Bloom Blast! September 17, 2010
The huge, showy begonia blossoms that can be seen in the Display House during the summer at the Gardens have a quite humble origin. Plants of the genus Begonia (family Begoniaceae) were first "discovered" by Charles Plumier, a Franciscan monk and botanist, who was visiting the Antilles Island (Dominican Republic) in 1690 to collect rare plants. There, he found six species of this plant, with flowers no bigger than the size of a golf ball, and named them in honor of Michael Begon, the governor of Santo Domingo.
In the early 1900s, tuberous begonias were introduced to the United States, where they flourished in the mild coastal climate of central California. This climate is very similar to that of the native habitat of the first begonias, which grow in highland valleys on the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains. While equatorial, these high altitude regions have a very mild climate. The summers, from November to March, have high temperatures in the 60s and 70s and lows in the 50s and 60s. This is also the rainy season. The winter season in the Andes (June, July, and August) is very dry with high temperatures in the 50s and 60s. Freezing temperatures are very rare. Thus, with an almost identical climate, coastal California is an ideal home for the offshoots of the first begonias.
For more information on growing and caring for tuberous begonias, visit our website.
To view more of our tuberous begonias in bloom, visit our online photo gallery.
**Tuberous begonias of all shapes, colors and sizes are available now in the Gardens' Retail Nursery! **
Fall Nursery Sale!
Mark your calendars for one of the best plant sales on the coast!
Upcoming Classes and Events at the Gardens...
Join us on a mushroom identification walk!
Friends of the Gardens Events
Holiday workshops and sales are coming up!
See you at the Gardens!