I consider myself a progressive gardener, but some habits are hard to kick. Growing in containers is an enforced habit as I have no open ground to speak of, and, although I admire great sweeps of the same plant, the desire to replicate this rarely overwhelms my passion for collecting more and more treasures. Just occasionally I exercise restraint and restrict myself to a mass of one single variety, but it has to be a cracker to justify such an honour. A prime example is Begonia ‘Million Kisses Elegance’, a new-fangled hybrid with an absurd name, but one which produces gazillions (since we are being absurd) of blushing white flowers whatever the weather, for months on end.
I have tried sharing the love with diascias, fuchsias and other shade-tolerant bedding, but the would-be suitors always fade away by midsummer, leaving the amorous begonia ‘on top’, as it were. This year I didn’t even attempt to make a match and created a stunning waterfall of flowers from just eight plants, purchased locally at Broadstairs Garden Centre. The obligatory phase of wanting every flower in my garden to be white is long past, but there is something particularly pleasing about pale blooms en-masse that no amount of brights can ever achieve.
There are other nauseatingly-named begonias in the ‘Million Kisses’ series, including ‘Devotion’ and ‘Amour’ which produce lipstick-red flowers , ‘Honeymoon’ which is lemon-yellow and hot-pink ‘Embrace’. All share the same excellent growing habits but are best kept on the dry side to prevent the succulent stems from going black and soggy at the base. Apart from a propensity to rot in damp weather, begonias in the ‘Million Kisses’ series are immune to plague and pestilence. Should one succumb, I assume all one needs to do pucker up and kiss it better. TFG.