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Archive for Focus on Flowers

December 29, 2006

Riley's Lyrics

The stanzas just read were included in Riley’s book of love lyrics published in 1883.<span> </span>This book also includes a number of poems where roses are used to symbolize his beloved.</span>

December 28, 2006

Tennyson's Song

Alfred, Lord Tennyson used a garden metaphor when he wrote about an old year coming to a close.  He called his poem, "Song."

December 21, 2006

Constance Spry: Timeless Books for Flower Arrangers

Antique shops and used book stores often have books on flower arranging that were published many years ago.  I recently found a 1950s book by the well known English flower arranger, Constance Spry.

December 14, 2006

Gifts for Gardeners

There may be some flower gardeners on your gift list this December, and if so I can assure you, they love flower-related offerings.  Flower enthusiasts love holiday gift certificates so that they can dream all winter about the plants they can buy.

December 7, 2006


One of the disadvantages of gardening in a cold climate is that we have no flowers in our gardens at this time of the year.  Of course there are always flowers growing somewhere all year round, so we can always buy them even when we can't grow them.

November 30, 2006

Skeleton Flowers

November is the month when flower gardeners who have not yet cut down all of their herbaceous plants may still find a few specimens in the garden for dried bouquets.

November 23, 2006

A New Introduction

As temperatures cool outside, gardeners who love flowers are still thinking about them and reading about them.  I have been reading about a new hydrangea that should be available in our local nurseries next spring.

November 16, 2006

Oasis Floral Foam

As Thanksgiving approaches, it is time to think about making floral centerpieces for the table.  So that guests can see each other across the table, centerpieces should be low.  We use a shallow low container, such as a bowl, and a block of oasis, the green florist foam into which the stems are set.

November 9, 2006

Seasonal Changes

Perhaps the adage "absence makes the heart grow fonder" applies also to flowers, predictably seasonal since gardens have been described as metaphors for life.  "To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven."

November 2, 2006

Fall Garden Chores

There are always some nice days in November that entice gardeners outside to rake leaves, cut down perennials, clean tools and roll up hoses.  Fall, however, is a season where we must be motivated by long term garden goals, as tidiness not flowers, is the immediate gratification.

October 26, 2006

Revisions in Design

This would, of course, be a major strategic shift for me as I have been trying to have something always in bloom in every bed.  But maybe shifting the focus of attention could be a way of cultivating the genius of the ground.

October 19, 2006

A Pass-Along Mum

The flowers look a little like those of "Clara Curtis" but "Sheffield" is much more vigorous and the flowers are large with great substance, and they last two weeks in a vase.

October 12, 2006


The smaller alliums bloom later than the giants. Try the ‘drumstick', a dark purple, which blooms in July and naturalizes well, or Allium ‘Moly Jeannine', which throws up 2 inch umbels of bright yellow florets in May. There are so many to choose from, and the more you have the more you will want.

October 5, 2006

Amsonia: Blue Stars

There are some perennials that provide an added bonus of foliage that changes color in the fall.  For example, some species of Amsonia feature brilliant yellow foliage.

September 28, 2006


Shrubs are invaluable in the garden, and one shrub, Callicarpa, lights up the fall landscape.  It is often referred to as "Beauty Berry" or "Jewel Berry" because it is the berries, rather than the flowers, that make it sensational.

September 21, 2006

Multiples Through Division

Cool fall days give gardeners the incentive to divide perennials, so the new starts can be established before the winter.  The hardy geraniums, commonly knows as cranesbills, are easy to divide and good weed inhibitors.

September 14, 2006

Touches of Black

So much has been written about color in the garden, but in recent years there has been a trend to include touches of black. 

September 7, 2006


Helenium is a plant that was apparently named for Helen of Troy, so some plant collector must have been a classicist at heart as it is a native of North and Central America. Unfortunately its common name is sneezyweed, which is unfair as well as misleading as the plants do not cause sneezing.

August 31, 2006


The name helianthus is from the Greek "helias" meaning sun and "anthos" flower.  Members of the aster family, these natives are commonly called sunflowers.  They are usually tall, often coarse plants with daisy like yellow and gold flowers.

August 24, 2006

Aconitum: Monkshood

Interestingly, different colored blues can usually be grouped together quite successfully, and clump of blue in the distance seems to melt the boundary of a garden and creates a feeling of spaciousness.

August 17, 2006

Ubiquitous Design

He finally decided that the secret was overlapping and interlacing colonies of plants that bloomed at different seasons so that no space in the bed was ever vacant.  He selected plants with a view towards harmony of growth and color across all seasons.

August 10, 2006

Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker)

In her book "The Once and Future Gardener," Virginia Clayton provides examples of articles that were published in popular American gardens magazines between 1900 and 1940.  One article by Helen Wilson focused on spire-like flowers.

August 3, 2006

Achillea: Yarrow

There are many species of achillea, commonly known as Yarrow.  They are all members of the Aster family and the botanical name commemorates the Greek hero Achilles, who is said to have used achillea plants to heal the wounds of the soldiers after battles.

July 27, 2006

Queen Anne's Lace

Learn all about Queen Anne's Lace on this, Focus on Flowers.

July 13, 2006


Sometimes there are wet spots in a garden that need permanent plantings to convert a liability into an asset.  Ligularias are perennials that can be left undisturbed for years without needing to be divided.

June 29, 2006


Except for needing some pruning from time to time, Weigela are really undemanding shrubs and also readily available at a reasonable price.

June 26, 2006


Learn all about the Baptisia, on this Focus on Flowers.

June 20, 2006


There are about 40 Eupatarium species of native North American wildflowers available and they like room to romp and form large clumps.  They are all members of the Aster genus and bear clusters of small fuzzy flowers in summer and early fall.

June 16, 2006

Climbing Hydrangea

Learn all about the Climbing Hydrangea, on this Focus on Flowers.

June 8, 2006

Nepeta: Catnip

Catnip, also known as Catmint, is aptly named.  Cats love it and it is a member of the mint family.  This plant's botanical name is Nepeta.  Nepetas specialize in blue flowers and strong smelling leaves, so deer dislike them, despite their alluring effect on domestic cats.

June 1, 2006


There are about 300 different Campanulas, commonly known as “bellflowers.”

May 25, 2006


Learn all about Lilacs, on this Focus on Flowers.

May 15, 2006


Learn all about the Peony, Indiana's state flower, on this Focus on Flowers.

May 11, 2006


Learn all about Columbines on this Focus On Flowers.

May 4, 2006

Sweet Woodruff: May Wine

It is difficult to start from seed so buying a plant is the way to go.  It is a good spreader.  In spring the dainty, green leaves are topped with little flowers that look like snow flakes.

April 27, 2006

Virginia Bluebells

Learn about the Virginia Bluebells on this Focus on Flowers.

April 20, 2006


Learn all about the royal Fritillaria, on this Focus on Flowers.

April 13, 2006

Vinca Minor

The Vinca minor, also known as common periwinkle, is best known for being an easy ground cover with periwinkle blue flowers in spring.

April 7, 2006


We all need allies in the battle against weeds. Luckily, the woodland plant Epimedium helps fight off weeds in the early spring.

March 30, 2006


Its botanical name is "Taraxacum officinalis" but it is often called "blowball" because of its efficient round seed head which it holds aloft.

March 23, 2006

Brave Flowers Of March

With constant, changing weather patterns, March flowers have it rough. Learn about the "Brave Flowers of March" on this Focus on the Flowers.

March 9, 2006

Daffodil Addiction

No gardener or flower lover in this area can imagine spring without daffodils. Yet in parts of the globe where winters are not cold enough to chill the bulbs.

March 2, 2006

March Miracles

Gardeners are anxious for spring at this time of year. However, there are some preliminary tasks you can carry out to get ready for the season.

February 26, 2006

Brave Early Bloomers

In late February in my Midwestern garden, I delight in the green, sprouting foliage of little bulbs. It is evidence that the tiniest flowers are the bravest.

February 19, 2006

Conditioning Cut Flowers: Making Them Last Longer

Make sure you follow certain steps so that your cut flowers last in your home until the end of winter.

February 16, 2006

The Miracle Of Spring

Spring is loaded with metaphoric and religious meaning. What meaning does it have for you?

February 2, 2006

Retail Therapy: Buying Flowers In Winter

Selecting flowers to buy in February is wonderful therapy to offset the bleakness of winter. Remember some of these ideas when buying flowers...

January 19, 2006

The Man And Method Behind Gardener's Latin

Ever wonder about the Latin names of the plants and flowers in your garden? Carl Linnaeus, an 18th century Swedish botanist, is the one responsible.

January 15, 2006

The Beauty Of Flowered Trees, No Matter The Season

Flowering trees are great treasures in a garden and an asset in any season, whether they're flowered or bare.

January 12, 2006

The History Of Women (In The Midwest!) As Talented Potters

Even in the Midwest centers for creating ceramics were established, inspired by the 19th century Arts and Crafts Movement. Both men and women flourished as skilled potters in places such as Rookwood Pottery in Cincinnati Ohio and the home of the Overbeck sisters in Cambridge City, Indiana.

January 5, 2006

Paper White Narcissus

After the holidays, gardeners often seek tender bulbs that bloom indoors such as the Paper White Narcissus. They will light up our homes and hearts in winter.

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