My love affair with double begonias (probably not their official name but then again I can’t claim even a pale green thumb) began as a child, admiring my mother’s array of these colorful, effusive blooms on our back patio in Southern California. Her magenta fuchias suspended like a troupe of dancing ballerinas ran a close second. Both flourished in the fog drenched atmosphere of La Jolla in the 1950s.
So I’ve tempted the fates, risking that my plant-killing tendencies could bring them all to a sudden and ignominious end and planted three of the tender blossoms on my balcony. I even laid one recently deceased bloom to rest in an abalone shell
Fortunately there are two marvelous gardens that I have visited where begonias and all other flora thrive. The first is the Mae E. Lauer Display House at the Mendocino Coast Botantical Gardens. I could take up residence there in a heartbeat, a potter’s bench my bed.
My photos from a 2008 visit highlight not only the begonias but the haunting beauty of the rest of the gardens which meander down to a spectacular view of the pounding surf of the Pacific that marks the Northern California coast.
The other begonia paradise is, of course, the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Canada. So if you’re in the neighborhood when I take my last breath, ask my family to surround my casket with mounds of begonia blooms. I like the orange ones the best!