Information for the amateur gardener

Begonia Firecracker June 18

OK, so its not a hardy plant, but its not half a show off. Begonia Firecracker one of those tuberous upright Begonias which looks great in containers or for bedding out.

Its pretty loud, so possibly not to everyone’s taste, in fact I guess some of you may find it distasteful, I think Firecracker is a gem.

No point in me describing the colour as you can see for yourself. However the blooms are fully double and quite large, I find it a bit too tall for baskets but sensational in tubs.

What about growing on the tubers. I like to start them off in the greenhouse in early March. Place your tubers in a seed tray half filled with a good quality compost, (I particularly like the compost from  B&Q). Then just cover the tubers in no more with a layer of this compost. Take care not to place the tubers upside down, In March you often see the emerging shoots, which simplifies things. If there is no sign of this then take into account the shape of the tuber, new tubers are often ever so slightly cup shaped, plant them, well as you would sit down a cup. Another way is to look for sign of roots this will be at the bottom of the tuber. If there is no sign of any of this, well best of luck, I have certainly planted a few the wrong way up in the past.

In previous years, usually about the end of April I would remove the growing Begonias from the trays and pot them up individually a helluva work with so many plants. This year I just left them in the trays and planted them directly into the garden on June 1st. They are looking great and starting to flower.

In the Aberdeen area plant out your Begonias in the first few days of June.

I lift the Begonias in early October for storing, cut back the stems, leave about three inches. Brush off most of the soil taking care not to strip the roots from the tuber. Allow them to dry off in the greenhouse, the stems will fall away after a couple of weeks. When the tubers are fully dry, wrap them individually in newspaper and store them in a cardboard box in a dry area of your house which is unheated, the loft does the trick for us. Remove them in early March and start all over again.

_________________________________________________

Here is another favourite Begonia of ours which I think you would be very fond of. So much more subtle this time, shall we say in a striking manner, if that is not a contradiction. This one has more of a pendulous habit and looks best in the hanging baskets.

Begonia Champagne.

_________________________________________________

The garden as yet isn’t a mass of colour although wandering around the garden there is quite a number of plants in flower. Here is a few of them below.

Euphorbia fireglow, be prepared to keep on top of this one, very invasive and the white sap from the stems if cut can be extremely irritating to the skin.

________________________________________________

  

I really like Astrantias this is a new one which was planted in our front garden in April of last year. Very disappointed that I have not got the name of it.

_________________________________________________

Alchemilla Mollis, love it or hate it, this plant is abundant in our garden and I think it looks great.

_________________________________________________

Aquilegia Nora Barlow, enjoying a spot beside the arch in the back garden

________________________________________________

Clematis Elsa Spath on the 15th of June in the round garden, great colour of blue.  (update— it is in fact HF Young )

________________________________________________

  

Talking of blue, Geranium Jolly Bee, another introduction to the front garden in the Spring of 2010 is flowering its head off at the moment. Last year it flowered from May, had a short break  in the last two weeks in June then came in to flower again and continued profusely till mid October.

________________________________________________

Rose Derescht, the first of the Roses to flower in our garden. This one has an intense and beautiful perfume.

_______________________________________________

This is a picture of the round garden taken in mid June.

_________________________________________________

This is the secret garden in mid June. The title got its name from our eldest grandson due to the fact that it can not be seen from the back garden until you go through the gate.

________________________________________________

© 2011 – 2012, Alistair. All rights reserved.


  1. Donna says:

    Your gardens are beautiful, Alistair. I especially like the round garden and always like when you photograph your private spaces. I love the detailing on your fencing too.

  2. b-a-g says:

    Alistair – I like the way the plants lean into the round lawn as if they want to take over. Your soil looks really clean and rich compared to mine. I try to take out stones and compst as I plant, but it will probably take several years before it makes a difference.

    • Alistair says:

      b-a-g, I think our round garden is at its best in June, although I planted Lilies in early Spring which I am looking forward to. Our soil is quite good, but what you see is an area which was replanted quite recently with a good mulch of a dark coloured soil improver.

  3. Larry says:

    Wow Alistair… I wasn’t expected that blast of color at 5:30 a.m.! I like it! I’ve always enjoyed tuberous begonias but have had problems saving them over the winter… I’ll have to try using your technique. We continue to have a wonderful garden year with average temps in the low to mid 70’s, with the exception of a few extremely hot days. Moisture has been great and I haven’t had to water at all. I haven’t accomplished a lot in the last week as I’m being treated for a partially dislocated rib… apparently from too much shoveling of mulch! I’d never heard of such a thing before, but can verify that it’s been very painful. Have a great week! Larry

    • Alistair says:

      Larry, low to mid 70s is just perfect. How often do we hear of cracked ribs, but no I have never heard of a partially dislocated rib before, sounds painful. Will be heading over your way soon.

  4. Holley says:

    Lovely. I love those begonias – both of them. And I really like the astrantias. Will have to be on the look out for these.

  5. Masha says:

    I actually like its color a lot. I used to grow them as house plants in Russia, but haven’t had a lot of luck with them in California :(. I loved the picture of Rose de Rescht, and all the lovely views of your garden.

  6. p3chandan says:

    I thought they were roses…those begonia blooms are so lovely! Your garden is so lush with plants, I love the Secret Garden..a nice quiet corner to sit and read a good book! Love all the blue blooms, my favourite colour!

  7. Martin says:

    I’m not usually a fan of Begonias but these are really lovely. I’m also very envious of your Astrantias. Your garden is looking beautiful Alistair.

  8. Alistair, Wow there is a lot going on in Aberdeen. You should link to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (maybe you did). Love the secret garden. Carolyn

  9. hello Alistair, I planted E. fireglow this year there is no sign of red yet, I planted it where I am hoping it will become invasive! I love the clematis Elsa Spath, always love your secret garden, the window in the fence to another garden area and is that a mirror I spy in the last photo? Frances

  10. Andrea says:

    Well thank you very much for telling me a begonia can be like that, i thought it is a rose or maybe magnolia. We have begonias too but not as pretty as those. …and all your other flowers are beautiful too. Your garden can also be featured in magazines as it is so lush and healthy-looking.

  11. Mark and Gaz says:

    Garden’s looking lovely as always Alistair :-)

    Gorgeous set of blooms too! Special mention with Alchemilla mollis, I don’t quite understand yet how come it evolved to be a love or hate it sort of plant, perhaps mainly because it can self seed all over the place?? It’s a delightful gem I think, so reliable too.

  12. EvoOrganic says:

    Your pictures are beautiful. I especially love the round garden! I’ve always wanted a space that looks exactly like that.

  13. Hi Alistair,
    I was glad to read your comment about Euphorbia fireglow. Recently, I was visiting a local garden when I noticed a big patch of Euphorbia fireglow. It looked incredibly handsome and I lamented having ripped it out of my own garden. I asked the gardener if it didn’t find it to be very invasive. He replied that he hadn’t found it problematic at all. I went home feeling like I had been too quick judge and illuminate my Euphorbia fireglow. After reading your warning, I feel vindicated.
    I am a big fan of begonias. I usually buy a few plants, but would love to try to raise my own in future years. Your Rose Derescht is just beautiful. I admire your round and secret gardens every time you show them!

    • Alistair says:

      Hi Jennifer, Ye I have found that after a couple of years Fireglow starts to send out runners and you can get stems of the plant where they are unwanted, very attractive though.

  14. Cathy says:

    Alistair, I absolutely love it all. I planted tuberous begonias this year for the first time – nothing so lovely as that “Firecracker”, but a half dozen in shades of red, rose, and white, under a tree, where they are very happy. My uncle raised them in heated cold frames and it was quite a production to walk through the snow to where he had them blooming in the winter. But what I love most is your secret garden! I just love how you’ve done it! So many lovely pictures… thanks so much for sharing!

  15. Bridget says:

    Beautiful garden, beautiful photos. I too love Lady’s Mantle, it enchances the colour of whatever it is near.

  16. Donna says:

    Sorry I missed this post…catching up reading blogs…I love begonias and have never had much luck overwintering them, but might give it a try again…the flowers you are showcasing are all favs of mine and I must say your gardens are marvelous…so lush, green and flowing…a peaceful place to linger and contemplate life!!

    • Alistair says:

      Thanks Donna, Just been deleting loads of spam and found your comment amongst them. Not sure how this could have happened, I will have to check the settings.

  17. Gabriele Fischer says:

    I think the plants beautiful, congratulations.

    Now I have a question. Maybe someone can help me yes. I am looking for begonias, primarily shrub begonias. Here in Germany the demand is very low. Can you give me nurseries in Scotland / UK call where I can turn back or can you help me? That would be a great pleasure for me.
    Thank you for your reply.

    Viele Grüße
    Gabi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge