Thursday, 31 July 2014

'Mother-in-law's Tongue', really!

You can own a mother-in-laws tongue (also known as 'snake plant') for decades and never know that the plant can produce flowers! Then one day, seemingly out of the blue, you find that your plant has produced a flower stalk. Is this possible? Though mother-in-laws tongue flowers are extremely rare, these hardy houseplants can have flowers.  Mother-in-laws tongue flowers grow on a very long flower stalk. The stalk can reach a length of up to 3 feet and will be covered in dozens of flower buds!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Brown-eyed or Black-eyed Susan?

Black-eyed Susan, the state flower of Maryland, U.S.A since 1918, is one of the most profilic and well-known american wildflowers, & a member of the sunflower family.  Also commonly called Brown-eyed Susan, Blackiehead and Brown Betty, the Black-eyed Susan is so named for the dark brown or brown-pruplish central button of its' daisy-like flower!  Butterflies, bees & a variety of insects are attracted to the flowers for the nectar.

The Chinese & Chrysanthemum Tea!

Chrysanthemum tea acts as a natural coolant and has been talked about in the ancient Chinese medicinal science.  A person will benefit a lot by having Chrysanthemum tea every day.  The Chinese medicinal practice included the use of herbs as a major part of the treatment. The Chinese knew that a soothing cup of warm golden brown Chrysanthemum tea has remarkable health benefits.   It also helps in postponing the aging process and age related blindness.  It has Vitamin C, is caffeine free, is good for the detoxification of the liver, helps in the treatment of coronary artery disease, and when taken with lunch or dinner (especially oily foods) helps ease digestion.  Enjoy a cuppa! 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Weatherproof Petunias!

Petunias are failproof favourites for gardeners everywhere. They are vigorous growers and prolific bloomers from midspring through late fall. Colour choices are nearly limitless, with some sporting beautiful veining and intriguing colors. Many varieties are sweetly fragrant.  Some also tout themselves as "weatherproof," which means that the flowers don't close up when water is splashed on them!

My name is Ivy...Geranium!

People with this name tend to be quiet, cooperative, considerate, sympathetic to others, adaptable, balanced and sometimes shy. They are often very intuitive. They like detail and order, and often find change worrisome. They may sometimes feel insecure or restless. They are trustworthy, respecting the confidences of others, and make excellent diplomats, mediators and partners

Blackfoot Indians & the Red Bee Balm!

The Blackfoot Indians used the antiseptic properties of the Red Bee balm plant to treat minor wounds, skin infections, and mouth & throat infections caused by gum disease and cavities. A versatile plant that looks great in your garden, it is characterized by it's spiky red flowers that appear in mid to late summer, with a citrus-like aroma. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to this plant, too!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Oohs and aahs...Zinnia!

The name honours German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727-59).  An American plant of the daisy family that is widely cultivated for its bright showy flowers.  The flowers have a range of appearances, from a single row of petals, to a dome shape, with the colours pink, white, chartreuse, yellow, orange, red, purple, and lilac. In the language of flowers, Zinnias symbolize remembrance! 

Did you know...about the Monarch Butterfly?

A black spot the inside surface of it's hind wing distinguishes the male from the females that have no such spot.  They do not have lungs; breathing takes place through vents in the abdomen. The trachea distributes the oxygen through the Monarch's body system. The wings flap slower than other butterflies at about 300 720 times a minute.  The Monarch can lay a maximum of 250 eggs per day! 

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Cedar oil to spray away those pesky Beetles!

Every summer Japanese Beetles emerge from the ground and begin their voracious chomp through the garden.  Simply shaking them off and stomping on them attracts more because when killed, the female emits a pheromone that attracts males. Hardly the desired result.  So, is there a natural alternative? Thankfully, the answer is yes. It’s simply a spray made from cedar oil!   When sprayed on the flowers it keeps the beetles away and they fly off to another garden. It is a tried and true fact because it actually works!

Critters, don't nibble here...Euphorbia!

If you'd like a low maintenance annual for your beds, borders, or containers, it's tough to find a better performer than Euphorbia.  This group of plants offers outstanding heat & drought resistance.  Plus, they have a white, milky sap that animals don't like, so they're rarely nibbled on by deer, rabbit, or other crittters. (Be warned though, the sap can irritate sensitive skin.)  

Saturday, 26 July 2014

'Granny's Bonnet'...calling all Hummingbirds!

a.k.a. Columbine flower, this plant is a wildflower that deserves a home in your garden! Columbines are one of a Hummingbird's favourite flowers, & are excellent additions to the rock garden, or as a native woodland planting.

The world's 3rd most popular flower...(Parrot)Tulip!

  1. A cultivated tulip of a variety that has irregularly fringed or wavy petals, typically of two colors. The tulip 
    is native to Turkey and Persia. Today the tulip ranks as the world's third most-popular flower behind roses and carnations, respectively. With approximately 4,000 varieties, it is no wonder tulips have come to represent so many emotions and sentiments, including perfect love! 

To the mountain tops...Hybrid Tulips!

The tulip is a perennial, a bulbous plant with showy flowers.  The native range extends west to the Iberian Peninsula, though North Africa to Greece, the Balkans, Turkey throughout Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and Iran, north to Ukraine, southern Siberia and Mongolia, and east to the Northwest of China. The tulip's center of diversity is in the Pamir, Hindu Kush, ajnd Tien Shan mountains.  Of course, many are grown in gardens, as potted plants or as cut flowers! 

Friday, 25 July 2014

Hosta (Leaves) aka Plantain Lilies!

Just exactly what is it about these perennials that attract so many gardeners?  Certainly the lists of benefits include: beauty, hardiness, longevity, and durability.  Hosta leaves come in four main colors: blue, green, yellow, and white.  The leaf surface can be flat, curled, cupped, wavy, contorted, piecrust, or furrowed.  Also known as Plantain Lilies (particularly in Britian) & occasionally by the Japanese name Giboshi.  Hostas are the number one selling plant in North America. The name Hosta is in honour of the Austrian botanist Nicholas Thomas Host.  

'Farewell to Spring'...Clarkia!

Clarkias are annual plants that are easy to grow in our gardens.  When I say easy to grow, I mean that they germinate easily when seeds are sown at the beginning of the rainy season. This is good because their charismatic flowers can become an obsession.  Clarkias bloom at the end of the wildflower season, hence their common name “Farewell-to-Spring”. In most wildflower mixes, Clarkias are included and they extend the blooming period of the mix into June. 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Blush Peony in voluptuous bloom!

The Essence of charm.  Peonies in voluptuous bloom, exquisitely fragile.  Blush Peonies Flower is a gorgeous full bloom that embodies elegance and grace. Incredibly sweet, this peony features creamy ruffled petals that will range in tone from a kiss of pink to a more solid hue. The 12th wedding anniversary flower, peonies embody romance and are regarded as a sign of prosperity and happy marriage.  So spectacular and perfect, how can you resist? 

Delicate pink hearts...Bleeding Heart Flower!

One of our most beloved flowering plants is the spring-flowering Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis). What is more enchanting than long slender sprays of delicate pink hearts arching gracefully in a sprintime garden?  No other plant bears perfect heart-shaped flowers like those of the Bleeding Heart.  If you press the flowers between the pages of a heavy book, you'll have papery-thin hearts to adorn letters or valentines! 

Perfect love with Red Tulips!

  1. The meaning of tulips is generally perfect love.  Red tulips are most strongly associated with true love.  Tulips are also voracious sun seekers (like the sunflower) and will sway their heads in crazy contortions seeking out the best angle for light. This makes them a symbol of opportunity, adjustment, advancement, and aspiration. They are commonly thought to represent attainment of spiritual awareness too. Because they are from bulbs, and return every year (like the daffodil) tulips are symbolic of resurrection and determination.

Meet Kale, your new friend with benefits!

Choosing super-nutritious kale on a regular basis may provide significant health benefits, including cancer protection and lowered cholesterol.  It's one of the few plants available to add a fresh burst of color and life to the Fall landscape! Its leaves come with beautiful variegations (differently coloured zones in the leaves) in pinks, purples, and reds that blend beautifully with changing Autumn foliage. Plant it in Spring or in the Fall after you tear out tired or frost-damaged annuals.  It likes rich, well drained but moist soil.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

I'm edible...Flowering Kale!

Ornamental cabbage and kale are in the same species, Brassica oleracea, as edible cabbages and kale. They are the result of hybridizing and, although they are still edible, they aren’t as tasty and tender as their cousins. Although sometimes referred to as flowering cabbages, it’s the leaves that give the plants their color and interest as ornamentals.

Flower of Riches & Honour...Peony!

It is also known as 富贵花 (fùguìhuā) "flower of riches and honour" or 花王 (huawang) "king of the flowers", and is used symbolically in Chinese art. In 1903, the Qing Dynasty declared the peony as the national flower of China.  It is the state flower of Indiana, USA, and the 12th wedding anniversary flower.  With their lush, full, rounded bloom, peonies embody romance & prosperity and are regarded as an omen of good fortune and a happy marriage. 

Painted Tongue aka Flamingo Lily!

Flamingo Lilies (Anthuriums) are one of the most popular tropical flowers with a long vase life of about six weeks, & even more depending on the variety and season.  These perennials are found from Mexico to northern Argentina & Uruguay.  It is also known as Painted Tongue, Flamingo Flower, Painter's Palette or Tall Flower. They are grown for their brightly coloured ornamental leaves.  Fruits rarely appear on indoor plants. 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

How do those bees do it?

How do the bees and insects pollinate flowers?  This bumble bee is starting the pollination process without even realizing it!  When bees land on a flower, like this daisy flower, their feet often slip into a little groove that holds pollen sacs.  When the bee flies away it caries off this sac like a saddlebag stuck on it's feet.  When this bee lands on another flower looking for nectar, the 'saddlebag' falls off, the pollen falls out of the sac, and pollination is underway!

Calling all Hummingbirds...Chinese Hibiscus!

Hibiscus are large shrubs or small trees that produce huge, colourful, trumpet-shaped flowers over a long season.  Other common names include Chinese hibiscus and tropical hibiscus. The plants can grow to 15' tall in frost-free areas.  Flowers may be up to 6"diameter, with colours ranging from yellow to peach to red.  The flowers are attractive to butterflies & hummingbirds!

Happy 1st Birthday HRH Prince George!

Born on July 22, 2013 (16:24 BST) little Prince George is a Cancerian.  The Red Daisy is fit for a Prince, as Daisies are the embodiment of purity and innocence.  The colour Ruby is the birthstone for those born in the month of July.  There are all kinds of great varieties of the daisy and people absolutely love them!  It has a meaning that shows loyalty to love and commitment.  This is a great flower to be giving out to those you truly care about!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Here's Max...sniffing the (almost) blooms, again!

This little kitty, Max, has a nose for flowers and plants! His pastime is to sniff, sniff, sniff. Just like the bull Ferdinand in the children's book "The Story of Ferdinand" (by Munro Leaf, drawings by Robert Lawson [1936]). I recall reading this book as a child, it was DELIGHTFUL!

Prince William's favourite expression...'Brilliant'!

Pale Yellow Super Gerbera Daisies speak the language of youth.  subtle course & playful smiles that are reminiscent of our childhood years, yet still holds an elegance to it that dubs it with the glory of timelessness.  A pale green center serves as the bulb of the flower, keeping the colours light tho adding an ostentatious flare to it.  When a bloom is as brilliant as this one, what else can I say? The majesty of nature is evident in the world around us; we just have to stop & smell the blooms!

THE ORCHID, that is all!

It’s pretty safe to say that there is no flower more widely coveted than the orchid. With their delicate, sculptural beauty and historical rarity, orchids carry an unrivaled suggestion of refinement. The exotic flowers are now cultivated in a wide variety of colors and delicately shaped blossoms, making them beautiful both on their own and as an addition to arrangements, but they retain their association with very special occasions.  They are hunted and traded by avid international orchid collectors, who also prize them for their long-lasting blooms!

Move over Spice Girl, here's Pink Dahlia!

Dahlia's are spicy flowers, and their meanings range from a sign of warning, to change, to travel, to even a portent of betrayal. The varied symbolic meanings of the dahlia make this flower a wild card. Give to that unique, eclectic person whom you wish to compliment his/her wild side. Combine them with slender flowers like irises or tulips for a striking visual display as well as a combined symbolic message that says "temper your adventures with a kind heart."

Sunday, 20 July 2014

White Swan Coneflower!

'White Swan' is not as cold hardy or vigorous as its common purple relative, but it makes up for this with its unique, beautiful, pure white flowers. A tall plant with large, dark green leaves and a large, 3-4" flower with white, broad, silky petals that surround a dark brown/bronze cone. Plants are tough and heat and drought tolerant once established. Their roots have famous medicinal qualities, they make great, long lasting, cut flowers and attract numerous butterflies and small birds.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Every rose tells a story...

the wise and knowing Confucius had a 600 book library specifically on how to care for roses * in the readings of Shakespeare, of course, he refers to roses more than 50 times throughout his writings * roses are truly ageless, recently, archaeologists discovered the fossilized remains of wild roses over 40 million years old * Napoleon's wife Josephine so adored roses, she grew more than 250 varieties * 

Gerbera Jaguars, Rrrrrr!!

The Gerbera Jaguars are highly uniform in color, bloomtime, and size -- you get all the bright shades of yellow, pink, red, blue, green, and white for which this series is known, blooming at exactly the same time on plants all 10 to 12 inches high and about 6 to 8 inches wide!  And Jaguar is not only uniform, it's very heavy-blooming. An individual plant can have up to 5 flowers open at once, and the blooms continue freely all summer.  Cut or deadhead them promptly, and new buds spring up all the faster! No one ever complained about having too many Gerber Daisies, so this is quite an advantage!

Lady Bird Johnson (FLOTUS '63-'69) Wildflower!

AKA American basket-flower is a 1 1/2'annual with a stout, leafy, much-branched stem & lavender-pink, filamentous flower heads with cream-coloured centers.  The plants look similar to the thistles but lacks their prickly characteristics.  The name basket flower refers to the stiff, straw-coloured bracts just beneath the flower head, which are divided at the tip into long, sharp teeth.  

Friday, 18 July 2014

Pinky Winky, Teletubbies & Hydrangeas!

Pinky Winky is the creation of Dr. Johan Van Huylenbroeek, a well know ornamental plant breeder.  What makes Pinky Winky so special and unique is its white and pink two-toned flower heads that appear in mid-summer.  The large flower heads emerge white and the flowers at the base quickly turn pink.  Yes - Pinky Winky is a strange name for such a beautiful plant but it’s a name you can’t forget. Iit was derived from a character on a children’s television program called Teletubbies!  It is distinct, beautiful and easy to grow.

Passion you say?...make it Purple aka 'Purple Passionflower'!

Passiflora incarnata also known as Purple Passionflower or Maypop, is a fruit-bearing perennial vine common to the southeast United States.  The fruit, also referred to as a Maypop for the sound it makes when stepped upon, is approximately the size of a chicken egg, & turns from green to orange as it ripens.  The plants bloom from June to September. Sweet-smelling, yellowish fruits develop in 2-3 months after flowering and may be harvested from July to October.

Buble gum pink Roses!

In 1928, Walter E. Diemer, an accountant for the Fleer Chewing Gum Company in Philadelphia, was experimenting with new gum recipes. One recipe was found to be less sticky than regular chewing gum, and stretched more easily. This gum became highly successful and was eventually named by the president of Fleer as Double Bubble because of its stretchy texture. The original bubble gum was pink because that was the only dye Diemer had on hand at the time and it was his favorite color.

The ever so fragrant Stargazer Lily!

Oriental lilies are known for their fragrant perfume, blooming mid-to-late summer. Stargazers are easy to grow and do best in full sunlight.  They have a fast growth rate and should be planted in full sun in well drained loamy or sandy soil. When mature, Stargazers can grow to a height of 36 inches with a spread of 12 to 16 inches with 4 to 5 flowers per stem.  The Stargazer lily was created in 1974 by Leslie Woodriff, a lily breeder in California. Woodriff called the new cross 'Stargazer', because the blooms faced towards the sky.

St. Francis de Sales and the Black & White Bees!

The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them.  (Saint Francis de Sales)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Calling all butterflies...Zinnias!

Zinnias are annuals, shrubs, and sub-shrubs native to North America with one species extending to South America. The name honours German botanist Kpjamm G. Zinn (1727–59).  The flowers have a range of appearances, from a single row of petals, to a dome shape, with the colors white, chartreuse, yellow, orange, red, purple, and lilac.  Zinnias seem to be a favorite of butterflies, and many gardeners add zinnias specifically to attract them.

Hummingbird's favourite flower... Columbine

Granny's Bonnet a.k.a. Columbine flower, this plant is a wildflower that deserves a home in your garden! Columbines are one of a Hummingbird's favourite flowers, & are excellent additions to the rock garden, or as a native woodland planting.

5th most cut flower...Gerbera!

Gerbera is an ornamental plant from the sunflower family.  It was named in honour of the German botanist & naturalist Traugott Gerber (1743).   They vary greatly in shape and size. Colours include white, yellow, orange, red, and pink. The centre of the flower is sometimes black. Often the same flower can have petals of several different colours.  Gerbera is also important commercially. It is the fifth most used cut flower in the world (after rose, carnation, chrysanthemum, and tulip).

'Finger-like' aka Foxglove!

The scientific name means "finger-like" and refers to the ease with which a flower of 'Digitalis purpurea' can be fitted over a human fingertip.  The flowers are produced on a tall spike, are tubular, and vary in colour with species, from purple to pink, white, and yellow. This plant is often grown as an ornamental plant due to its vivid flowers which range in colour from various purple tints through various shades of light gray, and to purely white. The flowers can also possess various marks and spottings.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Uninhibited as the breeze...Yellow Roses!

Yellow roses in their unassuming charm and sweet simplicity send out an equally alluring message. Yellow roses express joy, gladness, and friendship. They're used as a reminder to a loved one to show that you care.  Friendship and "I care" are the foremost meanings of a yellow rose. Unrestrained and uninhibited as the breeze, free from attachments, the yellow rose definitely says that the sender is keen on friendship alone.  Here, you will not find the heat of passion, only the warmth of a genuine and sincere smile. The sender of yellow roses delicately indicates that while his affection is straight from the heart, there are no hidden depths.

'Touch-me-not'! aka Impatiens!

Common names include impatiens, jewelweed, tough-me-not, snapweed and in Great Britian "busy lizzie".  Some species are annual lants & produce flowers from early summer until the first front, while perennial species, found in milder climates, can flower all year!   The largest impatiens grow up to about 2 meters (about 7 feet) tall, but most are less than half as tall.  

'Daisy Dukes' & the Daisy!

Daisy is a feminine given name, commonly thought to be derived from the name of the flower. However the flower name comes from the English word daegeseage, meaning "day's eye".  The name has been used for television characters such as Daisy Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard.  Very short, form-fitting, denim cut-off jean shorts are named Daisy Dukes after this character.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Like mom's fresh baked cookies?...Tulips!

The is one of the world’s most easily recognized and loved flowers. The meanings of tulips coupled with the immediately identifiable shape of their colorful blooms make them a comfortable flower choice. They are not too elegant, too romantic, too big, too small, or too bright; the tulip is always just right. They are like a favorite pair of jeans or your mom’s fresh-baked cookies in that the meanings of tulips express genuine coziness and comfort in all of the right ways.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Blue, like the deep blue sea...Bluebells!

A sea of English bluebells rekindles memories of springtime woodland walks, when the days start to lengthen and the weather warms up. The nodding, violet-blue flowers of these hardy, native bulbs attract insects to their delicately scented flowers. At their happiest when growing in the dappled shade of deciduous trees, English bluebells are ideal for a woodland garden or naturalising in informal areas of grass. These vigorous beauties will multiply each year to form a dense carpet of spring colour. 

Is it a Purple, or a Blue Pansy?

The colour purple & the digital camera...In a nutshell, digital sensors have a difficult time seeing, rendering & processing purple & often put out pure blue instead.  If you want the techy reasons, Google is your friend & there ios no shortage of articles about it.  The name pansy is derived from the French word pensee "thought", & was imported into late middle english as a name of viola in the mid 15th century, as the flower was regarded as a symbol of remembrance.

Philanthrophy & the Daffodil

The daffodil is the Canadian Cancer Society’s symbol of hope in the fight against cancer.  To some, it is just a flower, but to the Cancer Society & supporters, it is a symbol of Hope, of Strength & of Courage.  It says we will not give up, we will fight back, we will beat cancer.  When people buy daffodils or make a donation for a daffodil pin, they're truly making a positive impact on the lives of people in their community.