Sunday, July 8, 2012

Horses...and Scarlet Begonias

                                                by Laura Crum

            If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I like my garden almost as much as I like my horses. I am pretty passionately devoted to my horses, but I love the garden, too, and believe it or not, there are days when I choose not to ride in order to spend what spare time I have puttering around the garden-- watering, maybe planting something, and just watching the plants and enjoying them (I watch the horses, too). The funny thing is that, over the years, I’ve noticed that lots of other horse people like gardens and plants. So today I’m going to deviate from our regular programming to bring you something different. Something about plants. (OK—maybe most have of you have clicked the little X by now).
            For those who are left with me, plants are not as boring as they sound. In fact, I find plants endlessly interesting and entertaining. But then, I come from a plant loving family. My family has been raising plants for a living for four generations now. And I met my husband because he was the plant breeder for our family business. And not just any sort of plants. Tuberous begonias.
            For those who do not know what tuberous begonias are, here are a few photos. A picotee begonia on my back porch..

            My very young son smelling a scented begonia.

            My front porch with pots of blooming begonias and freesias.

            Our family in the begonia fields.

            My son grew up with the begonia fields as part of his life, even as horses have been a constant part of his life. Not a bad combination, do you think?

            See what I mean? Begonias are not boring. They are spectacular!
            If you’re not yet convinced, here are a few more photos.
            Scarlet begonias on my back porch (remember the Grateful Dead song?).

            My son in the endless, mist-covered begonia fields.

            Same kid a couple years later walking the furrows of the fields on a sunny day.

            A red Lace begonia.

            A picotee begonia named “Sunset Shades” blooming in November on my front porch.

            Ruffled picotee blossoms—a new cross!

            Ok, hopefully you are all begonia fans at this point. Which brings me to the point of this post. My husband, Andy Snow, who bred and grew all the begonias in these photos, has started his own blog, called “Begonias in the Mist.” Its not a how-to blog—its more about inspirations, insights, philosophy and beauty—all of which come up when you spend a long time involved with living creatures, plants and horses included. As the song “Scarlet Begonias” says, “You get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right..”
            If any of this sounds interesting to you, check out Andy’s blog. He would love to have you leave a comment. Begonias in the Mist
            As for me, I love my horses and my garden…and the begonias are one of my favorite plants. 


Dreaming said...

OK, you've won me over. I must confess, I have never been a Begonia fan. But, the only Begonias I knew were the puny little things you get in the 6-cell paks at the garden store for edging. I never realized they could be so big and beautiful! Wow! Stunning! I need to find some. I also never thought of them being in fields - duh! They have to grown them somewhere!
Thanks for opening my eyes and bringing a spot of color to my grey day (hooray for grey in Colorado!!)

Laura Crum said...

Dreaming--May you (and all of Colorado) get some rain. If you actually want to buy tuberous begonias, go to my husband's blog, via the link, and click on the link on his sidebar to Golden State Bulb Growers. That's our family business, and you can order pretty much any of the begonias pictured in my post from that company.

Val said...

I had no idea begonias could be so large. I have only seen the small, waxy kind for sale here. The begonia fields are truly breathtaking. Thank you for sharing.

I have a small garden in my front yard. I like watching the insects most of all.

Laura Crum said...

Val--So many people think those small begonias are the only begonias there are--they don't even know that tuberous begonias exist. And in fact, are just as easy to grow as the small ones. And I like watching insects too. I like watching everything in the garden, especially wild life of all sorts.

jenj said...

Ooooh, they are SO PRETTY! Thank you so much for posting - I love gorgeous flowers, but I always seem to kill them. Plus with the drought here, every spare drop of water goes to the edible plants or toward keeping our big trees alive.

Laura Crum said...

jenj--My husband's big passion when it comes to home gardening is the vegetable garden, which gets the lion's share of water around here. So I hear you. Thanks for the comment.

Anonymous said...

I have always enjoyed the pictures you've posted of your porch in bloom. Just beautiful. You're so lucky to have been raised around those plants, in a climate where they can grow almost all year.

My garden is between the house and the barn. My habit is to go out and take care of the horses in the morning, and spend an hour or two in the garden on my way back to the house. I have mostly vegetables, but I can't resist planting a few flowers for cutting and for attracting beneficial birds and insects. Yesterday was wonderful, I'm just beginning to get a harvest, everything we had for lunch and dinner (except the chicken) was from my garden. It's almost as wonderful a feeling as taking a horse from a baby to a broke trail horse. It's like magic.

Mrs. Mom said...


I've been falling off of the learning curve here trying to learn to grow a veggie garden in this very different sand based soil. To say it is getting to me is an understatement.

Least the maters we have gotten taste wonderful.

Maybe some year we can grow pretty too, instead of just stuff to feed the Locust Brothers.

Laura Crum said...

redhorse--We try to grow our own food as much as possible. Between the veggie garden, the fruit trees, the eggs from the chickens and the fact that we raise our own grass fed beef, we have produced many meals that we grew ourselves. And I agree, its like magic. No better feeling.

Mrs Mom--The one thing we mostly fail at is tomatoes. It just doesn't get hot enough here. Can't grow melons either. And corn doesn't do very well. So there's pros and cons to everything.

Francesca Prescott said...

I love begonias and they seem to do very well over here. I love the big, droopy ones, they come in such gorgeous colours. But I've never seen fields of begonias! Wow! They are like a poem.

I've been late planting my vegetable garden this year because the weather has been so bad. I've got tomatoes in, but they're not doing so well. I've got a few lettuces, some courgettes, rocket, Swiss chard, and...that's about it this year, which is very frustrating because I love bringing food from the garden straight to the table.

horsegenes said...

Great pictures. I love the long rows of flowers as far as the eye can see. We have tried Begonias up here in the heat but I don't think they like it much. But our tomatoes thrive. I should try putting them in flower pots on the deck out of direct sun and where I can really monitor the water... That might just do the trick.

And don't let the "I" fool other half is the green thumb in our family so it will be me asking him (nicely) to put them in pots on the deck.

Laura Crum said...

Cesca and Kel--Begonias seem to do best as container plants. That's how I grow them, anyway. I never have much luck when I put them in the ground--though they obviously do just fine in the growing fields (!)