How does it happen?

The question posed in the title of this post is meant in two different ways. The first is a general "how does it happen?", and the second is actually "how does it happen to me?". I'll get to the second one soon, but first, everybody who grows plants has a favorite "type" or genus. Something that really gets them excited like no other plants do, and results in them having a collection -- even though that was never their intent when they started gardening.


For me it's bamboo. For others it's tomatoes, or agaves, or cactus, or roses -- there's somebody who is crazy about every type of plant. Why is this? How does this happen? How does "ah, that's a nice plant" transform into "I must have as many species and varieties as possible!" Maybe a better question is: why does it happen for some people, and not for others? Take for instance, begonias.

***


My gardening friend Michael has given me many plants over the last few years: bamboo divisions, peonies, irises, and more. Each of those are plants that he collected at one time. He once had 15 different running bamboos in a small garden (although that's down to just one now), still has twenty or more peonies, irises I'm not sure about -- and he's just ended another long-term plant obsession with begonias.

How do I know he's ended his thing with begonias? Because he's given them all to me. (He's given me his begonia books too.)



This is where the second part of the question comes in: How does this happen to me? How do I keep getting chosen to receive not just a single plant (generous enough), but entire collections (super, awesomely, above-and-beyond generous)?


To be honest, there was an indication that Mike wanted me to have this collection, as he gifted me a few begonias last year, and then a few more this last spring. He's now begonia-free, and I have fifteen or more -- I haven't really counted or inventoried properly.

The reason for this laziness: I'm just not crazy about these plants. Sure, I like them, but they don't give me the thrill that certain other plants do.

These trailing ones are quite nice...



...but put a nice potted bamboo next to these and I wouldn't even notice them.

Why is this? Why can't I get excited by plants that so many others are obsessed by?

I rather like these trout-leaved ones, but couldn't even be
bothered to retake what is a pretty blurry photo.


Maybe this will change after I care for them this winter, and I'll emerge in the spring with an American Begonia Society membership card. We'll see.

I'm thankful Mike, and appreciative of your generosity, but I'm not begonia-obsessed (yet?)


If you are crazy about begonias and see something you like, let me know and I'll send you some cuttings or something. 

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outlawgardener  – (October 24, 2014 at 9:27 AM)  

It's interesting where our plant passions take us. I don't know why this keeps happening to you but am very happy for you that it does, especially with the big haul of succulents! It's great that you still have space for all of these. Maybe that's why you have been the recipient of these collections. People want to know that their children are living happily somewhere even if they are no longer interested in caring for them. Hope you enjoy your new begonia adoptees!

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (October 24, 2014 at 12:29 PM)  

I guess you're so passionate about gardening that people think you need more plants AND that you will take good care of them :-).

Funny, I'm becoming MORE fond of begonias over time. Especially the ones with large, exotic leaves.

Alan  – (October 24, 2014 at 1:05 PM)  

Peter: thanks! Grow any begonias yourself?

Gerhard: Do I sense another blog name change in the future? "Begonias and More..." Mine might have to change to "It's not work, unless people keep giving me roomfuls of great plants that need to live indoors with me in the winter!" :D

Mark and Gaz  – (October 24, 2014 at 1:29 PM)  

Luck Alan, and that you can be trusted to take care of precious plants.

Amazing what makes one thing tick for someone and not the other. Viva le difference!

DC Tropics  – (October 24, 2014 at 3:11 PM)  

It's pretty obvious: you're growing all the wrong begonias! Honestly, none of those begonias appeal to me either, and I would seriously question your friend's taste! You want to get excited about begonias, come visit my blog in a week or two when I expect to have a major new post about this genus, and not just any begonias but HARDY begonias. I gave up on growing these things as houseplants years ago, but some of the new ones have potential as perennials, and their foliage will knock your socks off!

DC Tropics  – (October 24, 2014 at 3:13 PM)  

P.S. With us, it's cats so count your blessings.

danger garden  – (October 25, 2014 at 12:15 PM)  

Once you start receiving collections packed up and shipped to you then you know you're in trouble.

I think it's interesting that someone could so completely give up a passion like this. One minute he loves them and the next he's done? He gave you all of them? I do find some of the hardy begonias that DC Tropics is referencing interesting. Which reminds me, I need to dig up my Begonia luxurians today, as it's not hardy...

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