Sunday, September 9, 2012

Paul Carlisle

Meet Paul Carlisle.

If you like tuberous begonias you should see what this guy does with them.

Paul is a begonia grower extraordinaire.  He knows all his tubers and their history.  He has an incredible way with his plants.

I first met Paul at the American Begonia Society convention in San Francisco in 2010.  We had talked on the phone a couple of times before the event and he invited me up to speak to the convention.  I liked him right off and we have kept in touch ever since.

It was Paul who sent me the book I reviewed in a previous post.   Paul readily admits that he likes the BIG flowered begonias and he knows how to achieve these though his careful management of the plants.  For example; he always picks off the first couple of blooms to allow the plant to get larger before developing bloom, and there wasn’t a female flower to be seen on any of his upright pots.

This year he fed with a  low Nitrogen fertilizer as the flowers were developing and was happy with the results

We visited him a couple weeks ago when Paul invited my wife, my son and me down to have lunch with him and his wife, Laurel
Let’s let take a look at what we found:

                          Stepping off the back porch, this is what you find

Fiona, full sibling to Fairy light by THAT English begonia company (Blackmore and Langdon)

That's me on the left and Paul Carlisle on the right.

One of many benches in Paul's shade house

Lola among the begonias
 Falstaff by that English Begonia company again.

He came to visit me today and we went out to the begonia fields and I was able to repay him by shouting for lunch at Sea Harvest in Moss Landing

He and his lovely wife have been growing begonias since the late 70’s (so, let’s see, that means he has been growing begonia longer them me –gasp!)  He started showing at County Fairs.

We have such a different eye to begonias he and I.  Because he grows the winners, he can spot the potential prize winner looking across a field (he dug a few I hope do well for him). Because I grow my seed crosses looking for the highest percent of good doubles, I only see the losers. 

Paul’s a stand up guy with a good since of humor and a breezy nature, we need more like him.  He’s the ambassador of begonias.

For more of pictures of his begonias see the posting here (this is a blog I need to catch up on with incredible photos, and they beat me to the punch with their scoop on Paul and their great Paul Carlisle begonia pictures)


  1. Stunning photos. I am enjoying your blog very much. I live in the Mojave Desert, so I would need a "heavy duty" shade garden--not much "mist," either ;o)--but begonias have always been one of my favorites.

  2. Hi TBDancer.

    Well, your right. The desert is the one place tuberous begonias do not like. The heat is OK it's the dry heat that's the problem.

    Glad you like my blog

    All the best -Andy