Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Pride of Barbados!

Caesalpinia pulcherrima aka Red Bird of Paradise is a species of flowering plant in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to the tropics and subtropics of the Americas.  It could be native to the West Indies, but its exact origin is unknown due to widespread cultivation     Common names for this species include Poinciana, Peacock Flower, Mexican Bird of Paradise, Dwarf Poinciane and flamboyan-dejardin.  Perched atop this magnificent bloom is the Menelaus Blue Morpho butterfly. (Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesalpinia_pulcherrima)

All hail the 'Yellow Queen Shrimp Plant'!

The Shrimp plant is named for it's 3-4"spikes of overlapping bracts (modified leaf) that cover this plant nearly year-round, & is native to Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.  Pure white shrimp-like blooms emerge from the arching spikes of long-lasting chartreuse (a color halfway between yellow and green) bracts. Blooms from spring to fall. An easy and durable slowly spreading tropical perennial. (Almost Eden https://almostedenplants.com/shopping/shopexd.asp?id=1170)

Monday, 29 September 2014

The difference is like Night & Day!

When the wings of the Menelaus Blue Morpho butterfly are closed, it's iridescent wings are not revealed until their wings open.  This very large tropical butterfly of Central and South America has a wing span of 15 cm (5.9 in). The adult drinks juice from rotten fruit with its long proboscis, which is like a sucking tube. The adult males have brighter colours than the females. The forewing is concave at the outer edge. The upperside of wings are metallic blue.  The underside is brown with a line of large ocelli (eyespot) at the base of the postdiscal (wing area) area.

Butterflies & Ficus Trees!

Even if you live in the heart of a city, you will be surprised by the variety of birds you can see if there is enough greenery around.  There are a number of things you can do to attract butterflies and birds to your garden.  A number of butterfly species lay their eggs on grasses -- if the possibility exists, it is nice to let a patch of garden in a corner somewhere actually grow wild.  Ficus trees also attract the Red & Black butterfly, both seen in this photo.  Bamboos are food for some butterfly species and refuge for many birds and other creatures. Keep them a little distant from your house if you’re petrified of snakes, though!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Super Purple Daylilies!

Just like the name says, this variety boasts super rich purple color, with ruffled edges around a yellow throat. One of the best purples, a deep color you'll love. Fragrant!  It is outstanding - such a showy shade of purple/deep rich burgandy, the colour holds well in the sun; it is a must have!  

Cymbidium Orchid aka 'Boat Orchid'!

Cymbidium Orchid aka Boat Orchid!  The new Latin genus (subfamily) name is derived from the Latin cymba meaning boat. Its first known use was in 1815.  The most highly coveted of ornamental plants, the delicate, exotic and graceful orchid represents love, luxury, beauty and strength. In ancient Greece, orchids were associated with virility. In fact, Greek women believed that if the father of their unborn child ate large, new orchid tubers, the baby would be a boy. If the mother ate small orchid tubers, she would give birth to a girl. Ancient Chinese revered orchids as "Lan Hua" epitome of human perfection!

Saturday, 27 September 2014

As Barbra Streisand would say..."Hello GORGEOUS!"

A picture is worth a thousand words, and this photo needs no description...just plain GORGEOUS, hello Dactylorhiza fuchsii aka Spotted Orchid!  This plant is widely variable in colour and height, ranging from 15 to 60 cm in height. The dense and rich-flowered inflorescence (flower spike), produced in June–August, is at first conical then cylindrical. The flower colour can vary from white to pale purple with purple spots, a symmetrical pattern of dark purple loops or dots and dashes. 

Pink Parasol Mandevilla!

The 'Pretty' group, which comes in Pink and Crimson, is distinguished by superior branching and vigorous growth. It can be grown as a traditional pot plant, even in 4 and 6-inch pots. Flower size is the same as the 'Original' group but foliage is glossy, thinner and more vining. Plants are natural climbers suitable for hanging baskets, patios and balconies.  (Greenhouse Grower http://www.greenhousegrower.com/uncategorized/secrets-of-producting-sun-parasol-mandevillas/)

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Seasons of Change!

An ode to the changing of the Seasons:  Whether it be Autumn, Summer, Winter or the Red Tulips of the Spring Season, we can count on Mother Nature to give us the greatest show on Earth!  All the best to everyone!

Friday, 19 September 2014

The Begonia and The Butterfly!

You know you've hit the flower jackpot when your plant is known for its brilliant flowers and its fancy foliage. The begonia, as seen in the background of this photo, has both of these lovely features. On top of that, they are relatively easy to take care of, whether you plant them indoors or outside. In summary, the begonia is an awesome plant and very attractive to butterflies to your garden!

Verbena & The Butterfly!

Verbena (Verbena bonariensis), is seen in the background of this photo.  It is a neat compact perennial plant bearing heads of pale violet flowers from mid summer onwards.  The Verbena plant has rough mid green leaves which prefers sun and enjoys free draining soil.  This plant is attractive to most insects but particularly butterflies.  Propagate (reproduction) by seed. 

'Aloha', but not from Hawaii (Echinaceas)!

'Aloha' Echinacea!  This beautifully fragrant echinacea is a star performer in the landscape.  Masses of elegant yellow flowers with an orange cone shine brightly atop tall stems & rich green foliage which make them perfect for fresh bouquets. The flowers lighten to soft yellow as they age.   A welcoming and elegant plant that greets you with its fragrance and beauty. Use en mass for the border, in a mixed bed, or for a cut flower! Butterflies and songbirds delight in their sweet nectar all season.  Be sure to leave some spent blooms on the plant in the Fall because their seeds provide Winter food for Finches & other birds.  The dried seeds also provide architectural interest in the winter!

Geranium Ivy Global Ruby Red!

The Ivy Geranium Ruby Red, just as the name suggests, produces deep ruby red blooms! This graceful plant is desired for its beautiful, green, ivy-shaped foilage and its mounding and spreading habit. This is a great annual for Spring, Summer and Fall.  Ivy Geraniums produce bundles of pretty blooms that extend just above trailing foilage. The Ivy Geranium Ruby Red's distinct habit is especially attractive in containers and baskets!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Plant en masse...Azaleas!

Gems of the spring garden, azaleas are loved for their masses of bright trumpet blooms and look fantastic planted en masse, although just one of these plants grown alone in a garden, with its vivid flowers, will brighten the gloomiest of spring days.  To care for azaleas in pots, choose a wide container and stand it on pot feet to ensure good drainage.  Their large, colourful flowers last for weeks, and they look beautiful when cut and displayed in a vase inside. There are many species, varieties and hybrids of azaleas, and you are likely to find any color and flower shape to suit your balcony garden’s conditions.

That's a mouthful!: Doritaenopsis Jiaho Kitty Face "Rainbow" orchid!

Doritaenopsis Jiaho Kitty Face "Rainbow" orchid's flowers offer alluring colour combinations of green, pink and fuschia.  The stem on which the orchid flowers are perched bend and offer an interesting shape to the overall orchid.  The green foliage is distinct and an an orchid lover who cares for these special plants can pick out a Doritaenopsis Jiaho Kitty Face "Rainbow"orchid when it's still in bud!  What do you think, do you like it?

Baby Powder & Angel's Trumpet!

With their unmatched beauty & broad range of colours and shapes, brugmansia, or trumpet flower trees are perfect for almost anyone.  They also make a great container plant at weddings, formal social events, anniversaries etc.  Of course, they are great landscape & garden plants too. Perfect for anything from a patio to a pool deck, trumpet flowers can't be beat.  The fragrance of brugmansia flowers are very strong, and most of them smell like baby powder!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Cotton Candy Pink Roses!

Sweet as candy!  Pink is not just for girls, and it is not just a pretty color.  Pink roses have deep significance when it comes to affections given and received. The most widely accepted interpretation of pink roses is grace and gentility.  An admiration for beauty, refinement and enduring grace is what the pink rose suggests.  The meaning of pink roses, as expressed by their lovely color is happiness and joy. Being themselves a joy to behold, pink roses express fun and happiness. The pink rose denotes that the receiver is a pleasure to behold, a pleasure to have in company. Thus, it is an indication of deep joy. They indicate happiness or pride, a heart-felt appreciation!

Calling all pollinators...bees, hummingbirds and YES bats!

The Canna Lily plant species (although not a true Lily), have large, attractive foliage, and horticulturists have turned it into a large-flowered and bright garden plant. In addition, it is one of the world's richest starch sources, and is an agricultural plant. The flowers are typically red, orange, or yellow or any combination of those colours. Although gardeners enjoy these odd flowers, nature really intended them to attract pollinators collecting nectar and pollen, such as bees, hummingbirds, sunbirds and bats! 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Ancient Greek Times & The Iris!

The Iris's history is rich, dating back to Ancient Greek times when the Greek Goddess Iris, the messenger of the gods and the personification of the rainbow, acted as the link between heaven and earth.  Purple Irises were planted over the graves of women to summon the Goddess to guide the dead in their journey.  The iris flower's meanings are faith, wisdom, peace of mind, friendship and hope.  Purple iris is symbolic of wisdom and compliments. Irises may also express admiration and courage. February is a month of romance and iris is a fitting symbol. Iris flowers are a beautiful and meaningful gift for a February birthday and the flower that is suitable for the 25th wedding anniversary.

The Sunflower King!

This variety is particularly robust.  It will grow with little care and produces a very healthy crop of seed for eating.  My favourite flower and colour!  No exceptions...this is the best of all, bar none!

A plume of flowers, Pampas style!

The Celosia Pampas Plume, 'Celosia argentea plumosa', has dramatic masses of soft, feathery plumes that are stunning in fresh and dried flower arrangements. The upright plumes are 6 to 12 inches tall with flowers the colors of scarlet, rose, carmine, gold, cream and bronze. The Celosia argentea are widely cultivated as a bedding annual.  Pampas Plume prefers fertile, well drained soil that is high in organic matter. The soil needs to be kept evenly moist. Place these plants in full sun for best results. Plant in the spring, after the last average frost date. The Celosia Pampas Plume provide a dramatic garden backdrop or focal point in beds, borders or containers.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Cosmos of the universe?...nope, just a Daisy!

Cosmos is a native of Mexico. It has a Greek name (derived from Kosmos, meaning beautiful.) This variety, Cosmos bipinnatus, has feathery green leaves and daisy-like flower heads in shades of red, pink or white with yellow centers. They like full sun and a well drained soil. Keeping the flowers cut and deadheading, will guarantee a long season of bloom. Cosmos make great cut flowers, especially if you put them in warm water first, then transfer them to cool water after a few minutes!

Fuji Whites, resistant to the insect world...

Fuji White aka Balloon Flowers are resistant to insects and disease.  It is a clump-forming perennial which is so named because its flower buds puff up like balloon before bursting open into outward to upward facing, bell-shaped flowers with 5 pointed lobes (petals). Blooms throughout the summer. Good fresh cut flower!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

A language all their own...Zinnias!!!

As every flower lover knows, flowers have a language of their own.  Every sentiment is expressed in one form or another by these fragile blooms, and as a leading psychologist states...  "Flowers are a perfect replica of human life"...planting...growth...bloom...withering. Zinnia White meaning is Goodness; Zinnia Yellow meaning is Daily Remembrance; and Zinnia Pink meaning is Perfect happiness!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Ruby Red Gladiolus!

Gladiolus plants are attractive, perennial herbs and semi hardy in temperate climates. The Gladiolus flower signifies remembrance. It also expresses infatuation, telling the receiver that he or she pierces the heart. It also stands for strength of character, faithfulness and honour.  Born in August?...this is your flower!    

To 'Dye' for...Neon Daisies!

Use dye to change the color of a white daisy or other white flower to provide different hues in your floral arrangements. Dye is an inexpensive way to transform the look of flowers for seasonal decor or to coordinate with the colors in a room. Food coloring or dye is available in basic colors of red, blue, green and yellow, as well as trendy neon colors.  It can take up to 24 hours to transform the look of the petals.  The petals absorb the dye, but the process does not affect the longevity of the bloom.  Once removed from the dye and water solution, the petals remain the same shade until the flower dies.  

Friday, 12 September 2014

The "$30 Million" Sunflower!

The sunflower got the attention of Vincent Van Gogh, who captured its beauty on canvas. Vincent wrote in a 1888 letter to his brother Theo: “I am hard at it, painting with the enthusiasm of a Marseillais eating bouillabaisse, which won't surprise you when you know that what I'm at is the painting of some sunflowers ... If I carry out this idea there will be a dozen panels. So the whole thing will be a symphony in blue and yellow.” One of these paintings is now reputed to be worth $30 million!   If flowers can evoke different emotions, then I think sunflowers take care of bringing on cheer. They reach up high and produce large, bright flowers that resemble the sun, hence their genus name of Helianthus — Greek for “sun” (helios) and “flower” (anthos).  

The emerald coloured lake & Nicklaus North!

Communities of organisms are dependent on each other, and on their environment live in aquatic ecosystems. An aquatic ecosystem is an ecosystem in a body of water. This is the brilliant setting of Nicklaus North Whistler, a golf course created as unique as Jack Nicklaus.  This course winds along a gentle valley floor offering you spectacular views of the snowcapped Whistler peaks in British Columbia, Canada!  

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Eye-popping colour, Impatiens!

What would we do without impatiens?  It's the old reliable for shade gardens when you want eye-popping colour all season long.  The plant blooms in just about every colour except true blue, and are well suited to growing in all containers or in the ground.  If you have a bright spot indoors, you may be able to grow impatiens all year round as an indoor plant.  

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Peaches 'N' Cream Dahlia!

Beautiful peach blooms with a touch of apricot and white.  A gardening expert once said of Dahlias, "Never have so many enjoyed so much with so little time and work." And he was right. There's probably no plant in the flower kingdom that gives the gardener more spectacular reward than the dahlia.  Dahlias are a little like roses. Or hostas. Most gardeners can't grow just one. Once you grow a Dahlia, you want more. And like roses or hostas, there are seemingly endless dahlias to keep a Dahlia gardener happy. Growing them is remarkably easy, so that just adds to the frenzy. If you've never grown a Dahlia, it's high time you did! 

Looking good in both bloom & bud...Echinacea!

Put this beauty in a top-five list of echinaceas for garden value.  It has incredible vigor, great re-bloom, and looks good both in bloom and bud!  It's a very special plant 'Fatal Attra.ction' has brilliant magenta flowers with intense colouring heightened by their dark stems.  Plants form a medium to tall clump of coarse dark-green leaves, by midsummer bearing large daisy flowers with mauve-purple to rose-pink petals surrounding an orange-brown central cone.  Petals often droop down in an attractive way. Removing faded flowers regularly will greatly increase the flowering period.  Seedheads have good winter interest.  Outstanding for cutting.  Attractive to butterflies.  Plants may be easily divided in early spring.  Any seedlings that appear can also be moved at that time.  

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Playfully quaint with Whimsy Roses!

This kid will grab your attention with it's super full bushy habit that cranks out flowers with no lack of restraint.  Each flower is different...painted and splashed hot pink on creamy white.  Good enough to hit the show table and pretty enough to pluck for a boutonniere.  Definite landscape material even for the most limited garden space!

Monday, 8 September 2014

'Mary's Gold' aka Marigolds!

The common name in English, "marigold", is derived from "Mary's gold", a name first applied to a similar plant native to Europe, Calendula officinalis.  In Nepal, it is called 'शयपत्री' that means hundred-leafed flower, referring to its many florets per head.  Depending on the species, marigold foliage has a musky, pungent scent, though some varieties have been bred to be scentless.  The florets of these flowers are rich in the orange-yellow cartenoid lutein & are sometimes extracted and used as a food colouring for humans and livestock!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Lady in Red...Roses!

"I've never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight, I've never seen you shine so bright..." I'm sure we've all heard Chris De Burgh's lyrics, but this scarlet beauty was thought to be the favourite flower of the Roman goddess of love, Venus!  In addition there are a huge number of varieties of red rose, each with a different appearance from the next. Fragrance also varies considerably.  Some red roses have a highly charge perfume, extremely heady and powerful, while others are more subtle in their fragrance. Many roses have no perfume at all!