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Home > Begonian > Volume 71 (November/December 2004)

Begonia Christmas Tree
by Tom Keepin

It is customary for the Astro Branch members in Houston, Texas to gather the first Sunday of December at a members home to celebrate the Holidays. This year Ruby and K. O. Lenert offered their home for our Annual Christmas Party. Ruby and K. O. have a lovely spacious home that comfortably accommodated our growing membership. Cheryl Lenert and Tom Keepin volunteered to help Ruby with the decorating the day before the party. Ruby had a very unusual idea for a Christmas Tree.

It is at this point I need to give you some background information. Richard Evans is a member of our branch and grows lovely begonias along with many other types of plants. Earlier in 2003 Richard suffered a stroke. This stroke left Richard unable to care for his plants properly or move them into the greenhouse for winter protection. Richard decided to give all his very large plants away to any member who could go to his residence and carry them away. Ruby Lenert was one of those members that went to Richard's home to give a plant or two of his collection a good home. Ruby came away with a B. coccinea hort. (pink). This in itself is not unusual, until you learn that the plant is 35 years old and stands 8 feet tall in the pot. Richard tells that his Uncle gave him B. coccinea hort (pink) in 1968. The plant was a very tiny rooted cutting. Richard accepted the plant gratefully and kept it growing until he had to let it go to Ruby's care.

With that said it was Ruby's idea to decorate this begonia as if it were a traditional Christmas Tree so the members could enjoy it at the Christmas Party.

Cheryl Lenert and Tom Keepin thought this was a great idea. So on December 6, 2003 Tom and Cheryl went to Ruby's home to help decorate for the Christmas Party. B. coccinea hort (pink) was decorated with small gold balls with pink ribbons attached to match the few lovely pink blooms on the plant. There was also a large gold bow placed on top and its trailers snaked through the plant to help disguise any gaping holes in the plant. Then iridescent tinsel was placed on the branches as a finishing touch.

B. coccinea Christmas treeMembers started arriving at Ruby's home about 1 P M. on Sunday, December 7, 2003. It is the Astro's custom to exchange plants or plant related gifts at the party but they must be wrapped and placed under the tree. When members placed their gifts under the tree they were overwhelmed by what they saw. No one could believe their eyes. The Begonia Christmas Tree was beautiful and a big hit. We are sure that in the future should our annual Christmas Party be held at Ruby and K. O. Lenert's home B. coccinea hort (pink) will be there in all its glory with tiny gold balls with pink ribbons and all the trimmings.

In closing Ruby Lenert was presented with two 5 x 7 framed photographs (1 - Ruby and the begonia and 1- Just the begonia) at the January meeting as a remembrance and Thank-You.

Should you find yourself in Houston on the first Sunday in December you are always welcome to join us at our Annual Christmas Party. There are lots of delicious home cooked goodies, laughter, friendship and , of course, begonia chatter.

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