ground cover for summer dormant bulbs
Fri, 29 Jul 2005 13:41:05 PDT
I grow mine in half-shade in the back yard over woodland ephemerals and summer moisure-sensitive plants. The Trilliums and Arisaemas there wither up and go dormant, triphyllums and summer moisture sensitive ones such as sikokianum, engleri, elephas, and other Himalayan monsoon belt ones. The area gets no extra water, and while the daffodil border in my sunny well watered front yard is just finishing dying down and being replaced by giant tropical foliage, the dry border in the very back of my back yard has been looking tattered (except for the final row or Oriental lilies) until recently starting to be covered by the B. grandis. 
Today I checked and the Begonia has rapidly nearly reached full size leaves on  foot tall plants. They will get taller. The nice thing also is the wilting Asarums are now more sheltered and are reviving.


Message: 5
Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 12:18:31 -0400
From: "Jim McKenney" <>
Subject: c
To: "'Pacific Bulb Society'" <>
Message-ID: <47qfdc$>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Bonaventure Magreys wrote: "Yes, the hardy begonias are great, but leave
bare ground from the end of bulb season until mid-July when they start
coming up for me here in central New Jersey."

By mid-July here in zone 7 Maryland, Begonia grandis is already eighteen
inched to two feet high. It begins to emerge while daffodil foliage is still
greenish, so in this climate it compliments some bulbs ideally. It does take
awhile for them to provide total cover and become effective weed
suppressors, but in the meantime nothing seems to perturb them. 

It's interesting to me that it seems to behave so differently only a few
hundred miles north of here. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where I recall reading that
the sap of begonia leaves was once used to burn decorative designs into the
skin of goldfish. 

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