The Begonia Garden clean-up went well. Seven members attended to weed, groom and install new plants. A Begonia Garden Committee is being formed and a plan will be discussed at the February meeting.
The January Workshop was a big success with ten members attending. Everyone created a Begonia Dish Garden and perhaps in the future we will see an example or two at the show and tell portion of our meeting.
The February Workshop (held the Saturday after our meeting in the Mounts garden) will be a hands-on discussion about the various methods of propagating begonias to prepare new members about what to expect at the workshop to be held at Doris’ house on March 18.
Annual Begonia Auction
Charles Jaros, Auctioneer
Our program this month is the much-awaited Live Begonia Auction. Charles Jaros will return as auctioneer and as each begonia is auctioned he will give us an overview of the plant. The begonias being auctioned are huge and blooming. There will be new hybrids, newly discovered species, as well as tried and true favorites of the past. This is our main fund raiser of the year which allows us to make donations to begonia exploration, our monthly speakers, and begonia bingo. There will also be a silent auction table. This is just one more opportunity to collect a begonia or two! (Besides our monthly raffle table, our two large sales in April and November, the free monthly Badge Plant give-away, free begonia bingo, et cetera.)
BEGONIAS IN THE SPRINGTIME
>>>>Begonias are setting their spring blooms already so it should be a showy season out in the landscape this new year. All the fertilizer applied last fall will be paying off soon.
>>>>SAVE THE DATE---Presently cool weather has certainly slowed up propagating from leaves and stems but that will change in a few weeks once the weather warms a bit and the daylight length expands. The society will be hosting a begonia propagation workshop at Doris Happel’s house in the morning on March 18. Time will be announced next month so keep that Saturday morning open. Once the propagation workshop is over a tour of the yard will be led by Doris. You are welcome to bring cuttings and leaves from your collection to share with everybody as well. Bring the name of the begonia, if known. Or, perhaps someone will know the name of it when you bring the cutting.
>>>>GROWING CUTTINGS AND LEAVES---In last month’s gardening tip, Pat mentioned that he is growing his leaf cuttings in 100% perlite and having great success. While having success using this method, I have also tried a couple of other ways. Using a 50/50 mixture of perlite and vermiculite will achieve the same results with the vermiculite adding stability to the cuttings. Commercially, I have seen greenhouse operations use the perlite and peat mixture. Try them all and see what works best for you. Just be aware to keep the cutting damp and not overly wet. All methods have worked for me.
If your landscape soil is loose enough and not sandy (i.e., organic), sticking leaves and stems directly into the ground will also produce new plants. If this is not the case, you can pour a bag of potting soil or a bale of peat 3-4 inches deep in a shady spot in your yard to create an organic soil. Mix in time release fertilizer granules, water it well, and insert the cuttings into the soil just like you would do in a container. Within the month, you will have little baby leaves peeking out around the leaf. I did this under my oak tree once inserting probably 25 or 30 leaves and a few short weeks later I had a whole bed of begonias.
Over these cooler weeks, I have been trying something new for the first time. At Walmart I bought a seed planting tray indented with several one by one inch compartments. I filled it with a 2/3 perlite and a 1/3 peat mixture and placed cuttings in each of the little cells. All this fits into the water holding tray and over it I placed the clear plastic hood to keep the humidity and heat in. It is placed in bright light near a window in the house. A very dilute solution of fertilizer (1/4 teaspoon of water soluble fertilizer to one gallon of water) is kept in the water tray. I’ll let you know how this experiment works out and bring it for show and tell time.
>>>>SHOW AND TELL
Starting in March we will begin our Show and Tell segment of the meeting. All this means is if you have a nice plant at home that you would like to share, bring it to the meeting and show it off.
Also in March, we will offer a plant trading table once again. Bring a nice mature plant (doesn’t have to be a begonia), place it on the exchange table, and receive a ticket. After the meeting is over the tickets will be drawn and you will get to pick whatever plant you want from this exchange table.
Members who have questions about certain begonias can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject line of begonia and an answer will appear in the newsletter.
By the way.......
There are eight divisions of begonias---rex, rhizomatous, cane, trailing-scandent, tuberous, semperflorens, thick-stemmed, and shrub-like. Most begonias grow in similar conditions, i.e., in bright light shaded conditions and moist rich soil. Then there are certain begonias which grow in very specific areas of the globe. In the wet tropics, they can grow epiphytically on the trunks of trees and along the edges of waterfalls upon rocks. In some drier climes, they grow lithophytically and have thick, succulent stems to cope with the lack of rain. What’s neat about this plant family is that you can grow them in the landscape, in hanging baskets, in terrariums, on rocks, and in pots. They have fibrous root systems, tubers, or caudexes. Within these ranges there is a begonia for everyone!
******MARK YOUR CALENDARS****** Our begonia group normally meets the second Monday of the month, however, because of three holidays, we must meet the first Monday of the month the following months: April, October and November.
Did I mention? Bring a friend or two to the next meeting! Introduce them to the wonderful world of begonias.Johanna Kitson, Newsletteer Editor
President Patrick Dempsey called the meeting to order at 7:30pm.
Thanks to Lee Statkewicz for getting to the building early to hold the room for our meeting.
Thanks to everyone that brought refreshments.
Raffle plants were donated compliments of Johanna Kitson.
Guests: Louse Bing and Pat Bennett.
Congratulations new member Lisa Combs.
Treasure’s report was given by Frances Drescher reporting $5,542.43 in the bank.
Garden report was given by Patrick. It’s been winterized in March and April we would like to have the Garden look good for the plant sale and tours.
Patrick announced we need volunteers to clean up after the meetings.
Old Business: Pass around sign-up sheets for volunteers for refreshments and badge plants.
There will be a workshop this Saturday in the garden this weekend, we are planning to make dish gardens, sign-up sheet passed around.
Each month after our monthly meeting we will meet at the garden for pruning and clean-up.
There will be a propagation party after the March meeting at Doris Happel’s home, more information to follow.
Frances made announcement our Monthly meetings for April- Oct- Nov this year will be the 1st Monday of the month instead of 2nd Monday, please note your calendars.
Our February meeting is our Annual Begonia Auction, members are encouraged to bring a friend to the auction as this is our top fund raiser. This is a opportunity to replace and add to your Begonia collection. There will also be a silent auction taking place as well.
Johanna made a motion to give $100.00 to sponsor Mark Tebbitt and Jackie Duruisseau in their research of begonias.
Ed Whalen introduced our speaker Laurie Hristov. Laurie is a member in our society , she is a Landscape and Horticulture professional, a Master Gardener and National Garden Club Certified Landscape Design Consultant.
Laurie’s presentation “Jazz up your Shade Garden”
Laurie gave a great presentation on ideas to jazz up and growing, caring for Begonias and other shade loving plants, recommending some plants.
Ideas of using old furniture, painting with bright colors. Adding trees to the landscape, enjoying the garden at night, adding sound waves. Outdoor mirrors in the garden, plants reflect in the mirror making dark spaces appear lighter. Mounting orchids to add interest in trees, pots in the garden to add color, scented plants.
Adding trees to the landscape, decorating with bromeliads, jazz up with crotons.Respectfully submitted,
BRING A FRIEND TO THE NEXT MEETING