Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Beautiful Begonias


Originating in Bolivia and Peru, members of the easily hybridized begonia family are now to be found in all parts of the temperate world. A dazzling display of modern tuberous begonias can be seen each summer at The Kaikohe Pioneer Village Begonia House where hundreds of profusely flowering plants enchant the eye. Several cultivars have a pleasing light floral scent. New stock is added regularly. The display usually opens in the second week of January and closes at the end of March. Opening hours Mon - Sat 10am to 4pm, Sundays 1pm to 4pm Entrance charge is a modest $5.00 per person per season. (A personal pass is issued) Group discounts are available. Phone 401 0816 Kaikohe Begonia House, Recreation Rd, Kaikohe . From Broadway, turn left at the Shell Service Station then third right into Recreation Rd. The Pioneer Village is approx 400 metres on the right. Comments from the visitor's book: Overwhelming: Sheer delight: Beauuuuutiful: Tino ataahua: I'm not a gardener but this could just about make me change!: Gets better every year: They left me breathless. The cultivation notes which follow are available for visitors. Culture of tuberous begonias Begonia House, Pioneer Village, Recreation Rd, Kaikohe Plant tubers when sprouts are about 1cm high. Use fresh potting mix and barely cover the tuber. Water sparingly and increase application as the plant develops leaves. Try to keep the plant continually moist. Place in bright, indirect light indoors or out. Early morning or late afternoon sun is acceptable outside. Fresh air is essential. Under stuffy conditions flowers will drop. Apply a combination fungicide and insecticide spray every week from the time that leaves are 15cms long. Stake stems as required. Take care not to damage the tuber. Stop watering from about mid April. This is a personal decision. As long as water is applied the plants will continue to grow and flower but become unduly tall and leggy and need much extra staking. Lie the pots on their sides and after several weeks remove the detached top growth which has helped the tuber ripen off. When the tubers can be removed from the old mix store them in a dry place. At the end of August put the tubers out to sprout, concave side up in bright, indirect light then start all over again.

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