Members: Marla, Julia, Thelma, Jim, Phyllis, Ed, Eleanor, Dean, Janet, and Mike. Not pictured, Inge, Maureen, Melissa, Tom and Stephanie.

Margaret Lee Branch

of the American Begonia Society
Administrators of the ABS's Clayton M. Kelly's Seed Fund

The Margaret Lee Branch of the American Begonia Society is an active, vibrant but small group of individuals that love Begonias and other shade loving plants. We actively grow, study and research begonias, their Family Begoniaceae and other plants.

We administer the American Begonia Society's Clayton M. Kelly's Seed Fund . Members are encouraged to grow as many species as possible and to pollinate and collect seeds of their plants for this activity. Seeds are tested before appearing in the Seed Fund. Michael Ludwig is administrator, receiving and sending the orders and seed packer, AKA official dust packer.

We come into 'friendly contact' the fourth Saturday of the every month at 10:30 am and our meeting lasts until about 2:30 pm. Members play an active and valuable role in the meetings of the branch. Each month a different member is responsible for hosting the meeting, either at their home and garden or the KOLZ Begonia Research Center acts as our official home base. There is a brief business meeting, and two program/study sessions separated by lunch. The program is the study of their adopted SOS (Species Of Study) plant. The meeting also may include study of the branch's SOS, studying plants within a specific Section of Begoniaceae, Show and Tell and an exchange of cultural information, plants and cuttings. For the SOS portion of the meeting, each member chooses a new plant each year to study. Plants may be repeated as this allows a different perspective on the plant and new information that may be found. Members bring their lunch and the host provides champagne and dessert. The November meeting is our "Souper Meeting", which namesake Marge Lee started when she would serve bean soup at the meeting, usually the Saturday following Thanksgiving, and we celebrate at our December Party.

Janet Brown drives 100 miles each way each month in traffic to come down from Los Angeles to be with us. Her enthusiasm and love for the group spurred Jim Jaeger, Tom Cootz and Stephanie Rose to join and also make the trip from LA.

The branch continues its support of Michael and his KOLZ Begonia Research Center with donations to help with the costs of web hosting and preservation of the materials housed there. The branch sees the benefit of these donations as Mike brings information from the files of Carrie and Rudy to the meeting to share to enrich our meetings and increase our knowledge.

In 2014 we continue our tradition of study, research and friendship with total member participation. The officers have been elected to another term and the outlook is bright. The SOS (Study Our Species) portion of our program is a huge success with each member responsible to 'adopt a species' and bring information about it to the membership. This keeps each of us interested and enthusiastic about learning more and sharing it with others. No one sits back and waits to be entertained at our meetings as lively discussions always ensues with new and reviewed knowledge. Although a species may be repeated from time to time, the new perspective often brings new information or triggers a lost memory in someone and more discussion. Thelma O'Reilly's 'Bits and Pieces' showcase nuggets of information past, present and future.

Our membership has a vast wealth of knowledge that never goes untapped. Making the Marge Lee Branch rich are Thelma O�Reilly with 40+ years of research, Phyllis Bates also has years of editorship of The Begonian under her belt with her 40+ years growing begonias and other shade plants. With over 30 years of experience to share are Eleanor Calkins, Inge Foo, and Mike Ludwig. Dean Turney, Janet Brown, Jim Jaeger, Melissa Worton, Maureen O'Reilly, Russell Pulver, Tom Cootz, and Stephanie have a few less years but all bring insightful and questioning minds each month to make this the perfect branch. We recently loss our member, friend and mentor Ed Bates. His wisdom and experience are missed at the meetings. Our champagne lunch each month keeps us in friendly contact and makes us more than just a branch but a true begonia family. In October we join the Mabel Corwin Branch to show off our Begonias and offer San Diego and Southern California begonia lovers an opportunity to buy begonias and other shade loving plants.

If you would like to join us & 'friendly contact'; as stated in the Aims and Purposes of American Begonia Society or for more information contact Michael.

2014 Officers:
President: Michael Ludwig
Vice President: Thelma O'Reilly
Secretary: Ingeborg Foo
Treasurer: Dean Turney
National Representative: Inge Foo

Clayton M. Kelly Seed Fund
Michael Ludwig- Administrator and Seed Packer

Members pictured above at the opening of The KOLZ Begonia Center 2006: Julie Garafolo, Denise Knoblock, Marla Keith, Inge Foo, Ed Bates, Walter and Ruth Pease, Dean Turney, Janet Brown, Thelma O'Reilly, Michael Ludwig, Eleanor Calkins



Michael Ludwig ©2006-2014 all rights reserved