I had a random conversation the other day about the provenance of a plant that has popped up in my mother’s house, my sister’s breakfast room, various friends and even Instagram friend’s houses. It is a glorious plant, both in terms of beauty but also the ease in which it roots from a cutting and grows as happy as can be in most settings.
Mention the name “Begonia” and you could be forgiven for conjuring up the 70s/ 80s tendencies of planting them in neat rows along pristine cut front lawns and gaudy garden ornaments for the ultimate in middle England garden suburbia. Alternatively you could be in the ultimate plant club du jour and own a begonia maculata and know that they are massively on the comeback and these new houseplant varieties have shaken off their old fusty image.
So the Begonia that I am talking about is called a Thurstonii. Begonias have quite the following and on a little google search I came across several Begonia societies all over the world where people grow and show their plants. There were over 150k tags for begonia on Instagram not to mention the countless variations on a theme… I contacted the UK National Begonia Society for confirmation. For anyone who is a real plant nerd it is a cross between B Metallica and B.sanguinea 1887 - classification shrub like. It grows up to a metre tall. It has naturally bronze-green super glossy leaves. The underside has deep red veins that are so beautiful looking at them through the translucency of the leaf. I remember this one distinctively as being a plant in my art block at school – the subject of many a GCSE still life composition and even at the age of 15 this plant captured my heart!
Obviously Stupid Egg sells plants but this is one that I don’t sell – not for lack of trying but the leaves are such that they don’t take kindly to being battered in a box for 2 days. Something that I continue to work on.
My actual plant (and the descendants of it at my sister's, mum's and friends) came from a cutting given to me by my ex boyfriend’s mother. This was over 11 years ago and I remember that the mother plant was over 20 years old at the time. This was one good thing that came of our relationship…