Thursday, June 19, 2008

Aunt Lou

Our "Aunt Lou" begonia is going great guns in our garden right now.

The blossoms as seen from below.

(You have to kneel down on the ground and look up to see the pink blossoms that hang downward in large clusters.)

Up close each blossom appears as if they have been sprinkled with fine crystals.

Fairy sparkles, as any right minded little girl (of any age...) would say.

Isn't that a magnificent flower cluster?

I love how the leaves are red as seen from back, and green with white freckles as seen from the front.
Now for the story behind this plant.

Bernie's grandfather had but one sister...known to one and all as "Lou", even though when she was born in January of 1883 in Illinois, she was christened Clara.
That's Lou with her brothers in the center of the picture above.

This name switchero was a popular past time back then. Clara (aka "Lou") had a brother named Ira who went by Cat. Ira was Bernie's grandpa, and he's the guy on the far right leaning over his wife in the plaid dress. Her name was Bessie, real name Nancy Jane, and she was Bernie's grandma.

I digress.

By the time Lou had grown up and married and settled in Sacramento California, she had a begonia in her garden that she used to snap pieces from and hand off to friends and relatives.

One day one piece of the begonia got snapped off and handed to her nephew's wife; who is now my mother in law. My MIL Barbara stuck the cutting into a pot in her garden and let it grow.

It would grow a bit every year in Barbara's garden in San Diego and bloom.
Barbara gave a cutting to me for my garden in Texas. A piece about six inches long.

I stuck it in a pot.
It grew.
Oh my how it grew!
No one had ever seen an Aunt Lou cutting do what this one did!
We gave a cutting of our plant to Jeff to grow in Salt Lake City.
He stuck it in a pot and kept it inside, next to a sliding glass door in his living room.
It grew and thrived as well.
Pieces of Aunt Lou's begonia are in family and friends gardens in many cities and states.
Isn't that cool?
I think so.
And I thought you would too.
If it were possible, I would invite you over for a visit today, hand you a cold glass of ice tea, and we would visit a bit. And then when it was time for you to leave, I would go outside and snap off a piece of my Aunt Lou begonia so you could have some in your garden too.
Wouldn't that be nice?
Who knows. Maybe some day it will happen.


Laura said...

Grandpa says, and I quote, "Aunt Lou had that back in the 40's." She had it at the corner of her house in Sacramento and it grew up the side of the house, over the eaves onto the roof and hung down looking at you.
He also says, and I quote, "the 6 of them are buried in a line together right next to each other up in Sacramento and there they lie." Or is it lay?

Lovella said...

Jill, that is so wonderful to have that cutting of begonia live on.
I was admiring it and thought . . well that looks like my dragon wing begonia in my hanging basket. . I'll have to take a picture of it to show you. .
Oh. . . to have warm weather and sit and sip ice tea sounds wonderful ..
Oh here is a link to the dragon wing begonia. . .
(I researched it .. smirk)

Vicki said...

I love the colors of this begonia! The story is so sweet, too. I love heirloom plants!

I'd almost jump in the car right now and drive out to visit you for iced tea and a slip of "Aunt Lou." Unfortunately, we're getting ready to jump in the car and head a different direction!

Islandsparrow said...

I'd love to come for a glass of iced tea and a piece of Aunt Lou's begonia. My mom had a cactus like that - it has gone everywhere!

Sara said...

Great story - I love that Aunt Lou's begonia is everywhere these days! Those leaves are interesting with their red backs and green speckled fronts. And pretty pink flowers sprinkled with fairy is obviously an enchanted begonia. If it is a dragon wing begonia...well I guess that helps explain it.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your blog today about our begonia and it's history, and then listening to Hal and Laura talking about his recollections about his Aunt Lou and the begonia. Mine is struggling at present, not sure what to do to help it. Everything in my yard needs to be self sufficient. Love, momS.

Ladygrande (Texas Marie) said...

May I have a cutting from "Aunt Lou"?