Begonia—what a lovely sound emerges from your lips when you pronounce, Begonia. I have to say that at first blush I am not a huge fan of begonia. That is probably because most of my exposure is to the somewhat less than thrilling to me small blossom annual begonias that are used as bedding plants. The flowers seem too small for their greenery. But then as I look at the different varieties, my perspective shifts. What lovely frilly buds there are in the hybrid tuberous types. With their large showy flowers, tuberous begonias are not your average garden begonias. I love the double tuberous versions and look at all those fabulous colors—shades of white, pink, rose, red, orange, and yellow!
As it turns out, I do have reason to be cautious in my praise of begonia. Begonia flowers in Victorian times signified “be cautious” or attributed “a fanciful mind” to the sender or recipient of the blossoms. Not exactly a typical romantic gesture! Nonetheless, I say, bring on the full and lush double begonia, especially now on these cold winter days when I dream of a tropical climate where you can find begonias outside.
To the Flowers
By Martha Lavinia Hoffman
Bright little day stars
Scattered all over the earth,
Ye drape the house of mourning
And ye deck the hall of mirth.
Ye are gathered to grace the ballroom,
Ye are borne to the house of prayer,
Ye wither upon the snowy shroud,
Ye fade in the bride’s jeweled hair.
Ye are relics of bygone ages,
From Eden inherited,
To gladden the homes of the living,
And mourn on the graves of the dead.