How To Planting Trees On Wet Land

If your land is often wet and cannot easily be drained there are still plenty of options for planting trees. Firstly, there are species adapted to wet ground. Willows, Alders and Poplars are amongst the commonest but a good book (such as Hillier’s Manual of Trees and Shrubs – ISBN 0-7153-9942-X) will give you lists to choose from. It will also give you an idea of how high your trees may grow or other conditions, such as strong winds, which they may tolerate. Red Alder, River Birch, Liquidamber, Black Gum, Caucasian Wingnut, Scarlet Willow, Corkscrew Willow, Chinese Swamp Cypress, Dawn Redwood, Pond Cypress and Swamp Cypress will tolerate or even enjoy permanent dampness.

Many other trees may survive occasional flooding but their survival chances will be improved by planting them with their rootballs above ground level. They can be planted with more than half of their rootball above the surrounding ground level and soil can then be drawn up to cover the exposed roots. Better still they can be planted into a raised mound. As the roots grow into the mound they give long term stability to the tree. In addition fewer roots will be killed by the lack of air which flooding creates and the tree is more likely to thrive. This technique allows a greater range of trees to be tried – for instance the Common Silver Birch, Hawthorn, Pin Oak, Rowan and Sitka Spruce. Native Oak (Quercus robur) and Ash will also tolerate some periods of dampness.

Continue Reading

Guide To Planting Trees in Your Yard

Planting trees and shrubs to your lawn dramatically increases the overall appearance of your property. Furthermore, trees are great ways to decorate your landscape and greatly help in preserving nature. Taking time to plant trees in your yard properly ensures that they will grow healthy and strong.

Keep in mind that when you plant a wrong tree in the wrong place guarantees a future tree removal and could be dangerous if you do it yourself. Therefore, a lot of anxiety and trouble can be avoided by planting the right tree in your yard to begin with. Do not forget that trees both have good and bad characteristics. Understanding this is the key to plant a tree properly. The following are tips to consider when planting trees in your yard.

1. Consider planting trees in your yard during moderate weather. They need more sunshine and rain, thus plan to plant during the best time in your location. Usually, spring and fall is the best time to consider.

2. When digging the hole, keep in mind that the roots need access to water and oxygen so refrain from digging too deep. Consider a hole that is three-quarters as deep as the tree’s root ball and dig wider than the root ball by a few inches on all sides. This allows roots to spread out into the soil with access to water and air.

3. Prepare the roots of the tree properly. Regardless if the tree is wrapped in burlap at its roots or is being transplanted from a container; make sure to loosen the soil packed around the roots before you proceed. Let the roots breathe and separate from its compact wrapping.

4. The next step you have to do is to place the tree in the hole and set it loosely. Refrain from compacting the roots or causing damage to them.

5. After setting the tree in the hole, cover the roots by placing the soil loosely. Avoid pressing down or compacting on the soil since this could suffocate the roots and limit the access to nutrients and water. Some roots, such as the top quarter should be above the hole surface. Build up a mound above the roots to the tree base and make certain that the soil is loose.

6. Make sure to fertilize the surrounding soil, not just the root ball. Keep in mind that tree roots spread out and make a home in the surrounding soil, thus you should fertilize the ground a few feet from the tree to ascertain that the whole root system has access to nutrients from fertilizers.

As soon as your tree is planted, continue monitoring the weather, including rainfall in your area to make sure that your tree will get enough water to the roots. Consider watering the tree more during winter or summer. When you take care when you plant trees, you will be able to enjoy the majesty of your trees for years and years. Plant a tree now, add value, and enhance your yard.

Continue Reading

How To Plant Beautiful Carnivorous

SECRET #1: Know thy plant.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but one that first-time growers overlook. There
are many types of carnivorous plants occurring on every continent in the world,
except Antarctica.

If you were to go on a world-wide expedition looking for as many types of
carnivorous plants you can possibly find, you will discover carnivorous plants
growing in Japan, China, Australia, India, South Africa, Spain, France, Ireland, Brazil,
Mexico, Canada and the United States.

If you were to explore the United States alone, you will find carnivorous plants in
nearly all of the 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska.

So, the first secret in keeping your carnivorous plants alive, healthy and beautiful is
to know what type of carnivorous plant you have. With thousands of species of
carnivorous plants in the world, each type requires their own care.

Hopefully, your plant came with a tag that identifies its species. If not, visit a
reputable website to find photographs to help you identify the plant you have.

SECRET #2: Brighten their days with full sun.

Once you know what type of carnivorous plants you have, just duplicate their
natural surroundings. This means giving your plants the type of sun exposure and
water they might experience in the wild.

Lets start with sun. It often surprises many people to find out that the vast majority
of carnivorous plants enjoy full sun. You see, carnivorous plants grow in bogs,
which are open fields of wetlands.

Most people confuse bogs with marshes. Marshes typically are closer to the ocean
and contain slightly salted water. Marshes are also overgrown with trees, making
them shady.

Bogs, on the other hand, contain fresh water, usually bubbling up from an
underground spring, and can be found on mountaintops and other places far away
from the ocean. If you see a bog in nature, you will notice that there are no trees in
it. So, all plants growing in a bog are exposed to full sun.

This is true for Venus Flytraps, North American Pitcher Plants and nearly all
Sundews. As a result, these plants do best growing in 6-8 hours of direct sunlight
during their growing season. Four hours of direct sunlight are definitely the
absolute minimum. Anything less than that will cause your plants to struggle for
survival.

The only types of carnivorous plants that are not exposed to full sun in the wild are
Asian Pitcher Plants, Butterworts and some species of Sundews. These plants prefer
bright indirect light.

Now you know what types of carnivorous plants you have, give it the proper
sunlight. With US native plants, grow them outside during the growing season
(spring through fall). With Asian Pitcher Plants and Butterworts, grow them in a
window that receives bright indirect light.

If you do not have enough natural light, use 20 to 40-watt fluorescent light tubes or
fluorescent compact bulbs that are equivalent to 100 watts. Keep the light source
about 6 to 8 inches above the plant, and keep it on for 12-14 hours per day.

Avoid using incandescent bulbs because it produces too much heat and the wrong
type of light.

Secret #3: Soak their feet.

After giving your carnivorous plants the right amount of light (full sun, partial sun
or indirect light), now you need to make sure it gets the right amount of water.

Nearly all carnivorous plants grow in bogs, which are constantly wet. So, if you want
to duplicate what they experience out in nature, you need to provide constantly wet
soil.

Some people prefer to simply water their plants every day. Personally, I find this to
be a real drag, especially when I have so many other things to do, like watch a good
DVD or scratch my dog’s belly.

The easiest way to make sure the soil is constantly wet is to keep your plant in a bit
of standing water. Use a tray, bowl, saucer or any container that holds water. Fill the
container with water and place your plant right in. Allow the water to go half way up
the pot. Just make sure you do not drown the crown or base of the plant.
Remember, they are bog plants, not water plants (big difference!).

But, before your plants start soaking their little feet, make the water is relatively
pure. It does not need to be blessed by a Tibetan monk, but it should at least have
low levels of minerals (less than 100 parts per million). Check with your local
aquarium supply store for water hardness kits.

You can use distilled water or rainwater, but this is feasible only if you have only a
few carnivorous plants. If you are like me, you might have several thousand.

In that case, local tap water will do just fine. If the water has a lot of naturally
occurring minerals or additives to make the water soft, consider hooking your hose
up to a reverse-osmosis unit. Check your local hardware store for this type of filter.

Avoid using simple charcoal-filtration units. Although they are great in removing
chlorine and other not-so-tasty chemicals, they are inadequate in removing
minerals.

One more thing: some carnivorous plants prefer not to have their feet dunked in
water. This is true with Asian Pitcher Plants. They prefer to have moist soil rather
than wet soil. With these plants, water them once or twice weekly.

Secret #4: Season your plants.

One day while I was at the Farmers’ Market selling my carnivorous plants, a
customer stopped by and said that she had the good fortune to see a type of
carnivorous plant growing in the wild while visiting friends in Canada.

I immediately knew which plant she had seen, so I held up a Purple Pitcher Plant and
she exclaimed, “Yes, that is the plant I saw!”

I then told her how easy it was to grow that plant outdoors all year round, to which
she replied, “But during the winter, you have to bring them indoors, right?”

“Why would you need to do that?”

“Because it will get too cold for them,” she stated with authority.

At that point, I was very puzzled. So, I said to her, “If you saw them growing in the
wild in Canada, surely they can live outdoors in Oregon. It gets much colder in
Canada than it does in Oregon.”

It amazes me how often some people assume that just because a plant is
carnivorous it is: 1) tropical, 2) delicate, and 3) difficult to grow. This is precisely
why people kill their carnivorous plants. They treat them as a tropical, delicate
carnivorous plant that is difficult to grow without knowing if they actually have a
tropical, delicate carnivorous plant that is difficult to grow. This is definitely a recipe
for disaster.

All carnivorous plants native to the United States and Canada are considered
temperate plants, meaning they go dormant during the winter months, and come
right back to life in spring and summer. Other non-carnivorous plants that do this
are roses, daisies, daffodils and thousands upon thousands of other types of plants
grown all around the world.

This is why Secret #1 is a very important secret. You need to know what type of
plant you have to determine whether it requires winter dormancy or if it needs to be
indoors during those cold winter months.

Temperate plants need to rest up for spring. Without their winter rest, they get very
cranky and may fail to grow in spring. Think of how you feel when you do not get
enough sleep. So, if you want healthy vibrant plants in spring, give them a winter
rest. They might even reward you with flowers!

Secret #5: Hold the fertilizer, please.

If you want gorgeous looking carnivorous plants during the growing season, repot
your plants right before they come out of dormancy. In most cases, this would be in
March. Repotting your plants serves two purposes.

Firstly, carnivorous plants need room to grow. Depending on the species, some
rhizomes can get quite large. Other species have long deep taproots. So, it is
important that you give these guys enough root space.

Secondly, changing the soil yearly aerates the roots. With fresh oxygen, roots will
grow more robustly, producing healthier plants.

Springtime is also a time when you should cut off dead leaves or any leaves that
have turned brown. This will prevent fungal infections and increase sunlight to the
base of the plant.

When repotting your plants, a standard soil mix to use is 1 part peat moss and 1
part perlite. Peat moss adds acidity and retains moisture, while perlite provides
drainage.

This soil recipe is sufficient for 80% of all carnivorous plants. You can adjust the
recipe by adding more perlite or other inert matter to increase the drainage. Just
make sure the soil is void of nutrients and fertilizer.

Fertilizer is toxic to carnivorous plants and will burn their roots. (Very painful.)
Carnivorous plants will get all of their nutrients from insects caught in their leaves.

There you have it! You have just read the Top 5 Secrets to Growing Beautiful
Carnivorous Plants
.

You learned:

Secret #1: Correctly identify the type of carnivorous plant you have.
Remember, not all carnivorous plants are created equal. Some grow in temperate
bogs, while others grow in hot humid jungles.

Secret #2: Brighten their days with full sun.

Secret #3: Soak their feet.

Secret #4: Season your plants.

Secret #5: Repot yearly and hold the fertilizer.

Each secret is an important part of the foundation on which you can grow beautiful
carnivorous plants all year round. When you follow these simple steps, your
carnivorous plants will have no choice but grow into healthy and beautiful plants
that you can be proud of!

 

Continue Reading

Things To Consider When Planting Trees In Your Yard

Trees can increase your property’s value. In fact, properties surrounded by trees sell for 18-25% higher than those without trees. But aside from that, trees planted around buildings can actually cut air-conditioning costs by up to 50%. They can also generate jobs as well as contribute raw materials for buildings, books, newspapers and more than 15,000 other forest products.

Trees likewise provide shelter and food for wildlife like squirrel, bugs and birds while groves of trees will provide cover and food for larger mammals like deer and raccoons. Aside from that, hospital patients who have a view of trees often heal faster, leave the hospital sooner and use fewer pain medications as compared to those with a view of brick walls. Workers also become more productive when they see trees along their routes and from their office windows.

Indeed, planting trees can enhance your home landscape. Be reminded though that choosing the wrong tree can cause major headaches. Experts shared of the species to avoid.

Species To Avoid When Planting A Tree In Your Yard

Black Walnut – This is often grown for its edible nuts and shade; however its roots, buds and nut hull release a significant level of juglone, which is a chemical that will rob sensitive plants of require energy. If you plant garden vegetables like asparagus, eggplant, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, and rhubarb near this tree, they will be prone to wilting and death. It can also affect other plants like pine, apple and pear trees, blackberry and raspberry bushes, and petunias and lilies.

Bradford Pear – This is very sensitive to leaf scorch and fire blight. The biggest problem with this is branch splitting because they have a v-shaped crotch. It splits in half, most especially during severe weather conditions.

Ash – This is the target of a beetle known as the emerald ash borer or EAB. Though nibbling by mature EAB will hurt foliage, the worst damage often comes from its larvae that feed on inner bark. Hence, water and nutrient transport is disrupted. Leaf loss, heavy woodpecker activity, split bark and water sprouts are the signs of EAB infestation.

Ginkgo – This is also known as biloba, a tree that can reach 115 feet tall and are among the famous residential trees because they are very durable. Problem might arise in late fall if female trees will produce a putrid-smelling fruit that will stick to shoes and can be tracked indoors.

Sweetgum – Though this is beautiful during fall, its spiny brown balls is its major drawback. These gumballs can cause injuries.

Planting the right trees can be very helpful in making your property more valuable. Consider investing in reliable tree care services to make it healthier and more beautiful.

Trees will play a huge role in making your property valuable and healthier. But not all trees can be safely planted in residential and commercial buildings. Ask tree care experts about the best type of tree you can plant in your property today.

Continue Reading

Tips To Order Flower Online

Send flowers cheap, don’t send cheap flowers!

When you are short on cash but you want to send someone flowers, don’t try to save money by going to the first online flower delivery service you see and choosing their cheapest floral arrangement, because you’ll end up sending cheap flowers. What you want to do is find the best deal on the nicest flowers, so you end up saving money, but not compromising on quality.

Send Flowers Cheap Tip #1: Order Flowers Online
The way to get the best deal is to order flowers online for delivery. Local florists have huge overhead and sometimes their flowers are not as fresh as you’d like them to be. But when you order online, the flowers are usually coming direct from the grower.

Online flowers are cut that morning, put into your flower arrangement and sent out before they wilt. That means you get the freshest, most inexpensive flowers because there is no middleman. Just a website between you and your flower delivery.

Send Flowers Cheap Tip #2: Choose Weekday Flower Delivery
Deliveries during the week, Monday to Friday can save you a lot of money on delivery charges. Some places, charge way more for Saturday deliveries. Another tip to keep in mind is that most florists don’t work on Sundays, so if you send flowers on Monday, you are likely getting flowers that were cut on Saturday. For the freshest flowers, have them delivered from Tuesday to Friday.

Send Flowers Cheap Tip #3: Choose Seasonal Flowers
When you browse through a website looking for just the right flower arrangement to send, go directly to the seasonal flowers. It’s usually called, Spring Flowers, or Sale Flowers, or Best Sellers. These flowers are growing strong and lovely right at the time you order so they are the best choice for three reasons. One, there are a lot of those flowers available. Two, they will last longer because flowers are strongest when they are in season. And three, because florists have an abundance of seasonal flowers, they want to sell more. Seasonal flowers are the most inexpensive flowers online.

Send Flowers Cheap Tip #4: Order Early for Special Occasions
Some online flower shops raise their prices around special occasions like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, etc. especially for delivery. But if you place your order at least 7 days before the big day, you can save money on delivery and you can usually get a great deal on the flowers too. The best flower delivery services do not raise their prices during special occasions so you can send flowers cheap for any occasion.

Send Flowers Cheap Tip #5: Buy a Year’s Worth of Flowers at Once
I know it sounds crazy, but more and more online flower delivery services are doing this. They offer monthly gifts, a different flower arrangement every month for a year. They send out the freshest, in season flowers once a month to your recipient. You can personalize the card each month so your recipient doesn’t have to know you bought them all at once. The advantage to this is that you can save a lot of money by buying in bulk. They give you the best deals possible when you order a year’s supply at once. If you don’t follow any of the other tips above, follow this one and send flowers cheap all year long. You’ll be a hero in your recipient’s eyes.

Sending flowers cheap doesn’t have to be difficult especially when you follow these tips and view online product reviews of flower delivery services to find out what real, unbiased customers are saying about the best places to buy flowers online and to send flowers cheap.

Continue Reading

Guide To Growing Herbs Flower

Annual Flowering Herbs

Petunia- (Petunia spp.)

Petunias are tender flowering herbs that adorn the garden with a variety of striking colors such as, red, pink, white, violet or a mixture of white stripped with violet or blue.

They are more attractive when planted closely in flower beds forming a blanket of red or velvet blossoms. Petunias are mostly cultivated in pots or window boxes.

Soil Requirements.

The best soil where petunias are more adaptable is a well-drained, fertile, sandy loam soils.

Propagation.

Petunias are propagated by seeds sown in germinating trays or seed boxes and later on thinned and planted in pots or beds.

Plants in full bloom may be brought inside the house for a day or two but should be exposed to full or partial sunlight to maintain normal growth.

Cock’s Comb – (Celosia argentia cristata )

There are two types of cock’s comb like; dwarf and tall or medium height varieties.

There are as many colors of the rainbow as there are cock’s comb varieties. Most often, the dwarf varieties are planted in group as low borders, while the taller varieties serve as background and foundation planting.

Thee flowers stalks vary in size where the taller ones have bigger clusters.

Propagation.

Cock’s comb are easily propagated by seeds either by direct seeding or transplanted singly by seedlings.

When direct seeding is applied, you should do the thinning to avoid overcrowding of the plants.

Marigold – (Tagetes erecta)

Marigold, a native of Mexico is a member of the sunflower family is a hardy annual, bushy, producing flowers with raised centers of golden-orange petals gradually turning to reddish-brown in the outer petals.

Soil Requirements.

Marigold thrives best in a light loam soil with a good drainage and exposed to full sunlight.

Propagation.

Propagation by seeds is the only method to multiply marigold. They are easy to grow although they seem to disappear in most gardens.

Balsam or Touch-Me-Not – (Impatiens oppositfolia, I. glandulifira )

A native of Africa, balsam or touch-me-not derived its name from its characteristics where the fruits when touch at ripening stage burst even just upon a slight contact.
They have a striking beautiful flowers ranging from pink, white, purple, and red double petalled which resembles the rose flowers.

Soil Requirements.

Balsam usually prefers rich fertile soil with abundant sunlight.

Propagation.

Balsam can easily be germinated by seeds. The seeds easily germinate when touch to the ground.

Carnation – (Dianthus caryophyllus)

Carnations are lovely, double-fringed, fragrant flowers. They are favorites as cut flowers, for borders and beds.

Good as potted plants, carnation, when planted properly blooms 5 to 6 months. They may last for more years if you’ll properly care them and fertilized properly.

Soil Requirements.

The best soil for carnation is a well drained and rich in organic matter soil with a cool climate and enough supply of solar radiation.

Propagation.

Carnation is propagated by seeds sown in germinating trays or seed boxes before they are transferred to individual pots or plots when planted in the field.

Verbena – (Verbena hortensis )

An excellent ground cover because of its compact habit of closely massed of flower heads.

There are three colors of verbena such as, red, purple, and white flowers which are attractive when planted in group as ground cover.

Soil Requirements.

Verbena grows best in a well drained, fertile soil and enough supply of sunshine in high altitudes during its growing period.

Propagation.

It is propagated by seeds when planted in temperate countries. However, they can also be propagated by cuttings where, you have to include the rooted portion of the stem to make a sure growth development.

Periwinkles- (Vinca minor)

Known as chichiricas or tropical periwinkles, they have a white or lavender flowers and said to have medicinal values.

They are excellent as border flowers, flowering hedges or foundation plants along bases of walls, fences and buildings.

They are attractive because they flowers the whole year round. You need less attention in replanting them since they grow vigorously.

The only attention you’ll make is to continuously pinch the tips to keep them bushy and busy producing flowers.

Soil Requirements.

Periwinkles grows in any type of soils especially in a well drained rich in organic matter soil medium.

Propagation.

Propagation by cuttings is ideal for periwinkle but they multiply even faster when grown by seeds.

They prefer to bloom abundantly when exposed to full sunlight, though they also produce flowers in partial shaded areas, but not as good when planted with open sun exposure.

Bachelor’s Button – (Cyntaurea cyanus )

Belongs to the Amaranth or Colitis family, bachelor’s button is also known as butones, butonisan or botoncillo and is relative of cock’s comb, Joseph’s coat and cucharita.

Their flowers varies from purple which dominates of all varieties to white, pink, and orange colors.

Propagation.

The methods used in propagating bachelor’s button is by seeds. They multiply fast and are easy to reproduce.

Perennial Flowering Herbs

Star cluster- (Pentas lanceolata )

A native of Africa, this flowering plant is a newly introduced to the Philippines.

They are an attractive herb with a cluster of red, star-like flowers. Although there are pink, white and lavender varieties, the red is considered the most attractive.

Star cluster becomes shrub reaching a height over seven feet as it develops woody tissues through the years of its growth.

To produce a continuous blooms the whole year round, you have to cut the flower stalks after the flowers have fallen down.

Propagation.

Propagated usually by young cuttings ( the hard or matured stems generally do not develop roots).

Anthurium – (Anthurium andraeanum, A. spp. )

Anthurium,also called flamingo flower because of its showy, waxy bract of flaming, deep red or pink color, often mistaken as the flower, is gaining popularity as a cut flower or potted plant.
When used as cut flower, anthurium lasts for as long as one month which explains why it’s expensive and prized by many florists.

There are a hundred varieties of anthurium scattered in the Philippines, but only a few are truly attractive accepted by florists.

Proper care and watering of anthurium is advised to enhance a continuous flower blooms.

Soil Requirements.

Anthurium thrives best in a well drained rich, sandy loam soils.

They usually favors in a cool climate and high elevations, like Baguio and Bukidnon. However, they can be made to flower just as beautifully in greenhouse or controlled environment.

Propagation.

Propagation is usually done by dividing the suckers or shoots, including some roots.

The newly propagated plants must be placed under the shade until they have recovered and new shoots developed.

You have to avoid anthurium exposure to the noon day sunlight. They are intolerant to too much heat of the sun.

African violet- (Saintpaulia spp.)

A native of Africa as the name implies, also known throughout the world as Saint Paulia by gardeners, this flower plant is loved by many because of its soft, waxy leaves and flowers that stays the whole year round in different shades of blue, white, pink, and purple colors.

This plant loves the morning sunlight. They dies easily when exposed to extreme heat and too much water.

African violets can be grown successfully when grown in pots as well as on screened window boxes.

They can also be grown in greenhouse of which they produce more attractive flowers.

Spanish flag – (Gonioplectus hispanus )

Spanish flag also known as canna or bandera espanola are ideal when you want to establish a new garden and an instant supply of flowers.

They are in handy, bearing a profusion of attractive colored flowers within a few weeks.

Their flowers are numerous from streaked to just plain white, cream, pink, deep red, purple, tangerine, lavender or sometimes a combination of two or more colors.

Spanish flag have numerous hybrids. You can select from among the hybrids you think attracts your interest or plant all them if you wish a colorful flowers in your garden.

If you want to maintain large, continuous flowers the whole year round, you have to cut the stalks which have flowered since they’ll compete for food with the rest of the developing plants. These stems will eventually dies anyway.

Soil Requirements.

Spanish flag grows best in rich, friable, sandy loam to loam soils. However, they also grow well in clay loam soil.

Generally, they produce attractive flowers when planted in an open field with abundant supply of sunlight.

But there are other hybrids that shows an excellent flowers even in partially shaded areas.

Propagation.

The easiest way to propagate Spanish flag is by separation of rhizomes which multiplies easily.

However, seeds may be used in propagation but it will take a long time to bear flowers compared to those propagated by rhizomes.

Red Billbergia- (Billbergia spp. )

A member of the pineapple family, red billbergia have a strikingly beautiful red or pink flowers which blooms during the months of May, June, and November in Luzon, Philippines.

They grows well in partial shade or full sunlight.

Soil Requirements.

Billbergia thrives best with a mixture of soil, ground charcoal, moss and other medium used in planting orchids.

Propagation.

They can be propagated by separation or by division of the young shoots which comes out after the flowers have wilted and the old plants have died.

Camia- (Hedychium philippinense K. Schum. )

Camias are shade loving plants to which they can be grown under trees. Their flowers are white with a fragrant scent which makes them favorite as cut flower and also for corsages or bouquets although they doesn’t stay fresh very long.

Their flowers are numerous during the rainy season and the plants gradually die as the dry season sets in. However, the rhizomes send out new shoots again once the rain starts to pour in.

You should prune the stems which have flowered just above the ground level to induce more flower blooms.

Camias have a cousin called the yellow camia or India Ginger which produce yellow flowers and a native of the Himalayas.

Soil Requirements.

The best soil for camia is sandy or clay loam with sufficient amount of moisture.

Propagation.

Camias can be propagated by division of the rhizomes or root stock. They are planted at a distance of half a meter apart directly in the field which have been properly prepared.

Continue Reading

All About Fresh Flowers

Flowers are beautiful and professionally designed bouquets are especially attractive. Flowers can also carry huge sentimental meaning because they are often given as gifts from people close to us. So it’s little wonder that we would want to extend the life of our flowers and enjoy their aesthetic and sentimental beauty for as long as possible.

With proper care and attention most flowers will last around 7 days with some varieties lasting for as long as 14 days. Here are some practical steps to help extend the life of your cut flowers.

Get flowers into water

After only a short time out of water flowers will begin to dehydrate. Therefore it is essential to get flowers into a vase or container of water as quickly as possible. When you first get the flowers home use warm water, not cold or hot, as this is the quickest way to rehydrate the flowers. Warm water will also promote opening of the blooms as most flowers are shipped with the blooms in a closed or tight stage.

Technically speaking the optimum temperature is 37.5C (99.5F), which is roughly body temperature. At this temperature air bubbles, which may have formed in the stem, tend to breakup. Also water that is warmer than the surrounding air is more readily taken up by the flowers.

Change the water regularly

Try to change the water every two days. The flowers should be well hydrated by now so you can use cold water instead of warm. This helps keep the flowers cool which is a key part of keeping flowers in good condition.

Use flower preservatives

Each consignment of Affinity Flowers comes with a sachet of flower preservative. Flower preservative contains two main components, carbohydrates and anti-bacterial additives.

The carbohydrates act as food which helps to sustain the flowers. The carbohydrates will also stimulate flower heads to open quicker. This is handy when you’re trying to open flowers that usually ship with tight blooms like lilies.

The bactericide component inhibits bacteria developing in the water. Bacteria laden water will cause flowers to deteriorate quicker. Bacteria is also a problem because it can block flower stems and hinder the uptake of water. If left long enough the bacteria will also discolour the vase water and produce an unpleasant odour.

Simply empty the contents of the flower preservative sachet into the vase water.

If you don’t have flower preservative you could add 1-2 drops of bleach to the water instead. The bleach will act as an anti-bacterial just like the additives in commercial flower preservatives.

Remove leaves that will be under water

This is important as leaves that are below the waterline will deteriorate quickly and become a breeding ground for bacteria. If you have a professionally arranged bouquet you’ll find that the leaves have already been removed by the florist. But flowers bought loose or unarranged might still have leaves low on the stem.

Trim the stems

Take a pair of scissors or a sharp knife and trim 2-3cm (1 inch) from the bottom of the stem. Try not to crush the stem while you’re doing this. Cut the stem on an angle to increase the surface area exposed to the water. Cutting on an angle also stops the stem sitting flat on the bottom of the vase and blocking water uptake. Once cut immediately place the flowers into water.

Water is sucked up the stem like a straw. If there is anything blocking the straw then it will impede water flow to the head. Over time the end of a stem can become blocked with impurities from the water and bacteria. Also, if a flower has been out of water for any period of time, air will be drawn into the stem which will block its ability to draw water.

Some florists recommend cutting the stems underwater which prevents air being drawn up the stem.

Re-cut stems every two days or when you change the water.

Keep flowers cool

Flowers should be kept in cool conditions. Keep them away from direct sunlight, heaters, lamps and other heat sources. Also try not to leave flowers in a hot vehicle when transporting them. This is why specialist flower delivery couriers have chilled storage on-board their vehicles.

Each variety has its own optimal holding temperature but the ideal temperature for most flowers is a chilly 4-5C (39-41F), about the temperature inside your refrigerator. Obviously these aren’t ideal temperatures for people but if you really wanted to extend the life of your flowers you could place them in the refrigerator overnight or if you were going to be away for an extended period.

Keep flowers away from fruit

Fruit and vegetables produce ethylene gas which is detrimental to flowers. Carnations and Delphiniums are particularly susceptible. Try to keep flowers away from fruit and vegetables to keep them in good shape.

Similarly domestic gas is also damaging to flowers. There is a story of a flower grower who found it difficult to keep cut flowers on his farm. He suspected his gas supply may have been the cause and a check by a specialist confirmed he had a gas leak on his property.

Keep daffodils separate

The sap exuded from the cut stems of narcissus varieties like daffodils is detrimental to other flowers. No other flowers should share the same water with daffodils or any narcissus varieties.

Continue Reading

Guide To Make Dried Flowers

Want to make your garden’s summer flowers last all year? Ok, the easiest way is to bring your garden flowers indoor and dry them.

* First: Harvesting Flowers

It is best to cut your flowers in the morning hours after the dew has evaporated from the plants. Once cut, group stems into bunches using rubber bands (pure rubber rubber bands work best) and remove them from the sunlight as soon as possible.

There are definite developmental times which are best for cutting flowers for drying. This can be very specific for different plants or even different cultivators of the same plant. In general, it is best to pick immature flowers (ones that are not completely open) since flowers continue to open during the drying process. If you pick a flower at the time that it looks perfect, it will continue to open while drying, leaving you with a flower past that ‘perfect stage’. Most people pick flowers too late. For example, have you ever seen a pretty dried rose? If you really look at it, the flower is still fairly closed. Avoid harvesting flowers too mature in development. Such flowers will generally shed upon drying and will not hold up well in arrangements.

We offer specific picking and growing recommendations for each flower we grow. Just click on any dried flower name on any of our lists to obtain a wealth of specific information including pictures!

* Second: Preserving Flowers

With only a few exceptions, we air dry all our flowers. We simple hang flower bunches upside down on wire (over two miles of it is stretched in our circa 1860 barns). The barns offer ideal conditions: 1) darkness; 2) very good airflow; 3) cool updrafts; 4) perfect (usually) humidity levels. Once you have cut your flowers, it is important to remove them from the sunlight as soon as possible. This, along with drying in the dark, is the most important factor in maintaining good color.

Note:

1)How to Hang Flower Bunches

Suspend a 1/2-inch-diameter horizontal pole or pipe from the ceiling. If fastening hooks into your ceiling or walls is not an option, use tripods or two high-backed chairs to support the pole. A bent paper clip makes a perfect hanger for your bunches. Put newspaper or a drop cloth on the floor under the hanging bunches to catch fallen leaves, seeds, and petals. Hang bunches far enough apart to allow good air circulation.

2) How Long to Hang Flowers to Dry

The drying process takes from 10 to 20 days, depending on the plant. When dried, the stems should snap. You must test the flowers for dryness. Dissect one or two, and make sure the flowers” insides are thoroughly dry.

Some flowers, such as delphiniums, keep their color better if dried quickly near sources of warm air such as a heater. Large, many-flowered blooms such as dill, fluffy grasses, and Queen Anne”s lace, should be dried upright, not hanging upside down.

3) How to Dry Flowers with Silica?

Silica-gel drying is done in shallow, airtight, plastic (or glass) containers or trays. I dry many flowers at once using a 10- by 18-inch airtight plastic container. Yours need not be that big, but make sure that the flowers aren’t crowded. Spread the flowers out, face up, on a 1-inch (minimum depth) bed of crystals. Carefully spoon or sprinkle more silica on top until you’ve completely covered the flowers with at least another inch of crystals. Drying flowers with single-petal structures, such as daisies, facedown is another technique, but my results have been identical using both approaches. To dry flowers facedown, create a small mound for the flower head, place the flower head facedown on it, and add silica over the flower until it is covered. Flowers can be almost touching, and because similar kinds of flowers dry at the same rate, you may wish to group similar blooms in the same container. Seal the container, and don’t disturb it for three to four days.

Remove delicate blossoms very carefully. Shake or brush off the crystals lightly with a soft artist’s paintbrush. Leaving flowers in desiccant too long makes them very fragile, so remove flowers right away once you’ve determined that they’re dry enough.

4) How to Use Sand to Dry your Flowers?

Sand must be very fine, clean, dry, and preferably salt free. Sifting is recommended to remove coarse grains and foreign particles. Rinsing the sand in water several times to remove any soil is also recommended. Damp sand can be dried in an oven by placing in shallow pans and baking at 250 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. Be sure to use only flowers in their prime and process them quickly to prevent wilting.

To dry with sand, place an inch or two of sand in a container; scoop away a small amount of sand to form a depression on the surface; place the flower head upright in this depression and press the sand in and around the outside of the flower to support it. Next, scoop a little sand into your hand and allow it to trickle in a fine stream around each petal. Start with the outer petals and work inward row by row, allowing the sand to build up equally on all sides of each petal so its position and shape are not altered. Flowers dried with sand are fragile so be very careful when removing them from the sand. Notice that flowers must be stored in a strong carton to protect the petals from breaking.

5) Using a Microwave Oven to Dry Flowers

The latest and fastest method to dry flowers is to use a combination of silica gel and a microwave oven.

With the use of a microwave, you can now dry your flowers very quickly. Flowers should be gathered at their peak or else they will turn brown. Use any of the drying agents (silica gel, sand, borax) in a container deep enough to cover the bloom. Leave a 1/2 inch stem on the flower, and place it face up on a 1/2 inch layer of drying agent. Carefully sprinkle enough agent to cover the flower, and place it in the microwave along with a small bowl of water. Do not remove the flowers from the agent immediately, but set them aside for several hours. Listed below are some times for drying flowers in a microwave.

By using air drying and other methods also, many flowers can be preserved for year-round enjoyment. Plan now to include some flowers in your garden for drying, and check nearby fields and road sides throughout the summer and fall for more dried plant materials.

* Third: Care of Dried Flowers

Routine dusting can be accomplished using a real feather duster or hair blow dryer on it’s lowest setting.

* Last: Storing and Enjoying Dried Flowers

We recommend wrapping the flowers in newspaper and placing them in a cardboard box. Do not store the box containing the dried flowers where it is unusually damp (some basements) or very dry (some attics). Also, a lot of people think you should never store dried flowers outside (it would be way to cold). This is simply not true. Temperatures are not important. In fact, a garage can be an ideal place for storing dried flowers. Actually, if your home is heated by forced air, the preferred place to store dried flowers would be in a outside building away from the dry heat.

In general, dried flowers should remain out of direct sunlight while you enjoy them in their final state. This will minimize fading over time. We also suggest not to place dried flowers in the path of forced air heat registers. This extremely dry air is very hard on dried flower structure (causes shattering).

Suggestion for use of dried flowers would include wreaths, swags, sheaths, bouquets, and sprays. Simply hanging dried flowers in a room can be very appealing. Also, placing clusters of bunches in a basket, as though you just came in from a garden, is most attractive.

Caution: if you do store your dried flowers outside, make sure you protect them from small rodents and insects (a few mothballs will work).

Finally, I should to say that drying flowers can be addictive! Before long, wreaths will adorn all your doors, and swags will hang from every wall. And they’ll all have come from your own garden. Talk about an extended season! You’ll soon see why dried flowers are often called “everlastings”.

Continue Reading

Tips To Arrange Flower

Everybody likes flowers, remarkable ability to brighten up a room or the outside of your house is second to none. When it comes to arranging flowers you might be happy with just bunching a number of different types together in a vase and leaving it at that, but you could have a much more impressive display. All that you need is a touch of imagination and creative thinking. Arranging flowers isn’t a difficult task, try out the tips below for some impressive results.

Form of Arrangement

You may be surprised to discover that there are a number of different standard forms of flower arrangement, these are:

Vertical arrangement: As the name suggests these are tall, slender arrangements. If you’ve got a number of long focal flowers you wish to show off utilize this arrangement.Make use of a tall container to put your flowers in, it only needs to be wide enough to use only a small number of surrounding flowers.

Horizontal arrangement: broad and low arrangement, good for a large table design.A traditional horizontal arrangement is symmetrical in form and the placement of flowers. The width needs to be two times the height.The container needs to be shallow and broad, the focal flower(s) in the middle and line flowers inserted almost horizontally.

Triangular arrangement: quite possibly the most common kind of arrangement.The line flowers are first positioned to form a triangle, the triangle ought to always be taller than it is wide.

Oval arrangement: a great arrangement for a formal setting or a living room.The oval arrangement is quite straightforward and ideal for showcasing 1-3 large or medium sized flowers. Choose a short and wide container for this kind of arrangement.Use the line flowers to create the height and shape of the arrangement and place the focal flowers at the centre and fill the gaps with smaller blooms.The arrangement is not intended to be looked at from three hundred sixty degrees.

Minimal arrangement: this kind of flower arrangement usually consists of only a few flowers in a smallish container. Minimal flower arrangements are able to look elegant and understated. Selecting the vase for a minimal arrangement is a lot more important than it is for other types – pick something small but stylish.

Hogarth’s Curve: challenging “S” shape which usually demands some skill to get right. Fundamentally the Lazy “S” is a minimal flower arrangement based on the “S” curve. The line flowers make the S shape (much easier if branches are used) and other flowers fill the centre.

Crescent arrangement: the crescent flower arrangement is somewhat more difficult when compared to some of the other arrangements though works excellent as a small table decoration. An asymmetrical arrangement the crescent needs to be well balanced, not only aesthetically nut also physically so it does not fall over. It is probable that you will also require a number of leaves or branches to form the crescent. In order to keep the arrangement secure it is best to use a wide, low container/vase.

Pick a Colouring Scheme

Would you like a dark, calming green/lilac/blue arrangement or a more lively red/orange/yellow one? Colours are possibly the most important factor when selecting your flowers.Understanding basic colour theory can be very helpful here – there are numerous guides on the net. Some common blends include: Analogous colours – these are colours which are adjacent to one another on the colour wheel like orange, yellow and green; or you could try complementary colours – colours from opposite sides of the colour wheel; or triads – 3 colours equally space around the colour wheel. Another alternative of course is to apply a less academic method and just decide on colours that you simply find appealing.Keep in mind colours can often express a number of feelings like love, sympathy, friendship, happiness etc. Choose the right colours for the sentiments you are trying to convey.

Selecting Appropriate Flowers

With so many types this can seem like a overwhelming task initially however we are able to break them down into three different types:

Line flowers – taller flowers which determine the shape, height and width of the arrangement, they usually have flowers or buds along their stem.Common line flowers are snapdragons, gladiolus, curly willow, delphinium, tuberose and bells-of-Ireland.

Mass flowers – big round flowers on a single stem, they are the main focal point of the arrangement.Typical mass flowers (also called focal flowers) include daisies, magnolias, roses, daffodils, carnations, tulips, sunflowers, iris and lilies.Mass flowers are sold in bunches, you should place these in the middle of your arrangement.

Filler flowers – filler flowers consist of stems with plenty of little blooms and leaves, these fill the gaps and give a visible link between the line and focal flowers.Good examples of these are: ferns, aster, baby’s breath, feverfew, Queen Anne’s lace, heather, eucalyptus.

When selecting the flowers also think about the following factors:

Seasonal flowers – blooms that are in season are usually much better value compared to flowers which aren’t owing to the simple fact that flower growers have got so many of them

Flower meanings – Floriography (language of flowers) – just as with colours, since Victorian times a number of flowers have had certain meanings/symbolism.

Forget the rules – there are a great number of guides and articles written on mixing colours and flowers and along with them many rules. If the rules state that they should never go together but you feel they should, put them together – you are probably right.

Arranging the Flowers

Don’t forget, line flowers initially then mass/focal flowers and lastly filler flowers.As you position the flowers try and allocate each flower its own space within the arrangement while maintaining a balance of colour throughout.

Preferably use floral foam within your vase, it can make it far less difficult to position and support the flowers. Remember to soak the floral foam in water and food.

Position a flower at a time. Cut short the size of any stems as necessary. All the flowers need to face in an outward direction at an acceptable angle. Use a sharp knife to cut the bottom of the stems.

Continue Reading

All About Flower

“All the flowers would have very extra special powers” This is a quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Flowers have been a symbol of peace and love throughout the ages. From the “Flower Power” movement of the 1960’s, when activist and young pacifist Jane Rose Kasmir was photographed planting a flower on the bayonets of guards at the Pentagon during a protest against the Vietnam War on October 21, 1967. A Moment in time that would go on in American culture and heritage to reflect a moment of peace in a time of war, symbolizing a new type of passive resistance, coined by Ginsberg’s 1965 essay titled How to Make a March/Spectacle. During the late 1800’s a woman rejecting a suitor might send him yellow roses. During world war one a man leaving for a battle overseas might give his girlfriend forget-me-nots. Most people remember that red roses mean “I love you,” but floriography itself has been largely forgotten, a Victorian practice where particular types of flowers meant different things.

In some cases flowers may have a more grim representation such as calla lilies at a funeral. Recently evidence of flowers dating back to the prehistoric period have been discovered through ‘Flower Fossils’. Archaeologists uncovered skeletons of a man, two women and an infant buried together in soil containing pollen of flowers in a cave in Iraq. This association of flowers with the cave dwelling Neanderthals of the Pleistocene epoch is indicative of the role of flowers in burial rituals. Analysis of the sediment pollen concentrated in batches, implied that possible bunches of flowers had been placed on the grave. Closer examination of the flower pollen enabled scientists to identify many flowers that were present, all of which had some therapeutic properties.

That’s right, before we had the local drugstore pharmacy with it’s many colorful cough syrups to aid our aliments we relied on flowers. Flowers like calendula for aches and pains or hyssop for a sore throat. Today you might be able to find Ecanechia at your local pharmacy. Although most of the immunity boosting qualities of this flower comes form it’s roots, it is a healing flower all the same. For the most part healing flowers are a thing of the past. That is of course if you are excluding one of today’s most controversial flowers, the cannabis or marijuana flower. This highly debated flower is said to aid in a number of ailments such as chronic pain, depression and stomach upset, just to name a few. Although some states have legalized cannabis for medical use, it’s distributors and the patients that have come to rely on it’s healing properties are under the constant scrutiny of not only our federal government but the state elected officials whom continue to argue the validity of this flowers power.

Some flowers are just plan good to eat. Take the Squash flower. This bright and brilliant flower carries a buttery flavor of summer. Simply saute lightly and sprinkle a little salt and there you have it. A delicious snack that’s also beautiful. And you you have never had dried blueberries and dark chocolate with fresh and fragrant lavender, then you just don’t know what you’re missing. Dandelions which are commonly referred to as weeds are sweetest with a honey like flavor when they are picked young. Next time you make a salad or rice pilaf try adding some dandelion flowers and greens.

Creating an eye catching edible flower garden is rewarding to all the senses. Flowers as an edible addition, bring lively flavors, colors, and textures to salads, soups, casseroles, and other dishes. Eating flowers is not as exotic as it may sound. The use of flowers as food dates back to the Stone Age with archaeological evidence that early man ate such flowers as roses. You may not want to eat flowers if you have asthma, allergies, or hay fever. You’ll want to be sure to only eat flowers that have been grown organically so they have no pesticide residue. I find that it is best to collect flowers in the cooler part of the day like in the early morning after the dew has evaporated, or late afternoon. Some common edible, annual flowers that are easy to grow as well as tasty, include a number of herbs and vegetables that have edible flowers in addition to other edible parts. Calendula/pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) comes in yellow, gold, or orange flowers with a tangy, peppery taste. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) has flowers in shades of white to red, with a watercress and peppery flavor. These flowers are also used for their ability to help protect other plants in your garden from pests. Tuberous begonias (Begonia x tuberhybrida) have white, pink, yellow, red, orange or multicolor flowers with a citrus flavor. Radish (Raphanus sativus) has yellow, spicy-hot flowers very similar to the yellow flowers of bolted mustard greens. If you love the bitterness of arugula then I suggest you try the flowers that pop out at the end of the growing season. These white and brown flowers are a beautiful addition to salads. one of my favorite uses is sprinkled with fresh parsley over roasted mushrooms. Flowers of perennials and herbs offer a broad range of flavors too. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) have white, lavender, or purple flowers with a strong onion flavor perfect for floating on soups. Red clover (Trifolium pretense) has sweet-tasting, pink or red flowers.

Violets (Viola odorata) have violet, pink, and white flowers with a sweet to slightly sour flavor which in my opinion makes them a perfect candidate for candying. Here’s how:

In a bowl, beat two egg whites with a wire whisk just until frothy. Place sugar in another bowl. Taking one violet at a time, pick it up by the stem and dip into egg whites, covering all surfaces. Gently dip into the sugar, again being sure all of the petals, top and bottom, are covered. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets; snip off stems. Using a toothpick, open petals to original shape. Sprinkle sugar on any uncoated areas. Dry in a 200° oven for 30-40 minutes or until sugar crystallizes. Gently remove violets to wire racks with a spatula. I like to use an ultra thin fish spatula for this. Sprinkle again with sugar if violets appear syrupy. Cool. Store in airtight containers with waxed paper between layers.

Even trees and shrubs produce edible flowers. In the spring as weather starts to get warmer I love to open my bedroom window and fill my room with the sweet smell of orange blossoms. This citrus honey smell can be captured by throwing some fresh flower buds in a jar of sugar. The longer the flowers sit in the sugar the better flavor you will get. Apple trees have these cute little white and/or pink flowers with a floral to slightly sour taste. While plum trees have somewhat similar pink to white flowers but with a mild flavor, like flower nectar. A personal favorite of mine is Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) which features white, yellow, pink, or red flowers with a honey-like flavor. I have only ever seen them red. When I was younger we lived in Arizona for a time. This is where I first discovered these sweet treats. Although I generally wasn’t allowed sweets, these little hidden ruby treasures were a sweet secret worth keeping.

Unfortunately there are some common flowering plants that you should avoid eating like hydrangeas. Although hydrangeas are not edible they are still quite amazing. Hydrangeas have a unique quality. Their beautiful colors are determined directly by the soil you plant them in. That’s right the more acidic the soil is deeper blue your hydrangea will be. Now a true white hydrangea will always remain white. For the most part hydrangeas do not thrive in pots. These bushy flowers have a root system that will usually out grow out of a pot in just one summer. However I have herd that if you put your potted hydrangeas over dirt area the roots will just grow right out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot and straight down into the earth. The first year that the hydrangea is growing in the pot, normal watering is required, as you would any potted plant. But the second year, the roots should begin growing out the drainage holes and into the ground. Don’t move the pot, the better the plant becomes rooted into the ground, the less it needs supplemental watering. If you must move the plant or give it away, just cut the roots off right under the pot, and the hydrangea should transplant very well.

A dramatic front yard flowerbed provides a constant stream of color. Look for flowers that are bright and fragrant. Including vivid hues, like asters, spray mums, alstromeria and Monte casino asters, for example will help attract birds and butterflies and other pollinators to your garden. Add plants that offer vertical growth, such as sun flowers. Remember the rule of three, always try to group three of one plant at a time for visual consistency. Planting one flower in a variety of colors can make quite the visual impact. However if you are a fan of a more minimalistic and clean look, just by simply putting large groups of a similar flower or similar bloom color can offer not only breath taking view but also a more fuss-free garden solution.

Some of us have some more difficult challenges when it comes to space for our gardens. However even if you live in a high rise condominium with little more than a balcony you can still enjoy a potted flower garden. The first step is selecting the right plant for the right pot. This will make all the difference in your container garden. I Look for plants suited to the area the container will be located. For example does the space have full sun or is it under a tree, or in the shade of another building. A porous pot, like clay, allows water to evaporate, and is better suited to a drought-tolerant plant like succulents or ecanechia. Plastic containers obviously retain more water. So in turn they are better suited to flowers that require consistent moister like cardinals. Invasive plants are best planted alone where they can be controlled or as I like to say “free to take over”. Select plants that will share a pot by keeping heights varied to allow each plant a chance at sunlight. Also if your grouping potted flowers choose flowers that will thrive in similar conditions. You can make a dramatic statement, with a container with a single type of plant. Floral shops commonly have blooming azaleas, mums, gloxinias and cyclamen that give a beautiful and brilliant burst of color. You can pot these plants in a variety of containers. Set pots in baskets or a vase to cover the plastic containers they come in. Most floral shop flowers are considered ‘temporary’ because all of their energy has been focused on one big showy bloom. What a waste. Garden annuals, such as geraniums, petunias and begonias provide continuous blooms throughout summer. Remove wilted flowers promptly to encourage reblooming. When garden annuals are planted in a container as a single plant or in a group of the same plant they provide a mass of color. I find that grouping pots together of single plants gives depth, variety and interest. I also enjoy using containers that have an array of colors and shapes. However I have seen in my neighborhood a front porch container garden with different types of green and white flowers all in shiny glazed white pots. The pots are all different sizes as are the plants. I think the over all look is clean and chic. Another smart move is to plan a container garden that will transition from season to season. For instance, start a container garden in late fall by layering bulbs with varied bloom times such as tulip, daffodil and crocus. Nestle a container-friendly perennial in the center like, sunset hyssop or try adding a trailing variety to the edge. Perennial canna, day lily and hibiscus all do well in mixed containers. As the shoots from bulbs emerge in spring you could even add annuals between the shoots. For interest that spills into fall add plants like daylilies. I really like daylilies because they are rugged, adaptable, vigorous perennials that endure in a garden for many years with little or no care. Daylilies adapt to a wide range of soil and light conditions. They establish quickly, grow vigorously, and survive winters with little or no injury.

Flowering Bulbs are an easy way to add splashes of tropical color to your garden. You can get flower bulbs from tall stately Gladiolus to highly fragrant Oriental Lillies. Plant them as a border or in containers. Once they are grown you can even cut a few and create a beautiful and fragrant bouquet for the home or office. Bulbs require little garden space which is one of the reasons they are so great for the urban gardener. Bulbs can be planted in annual or perennial flower beds, among shrubs, under trees, and in practically every area of the landscape. They will even thrive in a pot. With careful scheduling, you could have flowering bulbs in bloom in the earliest parts of spring, and they will last until the first freeze in the late fall. I have found that the best bulbs come from reputable businesses, so I would check your local nursery. You want to be sure to make your selections at local sources as soon as the bulbs are offered for sale. I usually start looking after new years. Select large, firm, plump bulbs or roots. Do not purchase any that are bruised, blemished, or soft. During their dormant season, tulip, narcissus, and most other bulbs with a protective covering of dry scales can be stored for several weeks prior to planting, if necessary. However more fleshy bulbs and roots like lilies need to be planted immediately after purchase.

All this talk of flowers makes me want to get some for the garden right now. Planting flowers in the heat of summer seemed like a good way to end up with a bunch of dead flowers. Until I can across ‘summer flowers’. Flowers that thrive in the warmer summer months. Aster is a loved garden plant. It possess outstanding flower heads and the variety blooms, coming in an abundance of colors. Another fun verity I tend to find here in California is the prehistoric looking Bird of Paradise. Bird of Paradise is known by the individual bloom, resembling a vividly colored flying bird; it is used in landscaping quite frequently in my neighborhood. It is a tall brightly colored eye catcher. Gerbera flower is a dream for almost any gardener. This hearty flower is valued by its bright multiple colorings. This ornamental sunflower would be a welcome addition in any garden as it is the fifth most used cut flower in the world.

I absolutely love fresh cut flowers in the house. They can brighten up a room and perfume the air. Now when I am choosing cut flowers I tend to look for something that will last in jar of water. As you may or may not know cut flowers can be very pricy. I can not tell you how many of my girlfriends have broke the bank getting the flowers they wanted for their weddings. When it comes to a cost conscience flower that will stand the test of time, newly discovered (to me) the Alstroemeria, or Lily of Peru is my new personal favorite. These flowers have an exotic look. Beautifully spotted and marked perennials alstroemeria, are lily-like flowers with deep, thick roots. They grow two to three feet tall on strong, branched stems. Each trumpet-shaped flower is an inch or two in diameter. Flowers come in pink, rose, purple, yellow, cream, orange, and white and are spotted or streaked with contrasting colors. At my local farmers market these flowers are found in the three dollar bucket. With little more than sugar water these flowers have lasted for over a week in my house. But when it comes to fragrance I am a sucker for aster lilies. Although they are generally a little price than Peruvian cousins these aromatic beauties don’t cost near as much as they look like they do. I like to buy them closed so that they will bloom at home. These gorgeous flowers will generally live for about a week. However if we are talking longevity, fragrance and price I have found nothing better than lavender. I love these versatile flowers. They look just as magnificent fresh and alive as they do dry. They have a sort of clean floral smell which is why I suppose you’ll find lavender in soaps, deodorants and potpourri. I also enjoy lavender in some foods as well as teas. I can usually find them at the farmers market come June. Once a year I like to get a fresh bunch for potpourri and use last years dried out ones in cooking. Or put some in an old sock and tuck it away with winter cloths and blanket to keep everything smelling fresh While it is being stored.

Not all flowers for the house need be cut. There are a variety of excellent indoor flowers. My personal favorite is my bromilliad. The hot pink and lavender flower makes it look like it was plucked right out of the fantasy jungles of the Avatar movie. This flower collects it’s water in sort of cup at the center of the plant. The first time it flowers you should get only one flower shooting form the center. When the flower dies you simply cut the whole thing back and another tube like spiral of green will be birthed out for the bottom. Then you will have two blooms and so on. Another common house flower is the African violet. These soft, puffy, little vibrant flowers are a deep violet color. African violets are easy to grow for the beginning gardener, yet offer a wide range of cultivars to satisfy the serious grower. African violets adapt well to typical growing conditions found in the home. Because of their small stature, they also adapt well to limited space gardens such as those in apartments with just a few windowsills. My mother kills most house plants. She typically will look for something that is hearty and low maintenance. The one flower I remember her not killing as a child was a peace lily. This waxy looking flower was a survivor in our household. With that said I just sort of assume if my mom could manage to keep this flower alive for years than anyone could do it. If you want something a littler more challenging I have always loved orchids. I have found that these flowers thrive in the bathroom. They love the steam form your shower. These flowers need special food, soil, pots and much more so I would not suggest these plant for the novice flower gardener, but hey we all got to start somewhere huh. I can say I had no experience when I bought my first orchid in 1998 but everything I learned I learned along the way.

It doesn’t matter if they are in your house or in the yard, in a pot with soil or in mason jar with river rocks and water. Flowers have been a central part of our humanity throughout the ages. A symbol of love, a symbol of peace flowers have played an integral part in our lives and our history. That is why we would like to take a moment to remind you to stop and smell the roses.

Continue Reading