Byron's Babbles

Are You A Begonia?

prod000134I am reading a great, award winning, and Pulitzer Prize winning book right now. The book is The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams. This book has such great insight into our life, what Henry Adams calls our education. His theory was we spend our entire life being educated. One of the metaphors he used in the book was of people who were like Begonias. These are beautiful plants known for their brilliant flowers and fancy foliage. The begonia has both of these lovely features. You probably get the idea; he was describing people who are all show and no substance.

When raising Begonias you must place them where they can be in the light. Do you know people like this, that need to constantly be in in the limelight? Begonias like a lot of light so place them on windowsills that face east or west so that your plants get several hours of sunlight each day.  I believe this is one of the reasons Henry Adams chose this powerful metaphor.

In doing a little studying on Begonias I also found that they became a staple of many bedding schemes, and in some cases, were quite over-used. Begonias became as disliked as euonymus is as a municipal shrub. Begonias became the lazy choice for parks and gardens up and down the country, often with the same old, tired varieties; either a mushy begonia semperflorens or the superb, but over-bright ‘Non-stop’ series! Sound like any people you know that are all talk and no action?

In my research, one botanist described using Begonias as having a desire for instant color and makeover effects … one-stop gardening – disposable, dramatic and needing no knowledge beyond which way up to stick the plant in the ground. Pretty good metaphor for all we do not want to be as a leader, don’t you think? Therefore we need to strive, as leaders, to not just be seen as bright flowers and foliage in delicate vases or as great explosions of leaf and flower, all brought indoors as theatre and decoration. But when they start to fade, they all go on to the compost heap.


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