FROM SEEDS LIKE DUST…

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.

.Pink BegoniasBegonias are a favorite among gardeners, as a modest amount of work produces showy flowers in every color but blue and black.

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.

White BegoniasThese 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.

Begonia on Lightbox 2This 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.

Begonia close-up

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.

Begonias on blackThey 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.

.White Begonia CenterOften 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.

HOW IT ALL HAPPENED

I’m not at all sure this is how it came about. I have no evidence to back me up, but  the following story is the best explanation I can think of that would explain my recent computer woes..

I have been bemoaning the fact for several months that I was too busy to work in my garden. It was becoming weed-filled and decidedly unattractive. The worse it got, the more I complained until the puppet-masters of the universe decided to take things in their own hands. The behind-the-scene guys assigned to my case are a couple of nasty little devils I’ve been calling Clyde and Clem.

“I’m sick of her bitching and moaning,” Clyde decided aloud one morning about a month ago.

Clem agreed. “Yeah, bro. I think we need to step in. You have anything in mind?”

“As a matter of fact I do,” Clyde admitted. “Have you noticed what keeps her from getting out into her garden, as she says she wants to do?”

“Guess I haven’t been paying much attention. No. What’s her excuse?”

“Her computer. She’s glued to it all day. Thinks she has to do that to get her business going.

If she has no computer,she has no excuse.”

“Oh, this is going to be easy,” Clem remarked. “And fun, too.”

“Which bug shall we use this time?”

“How about the ‘it won’t turn on bug?’”

“Perfect.”

Meanwhile down on earth I am struggling with a quirky computer that requires a bunch of maneuvers to get it booted up. Finally I call Dell for help. Their suggestions work a time or two, but they finally send a technician to the house.

“Has she been out in the garden yet?” Clem inquires.

“Nah. It’s going to take more than this little inconvenience, The nerds at Dell seem to think the problem;s in the mother board. Let’s let the tech change it a couple of times and see what happens.”

A nice guy from Ukiah arrives for a house call with his travel kit of tools and a refurbished mother board and sets to work. After the last screw has been screwed in place he hits the power switch. Nada, nothing, zilch. He returns the next day with yet another mother board (“Sometimes they send one that has the same problem I’m trying to fix.”) Great.

Two new mother boards and a new power cord later it’s decided by Dell that they need the computer at the factory to diagnose the problem. Sounds reasonable. Problem diagnosed quickly, but the part needed to fix problem is “not in stock.” One to two week delay while they look for it.

“What’s going on with our gardener? “ Clem asks.

“Looks like we have an ally down on earth. A friend, who’s probably sick of her complaints too, has offered some help with weeding.”

“That should get her outside!”

Meanwhile I’ve accumulated a MacBook, Chrome Book, Bluetooth external keyboard for my tablet and an I Pad with keyboard, all from friends who are trying to help out. And it does help, but also requires my learning all kinds of new stuff, and my brain is on overload. A week passes and Dell decides they’ll send me a “refurbished” computer.

“ Look at her. She’s punching keys like crazy on that mini-computer, and she’s been at it all afternoon,” says Clyde.

“Oh, oh.” Clem worries, “ What’s going to happen when the new computer arrives?”

“Don’t worry. I’ve got something in mind.”

FedEx arrives with a delivery around noon on Thursday. I let the box lie, unopened, on my daybed most of the day. Dell had promised to help me transfer everything from my external hard drive, so I finally dragged the computer out of its traveling box, did the preliminary stuff and called Dell.

All went well until the tech guy suggested he help me install the software I have on CDs. However, I find there’s no CD drive on the new computer!

Okay, I finally get it!  I give up. I surrender. It’s out in the garden for me until an external CD drive arrives from Dell.

“How about a refill, Clem?”

” Sure, top ‘er off. We have reason to celebrate!”