Home > Begonian > Volume 68 (November/December 2001, page 207)
A Holiday Welcome
by Johanna Zinn
While shopping at a local nursery I noticed a ring of
cactus suspended from the greenhouse wall. Although the circle of cactus
was interesting, I thought that begonias would fill the space more
attractively. I had a few small trailing-scandent plants that were
suitable for this type of planting.
Empty metal rings are available at a few nurseries in
our area. I purchased one consisting of four circles of metal: two larger
circles formed the front and back outer rings and two smaller circles
formed the front and back of the inner circles. The rings were held
together by metal bars spaced at frequent intervals. I packed the wreath
with pre-moistened long-fibered sphagnum moss and secured the moss with
waxed beige twine.
Choosing the plants was the most enjoyable part of the
project. I tried to choose mostly trailing-scandent plants, but selected a
few that would fill in the spaces with foliage. Begonias planted included
B. 'Caribbean Prince', longipetiolata (syn. crassipes),
U010, U315, and glabra. Imade holes in the sphagnum
and inserted each plant with its root ball and soil into the openings.
Then the begonia ring was placed horizontally into a very large plant
saucer for three weeks to allow the plants to grow into the moss and
become secure before I hung it in our shade house.
Just before the photo was taken, a squirrel knocked
the begonia ring to the ground. While picking off the damaged foliage, I
decided to take the photo before any further damage was done. Blooms from
a Non-Stop tuberous begonia filled in some of the empty spaces. Over the
summer, the wreath filled in well, but keeping it growing was not without
Other than declaring our shade house a "No
Squirrel Zone", were there other things that I could have done to ensure
the health of the plantings? I can think of two that would have made
watering less of a chore. The wreath dried out very quickly in the summer
A few weeks after planting, I added water absorbing polymers.
Although I inserted the granules at the suggested depth of two inches, the
morning after I watered the wreath, it looked as if it were regurgitating
slug slime. Adding the polymers at planting time would have prevented the
problems. The plants also should have been inserted with a larger soil
Several weeks ago, I purchased another wreath frame.
This wreath has a coconut fiber shell inside the metal rings. The frame
opens on hinges for easy filling with soil, and the coconut fiber shell is
thin enough to slice easily for plant insertion. This frame should solve
most of the problems mentioned. I wonder what is rooted in my prop