Mike Stevens Begonias

ISBN 13: 9781552975510

Begonias

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9781552975510: Begonias
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Mike Stevens presents a complete and readable guide to one of the most popular flowering plant choices: begonias. The Begoniaceae has as many as 1,000 known and identified species plus countless hundreds of hybrids. This informative and practical guide for gardeners focuses on the popular tuberous begonias, and also includes:

  • history and key discoveries
  • culture of non-tuberous begonias
  • large-flowered tuberhybrida in containers year-round
  • basket begonias
  • fertilizers, soils, watering and propagation
  • creating your own hybrids
  • remedies for pests, diseases and disorders
  • 95 beautiful full color photographs

With dozens of the author's recommended species and hybrids plus nursery sources and a bibliography, Begonias is a solid reference work.

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About the Author:

Mike Stevens has a specialist's knowledge of begonias and is known worldwide as a knowledgeable and generous source of expert advice. His photographs are a pictorial record of his "beauties," many of which appear in this book in luminous full color.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction

It was love at first sight when I first saw Large-flowered tuberous begonias growing at a specialist begonia nursery. The vibrant range of colors and the luminosity of the mass display held me spellbound. I was also taken by the fact that begonias, unlike many other plants, have a very long flowering season of up to four months or longer.

My first attempts to grow these begonias proved to be disastrous, and I was unable to source much information to assist me. It was then I discovered and joined a local group of begonia enthusiasts and began to learn the tricks of the trade. I gradually absorbed information from this group and from my mentor, Ken Mackey, who was then president of the group. I learned there were many other types of begonias, equally wonderful in their own way.

By listening to other growers with the "Begonia Disease", it was obvious that, like myself, they were disadvantaged by a lack of a good local source of current information, particularly in relation to tuberous begonias. It was at this point that the magazine Begonia News was launched under my editorship. This bimonthly magazine featured letters and articles by both experienced and novice growers, and now has an international readership. The next step was to set up a web site, linked to those of similar enthusiasts in many other countries, to foster interest in begonias and supply the much-needed information.

My aim in this book has been to keep things simple, practical, and informative. Although some mention is made of all groups of begonias, tuberous begonias are the main focus. In some countries, these plants are frequently grown for exhibition and competition, requiring special techniques, such as limiting a plant to one bloom. However, as this is not the case everywhere, I describe the general culture that applies to the average home gardener.

To ensure the information in this book covers a range of conditions, I have consulted with experienced growers across both the United States and Canada. These people, a number of whom have been contributors to Begonia News, grow begonias in very cold zones to areas of considerable heat. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the contribution of Lyn Aegard of the Master Gardeners of Thunder Bay, and Avery Wagg, the webmaster of the Canadian Begonia Society web page for so generously sharing their knowledge of cold-climate culture.

Beware the Begonia Disease. It can be addictive, and my wife describes it as terminal. Once hooked, there is no cure, so, fellow "Begoniacs", enjoy your plants!

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ISBN 10:  1552975525 ISBN 13:  9781552975527
Publisher: Firefly Books, 2002
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