April 2018

Blooming Begonias Newsletter April, 2018

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When:  Monday, April 9, 2018 at 7:30p.m.
Where:  Mounts Auditorium
Refreshments:  ?
Badge Plant:    ?
Program:  - Mexican Begonias & African Violets
                     Bruce Pearson

President: Sandy Arland   Vice-president: Virginia Jens   Treasurer: Frances Drescher    Secretary: Denise Friedlander    National Representative: Johanna Kitson

President's Message

Every month there is always something to learn at our Begonia meeting. Last month with Rick Schoellhorn was no exception. His program was on Begonia Species and Cultivars on trial as to what he has experienced that did well or not so well with a hand out of such. I will probably be doing the same with the begonias that I have acquired. Before I leave to go up North, I will plant them around my condo. It will be in a shady spot with plenty of mulch. I will see which one will survive; they will have a better chance here then traveling with me.

April is a busy month with members attending ABS’S Convention on April 2-8 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Hope they have a safe and enjoyable trip. Also, in April is our plant sale at Mount’s PALOOZA on Saturday, April 20, and Sunday, April 29 with set up on Friday, the 27. Many have signed up to work already, if you still want to work, you need to let Frances Drescher know now.

A big thank you to Denise Friedlander for accepting the position as Secretary for Ed Whalen. Ed has his hands full dealing with his ailing wife. We wish her a speedy recovery.

I hope to see everyone at our April 9th meeting. Virginia Jens has, as always, an interesting speaker planed for us.

Sandy Arland, President

April Program

Bruce Pearson will be our speaker this month and is also a member of our Begonia Society. He will be talking about Mexican begonias and some new African Violets. Some of us have been to Bruce’s nursery called Tropical World which sells many interesting plants. Tropical World also has a nursery in Mexico. Before or after the meeting ask him about these two places as he is always growing something new and sometimes adventurous Mexican trips are planned. Plants will be offered for sale.


Many begonias continue to bloom in all our yards as well as at the Begonia Display at Mounts Garden. Depending on the type of begonia, some of the bloom spikes have reached up to four feet high. Hundreds of white, pink, red, and orange flowers are showing off.

Members have been offered the opportunity to prune off the old winter leaves and gather a few new leaf cuttings in the process. A great way to always expand our own flower beds. Talk to Pat Dempsey, the Garden Chairmen, to find out when the next pruning will be. It is usually the Saturday morning after our Monday night meetings.

This time of year, we begin to see many plants sending out their new growth as well as the begonias blooming like crazy. Now is the time to remove the old battered winter growth to encourage the begonias to grow even faster. Taking the old growth off stimulates the plants to send out their new shoots. Fertilizing with a time release will begin working as soon as your watering washes it into the soil. At the beginning of April throw on a handful of Epsom salts (magnesium) along the edges of your plants and water it in. (Or, spray in on at the rate of one tablespoon per a gallon of water). A small amount of Epsom salts can be applied the first of every month. Next spring you will notice even more flowers on your plants and larger, more colorful leaves as a result.

Two weeks ago, I was watching one of those iridescent green bees go from begonia flower to begonia flower. Now I have about 50 pollinated flowers with the potential of thousands of hybrids! But, alas, there is no room to do this. As a preview past our April meeting, at May’s meeting we will learn about begonia propagation of all sorts. At that time these seed pods will be offered to anyone that would like to try their hand at growing some new begonias. May’s program will be hands on so lots of fun will be had because we will be taking lots of potential plants home. In the May newsletter being sent in late April, I will list what to bring to make the program more interesting for us all.

Johanna Kitson, Newsletter Editor


The meeting was opened at 7:30 p.m. by President Sandy Arlund.

The President thanked Lee Statkewicz for opening the door early.

Refreshments were provided by Sandy Sklar, Shirley Fenner, and Susan Roberts.

Membership Chair report: one guest Mrs. Schoellhorn, wife of speaker.

Garden Chair report: Patrick Dempsey, garden looks great and blooming! This Saturday from 10-12 am we will be pruning the garden in preparation for the plant sale.

Events Chair report: Susan Roberts passed out sign out sheets for the April plant sale volunteers.

Tour Chair report: Suellen discussed a field trip to Bok Gardens in the future and visiting members gardens.

Treasurer’s report: Frances Drescher gave the treasurer’s report.

The Financial Review done February 25 by Petra Russel, Pauline Ma, and Christine Schwarz was accepted and filed for audit.

Our program was given tonight by Rick Schoellhorn on “Begonia Trials in North Florida” (near Gainesville). An informational handout was given to members on what works for him and compared it to ours in West Palm Beach. The power point presentation was informational and very helpful to growing begonias in both areas.

The Badge plant was provided by Suellen Solodar and won by Rebecca Stallard.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

After the meeting the raffle plants were drawn for and everyone who won went home happy with a new plant.

Respectfully submitted by Denise Friedlander, Secretary