Home > Begonian > Volume 68 (September/October 2001, pages 166 -
Begonias in the Rockies
We came, we toured, we ate, we learned, we saw
begonias, we bought begonias, we loved Denver!
The Rocky Mountain Begonia Branch is small, but their
dedication was visible and they put on a convention with style and
substance. It was a convention we shall all remember with pleasure.
Some of us came early and on Tuesday enjoyed a tour of
the Air Force Academy where recruitment films and tour guides had us ready
to turn in our applications. The Air Force Chapel was an architectural
dream. Next, a visit to the Garden of the Gods - a stone garden near
Colorado Springs - and to the Manitau Cliff Dwellings. Then finally we
ended the first tour on a very high note with a visit to the private 5
acre Forest Edge Garden of Tim and Laura Spear where the
city's discarded wood chips have been turned into a lush paradise for
plants. Perennials grew to outlandish size and the sedums multiplied so
fast they were treated like weeds.
Evenings were always relaxing and full of conversation
at the Embassy Suites Reception hour and the ABS Hospitality Suite.
Wednesday we saw the Denver Botanic Gardens with
lectures on potting soils and native plants, a look behind the scenes in
the production greenhouses, and a visit to two small urban native plant
gardens. After such a full day, just the faithful came to hear Freda
Holley and Bruce Boardman (Tamsin was ill - Hope you're
all well now, Tamsin!) talk about the Begonian and newsletters.
On Thursday, another tour off to Estes Park and the
Stanley Hotel, famous as the location at which 'The Shining' was filmed.
Mountain views were incredible and of course Mary Bucholtz found a
begonia there. Meanwhile back at the Embassy ranch, the work began as
plant show registration opened, show placement started, Boutique items
began to appear, and plants were priced for the big sale. In the evening,
again the faithful met to discuss "What it takes to put on a Convention."
By the end, it was very clear that ABS needs a continuing committee to
support convention givers.
Friday was show judging day and other convention goers
went off to enjoy Denver on their own, returning in the afternoon for
lunch followed by a delightful seminar with Joy Logee Martin
appearing in video episodes intermixed with a live conversation with
Rudy Ziesenhenne. The convention was dedicated to these two greats
in the history of begonia culture and as Andy Conely said in his
introduction, "Without a past there is no future." In this presentation we
celebrated the great contributions Rudy and Joy have made to the American
Begonia Society and to begonias in particular.
Of course, the line for the plant sale began early and
boxes of plants disappeared into rooms within minutes. Since Andy had
gathered plants from across the west and south, there were species and
cultivars many of us had never seen before and, you know, WE HAD TO HAVE
THEM! Then in to see the show winners. It was a small, but varied show
with lots of unusual and even brand new begonias. It was particularly nice
to see so many species exhibited.
By Sunday many of us had to leave, but others went off
to see Mt. Goliath and Mt. Evans for a spectacular end to a spectacular
||Left: B. 'Jelly Roll Morton' (B. 'Erythrophylla Helix' x
wollnyi, rhizome with
pink flowers, Johnson, CA 1979) growing in the Denver Botanic Garden
|THANK YOU TO THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN BRANCH!
Right: B. 'Dragon Wings' suspended into the view.