done at Frances home. Review included verification of all records and transactions in addition to all transactions. The review found all records and transactions are accurate and met regulatory requirements.

Patrick – gave reminder the April month meeting will be held Monday April 3rd, also November monthly meeting will be the 1st Monday in month.

Beverly made a motion to reimburse Susan for refreshments $150.00, motion was passed.

Frances – ABS convention in May and motion to donate $25.00 for trophy fund. Trophy for new hobby grower to Paul Lowe. All was in favor.

Frances – talked about ABS conservation seed fund, and a motion to donate $100.00 to the seed fund, all was in favor.

Patrick - tying to arrange trip to Palm Hammock, details to follow.

Patrick – next month’s meeting Show and tell we will be giving prizes. There will be 2 judges will come in and blue ribbons given out. Bring in as many plants to be judged. Examples of plants terrariums that you may have, dish gardens, unusual containers with plants, there will also be a list of guidelines.

Respectfully submitted,
Petra Russell, Recording Secretary