Saturday, September 14, 2013

Begonias Are The New Impatiens

Impatiens blight disease toppled a mini garden cartel.

No one's king forever.  Brown is the new black--until it's replaced by navy.  Fifty is the new thirty.

Begonias are the best replacement for Impatiens in 2017
So they say . . .

Begonias are the new impatiens.

In 2013 most retail nurseries chose not to market impatiens for fear of spreading the infestation.

The great impatiens blight of 2013 sparked concern amongst gardeners like no predecessor crisis.  Impatiens, the top annual bedding plant sold in nearly every commercial nursery became plantate non grata in almost every yard due to the insidious disease known as downy mildew.

Infectious impatiens blight produces a powdery mold not detected on fresh blooms.  The blight wiped out droves of these hearty mainstays, then cheekily lingered in the soil through winter only to reinfect the next crop.

The wringing of garden gloves was accompanied by widespread worry that the shade garden, where vibrant impatiens thrived, would never be quite the colorful same.  Well, they were.

Begonias may be more limited in colors, favoring scarlets, reds, pinks and whites, but their sultry leaves make for interesting textural contrast to more familiar shade garden regulars such as hosta, astilbe,  hydrangea and cranesbill

Begonias in bygone times took a backseat to multi-hued impatiens, yet these natives of the southern hemisphere showed their mettle this year.  Granted, the atmospherics were favorable--lots of precipitation and mild temperatures. Begonia thrived filling out nicely, in rounded masses, mindful of perhaps?--impatiens? 

Everyone cheers when the underdog succeeds.

2013 was clearly the year of the begonia!


More articles of interest:

Bye Bye Bizzie Lizzies -- What to Plant Instead of Impatiens

Vintage Gardens -- Spider Plants and Fancy Pants