Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Shows & Events
Capitola Begonia Festival
The Capitola Begonia Festival -- August 30 to September 1 -- is one of those kitschy home,town parades you remember from yesteryear. You can watch the floats being constructed and decorated with hundreds of beautiful begonia blossoms then see them cruise down Soquel Creek each day of the festival at 1:00 p.m. There are sand castle competitions, a volleyball tournament on the beach, twilight concerts, rowboat races, fishing derbies, and of course the star of the show is the charming little town of Capitola itself! This is a nice way to say "farewell!" to summer. For more information, visit their Web site:
While you are in the Capitola area, stop by and visit the world famous Antonelli Brothers Begonia Gardens on Capitola Road. This nursery specializes in tuberous begonias, ferns, and fuchsias. It is one of my very favorite nurseries to visit, and in September the begonias are in full bloom!
The gardens are located at 2545 Capitola Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95062; phone (831) 475-5222. Or visit their Web site:
Favorite or New Plant
Tuberous begonias, as we know them, and specifically the 'Pacific Begonia', were developed in Capitola, CA, by the Brown Nursery. The flowers resemble roses in form and come in singles, doubles, and multiple heads. There are hanging varieties, miniatures, and standards with colors ranging from brilliant yellow, orange, red, pink, peach, and even some with filigree tips. Magnificent things, begonias.
Tuberous begonias are grown as bulbs and need a rest period during the winter months. The tubers should be planted once the soil warms in May in rich oak leaf compost. The concave side of the tuber should be facing up and just the bottom half of the tuber buried in the compost.
Once growth begins, fertilize with a 22-14-14 fertilizer every three weeks until flower buds begin to form. At that time, switch the fertilizer to 0-10-10, applied on the same schedule. To prevent powdery mildew, never water overhead and keep faded flowers picked off to keep the plants producing.
Once the plants begin to turn yellow in the fall, withhold water. When the tops are completely dry remove the tubers from the soil and pull off the old foliage. Dust the tubers with sulfur, allow them to dry in the sun for a few days, then store in paper containers (plastic will cause the tubers to rot) in a dry, dark, area until planing time rolls around in the spring.