As many times as I walk by this polka dotted begonia where it sits under our front pergola, I still can’t believe that it exists. (And for those who may suspect that I have tampered with this plant/flower by perhaps applying the polka dots, myself, you know me well, but I assure you I did not.) My strange obsession with polka dots does indeed seem incurable. I have tried to quit them cold turkey, my friends have done multiple interventions, and I have spent thousands of dollars on therapy. But I just can’t stop collecting items (bags, notebooks, shirts…) covered with dots. This is why I was thrilled to stumble upon this “Begonia Maculata Whightii” at Rosedale Nursery in Hawthorne, NY early in the summer.
Since I spent the previous 20 years of my life dwelling in apartments, I am new to gardening, yardening, and everything involving flora. Until this year, I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between a begonia and a petunia and probably couldn’t have even defined the seemingly obvious difference between an annual and a perennial (apparently this plant is the latter provided you give it the proper TLC).
I am happy to report that I am now one baby step closer to having a bit of a clue in this realm. This is thanks, in part, to a few visits to Rosedale, which is only about 10 miles from Nyack. (You can take the Tappan Zee bridge to either Saw Mill North or 9A North.) This place is a veritable shangri la of gardening – it made me excited to grab a pair of gardening gloves and a trowel. The nursery is organized into clear sections (annuals, perennials, shade, full sun, ground cover, flowering shrubs, etc.). They even sell lots of trees, and, unlike our local Home Depot, everything seems to be in excellent health.
During that first visit, we were busy filling up a wagon with plants when I wandered into one of the greenhouses and “spotted” this polka dotted beauty. There was only one of them left and I knew she was meant to be mine. The leaves have a ruffled edge and are shaped almost like elongated hearts. (Some compare them to bat wings.)
I already enjoyed walking by this plant every day, so it was just bonus when it recently bloomed with some sweet white flowers.
Side note: while taking this photo, I noticed that of course a tiny mushroom had also sprouted in the pot.
And, like good luck charms, a few other mushrooms had also popped up in the garden about a foot away.
Anyway, these polka dotted begonias apparently make nice houseplants, so we’ll invite it inside soon and try to keep it going this winter. And I already have big plans for next spring – I am going to rent a U-Haul, and get over to Rosedale early in the season, when they still have more of these in stock. Who needs grass when you could have a whole lawn of polka dotted begonias?
Have you seen one of these before? Any tips for this not-so-green thumb? Will I ever get sick of polka dots? Please leave a comment below.