LEN and Dawn Treeby wowed fellow members of the Gympie Municipal Horticultural Society with their spectacular Gympie garden last Saturday.
The 1.4 hectare Chatsworth block, which incorporates different "rooms" and boasts fruit trees, natives and decorative gardens, was cleverly designed by the owners.
Everyone was assured that their garden looks miserable during winter as they get severe frosts but it soon picks up.
Guest speaker Bernard Yorke introduced members to the beauty of begonias which, he said, was an excellent choice for those looking to add colour and interest to their garden.
Begonias grow underneath trees where it is often difficult to get any colour.
For successful begonias, gardeners should address the following:
- Must be planted in partial shade with protection from strong wind;
- Well-drained soil - keep soil moist not soggy - remove water from trays immediately after watering and apply fertiliser when necessary;
- Remove dead flowers, leaves and stems frequently. Prune regularly.
- Protect from frost and provide adequate ventilation.
Begonias, which are closely related to melons, cucumbers and pumpkins which are native to South and Central America, Africa and South Asia, are succulent-like plants that store moisture in their stems.
This means they can survive extended dry periods, and are quite waterwise in the garden.
The most popular types of begonia have red, white, pink, yellow, orange and scarlet-coloured flowers, and these are either male or female flowers that occur separately on the same plant.
How can you propagate begonias?
Firstly by cuttings or seeds.
When the dry, winged capsule splits lengthwise it releases a large number of miniature seeds closely resembling dust particles.
"So make sure you are not propagating on windy days," Bernard said.
"You'll be rewarded with begonias germinating in two to three weeks time.
"Plant three in a basket but on the edge and not in the middle."
Bernard told members to look closely at "this wonderful plant" and imagine what it could possibly have been used for in the past.
His answer was surprising.
"Polishing swords," he said.
GYMPIE Garden Expo will be held from 8am on Saturday and Sunday, May 2-3, at the Pavilion.
Entry is $5 for adults with children admitted free.
This is your chance to learn more about gardening from a number of gardening identities, including Tom Wyatt and Jerry Coleby-Williams, who will be happy to help solve your problems.
With 70 stallholders setting up for the weekend, there will be much to see and do.