Wednesday, July 5, 2023


Wake up!

It's morning, and time to check all my begonias! My dwelling faces northeast and the bank of windows only catches the early morning sun for about an hour and a half. 


After that, it is just clear light, perfect for rex begonias, which I adore. They thrive in this exposure, but that early sun is powerful and I have learned they must be protected daily from that intense focus.

So while the rest of the world is waking up, I am putting my begonias to bed for a short nap!

Recently, I was offered an astonishing gift: an angel-wing begonia, from the plant that originally belonged to Mary Cleave's great-grandmother!

And who is Mary Cleave? She is a retired astronaut and the very first person I encountered after I had moved here about 4 years ago. We met in the library and immediately found many interests in common...when the subject of houseplants arose one day recently, she mentioned that she has been taking offshoots of her great-grandmother's begonia for years and would I like one? 

Oh yes, indeed, and here it is ...almost three feet tall, and already divided.

Fortunately, it lives in the far corner of the balcony that is shaded from the sun, so it doesn't need a nap.

Which is also true of the gorgeous red-leafed beauty that lives in the pottery swan in an equally well-shaded corner of the living-room.

My two escargot begonias are doing handsomely too...I remember when I first saw this variety, probably 20 years ago or so, in France.

They were very hard to find in this country at that time, and for years my mail-order purchases were very disappointing. Now voilĂ !: beautiful big healthy  plants, found in a local farm stand, and flourishing chez moi.

Everything else is pure impulse buying, and I have filled in with a few rich coleus which are thriving with casual attention.

But the angel-wing keeps me disciplined about feeding and watering. I am always happy to have Quimper pottery from the 19th century, and now I have a plant of similar provenance. C'est merveilleux!