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
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.
Members 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
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