Next week I will be Judging a sweeps for the New Canaan Garden Club. A sweeps is like a practice flower show. Members will be bringing their begonias, ferns, ivy and other house plants to exhibit. I am looking forward to seeing what they bring! The speaker at the following meeting will be Sara Cedar Miller “What’s New in Trees to Annuals.” Can’t wait for that! But while I am stuck inside, I better bone up on begonias!
Begonias have been a favorite plant for a long time. The enormous range of plants in this genus is daunting but I will tackle the books today. I wish I could get hold of a copy of Mildred Thompson’s “Begonias – The Complete Reference Guide” (1981) But it is out of print and even the used copies are astonishingly expensive. Mark Tebbett’s “Begonias” will help, and of course I will start with the American Horticultural Society’s A-Z Encyclopedia of Plants. With over 1,300 named begonias I will never know each name but I will need to be aware of the different species and varieties and what can be expected of them.
I have been propagating begonias for many years. A friend has been snapping off stems from one plant and plunging them into soil where they grow to another plant. I’ve not found it that easy but have had great success with both leaf cuttings, basal cuttings and stem cuttings.
I treated this begonia leaf with rooting hormone, placed it in an incubator and now it is growing on its own roots and (you can barely see in this photo) the tiniest sign of the new plant is emerging from the center. The Mother plant (seen with Max, the cat) was propagated from one of Tovah Martin’s plants at a workshop that I attended for GCA Judges in Greenwich CT last year. Thank you Tovah! I still haven’t found the name of that begonia. Anyone familiar?
So, with the bird bath below filled with snow, on I will go
Adding new begonias and preparing for the show!