July 2017

July, 2017

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Next Meeting

When:  Monday, July 10, 2017 at 6:00p.m.
Where:  Mounts Auditorium
Refreshments:   Everyone
Badge Plant:     ?
Program:  - Annual Pot Luck Dinner

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

Our Good Friend

Our Charles Jaros, the last charter member of our begonia society, has passed away. Over the years he has taught us so much about begonias – how to grow them, how to show them, how to judge them, how to share them. Always generous with his knowledge, he enabled us to all learn about and love this plant family.

I met he and his mother back in 1996 at an early begonia meeting. She invited me to their home with me not knowing they lived north of Orlando. Every fall he would bring bags of cuttings to share from his front yard as fall and cool weather were fast approaching. This was also done when I was plant procurer for my first WPB convention in 2000. Back then I had a van and we drove up to Sanford and brought back 21 garbage bags of begonia cuttings. The next weekend our society made hundreds of cuttings from all the plants he donated.

Generous with his time as well, he also would go to Harmony and label all the plants for our auctions and holiday parties. Not only for our group, he also did things like this for the Tampa and Virginia begonia groups. He worked tirelessly organizing the convention shows, he kept a slide library of begonias, he organized the U number begonias along with Mary Bucholtz, he judged at the Philadelphia Flower Show for many years, and he was a friend to many, many people from all walks of life. He is a friend I will miss very much and I cherish all the fun times, lunches, and plant trips we took together combined with all our other plant friends. An all-round good person that gave of himself and made the world a better place.

Johanna Kitson, newsletter editor


July’s meeting will be our traditional pot luck dinner. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. to set your food up on the table. We will begin eating at 6:30 p.m. If you are bringing a guest please bring enough food to cover the extra person. We are wonderful cooks so this is always a fun event to share with one another. Bring a main dish, salad, or dessert. (No turkey or ham provided this summer by the club).

After eating there will be a very short meeting and then let the games begin! Prizes are being awarded that include winning begonias and garden items. A begonia crossword puzzle is in the making as well. Can you make one up too? Bring a few copies with you just for the fun of it.

This begonia will be one of the prizes given out at the July Pot-luck dinner

This is an interesting article that was written several years ago. I have been growing this plant since Don Miller brought plants to our meeting over two years ago. After the article, I have added a couple of notes about how it grows at my house. Johanna, editor

Begonia bogneri --- by Martin J.S. Sands

Begonia species are remarkable for their exciting diversity of form throughout the geographical range of this large and distinctive genus, but some of the strangest of them all are to be found in the Malagasy Republic. So far, about fifty Madagascan Begonias have been recognized, almost all endemic and a number of them unusually small, with a few scarcely attaining a height of 5 cm. [2.5 cm = 1 inch] Perhaps the most striking species, however, is Begonia bogneri Ziesenh., which, with its narrow, grass-like leaves up to 15 cm long, is quite unlike any other Begonia.

The accompanying illustration was prepared in November 1984, from a specimen growing at Kew, obtained earlier in the year from Munich Botanic Garden. In fact, it was received as a young plant from Josef Bogner, Curator of glasshouses at Munich, in whose honor the species was named, and it was in Munich Botanic Garden that plants of the original wild gathering were first successfully raised in 1969.

Josef Bogner discovered the extraordinary species in Madagascar while he was exploring the remote and botanically little-known Masoala peninsula. He has described how he visited the area for several days, traveling at first by bus to Maroantsetra and from there by motorboat across the Gulf of Antongil to the rugged and precipitous western side of the peninsula called Hiaraka. Here the mountains rise steeply from the coast to over 1000 m [3250 feet]. After landing on 23rd January 1969 [six months before the moon landing], he set out with two Madagascans to climb the mountains in search of Aroids and before long, at an altitude of only 50 m [162 feet], they came upon large, moist granite rocks in the deep shade of tall trees. Here, amongst mosses and ferns, mostly on vertical faces, he found the small linear-leaved plants of the new species which, despite diligent searching to the highest altitude, apparently occurred only in a limited zone at the foot of the mountain.

Begonia bogneri was published in April 1973, by Rudolf Ziesenhenne, then Nomenclature Director of the American Begonia Society, after he had had an opportunity to grow and propagate the species in California from the plant originating in Munich. Field-dried specimens of Bogner 262 were designated as the type material, but the description was based in part on the living clonal derivatives of the original plants introduced from the same wild locality.

Begonia bogneri is characterized by being a small herb arising from tubers with pinnately-veined leaves and few-flowered inflorescences. The male flowers have four tepals and oblong anthers on filaments united at the base, while the female flowers have six tepals and three styles each with a reniform stigma. The fruit has one large wing and two that are narrow or reduced to a swollen rib.

CULTIVATION: For Begonia bogneri to be cultivated successfully, it requires high humidity and a high temperature not falling below 20 degrees centigrade and preferably remaining between 22 degrees and 25 degrees centigrade (72-77 degrees F). It is thus a suitable subject for a stovehouse, frame, or terrarium, for which it is now sold in the United States of America. Although it prefers shade, female flowering may sometimes be encouraged by fluorescent lighting. This species will grow best in a light substrate such as sphagnum moss, peat or fern roots, perhaps mixed with some gravel, vermiculite or synthetic medium, and it can be potted in pots, small baskets or even wood or bark in the manner of an epiphyte.

The plant develops from a small, irregular tuber. However, usually it does not have a true resting period, even though in the winter months growth may be slow, with the main growing period from spring to autumn, during which most flowers are produced. Begonia bogneri may be propagated from small shoots, leaves and seeds, although the latter only set in cultivation after artificial pollination.

The above article confirms that growing in a home is ideal, since in the wild, the begonia likes growing between 72-77 degrees F.

MY GROWING CONDITIONS ------- For nearly two years I have grown this terrarium begonia. It was in a two-inch by two-inch pot when it was given to me. Immediately I planted it in a terrarium. Within a month I was taking leaf cuttings and putting them down around the parent plant. Soon after there were 6 new plants! Blooms began showing up on the parent plant. These plants are on the edge of my kitchen table in front of my east facing window and get sun from around 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (It is a tinted window so it is not full sun, so-to-speak). The remainder of the day they get the bright light from the window. Of course, the temperature is whatever the air conditioner is set at (77) or whatever the outside temperature is when the house is open. I keep the potting media moist and add a few drops of water as needed (maybe 2-3 times a year). The water has a one quarter strength of water soluble fertilizer in it. It takes care of itself except for wiping the inside of the glass in case algae builds up, removing old blossoms and leaves, and replacing the piece of plastic wrap covering the top of the container once every six months. Most important is NOT over-watering.


President Patrick Dempsey called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. He then thanked all those that brought refreshments and welcomed our guests: Bruce Pearson, Judy Schweitzer, Susan Hillson, JC Clithero. Bruce Pearson joined as a member.

Treasurer’s report was given by Frances Drescher reporting $6,864.29 in the bank.

Patrick advised our society he was invited to the Wellington Garden Club to give a presentation on Begonias March 20, 2018.

Virginia Jens advised we will be doing Begonia games at the next meeting and there will be prizes given

Patrick advised for our August meeting we are invited to Bruce Pearson’s nursery Tropical World nursery located in Boynton Beach, Fl.

Virginia Jens reported the September meeting we will be doing a program on Rhizomatous begonias.

For the November meeting, Don Miller, from Dallas, Texas, will be back as a speaker.

Patrick introduced our speaker, Gregory Sytch. He is an 8th grade reading teacher in Holiday, Florida. For the American Begonia Society, he is the Horticulture Correspondent and over in New Port Richey, he was founder and is currently the president of the West Coast begonia branch. Greg describes himself as a hybridizer and won the ABS 2000 hybridizer of the year. His in-depth presentation was on new begonia hybrids and their parentage. These hybrids grow well in the landscape detailing whether they were heat tolerant. Greg gave a detailed explanation on all these hybrids and tips on the care and how to grow them in our Florida landscape. He also provided handouts. Enclosed are some of Greg’s recommendations covered during the meeting: B. ‘Frances Valentine’, B. ‘Ring of Fire’, B. ‘Fireworks’, B. ‘Silver Skies’, B. ‘Silver Beauty’, B. ‘Betsy’, B. ‘Judy Cook’, B. ‘Indian Summer’, B. ‘Island Magic’, B. ‘Bashful Bandit’, B. ‘Midnight Twist’, B. ‘Lauderdale Lakes’, and B. ‘Alligator Alley’. Greg also recommended that rex begonias have much more success if planted in clay pots.

Respectfully submitted,
Petra Russell, Recording Secretary