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Begonia masoniana 'Iron Cross' is perhaps the most distinctive Begonia that has decorative leaves. It is native to Southern China and Northern Vietnam and was first introduced to cultivation in 1955. It has light green leaves and brown markings that are reminiscent of the German Iron Cross. The surface of the leaves is described technically as being bullate, where the areas between the veinlets are raised like small blisters, each with a scabrous needle-like tip.
While it is not commonly seen in New Zealand, I have grown the plant for many years and have four large plants that need to be divided. The plant has large fleshy rhizomes.
Limited number of divisions with leaves and roots available for $25, plus GST and postage, within NZ ONLY.
The original Sweet Pea is bicoloured, with the standard petal darker than the wings. All subsequent bicolours followed this pattern. Many years ago, I saw Pisum elatius which caused me to see if I might produce "reverse bicolour" Sweet Peas, where the standard is paler than the wings. Edible and beautiful in its own right. Stock limited. 10 seed per packet. Sow Spring-Summer.
Although the original, wild Sweet Pea, Lathyrus odoratus, from which all Sweet Peas have been derived was summer flowering, strains have been developed that are able to flower at different times of the year. This is controlled by the length of daylight hours, which varies both by season and geographic location. As a rule of thumb, Summer Flowering strains require 12 hours daylight to initiate flowering, Spring Flowering strains require 11 hours, while Winter Flowering strains require only 10 hours.
Spring Flowering types are best sown in the autumn while Summer Flowering types are best sown from mid winter in areas with mild winters like those experienced in Northern New Zealand. Spring and Summer types produce more sturdy plants, which produce strong basal shoots that soon take over from the primary shoot. Notwithstanding both the Winter and Spring strains perform very well if sown at the same time as the Summer types.
Scent is a difficult characteristic to breed. Expression of scent is very much dependant on temperature and humidity, while different people have differing ability to detect scent. Notwithstanding, Keith's work in combining the colours of the ancestral cultivars with bigger flowers and longer stems has also resulted in strongly perfumed cultivars. His 'High Scent' is recognised as the world benchmark for scent. This has smaller flowers with a clamped keel, but new introduction 'High Society' combines a waved, crisp white ground picotee edged pink flower with strong scent.
Very frequently, home gardeners are advised to soak seed overnight before sowing. This is unnecessary and potentially harmful for any hand harvested seed obtained from this website. Because of harvesting methods, seed from field production can on occasion result in hard seed coats, which delays or prevents germination. This is why the idea that seed needs to be soaked to identify hard seed has arisen.