These beautiful flowers begin as dust-fine seeds that produce the tubers that become begonia plants that blossom. Despite their fragile appearance, begonias are easy to grow given the right climate. A cool, wet environment is what they like. I am lucky enough to live on the Northern California coast where begonias thrive.
I’ve had 3 baskets of hanging begonias outside my living room window for 8 or 10 years. I water them once a week, unless we have a good rain storm or it’s unusually dry and hot, and they bloom profusely.
These are the blossoms from one of my 3 begonias. About a month ago the leaves began withering and dropping off. I cut it back to the tuber and it’s putting out new, healthy leaves. I never figured out the cause, nor could anyone I asked.
This is from the same plant as the flowers above, but I photographed it on a light box. The other was taken outside. Begonias are native to many tropical and sub-tropical of the world. Although I’ve read that they can be propagated from a single leaf or a cutting, I haven’t tried that myself.
Begonias have cane-like stems where they store water and are said to be drought-tolerant. Maybe, but I know they’re happiest in a cool, damp climate.
They are related to squash, pumpkins, cucumbers and melons. I didn’t realize that when I set up the flowers for this shot. I included the squash blossom for color, but now I know it’s also a family gathering.
.Often it is the sexual organs of these flowers that provide interest and variety.
Last week dahlias were my favorite flowers, but now I’m not sure. Could be begonias.
I hadn’t dragged out my light box in a long time. Finally on Sunday I admitted to myself that my work was getting stale, and I was taking the same photograph over and over. Hmm…why not try my light box again? It lives in a corner in my garage, and takes a bit of effort to set it up, I somehow summoned the energy to bring it inside, cut some fast-fading begonias, and came up with a few good shots.
Like the giant redwoods that begin from a small cone, begonias germinate from dust-fine seeds that grow into plants that can produce huge blossoms. Most gardeners, however, begin with tubers rather than seeds.
There are 1,500 named species of begonias that come in every color except blue. The dark green leaves provide a striking background for the flowers. I’m lucky enough to live in a cool, wet climate that is perfect for growing them. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens has a large collection that I have photographed for several years, and many of those images are on my Happiness Cards.
I regret that I’m not more knowledgeable about the names. Many plants at the botanical gardens have only descriptive tags. I’m not very interested in the names for myself, but I know some of my readers would like some identification.
This photograph was published in a book a few years ago. I had not indicated which was the top of the photo, and it was printed upside down with the caption, “Into the Heart of Mystery.” I hadn’t realized how much it resembles a heart until I saw it in the book.