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Thursday, March 25, 2004

Beautiful begonia blooms 

Have you ever seen anything more gorgeous than this? I woke up the other morning and there it was staring me in the face - my tuberous begonia was blooming! I've got to tell you the story about this little gal and how she got here.

When my husband and I decided to move south (yeah, yeah you've heard this story before), I was loath to leave any of my plants behind. The movers agreed to take just a few potted plants on their truck to drive down along with our furniture. Well, give a gardener an inch and they'll take a square foot -- so I loaded about 25 pots onto the truck and the begonia was one of them.

The plants arrived gasping for light and water, but still none the worse for wear. The begonia held a place of prominence on our outside dining table and flowered every spring. My folks were visiting not too long after we moved and my mother was admiring the begonia. It needed to be divided anyway, so I gave her a piece and put the rest in a new pot.

Mrs. Begonia thrived and grew and eventually needed a new pot. Well, when we moved to our new house about a mile away I decided it was time to give her a place to spread her roots the way she wanted. I have since divided her, and her twin sister abodes in another shaded area of the front garden. Mrs. B gets great light but not directly as she is protected by a Canary Palm (that's an article for another time) and is blooming to beat the band.

What I really love about Mrs. B is that not only are her flowers pretty, but her leaves are lush and rich in color. They are irregularly lobed and "furry" with green in the middle and dark green on the surrounding edges. The more shade provided, the darker the leaves will color.

Begonia tuberosa (Mrs B for short), is named for the small, rounded tubers from which the plant grows. She originates from South America and does well in warmer climates outside. I grew her outside in a container up north in the summer, but brought her back in in the winter. Keep the soil relatively moist and she'll thrive happily. Flowers are offered in a wide range of colors from orange to crimson and some are much larger than the one pictured here. Happy Gardening, and adopt a tuberous begonia soon. You won't regret it.

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Thanks to Andrew Stenning who contributed the photograph for our masthead

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