Carmel and Monterey
Begonias: ruffled, roseform and picotee varieties — available in uprights and hanging baskets; fuchsias and ivy geraniums.
180 Carnation Drive
Freedom, CA 95019
(not open to the public)
For more than 25 years, Ramiro Garcia worked for the now-defunct Antonelli Brothers Begonia Gardens in both Santa Cruz and Watsonville. His entry-level work included weeding and making deliveries, but he eventually worked his way up to grower. When he saw that Antonelli’s was nearing the end of its operations, Garcia established his own nursery in March 2008.
Garcia’s Begonias consists of approximately 5,000 square feet of greenhouses with 4,000 devoted to begonias and 1,000 split between fuchsias and ivy geraniums, which were added to give the nursery more variety. The nursery sells wholesale as well as at other farmers markets in the Bay Area.
Garcia provides verbal and written instructions to his customers on what to expect from begonias, an herbaceous perennial. Grown from seed, the begonias have a tuber, which is a storage organ that allows the plant to go dormant during the winter. He shares that the plants will begin to go dormant in November or December and should be stored in a garage or under a covered patio. They’ll come back around April or May, depending upon the weather, and should begin blooming again in July or August. The plants should be kept in the shade and watered once or twice a week.
A one-man operation, Garcia gives each plant his attention and care. Instead of focusing on attempting to grow perfect-looking begonias, Garcia prides himself on growing plants that are strong and beautiful. The sides of the greenhouse, which is not climate controlled, are often open to create as close to a natural environment as possible for the plants. Garcia shares that his philosophy is to grow begonias in the same fashion as his customers might grow them in their own gardens.