This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A correspondent in the February London Journal of Horticulture says :
"The great merits of these plants are as bed-bers. In my estimation they are more beautiful than Zonal Pelargoniums and more enduring. Pelargoniums when at their best have every particle of beauty washed away by a few days of wet weather. Not so Begonias; they revel in moisture like all sub-alpines - percolating moisture secured by thorough drainage. Those, therefore, intending their culture (and it will become general) will do well to provide thorough drainage and a sheltered situation, as the plants being succulent cannot stand twisting currents of air and cold positions. They prefer a vegetable soil, and do well in the wide interstices of rock-work holding a goodly amount of compost, in which they may remain permanently, having a mulch over them in Winter of cocoa-nut fibre refuse 3 or 4 inches thick.
For Summer bedding pot the corms in March, plunging the pots in ashes in a cold frame, keeping close and protecting from frost until growth takes place, then admit air moderately, sprinkling overhead in the afternoon of bright days, closing early. By the middle of June they will be in good growth, and being hardened off should then be planted out. In cold localities I advise their being planted in borders along the sides of plant houses with a south exposure, in which with a covering of cocoa-nut fibre refuse three inches thick they will no doubt prove hardy. In wet and cold soils the roots may be lifted after the first frost, and be laid in a shed for a few days to dry, and having most of the soil removed be stored away like Dahlia tubers in sand in a cool place safe from frost, where the}7 may remain until potting time in Spring. But an amateur tells me all this ' potting and bother' is quite unnecessary, as the Begonias only require the treatment he gives his Dahlias - viz., planting the roots in April three inches deep, inverting a flower pot over them until the growth cracks the soil, then removing the flower pots every fine day and night, covering the plants only when there are signs of frost, and ' you know I have the best display of flowers of those plants until frost of anybody hereabouts.'"