Sunday, 31 August 2014

Fresh for 14 days..Flamingo Lily!

A poisonous plant that ingestion usually does not occur because chewing quickly causes painful irritation of the mouth and throat. General symptoms of poisoning are blistering, difficulty in swallowing, hoarseness.  Anthuriums are a blooming plant that have tiny flowers crowded in a spadix, which is sometimes referred to as a "rat's tail" due to its appearance. Flaming lily is readily available at local plant shops and is a popular house plant because of its long lasting flowers.Flamingo lilies also have a long vase life and can stay fresh in a flower vase for up to 14 days.  Being from the tropics warmth and humidity are essential elements for your Anthurium. Minimum temperatures of 60-70 F is recommended for blooming and a daily misting is helpful with bloom longevity.  Although capable of flowering year round most plants grown in the home will enter a dormant period between October and February. During periods of dormancy water sparingly and withhold fertilizer.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Marshmallows and the Rock Hibiscus!

Some of the most eye-popping flowers arrive on members of the Mallow Family! It is hard to imagine they have anything to do with the marshmallows that campers cook on sticks, but they do! Mucilage, from the roots of the plant is mixed with eggs & sugar to make marshmallow!  As a shortcut to the French invention, gelation is usually substituted for the mucilage and eggs, but the original is probably better!

Friday, 29 August 2014

by John McCrae, May 1915...Amen!

'In Flanders fields the poppies blow; Between the crosses, row on row; That mark our place and in the sky; The larks, still bravely singing, fly; Scarce heart amid the guns below.  We are the Dead.  Short days ago; We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow; Loved and were loved, and now we lie; In Flanders fields.  Take up our quarrel with the foe:  To you from failing hands we throw; The torch, be yours to hold it high; If ye break faith with us who die; We shall not sleep, though poppies grow; In Flanders fields.'

Aromatherapy with Geraniums!

Geraniums are a longtime favourite of gardeners.  They are easy to grow, colourful, and many add a lovely scent to the home.  Although they are also an outdoor plant, they can be kept indoors to overwinter (live through the winter).  They can bloom indoors all year long with enough light.  For maximum bloom, place the plants in an area where they will get 4-6 hours of sunlight daily.  Use soil-less potting mixture (not dirt) when planting in containers.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Max's is baacckkk...sniffing the blooms!

He's back and doing what he loves...sniffing the blooms!  His preference is Baby's Breath (flowering plant in the Carnation family), and he's in seventh heaven (utter cat happiness)!  This is my 'day job' as a Pet Sitter, one I thoroughly love, due to the deep love of animals I have.  If you know or love a pet, give him or her some animal love today!  I am on LinkedIn, and am the founder of Baby Your Baby Pet Services.  Enjoy your day everyone!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Esperanto Improved aka Purple/white striped Chrysanthemum!

A new variety of Chrysanthemum plant named ‘Esperanto Improved,’ having a uniform canopy of dark pink-purple/white striped single type flowers with a yellow/green disc. The new variety exhibits medium vigor with a free branching (a secondary stem growing from the main stem), and uniform spreading habit and good foliage presentation.

Arabian Nights...Dahlias!

Arabian Night Dahlia creates dark drama in the garden with almost-black, deep-red blooms. These huge, stunning flowers are perfect for cutting and creating a dramatic summer bouquet.  Nothing beats a dahlia for summer colour.  The flowers form on branching fleshy stems or open in solitary splendour on the bedding-plant types in mid to late summer.  Several different flower categories from, from the petite mignonettes (plant with spikes of small fragrant greenish flowers) to the gigantic dinner-plate dahlias, offer possibilities for any space. 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Extreme caution...Desert Barrel Cactus!

One should approach a barrel cactus with extreme caution.  A puncture to human skin from one of the spines is considered a 'dirty wound'.  If the puncture is deep enough to draw blood, antibotics may be needed; & could take up to several months for the wound to heal properly. Barrel cactus plants are one of the more dangerous cacti to humans in the desert.  One should approach a barrel cactus with extreme caution!

Did you know...about Bulrushes (Aquatic Plant)?

Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates.  These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food for many aquatic invetebrates. Seeds of bulrushes are consumed by ducks & other birds while geese, muskrats, & nutria (large semiaquatic beaverlike rodent) consume the rhizomes (modified subterranean stem of a plant that is usually found underground) & early shoots!  One particular famous story involving bulrushes is that of the Ark of bulrushes.  In this story, it is said that the infant Moses was found in a boat made of bulrushes!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Passion and the Tiger Lily!

Lilies of different kinds are commonly found all across the globe. Lilies come in different shapes, sizes and colors.  Lilies are really excellent plants for beds and borders. Lilies are suitable for use in a shrub border, as accent plants, a formal or naturalized pool planting. Even some of the small species would fit perfectly in an alpine rock garden. Passion -- the meaning of an orange Lily!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Woolflower aka Celosia!

Celosia flowers, also called woolflowers or cockscombs, have unusual flowers that can bloom up to 10 weeks. These flowers can have red, pink, purple, gold or bicoloured blooms.  When many celosia flower blooms are next to each other, they collectively resemble fire, which is why the name Celosia, meaning burning in Greek, was chosen. The common name of cockscomb comes from the bloom's resemblance to a rooster's comb.  Celosia flowers also look great in vases and bouquets, so you can bring their beauty indoors. 

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Stunning, lush Windmill Fuchsia Flower!

The Fuchsia belongs to the evening primrose (Onagraceae) family and comprises around 100 species of shrubs and small to medium-sized trees. They can be evergreen or deciduous, spreading or climbing, and all come from Central and South America, except for a few that are native to New Zealand and Tahiti. With their stunning flowers and lush foliage, fuchsias offer tremendous ornamental qualities, and are ideal for hedges, containers, and hanging baskets, or trained on espaliers (train a tree/shrub to grow flat against a well).  In their native habitat, the American species are pollinated by hummingbirds.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Umbrella -- Wasp & Plant!

When we think of beneficial insects that inhabit the garden, the paper wasp is not very likely to be a critter that would first come to mind to most home gardeners. In fact, it is not likely to make any lists! Remember, paper wasps are actually beneficial insects because they prey on other insects that we consider pests of the shrubs and flowers around our homes.  The Umbrella plant sends up a flower stalk with pink or white blooms in early Spring.  It is a flower plant native to Taiwan.  Use it to decorate a sunny bog garden/moist soil in part shade.  It does poorly where summers are hot and humid.

Calling all crafters...Strawflower!

Strawflowers, often called Everlasting Daisy and Paper Daisy, are native to Australia. However, this animated and vibrant plant produces blooms that are quite distinctive— and yes, blooms that are truly fascinating.  Strawflowers contain lesser moisture than other flowers, making them ideal for drying. Hence for fresh floral arrangement, it is best to pick strawflowers in the morning when they contain highest amounts of moisture. Strawflowers naturally feel papery and straw-like, which differentiate them from other members of the daisy family.  Their long lasting vase life is also one of the reasons why gardeners, florists & crafters love them!  The Strawflower serves as food for butterflies, moths, bees, beetles & grasshoppers visit the flower heads!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Lavendar puff balls?...Coyote Mint!

This coast range California native makes a nice 2'x2' trailing groundcover for dry situations & besides being so pretty, it's fuzzy grey-green f liage is extremely minty-scented, keeping the deer away!  I'm happy to report it's long blooming, too! The 1"lavender puff balls make their show July thru August, providing nectar for our fluttering friends.  Cut back in Winter for compact appearance.  Found in oak woodlands & chaparrel (vegetation consisting chiefly of tangled shrubs/thorny bushes), this plant can grow in sand, clay or serpentine soil high (concentrations of nickel and chromium [a hard white metal]) & also does well on dry slopes. Spanish Californians used the leaves as a tea to treat sore throats!

The nose has it...Snapdragon!

Derived from the Greek words “anti,” meaning like, and “rhin,” meaning nose, antirrhinum, the snapdragon’s botanical name, is a fitting description of this snout-shaped flower. It’s said that the common name for this colorful flower comes from the snap it makes when the sides of the “dragon’s mouth” are gently squeezed. While their actual origin is unknown, it’s believed that snapdragons were originally wildflowers in Spain and Italy.  Legend has it that concealing a snapdragon makes a person appear fascinating and cordial, and in the language of flowers, snapdragons are said to represent both deception (perhaps tied to the notion of concealment) and graciousness.

Helia for Sun & Anthus for flower aka Sunflower!

The scientific name of sunflowers is Helianthus. They are one of the fastest growing plants & can grow 8-12 feet tall in rich soil within 6 months!  As of 2012, the Guinness Word Record for the tallest sunflower is 27 ft., grown in Germany.  Famous Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh did a series of paintings featuring and called Sunflowers. There are 2 kinds of sunflower seeds.  Sunflower oil which is used in cooking & in margarines is made from black seeds & snack food is made from striped seeds.  The seeds can also be used as bird feed.  Kansas is often known as the Sunflower state and the flower is in fact Kansas's state flower.  

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Golden Calla Lily!

Calla Lilies are worth growing for their cut flowers alone!  Cut Calla Lily bouquests will last longer if the leaves are first submierged in cold water overnight, & the flowers are vased in deep water.  Calla Lilies should be planted in a location that gets full sun for most of the day, but some late afternoon afternoon shade, particularly in hot summer regions.  Callas grow best in a most, well drained soil that has been enriched with compost & other organic matter.

The most famous Lily...Stargazer Lily!

Tips & Tricks:  Lilies (common name is Oriental Lily), like their feet in the shade and faces in the sun so keep them happy by planting behind or amongst other perennials for a dramatic effect.  Attracts hummingbirds & butterflies, super fragrant, superb cut flowers, easy to grow.  Stargazer is the most famous lily of them all. This hybrid’s large, upward-facing, fragrant blooms put on a beautiful show both in the garden and in bouquets!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Confused Old Man aka Mexican Flame Vine!

Senecio confusus which translates as Confused Old Man aka Mexican Flame Vine, is an easily grown vine that will quickly cover an arbor or may be used as a groundcover.  It has large green leaves with lovely orange aster flower heads.  Requires no care, thrives on neglect in sunny dry site. Will also tolerate light shade.  This is a nectaring plant for butterflies and is also very attractive to hummingbirds!

The flower power of Dragon Wing Red Begonia!

Dragon Wing delivers excellent garden performance across a wide range of conditions. With a unique and beautiful arching, pendulous habit (downward swaying motion), this spectacular plant adapts well to hanging baskets, large containers and in-ground plantings. Dragon Wing is used widely by professional landscapers where season-long performance is necessary. Outstanding heat tolerance in areas like Florida provides lush, vigorous growth. Unusually strong performance in cool, stressful conditions in areas like northern Europe and Canada makes this series an ideal commercial landscape item. Dragon Wing offers a dramatically different look from standard begonias!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Ornamental Grass, Feather Reedgrass!

The most popular ornamental grass, Feather Reedgrass offer a distinct upright habit that looks fantastic all winter long.  Like many grasses, this plant tolerates a wide range of conditions, plus it has a nice architectural shape!  Soft feathery green plumes appear in summer, maturing into stiff wheat-coloured spikes, which last into winter.  2001 Perennial Plant of the Year award!

Vitamin C, Jelly and Tea oh my!

Prickly Wild Rose - Rosa acicularis -- Healing qualities:  helps us remain openhearted when we are faced with conflict & struggle; builds trust; encourages openness & a courageous interest in life.  The fruit of the Prickly Wild Rose has a high vitamin C content and makes excellent jelly. Also, rose hips are gathered for the preparation of rose hip tea. 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Scrabble anyone? A four letter word for flowerless plant...Moss!

"A rolling stone gathers no moss"? They are typically 1-10 cm tall, though some species are much larger.  The tallest moss in the world can grow to 50 cm in height.  They commonly grow close together in clumps or mats in damp or shady locations.  They do not have flowers or seeds & their simple leaves cover the thin stems.  At certain times mosses produce spore capsules which are borne up into the air on thin stalks. There are approximately 12,000 species of moss!

"Bears Breeches"...I'm back from Whistler BC Canada!

A majestic plant, Bear's Breeches is like a living sculpture in the garden.  It is prized for its bold clumps of shiny green leaves topped with striking, 3-foot-tall spires (tapering) of white flowers which are clasped by showy purple bracts.  Whistler is located in the spectacular Coast Mountains of British Columbia just 2 hours north of Vancouver, it is is Canada’s favourite year-round destination!  The Whistler area is not only a place of scenic wonder, but also a region that is rich with a fascinating history and cultural background. Before becoming a ski area and Host Mountain Resort for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, this was a place that drew visitors from far and wide. 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

100th Anniversary of WWI 1914-2014 & The Poppy

July 28th marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of hostilities in the First World War. The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 606 led the parade and wreath laying.  A beautiful monument was unveiled in commemoration of the first world war and is displayed in the garden at the City of Pickering's city hall, Ontario, Canada.  With heartfelt gratitude we remember the men and women in uniform who fought for our freedom!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Eeyore (of Winnie the Pooh) & his favourite food!

The thistle is eeyore's favourite food in Winnie the Pooh! The thistle may only be a humble weed, but it is the emblem of the Scottish nation. The prickly-leaved, pink or purple-flowered ‘Scotch’ thistle is, along with tartan, perhaps the most identifiable symbol of all things Scottish!

A savory splash of mischief...'spillers' aka Supertunia Mini!

Supertunia! Mini petunias are very strongly trailing, with very little height.  They will function as spillers (tumbles out of the pot) in containers, but are also good as front-of-the-bed plants for landscapes.  If your goal for hanging baskets or window boxes is to have the plants be as long as possible, Supertunia Mini is the best choice.  They have small flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds!.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Empty tank on your Bromeliad?

A tropical plant, a bromeliad is a colorful and exotic addition to your houseplant collection or your backyard garden. These plants enjoy warm, humid conditions, but they don't need much watering.  Most bromeliads grow up and out from the center, where the leaves start out as a color such as red or yellow, and turn green as they become larger and new leaves form. The colored center forms a cup, or tank. This is where the bromeliads get the majority of their water. The tank should never be dry. If there is no or little water in the tank, less than one-half cup of water is often enough to fill it!

Attraction, but not fatal!...Coneflowers

Wow! This plant is strong, vigorous, with a compact habit (plants grows upwards instead of outwards) so it won't flop over or need extra support.  And because the stems are strong, it makes a great cut flower.  They do best in full sun but will take some shade, and are tolerant of hot, dry, windy sites. The dead flower stems will remain erect well into the winter and, if flower heads are not removed, are often visited by goldfinches who perch on or just below the blackened cones to feed on the seeds!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Thoughts of friends...Zinnia!

Zinnia – Meaning: Thoughts of friends Zinnia (magenta) – Meaning: Lasting affection Zinnia (mixed) – Meaning: Thinking of an absent friend Zinnia (scarlet) – Meaning: Constancy Zinnia (white) – Meaning: Goodness Zinnia (yellow) – Meaning: Daily remembrance! Want fast colour for just pennies? Plant Zinnias! A packet of seeds will fill an area with gorgeous flowers in an amazing array of shapes & colours -- even green. And it will happen in just weeks!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

100th Anniversary of WWI 1914-2014 & The Poppy

July 28th marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of hostilities in the First World War. The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 606 led the parade and wreath laying.  A beautiful monument was unveiled in commemoration of the first world war and is displayed in the garden at the City of Pickering's city hall, Ontario, Canada.  With heartfelt gratitude we remember the men and women in uniform who fought for our freedom!

Rudbeckia Hirta aka Black-eyed Susan!

"If you've never been thrilled to the edges of your soul by a flower in Spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom."  Audra Faveo    Flowers are one of the most wonderful creations that Mother Nature has ever gifted to mankind.   What can be more pleasing than beholding the scenic beauty of flowers?   The meaning of Black-eyed Susans you ask? ... Encouragement, motivation and impartiality!