Begonias. Hot or not? TV gardening presenter Monty Don has divided the horticulture world by describing begonias as “repulsively ugly”, while Begonia hybrid ‘Miss Malibu’ wins the FleuroStar Award in Europe.
The Gardener’s World presenter is not a fan of the traditional bedding plant, and recently aired his views on a segment about plants people love to hate that featured on a broadcast from the Chelsea Flower Show. His comments have provoked anger from UK plant and seedling companies which have been enjoying a recent increase in sales of begonias following the downfall of another hanging basket staple – the busy lizzie.
The bedding plants, also known as Impatiens walleriana, have been devastated by a mildew disease for the last five years which has led gardeners to choose begonias to add colour to their flower beds, patio containers and hanging baskets.
So it seems not everyone agrees with Monty. However, Twitter has been awash with comments from viewers of the show and plenty of them have voiced opinions that very much agree with his.
It might surprise some then that the Begonia hybrid Miss Malibu has won the FleuroStar Award for 2016/17. This is a prize judged annually during the Flower Trials week in Germany and The Netherlands, by an expert jury of over 30 professionals from a cross-section of breeding, production and retail as well as trade journalists and marketing specialists (we’re presuming Monty Don wasn’t one of these). Fleuroselect is the international organisation for the ornamental plants industry; its mission, to stimulate ornamental plant breeding by testing, awarding and promoting new varieties.
The begonia was announced the ‘Winner with the Wow Factor’ at the Green Inspiration Event on 16 June in Amsterdam. It won out over Argyranthemum Grandaisy Yellow, Dahlia x Dahlegria Red Yellow Bicolor, Dianthus caryophyllus Capitán Colón, and GineTato Egg and Chips.