One of my favorite genera of plants is Begonia. It's also one of the largest with over 1800 species, not to mention all the various ornamental cultivars that have been bred. The flowers can also be stunning, but the leaves are amazing in their varieties of shape, color and texture. They are tropical and sub-tropical plants, growing largely in the shade of the understory. In temperate regions they are used as houseplants or annual bedding plants. Don't be expecting the sad little pink things you see put out in the sun in the summer. That's not the way to make "real" begonias happy. Today I'll show you a few from the 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show.
This is variety 'Escargot.' I think you can see why!
But don't get too attached to that shape of leaf. This one is some unknown variety. So many cultivars have been developed that sometimes their names get lost in the shuffle.
This is Begonia venosa, one of the ones that has not been tinkered with. The leaves are softly furry, and it grows in Brazil. The flowers are clusters of white petals on long pink stems. This plant took a blue ribbon, and an American Begonia Society ribbon for best foliage. I'm not entirely sure why- perhaps it was in particularly good condition. Nothing I read says it is more difficult to grow than other begonias.
Sometimes the leaves are soft and furry, as above. Sometimes they are shiny and bold. This is variety 'Thurstonii.'
This is one of my personal favorites, but again the exact variety was not known. Notice the polka dots in the edging of the leaves.
This is 'Little Darling.'
Of course, you are going to see more of these. Every time I look at the pictures I am entranced all over again.
In other news: I wrote my newspaper column, did more laundry, did some cleaning and some odds and ends, and walked 3 miles.
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