June 2017

June, 2017

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Next Meeting

When:  Monday, June 12, 2017 at 7:00p.m.
Where:  Mounts Auditorium
Refreshments:   Petra Russell
Badge Plant:     ?
Program:  - Program on Hybrids
                     Greg Sytch

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

June Program

Program on Hybrids
Greg Sytch

Greg Sytch, our favorite Horticultural Correspondent, will be presenting a slide show on new hybrids as well as
featuring some of their parentage. In the March/April Begonian, he wrote a nice article on "Fertilizing Begonias" if you care to refresh yourselves
with his take on different fertilizer options. Begonia " Loxahatchee " is one of his newer hybrids and is a cross between a rex and a rhizomatous. It has a
heavy fragrance and a large growing habit featuring unique, mocha curled leaves. He writes that he feels this plant shows much promise. If his
growing season allows in the Tampa Bay area, he will have some of these with him to sell on June 12th. He always brings the most interesting plants to sell. (Bring cash and/or your checkbook!) Greg Sytch has a new email address gsytch@tampabay.rr.com

Ed Whalen, Program Chair


1---I am bringing my rex begonias inside to give them some cool weather and a respite from our heat. An eastern facing window should provide them with plenty of light. To keep some humidity around them I am putting water and pebbles in a saucer dish under the pot. While some of my rex begonias grew through the summer last year, I am hoping this method will keep them more robust and from going so dormant. It is always much nicer when a begonia keeps leaves year-round.

2---Summer cuttings grow much faster due to the added heat and longer amounts of daylight. If you wish to share any begonia leaf cuttings, stems, or rhizomes with the other members, please place them in a large labeled zip lock bag or garbage bag and bring them to the meeting in June to hand out.

3---We will continue with the exchange table. Bring a nice plant, get a nice plant.

4---The recently combined Southwest Region Get-together and ABS convention in San Antonio provided ABS members with hundreds of plants to choose from. Diversity of terrarium plants seemed to be greatly increased this time thanks to the many members that grow to share their special plants. A few donors brought literally suitcases of rooted cuttings with them. Several plants also came from the Ft Worth Botanic Garden. Species begonias for sale included plants from Mexico, India, Africa, Malaysia, Borneo, China, Vietnam, Madagascar, and South America.

5---Our rainy season starts in June so prepare your landscape begonias for a great spurt of growth by fertilizing with a time-released fertilizer. Work this into the soil a bit and cover with mulch keeping the mulch away from the herbaceous stems and rhizomes. Cut back all old leaves and bloom spikes to rid your garden of these fungus or bacteria attractors. Basically, you are just grooming your begonia beds to make room for the new growth leaves. As far as potted begonias go, they need the same treatment, i.e., fertilizer and grooming. One exception being that if their soil has not been refreshed in over a year, it is time to give them new substrate in which to wiggle their new roots. Work the fertilizer into the potted soil and not just on the surface of the soil.


What is a seed? A seed is a baby plant in a box with its lunch. Not an exciting topic you say? But seed bearing plants make the world go ‘round and our world possible. Without angiosperms can you imagine trying to survive eating ferns and cycads? (You would need more than a stomach made of iron to tolerate those cycads!)

You must read the book named “The Triumph of Seeds – How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History”. Thor Hanson is the author.

Can you answer the following questions? If not, then get the book!

How do seeds sleep and what does it take to wake them up? What seed banked plants arose all over London after the 1667 fire? What did the 1879 Beal bottle experiment reveal and what will happen to it in 2100? Three million basil seeds were exposed to the cold vacuum of space on the International Space Station. What did school groups learn from this? What advantage does eating cooked food versus eating raw food allow us? If they don’t eat the fruit, why do jaguars, hawks, snakes, pumas, weasels, owls, and ocelots sit under and around the tree? Columbus never found the oriental spices, however, he did discover one that is used worldwide that is eaten daily by one in four people today. Can you name it? Why is coffee full of caffeine? How long can the cotton thread in one boll of cotton be? Why are chili peppers hotter when grow in a wetter area versus a dryer area? In 1846, what plant accounted for 60% of America exports and employed one out of five British workers? It remained the top export until 1937! What plane was designed after the shape of the Java cucumber seed? What seed use does fracking and an Almond Joy have in common?

This was a delightful book to read and I recommend it highly.



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

Refreshments : Patrick thanked everyone that brought refreshments, Ira, Nancy, Donnie, Susan.

Patrick we have raffle plants left over from last month’s sale.

Patrick welcomed rejoining member David Black.

Treasurer’s report was given by Frances reporting about $7,123.98 in the bank, Frances was not in attendance to confirm.

Patrick reported the Begonia garden needs cleaning up and we start the clean-up soon.

Patrick reported Greg Sytch be speaker at next month’s meeting.

Our guest speaker is Mark Peters of Peters Croton nursery in Vero Beach, Fl

He has a Master’s degree in Horticulture, dedicated to the restoration and conservation of all crotons cultivars.

Peter’s program is on the history of crotons, cordylines care and culture.

He gave a great presentation on the history of crotons. There are about 1650 cultivars and 650 varieties of crotons.

Demonstrated air layering on crotons, and explained the key essential ingredients in the care of crotons are Light, Water and Soil. He recommended using Palm fertilizer and or slow release fertilizer for award winning crotons. Hand pruning of crotons is recommended, cluster your crotons in a triangle for added drama of 3, 5, 7 varieties.

We enjoyed his presentation and thorough explanations.

Respectfully submitted,
Petra Russell, Recording Secretary