Every year, I take my beautiful begonia next door for my neighbor to prune. Why? Glad you asked. Don Miller (my neighbor) is a nationally-known begonia expert. In fact, the begonia in question is one that a friend of Don’s hybridized and named in his honor. It’s called the “B. ‘Don Miller'” (or I believe some are now calling it the “Frosty” for its silver leaves). This year, he put the trimmed-off stems in a mason jar and assured me that I could easily propagate his plant. We’ll see about the “easily” part.
Here’s the challenge. The cats in my house go bonkers for begonia. If I leave my office door open, one will go over on my right side and distract me by juggling oranges or singing an aria from La Traviata (riveting!) while the other sneaks by me on the left and chows down on begonia leaves. They’ll take turns doing this (or something like it) until all the new leaves are gone. I say “gone.” Actually, the bulimic cat burglar runs out of my office and vomits on the rug as quickly as possible.
So, here’s the plan this year…. I made these three hanging shelves, suspended from the top of my glass office door using 1/8 inch all-thread. The shelves themselves are made from vinyl gutter downspout. At the ends, they are sealed off with 2″-thick styrofoam that I saved from an Ikea shipping box.
The trimmed begonia branches were given a sprinkling of root starter (my idea, Don may laugh) and planted in little jiffy pots. Way up there, in their propagation perch, there is absolutely NO WAY the tender new plants will be discovered and destroyed by my wicked cats. Soon, the begonias will be ready for regular pots, and I’ll give them to regular families, preferably families who don’t have cats. That’s the plan.
Oh yeah, the part about Don Miller is true. Scroll down for a photo Don forwarded to me. But first, here’s a video I just found (sorry, it isn’t embedded; clicking will take you to YouTube):