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Friday, September 24, 2010

The American Begonia Society meets in paradise--- a trip to the Webb estate

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The Begonia Society (ABS) had its’ meeting at the Gazebo in Montecito a few days

ago. That’s Mike Flaherty, who owns the Gazebo (a fabulous florist and plant store in Montecito),himself a notable, prize-winning begonia hybridizer, addressing the meeting.

 Astonishing begonias were everywhere, and here is one of them---the tuberous plant is called Ray Hartley, and was grown by Paul Garber who is showing the members the latest exhibition style from European shows.

 The Begonia Society members then enjoyed a cook-out presided over by Ruben Pedregon of the Gazebo staff, who proved a deft hand at the grill---- as well as being a gifted floral designer.

Begonias per se, are not low water plants , but once a week watering seems to be about right in our maritime climate along the Central Coast. We have a Scentsational tuberous begonia (has a wonderful light lemony scent) which lives happily on the shaded front porch with once a week water, like a geranium.  Inland….. a different story.

The Begonia lovers were then whisked to the Webb estate which is a created  tropical paradise with a Caribbean theme.

             Of course, some lovely begonias live on the porch at the top of the stairs.

                   There’s a rose garden and a pond  of rose-colored water lilies.

           The main house overlooks yet another pond this one surrounded by amazing palms. In an inspired bit of landscape design, the golden fish-tail palm  contrasts with the purple grey of the brush beyond.

            And then there are the birds: black swans, emus,macaws, flamingos

and a toucan who sounds like a marimba....

         On our way out, dazzled and footsore, we saw a theater grotesque the likes of which can be found around here only at Ganna Walska's Lotusland.  

          We stopped in Summerland on the way home and saw some low water succulents of magnificent size (just to prove we really, truly are members of the  low water camp even if we love  the Begonia Society.)

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