Monday, September 17, 2012

Stretching the Limits

When I was at the Spring Fling this May I got to tour many gardens. In almost every one of these Southern gardens I toured there was a clump of hardy begonias established. My luck would hold because when my traveling companions and I stopped at a nursery in Tennessee they happened to have some of this begonia potted up waiting for my purchase. Begonia grandis 'Alba'. I felt so lucky to have found the alba since all I saw in the gardens were the pink flowered begonias.
I brought this baby home and promptly divided the huge clump into three pieces and spread them around the garden hoping that one place or the other would be to their liking. Then the drought set in. Oh brother was I worried. I watered and watered. Prayed then gave up.
Much to my happiness I believe that a couple of the pieces I planted are going to take...IF, and that is a big IF the winter doesn't do them in. My garden is situated in the upper part of the new zone 6. So I will be counting the days through winter that go below the norm for these plants.
Of course since I am a gardener I am ever hopeful that they will survive. I am hedging my bets with some pieces I have put into water to winter over inside. The cuttings are already blooming. I might have to put these outside someplace and cut a few more to winter over.
 I am wondering what kind of luck I might have. I haven't seen them growing any further north than Evansivlle, IN which is 60 miles south of my garden. Of course I haven't been in every garden between here and there. Darn the luck. Have any of you in zone 6 or colder had any luck growing these plants?

26 comments:

Phillip Oliver said...

I hope they survive for you! The pyracantha on your header is stunning. I've never had that many berries on mine.

Lee May said...

Lisa, I don't think you'll have a problem keeping that begonia alive, especially as you've spread it around. Also, i've grown it in Zone 6 for years. For insurance, however, I'd keep those cuttings going through the winter. Good luck.

shirl said...

Can't help with advice on this plant in your area, Lisa, however I always support having a go and propagating by division before planting plus taking cuttings too. Good luck with this - I love white flower varieties too :-D

Laurrie said...

We can experiment this winter together. I just planted begonia grandis, and I am new to growing hardy begonias too. But I am told they reliably winter over in Connecticut, so your Indiana location should also be okay. We'll see won't we? I like the fact that yours are white ones, so pretty.

Love your new header.

Rose said...

Lisa, I loved these plants when you bought them, and I'm not normally a begonia kind of person. But these are so gorgeous--I'm so glad they're blooming for you! I would think if you have at least one in a protected spot that it should survive the winter, but taking cuttings just in case sounds like a good idea. If yours survive the winter, who knows, I just might try one sometime, which would really be stretching its limits!

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Crossing my fingers for you! Love the white begonia. Those are some great leaves!! Not sure how hardy they are supposed to be...or what kind of winter we will have!! My husband thinks it will be a harder than last year winter.

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Hope this lives for you. you might put something over it in the colder days of winter.. kind of like they put on facets outside to keep them from freezing.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Keeping my fingers crossed for your lovely new begonias! (But I think that you're smart to hedge your bets, too. Who knows what kind of a winter we're in for... with the crazy weather year we've already had.)

Randy said...

Oh I'm hoping they do well for you! I have heard we are going to have a harsh winter this year though. Perhaps you could place an upside down terrcotta flower pot over them for this first winter? A larger one could offer a pretty good ring of protection I would think, but I'm just guessing.

SandyCarlson said...

These are amazing flowers. At first, I thought of orchids. I know nothing! But you teach me.

Kristin said...

I don't have a green finger or thumb, but I am SO impressed with those who do! This is a beautiful plant - I hope they all survive. Thank you too for your visit! Kristin xo

Julie said...

What a great experiment, Lisa! You know I love those! So happy for you that you found this gorgeous white begonia! Begonias just have a way of making you extremely happy! I adore their leaf shapes as well. It will be so nice to have a few sprigs indoors all winter too, won't it??? I guess you are getting all geared up for it there. I am looking forward since that is my growing season, and will be mild and cool here after all this darn blistering heat! Maybe I should keep my eyes open for a beautiful begonia! I think that could keep my spirits raised for quite some time!!! LOL. :)
xoxo- Julie

Jim said...

Hi Lisa ~~ I wish you luck with your begonias. They are supposed to be easy to grow here in the South.

We planted two back when we got our first south of Houston, Texas, home. One died the first winter from a frost that we didn't cover plants for their protection. The other one bloomed the first year and possibly the second but never again after that. Finally it died in a hard freeze.

So from those two we decided that begonias are not for us, either we cannot grow them or we don't have the right shade of green on our thumbs.

Thank you for peeking in on my Poem Place. I really like your visits and nice comments.
..

cyndy said...

No luck for me!
I used to tend them in a greenhouse where I worked, they are beautiful!

termite inspections gold coast said...
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Marguerite said...

Being much further north than you I haven't a clue how these will survive but I have my fingers crossed for you! As gardeners we just can't seem to help wanting to try something that's just slightly out of our zone, can we?

Quiet Paths said...

I hope they do well. My Mom still winters hers over; I guess all it takes is a slip but I've had no luck so far doing it. Thanks for the kind words on my post today. I appreciate it. I also fixed the photo. Should have checked it sooner.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Lisa girl I think you will have luck, because to have them bloom for you like that inside ? it wants to work out for you badly !!
Keep the garden faith and it will survive .. so hang in there with them girl!
Joy : )

sensiblegardening said...

I garden in zone 5 so any type of begonia is an annual for me. But, you never know until you try, many plants that were not supposed to winter for me over the year have done very well. Often they just haven't been tested, so Good luck to you!

Send Fall Flowers said...

This is the plant I pot up every year. It is best to get them potted up as soon as possible, while they are still small plants. Begonia grandis will need extra watering in the hot summer. In the winter it will freeze to the ground and leave no visible signs that it was ever there. Do not give up on it for this plant will come back with a vengeance the next year.

Dee Nash said...

Lisa, I so hope they survive for you my friend. Isn't it fun to see what other gardeners are growing in other parts of the U.S. and world?~~Dee

Jim said...

Thank you, Lisa, for your kind words. Since so many of my blogs were about Adi I felt compelled to tell my readers about her death.

Yeserday I received a certificate of appreciation of our nine years work as a therapy team. That made me sad for a bit all over again.
..

Julie said...

Since I'm in zone 7b, I've had luck with hardy begonias--and I hope it survives for you! They really are almost a garden staple here in the south. I'm planning to propagate some in the greenhouse as well to fill in some areas...I haven't done that before, but I hope it's not difficult. Good luck to you!

Lynn Cohen said...

I admire your fortitude and perseverance in keeping this bit of beauty alive. And thank you for being such a regular visitor to by blog, Lisa. I so appreciate your wonderful comments there.

Ms. Wis./Each Little World said...

Lisa — I've been growing the pink one for a number of years with no problem and you are warmer than me (I think). If you got it to grow in this drought, that is a good sign. I would mulch it well this first winter.

SandyCarlson said...

Beautiful flowers!