Strutting our stuff

 
When the gardener slowly ambled near, we put on our best display and silently willed her to look our way.Bégonia-tubéreux
“Begonias,” she muttered, “I haven’t had any in my garden for at least twenty-five years.”

“That’s why,” we gently pleaded, “you must take us home and become reacquainted with our beauty.”

The gardener felt drawn to our beautiful soft white blooms and our lovely burgundy-veined leaves. We truly are vastly different from those she remembered upon first planting begonias.  As she dug through her memories, she had a clear vision of those long ago planted begonias. They often had reminded her of kindergarten-aged children silently lined up waiting their turn for the bathroom.

Always one to experiment with plants different from her usual favourites, the gardener chose us and happily planted us in a lovely deep purple-collaged flower pot. Knowing that we must wow her with our carefree existence and our innate loveliness, we are intent on putting on a beautiful show.Bégoniatubereux3

It isn’t exactly a chore since we drape nicely over her pot, opening initially as pale pink flowers and gradually transforming ourselves into multiple white blooms with a pale green-tinged centre.

We have vowed to keep flowering throughout the summer. Perhaps, if we are fortunate, we shall return indoors in autumn to keep the other tender plants company.

What we enjoy most about our gardener is how she weaves tales about her plants. It was a special evening, as she sat out on the porch, regaling us with stories of our origins. She told us that we were first discovered in 1650, by a South American explorer, Francisco Hernandez, and that we travelled over the high seas to Europe where we fast became favourites in scientific botanical gardens. Thankfully, we avoided any daring pirate ships.

According to one source, most tuberous begonias, of which we proudly claim membership, can be traced back to the four original species discovered by the intrepid English plant hunter, Richard Pearce. Thankfully, he came upon us in Peru and Bolivia in 1864.That perked us up – we’ve a long and illustrious pedigree. Perhaps that’s why the tango and Choro music the gardener plays on the mandolin resonates so well with us.

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28 thoughts on “Strutting our stuff

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I just love begonias. I think the gardener will be delighted with the way the bloom all season long, pest free and of course are so beautiful.

  2. Jean Ann says:

    Kate, you are so sweet to your begonias…I had several last year, hard to beat the beautiful flowers…I miss them, but just didn’t have time to add this year.
    thanks for the email, I send good thoughts your way to help smooth out the vestiges of that painful experience…
    JA

  3. grannyfidler says:

    a girlfriend in Calgary years ago had heirloom begonias from plants her grandmother grew. and a neighbor has elegant blossoms on hers that look like roses. so thoughtful of you to spend the time teaching them about their roots :o)

  4. Megan P says:

    How wonderful to see spring and all it’s colour there Kate. I trust you are well – I have some catch up reading to do here!
    Megan xo

  5. Annie in Austin says:

    A story-telling begonia sounds enchanting – even a silent tuberous begonia would be enchanting if it could live in central Texas. The small wax begonias grow here so I shouldn’t complain, but your begonia is too lovely, Gardener Kate! Like your flowers, your readers enjoy the way you weave stories about your garden and would love to hear tangos on the mandolin.
    Did the 91.4°F/33ºC temperatures damage the delicate looking pinks in the previous post?
    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  6. Sarah Laurence says:

    Interesting that a common flower’s lineage could be traced back so far to one source. I’d love to go to South America one day and see them in the wild.

  7. our friend Ben says:

    I love the thought of telling stories to the flowers while serenading them on the mandolin! I’m sure my indoor begonias could use a few good tales and perhaps a little bodhran and guitar music…

  8. Frances says:

    Your begonias are enchanting, as is the story they tell. We do hope they get to come inside for the winter, they are very deserving and such good company.

  9. Selma says:

    I do love begonias. There is a feeling of yesteryear about them. I remember them in just about every house I visited as a kid. So glad they have made a comeback.

  10. naturegirl says:

    Hello Kate just popping by to say hi and see what’s growing in your garden lately! Begonias
    I love the whites! All your blue flowers certainly catch my eye! Have a wonderful summer I’ll pop by again real soon! :)NG

  11. Jon says:

    Kate, So good to be able to be back online after being off on medical leave and to visit your lovely blog. I always feel refreshed after feasting my eyes on your beautiful photos and well-written posts. I do hope y’all are having nice, cool weather “up there” as opposed to our sweltering heat and humidity “down here”.
    Best regards, Jon in Vicksburg, Mississippi

  12. Willow says:

    What a delightful story and what lovely photos! Thanks for the history lesson. The next time I pass the begonias at the nursery I’ll say ‘Hola’ to them.

  13. Judith says:

    How could anyone resist growing these literate and beautiful plants? They will be on my list for next year. And a mandolin player to keep them amused. Lucky them.

  14. Diane Schuller says:

    Well aren’t you begonias the lucky ones? If I were a begonia, I too would love to live in Kate’s garden.

  15. kerri says:

    I grow Tuberous begonias every year, and save the tubers over the winter. I have pink and red in baskets this year. I shall think of you seranading your pretty whites with the mandoline when I look at mine in future 🙂

  16. Beth says:

    Hi Kate – sorry I haven’t visited your site in a long time. I tried begonias for the first time this year and really enjoyed them – they were white and were a nice contrast to very colorful containers. Plus I thought they stood up pretty well in the summer heat.

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