February 2018

Blooming Begonias Newsletter February, 2018

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When:  Monday, February12, 2018 at 7:30p.m.
Where:  Mounts Auditorium
Refreshments:   ?
Badge Plant:     ?
Program:  - Live Auction

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

President's Message

We started off the year with an excellent program given by Virginia Jens. If you were not at this meeting you missed a great education, there is always something to learn about Begonias. Especially for the Begonias you will be purchasing at our next month’s meeting, the yearly auction. There will be begonias that you have to have for your garden, so here is a reminder to bring your check book.

I want to thank the members that have agreed to serve as committee chairman for your organization. Membership – Sandy Sklar. And she keeps selling those raffle tickets. Susan Roberts -- refreshments (There is always plenty to eat and something different at each meeting.) She is also events chairman, ordering plants for the sale. Patrick Dempsey -- Garden chairmen. Keeping our garden clean by organizing work parties and speaking to Garden Clubs and selling plants to club members. Suellen Solodar will be scheduling garden tours for us. Publicity is Ed Whalen; we need to tell the community what a great educational opportunity it is to be a member of the Begonia Society of the Palm Beaches. I still need a NEWSLETTER CHAIRMAN!!! Johanna Kitson has been nice enough to do the newsletter in the interim.

Sandy Arland, President

February Program

One of our favorite programs is fast approaching. The LIVE AUCTION! New hybrids and species begonias – and a few old favorites – will be presented. Arrive a little early so you can take a close look at all the goodies before the meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. There will also be a Silent Auction in the back of the room. So, if you did not get one of the bigger plants, there will be some smaller versions to bid on at the back table. It is always exciting to see what is new and different in the ever-changing begonia world.

Like most people, I was so surprised when I found out that plants like amphioxous, polygonoides, and crassicaulis were begonias! A lot of people think there are only wax begonias out there. E-mail or Facebook your friends to let them know about this event. Even better, bring a friend!

A Couple of Notes

Last month we heard about “How to Kill a Begonia” from Virginia Jens’ talk. And, we learned sometimes it is not easy to keep our charges alive. I used to grow certain begonias prone to mildew. Every time the weather would be very humid and cold, these plants would come down with an extreme case of powdery mildew. Because you can’t always tell when mildew hits until it is gone, I stopped growing the three begonias that attracted this pest. Voila! No more mildew in the garden. However, ‘Liquid Copper’ and ‘Phyton 27’ both are ways to prevent it on a chemical scale. They are both made of copper sulfate. Or, using a teaspoon of baking soda in a gallon of water and spraying it on your plants works as well but it needs to be applied more often as rain and sprinklers cause it to run off the leaves.

The other chemical mentioned at the last meeting to rid us of chewing, biting, or sucking pests is imidacloprid. Pests it kills are white fly, scale, mites, thrips, aphids, leaf miners and many others. It is suspected to affect our bee population when sprayed commercially over large fields, but that is another story. The blue container of “Insect Disease and Mite Control” by Bayer and “Merit” both contain this chemical. It is VERY effective. And, be very careful as anything it touches it will affect. It is a systemic chemical so applying it will cause the plant to ingest it. This also works on people, so it is important not to get it on your skin as the directions say on the containers. Always follow the container directions.

If there is a small pest infestation, hosing the critters off the plant or touching them with an alcohol drenched Q-tip will more safely treat the problem. Better yet, let lady bugs eat the aphids.

ATTENTION: Meeting dates for the rest of the year

Our meeting date is the second Monday of the month, except for October and November because of the two legal holidays that the Mounts Garden is not open. We meet the first Monday, October 1, and the third Monday, November 19. Please note these dates on your new calendars.

Begonias in a Magazine

Begonias are featured in a three-page article in the Martha Stewart Living January/February issue. Several of the begonias are ones that we grow as well. One of the begonias was featured on our raffle table last month - Begonia soli-mutata! Other ones you will be acquainted with are Begonias acetosa, ‘Marmaduke’, ‘Selph’s Mahogany’, and ‘Little Brother Montgomery’. ‘Marmaduke’ and ‘Selph’s Mahogany’ are in our own Mounts Garden. Go sneak a peek at the nearest magazine stand.


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

The refreshment people were thanked.

We had the following visitors at our meeting: Patricia Charlton, Ag Krone, Sue Jackson.

The President brought everyone’s attention to previous awards that were found in the storage closet. In reorganizing the closet, the following awards were found: The Horticultural Society of America Memorial Gold Medal Award and The Palm Beach Tropical Flower Show Award 1995.


Three members are needed to help review the books for the Financial Review Committee. Victoria Lang, Pauline Ma, and Petra Russell volunteered. Petra will chair the Committee.

The treasurer’s report was given by Frances Drescher.


A sign-up sheet was passed around for the members to sign up for refreshments and the badge plant.

Ed Whalen volunteered to Chair the Publicity Committee

It was suggested that we have a Board Member at each Graduation Luncheon of New Master Gardeners. Donnie Brown and Johanna Kitson volunteered to make up a goody bag to present to new graduates with Begonia growing tips, an application to join our begonia society, etc.

A motion was made by Virginia to donate $50.00 to sponsor the Paul Lowe Award for the best begonia to the Wellington Garden Club for their upcoming flower show to be held at the Wellington Mall on April 13 and 14. The motion was seconded by Johanna Kitson. The motion passed unanimously.

Petra Russell mentioned that the Wellington Garden Club is ordering Nutricote again this year for themselves and any of us that want to order it. Check with Petra about cost and picking up your order.

This spring’s American Begonia Society convention is in New Orleans and begins April 2nd. Registration and scheduling information can be found on-line. The Begonian magazine has the information in it as well.

PROGRAM: Virginia gave an interesting Power Point presentation on the various insects, molds, scales, etc., that can affect our Begonias. She mentioned how to keep pests away and what to do if they land on your plants.

BADGE PLANT WINNER: Postponed as the Badge plant had been placed in our raffle table accidently.

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

Respectfully submitted,
Ed Whalen, Secretary