August 2018

Blooming Begonias Newsletter
August 2018

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Next Meeting

When:  Monday, August 13,, 2018 at 7:30p.m.
Where:  Mounts Auditorium
Refreshments:  ?
Badge Plant:    ?
Program:    How to make a Kokedama
                    Patrick Dempsey

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

President's Message

It’s hard to believe that summer is half over. It’s time for me to make an auto train reservation for my return in the middle of September. My tuberous Begonias are doing well, although I must water them almost daily. We haven’t had much rain as a lot of the lawns are brown. Here in the North we don’t have irrigation in our lawns because of the winter freeze, so we depend on nature to supply the water or sprinklers. Generally, August is the month we see the browning of the lawns. Is it global warming that has changed our weather? Every living thing needs hydration, how much depends on whether we and/or it lives or dies. In hot days, we need to drink more water to keep hydrated. Plants depend on us to keep them hydrated, begonias are no exception. Knowledge that you learn in meetings or from each other is the key to knowing how much or how little water plants need. Too much causes root rot or too little and they dry out, either way they could die. We want to be proud of the begonias we grow, we have many opportunities to obtain plants, through raffles at each meeting, from each other or Propagation Parties our club holds.

If I am correct, August is the month that a chairman is obtained for the nominating committee. A volunteer is needed.

Hope everyone enjoyed the picnic last month and the silent auction, I am sorry I missed it. The program for this month will be mentioned in the rest of this newsletter.

Sandy Arland, President


Patrick Dempsey will be demonstrating how to create the Kokedama method of growing plants, including our beloved begonias. He will be providing the supplies and it could cost participants about $10. Small begonia will be needed to use as the plants in the kokedama. Bring some with you if you have some small ones.

Kokedama is a ‘moss ball’ style of bonsai----a planted ball of soil covered with live moss.

Patrick envisions a hands-on workshop style meeting -- everyone who attends is welcome to create their own Kokedama to take home.

He will give a presentation/demonstration on 'How to make a Kokedama'.

Patrick says, “Work stations will be set up (with table and floor tarps) to make the soil, bring the various string to tie the moss to the soil, and find enough moss for all. I have a box of latex gloves!

Plants: we can round up enough seedling begonias, ferns, house plants etc., or members can bring their own plants to use. Yes, if you have some baby begonias, bring one for yourself”.

“I have presented this workshop at Boca Raton Garden Club. Everyone had a great time and I was invited back! I will be doing it again at Fort Pierce in December. Supplies should not exceed $10/pp”.

“Let’s try to get an RSVP..........This would be a good meeting to bring a guest, please just let me know. Contact me as soon as possible so I can get the supplies!!

Contact me at if you wish to do the program. Bring your Garden Apron!!!”

Pat Dempsey

1. The July meeting involved food and plants and friends…how much better can it get? Many people went home with smiles as they had just acquired, in some cases, lots of plants or plant related items. And, lots of avocados.

It was a treat to see all the unusual things available as well as the normal begonias. Rhizomes and tubers and bulbs of different sorts were represented in several different plant families.

2. In August we will go back to the Raffle table and the Exchange table. Raffle tickets will be offered at the beginning of the meeting as usual. For those of you that may be new to the begonia group, the Exchange table involves just bringing a nice plant and placing it on the Exchange Table. It does not have to be a begonia. Tickets are handed out and when your number is called you get to pick out any plant from this table.

3. Summer is a great time to share the abundance that flourishes in our gardens. If you are thinning out or trimming your begonias and you end up with too many cuttings, please bring your extra cane cuttings or rhizomes to share with the others. Labeling the cuttings with their name is always appreciated. I’m sure Patrick could use some new types of cuttings to grow in our Begonia garden space in the Mounts Garden.

4. Ann Cavaleri brought in her container of begonia cuttings from the program we did on propagating begonias from last May. She had many new plantlets that will soon be ready to put into pots. Very lovely and interesting plantlets came up with some pretty leaves. *** If you have some cuttings that have sprouted new plantlets, please bring them to show to all of us so we can see how well this project worked out. Summer is such a great time to put down cuttings as the leaves form new plants within the month oftentimes.

5. The cuttings that have grown well for me through the month of June and July are several terrarium plants that I am growing in large one and two-gallon zip-lock bags. I had to thin out two twenty-gallon aquariums as the plants had grown so large. The biggest is a Begonia raja that took up two-thirds of the tank. It was also beginning to set blooms. Other rare and unusual begonias ready to find new homes are as follows:
1-Begonia prismatocarpa variegated (African and yellow bloom),
2-Several Begonia nigritarium
3-Begonia quadrialata, subsp. nimbaensis
4-Begonia prismatocarpa (Western Africa with yellow bloom),
5-Begonia potanophila (another yellow bloomer from Cameroon, the Congo, and Gabon),
6-Begonia vankerckhovenii (Another yellow African bloomer)
7-Begonia mantis-elephantis
8-Begonia lyallii var. lyallii from Madagscar.
9-And, finally, a large Begonia raja growing in a three-gallon pot with large leaves and a pale pink bloom spike starting to head upward. It was growing in a 20-gallon aquarium for a long time. In the summer, so far, I have not had trouble growing it outside an aquarium because the heat and humidity are high enough. For this type of begonia, I would recommend growing indoors in the winter.

HOW-TO TERRARIUM INFORMATION—Let the adventure begin

Getting ready------- Many glass containers can be found at Home Goods stores, Walmart, Target, or second-hand places like the Goodwill.
Moisten the perlite, peat, and sphagnum moss. Layer these ingredients in the following order. Do not make them sopping wet, only moist.
Moist Perlite---half to one inch deep depending on the size of the container.
Small pieces of charcoal may be spread/sprinkled over the perlite layer.
Moisten sphagnum moss - Cut this up with scissors so it is not so stringy. One-inch lengths work well. Cut enough to cover the perlite and charcoal. A one-inch topping is usually sufficient. And last, I sprinkle peat over all these first layers. You can add a little more sphagnum moss on top if needed.

To plant the terrarium Begonia:
Make a half inch or so indentation the size of the begonia root base. Place the begonia in this space carefully and cover the roots gently with the peat/sphagnum moss. Do not pack any of this substrate down as the roots are very delicate and grow in a light and airy mix. Water sparingly! Cover across the top of the glass with a piece of plastic wrap. If there is too much humidity clinging to the container sides the next day, it may be too wet and needs to have the plastic lifted for the day or some of the water taken out by putting a paper towel along the side of the soil line to wick-up the extra moisture. Place the terrarium near a bright window but not in direct sunlight. In some cases, the begonia may like growing in a less bright area. You can always research your begonia by sending a name, picture, and asking questions of Randy Kerr as he is one of the members of the “U numbered” begonias. ( ) The other two members of this group are Don Miller ( ) and Dinesh Sembukuttiarachchi ( ). They are all very knowledgeable. If you lose this information, their names are listed on the last page of the Begonian magazine under the U number category.

Good luck and happy growing.

Johanna Kitson, Newsletter Editor


Meeting called to order at 6:20 pm by Virginia Jens, President Sandy Arlund is away.

Next month Patrick Dempsey will be showing us how to do a "kokedama ball”, this will be a "hands on" project

Our September meeting will be Sally Savelle, President of ABS from the Boston branch, she will be discussing "begonias named for people"

Treasurer Frances Drescher announced our account amount and said our taxes were filed.

Nothing new per Sandy Sklar on membership

Motion made and seconded to donate $301.00 for the holiday greeting "Champagne Level". Motion passed unanimously.

Fall plant sale in November, members may bring plants to sell.

Details on our upcoming trip to Bok Tower on October 20 per Suellen, to follow, there will be a plant sale there also.

The annual ABS meeting will be in Atlanta this year.

Meeting adjourned at 7:26 pm by Virginia Jens. No raffle or badge plant this month due to member silent auction.

Everyone had a good time at our "potluck picnic" Many of us went home with plants and garden related items from our member auction!

Respectfully submitted by Denise Friedlander, Secretary