When customer trial panel member Geoff Stonebanks was asked to try out some begonias, he was very sceptical about how they would fare in his garden…

With my very exposed coastal garden on the south coast, I can honestly say I have never been a big fan of begonias, they have never seemed to do well here! This summer however that seems to have changed! One of the trial plants I received, quite late in the season on the 19th July, from Thompson & Morgan was 2 hanging baskets of Begonia x tuberhybrida ‘Apricot Shades’. I have to admit that I thought it was one of those plants that would not do well in my plot.

Surprising begonia success

Simple unfussy bloom

Well! How very wrong could I be? The flowers have been absolutely stunning throughout August, September and October and helped maintain some much needed colour late in the year! All these images bar the one with the lobelia, have been taken in late October, thus proving my point! We are told Begonia Apricot Shades is as versatile as it is beautiful, looking great with other combinations. I would have to agree, seen here with lobelia and fuchsias in the centre of my garden back in August. Its large, cascading double blooms look sensational tumbling down in many different summer shades of apricot and lemon.

Surprising begonia success

Tumbling down out of the raised bed in August

These images all show that no two heads look quite the same! I would have to agree that Thompson & Morgan’s promise that they will pour from your containers from July to October is well founded. These tuberous begonias will perform whatever the weather, which is fortunate considering the strange summer we have had in Seaford. I placed one in full sun and the other in semi shade and they are both doing really well.

Surprising begonia success

The complete basket still blooming in October

Their trailing habit makes them ideal for hanging baskets, window boxes and flower pouches for a really impressive display that will light up even a shady corner. They grow to a height of 30cm (12”) and a spread of 45cm (18”). I have used mine, not as hanging baskets, but placed the container in amongst a raised bed once other earlier flowering plants had died off! A perfect filler! The other placed in a tall pot under a photinia which still looks great!

Surprising begonia success

Perfect single bloom

So for those possible sceptics, like me, maybe you should give these fabulous plants a try next year, mine looks set to continue flowering in to November, weather permitting!

You can read more of Geoff’s gardening experiences on his own blog