The Garden, p. 466 (December 29, 1900)

H. P.

Begonia Goire de Lorraine

Regarded commercially, this Begonia is one of the most important ever raised, for it must now be grown by tens of thousands every year, not only in this country, but also on the continent, and even across the Atlantic. It is one of the many good garden hybrids that we owe to M. Lemoine, of Nancy, the parents being the distinct and pretty Begonia socotrana, with bright rose-coloured blossoms, and the old white flowered B. Dregei, a native of South Africa.

Begonia dregei

We have been told by the raiser that the cross was effected in January, 1891, and the young plants produced therefrom flowered in November of the same year. It was distributed in the spring of 1893, but two or three years elapsed before it was generally grown. Since that time, however, it has advanced in popularity by leaps and bounds, and is now largely cultivated both in the shape of neat little bushy plants, and also in suspended pots, pans, or baskets. Under these named conditions its semi-pendulous growth is seen to very great advantage. Its propagation and general culture are now so well understood that nothing further need be said on that score. This Begonia would appear to be of a somewhat sportive character, for two distinct forms of it received awards of merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in the autumn of 1H99. The first—Mrs. Leopold de Rothschild—originated with Mr. Hudson, at Gunnersbury, and it has been many times exhibited. In this the individual flowers are larger and of a lighter shade of pink. The second is the white flowered Caledonia, which was shown at many of the exhibitions during the autumn of 1899, and distributed by Mr. Forbes, of Hawick, about three months ago. The flowers of this are white, but become slightly tinged with pink before they drop. It is certainly a very promising Begonia, and one that, owing probably to hard propagation, I do not think we have yet seen at its best. If it were possible to obtain a good scarlet sport from Gloire de Lorraine it would, I feel sure, be in great demand.

The pretty and distinct Begonia socotrana is remarkable in many ways other than being one of the parents of B. Gloire de Lorraine. In the first place its discovery, in 1880, by Dr. Balfour, on the island of Socotra was totally unexpected, as no Begonia was known to occur in that part of the world. Next, the nearly round leaves, in vigorous examples almost a foot across, at once stamped it as a decided novelty, and after this came the fact that its pretty bright rose-coloured blossoms are borne in the depth of winter. It was not surprising that such a distinct Begonia soon attracted the notice of hybridisers, and many were the attempts made to raise new varieties therefrom. The first recorded instance is John Heal, which flowered in 1885). This was obtained by fertilising B. socotrana with the pollen of a tuberous rooted variety, and Messrs. Veitch, by continuously working on the same lines, may be said to have created that beautiful class, of which they have exhibited numerous examples at the last two or three meetings of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Begonia list