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There is a new Begonia, Double Tuberous, that i heard about last year called “Icemint”. I ordered it from Bellcross nurseries last year along with another grower, Stan, Margaret had mentioned it to Stan on the phone but we didn’t receive it or hear anything about it again. This year i sent an order to Bellcross for a Begonia called “Silence” and added that i would like to order “Icemint”, if it was available. I received confirmation of my order for “Silence” but “Icemint” was not even mentioned. I have since ordered “Mrs T White” from another grower, and mentioned “Icemint” to him, he very kindly informed me that he hoped to obtain one soon, but would not be selling it because Bellcross had raised “Icemint” and wanted to get their money from it. He also informed me that Bellcross had over 90 orders for “Icemint”.
That’s all fair enough, i can understand them wanting to make some money from it if they have raised it, also that they may have too many orders. But my estimation of Bellcross nurseries has gone down now, i may not order from them again. That information should have come from Bellcross. Confirmation was sent for the other tubers ordered, all that was needed was a short note on the bottom to say what the other grower told me. I was already thinking that Bellcross don’t have the best of quality plants as you never know if you will get a tuber, or a bit of a cutting and they charge the same for a bit of cutting as they do for a tuber. Plants tend to be, not always, but often, weak and don’t grow as well – But if it’s a variety that i can’t get elsewhere the cuttings that i take seem to grow fine and i get good plants from those cuttings, it just takes longer to increase my stock of those plants.
Blackmore & Langdon always send out good quality tubers, even if they are a little more expensive. But Blackmores, i think, only have varieties they have raised, so there are some i can’t get from there. However, i think in future i will use Blackmore & Langdon and other growers that are in the Begonia society and send out lists. I will just have to be careful to separate any new plants for a while in case of Vine Weevil or The Mite. The mite has been written about in the society booklet, luckily i haven’t had it so far, and hope i don’t get it, but some growers have had it.
Last year i ordered “Krakatoa” from another grower with a list. “Krakatoa” is an orange bloom, but when it flowered it was red, so must have been labelled wrong – so this year i will have to check all my “Krakatoa” cuttings and take the labels from the red ones as they aren’t “Krakatoa”.
From a different grower, Bellcross and Blackmore & Langdon i have “Mia”, “Sophie”, “Silence”, “Golden Hind”, “Mrs T White” and another “Krakatoa” ordered, so i think i have plenty – i don’t seem to have ordered that many because two of them were ordered and paid for last year, but they had run out, but Blackmore & Langdon were good enough to let me know and leave the order in place for this year.
I also ordered a few Begonia Rex from Dibleys nurseries “Casey Corwin”, “Curly Fireflush”, “Escargot” and “Razzmatazz” I hope some of last years will have lasted the winter, particularly “Fireworks” and “Morning Dew”.

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Your knowledge and information on begonias is amazing.
Happy Gardening in 2009. :o)

31 Dec, 2008


I find it extremely hard to grow begonia rex varieties. In our old house we had a beautiful Escargot but it just didnt like anything in our new house. Water, positioning, light, warmth I couldnt find a happy medium.

I also bought last year from Dibleys Versuvius another Escargot and my mum gave us a different rex. All to know avail as I only have the one that mum gave me. It has been so close to death I dont know how many times.
It has two leaves, every now and then it will grow more but then the older two will get white mould spots on it.

I have tried re potting, easing up on the water all sorts of things.

I cant grow Begonias.....

31 Dec, 2008


I know how frustrating it can be to grow a plant and then find it is not what you ordered.
Several years ago, I ordered myrtus communis, the common myrtle, a nice bush reaching about six feet. Now I find I was sent luma appiculata, a tree now some twenty feet tall!
Last year I ordered pieris 'Little Heath', a small variegated shrub but the plain green-leaved form was sent - at least that was readily noticeable and I was able to get a refund

31 Dec, 2008


Thanks for your comments. At the start of 2008 growing season i started to grow a few Fuchsias which i had from Thompson & Morgan, they were all labelled wrong too ( i think i wrote a blog about that at the time), I suppose it's something to keep a watch out for all the time.
The Begonia Rex i am still experimenting with a bit, some seem to do ok in the greenhouse with the tubers, loose a few leaves, but last year once the temperature was turned back up to start my tubers off they grew back fine. Some seem more hardy than others. I think last year was a bit wet and i had some mildew on the Rex Begonias, but i hadn't the year before - so i am hoping that it was just the wet summer and therefore if we get a good summer this year i am hoping that they will do better.

31 Dec, 2008


I think the problem with Icemint is that it has been a victim of its own success and then it has got so much publicity in the Begonia bulletins everyone is wanting it.

I too ordered one from Bellcross way back last autumn and I am still on the list and just reckon if and when she has one available I will get it. Speaking to Margaret some time ago she told me that she only has about 6 stock plants at Bellcross so is limited in how many she can hope to propagate.

I also got a started plant of Silence last year and after a slow start it did quite well. I also ordered a dry tuber of Goliath, a red this year and received a good sized tuber just before Christmas. I have found that the B &L tubers take forever to start the first year. Having said that, I did order a Charlotte from them this year having admired it at a show so at £30 I hope it starts!

6 Jan, 2009


Geofp2002 I do think you are correct about Icemint, and i have no problem with the fact there may be none available. However, i can see no excuse for Margaret to ignore what i had written , which was to request Icemint if available - all she needed to do was inform me that there were none available, i had also ordered Silence from her, and she had confirmed that order in writing (so only needed to add a small note at the bottom).
I also find it difficult to get tubers from her, if i do get a tuber it's ok - but usually she sends started cuttings, which do ok, but tend to have weak stems that don't grow straight, they seem to grow twisted and sideways - but cuttings taken do well and stock can be built up like this, but it takes longer. The worst of those cuttings is they are the same price as tubers!
Blackmore & Langdon do seem slow to start, i think it's because they take all the roots off (they look as if they've been shaved) but they always send a good sized firm tuber, and , to date, they have always started eventually.
After this year i shall have to cut down how many new ones i get or i shall have no room at all, i shall need to get rid of some that aren't winning at the shows. I shall be going through the varieties i have soon and working out which to stop taking cuttings from, leaving more space for the better varieties.

6 Jan, 2009



I do agree B &L send out a reasonable sized tuber but they just seem to sit for weeks before they start, even with plenty of bottom heat, someone even advised me to put them in the fridge for a few weeks prior to starting and I think this helped.
I have too many as well but am always tempted to try a few new ones such as Fanfare and Goliath this year.

I just like to support Bellcross, if possible, as its a small family run nursery and I seem to have been pretty fortunate with what I have got so far

8 Jan, 2009


I have purchased a quite a number from Bellcross over the past few years, and probably will order from there again. I haven't had any problem with tubers from there, it has been started cuttings, which do ok from my cuttings but i think should be less expensive as there's no tuber (i would not object if the cuttings were a bit less expensive than the tubers). I will be trying some of the lists from other growers in The National Begonia Society. I shall have to be more aware that they could be labelled wrong though, after what happened with Krakatoa last year!

8 Jan, 2009


I think quite a good way to acquire new varieties is to do swaps with other National Begonia members. I have been fortunate to get a few news ones this way as well as buying some of course.

I got my original tubers from the East of Scotland Society when they sold a number of members' cutting tubers for Society funds. Of course the odd one didn't start but at £3 each it was not a big financial outlay and by year two I had some reasonable sized tubers.
I suppose it could be argued that if you get a started tuber/cutting from Bellcross later in the season, at least you know you have a growing plant which you can bring on.

9 Jan, 2009

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