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Archive for Focus on Flowers

December 30, 2010

Ellen Biddle Shipman

This trail-blazing female landscape architect, born in 1869, began her career in 1912. When she died at 81 in 1950, she had designed over 600 gardens.

December 23, 2010

Enclosures Can Create A Feeling Of Refuge

Pergolas provide not only walls, but also ceilings, with the possibility of plants growing between the series of horizontal beams, to create shade.

December 16, 2010

Using Italian Styles In The Garden

Classical Italian gardens are usually formal and constructed symmetrically with intersecting pathways, a central fountain and clipped topiaries and hedges.

December 9, 2010

Christmas Cactus

A cactus in full bloom is guaranteed to lift one’s spirits.

December 2, 2010

Less Is More: Limiting Elements In Horticultural Design

Japanese garden design is well known for its focus on different shades and textures of foliage, with a minimal use of flowers.

November 25, 2010

Annual Sweet-Peas Smell So Good In The Poem "A Child's Vision"

Lilac and lavender, roses and annual sweet-peas have distinctive and memorable scents.

November 18, 2010

Healthy Soil

To improve the soil in an established garden, simply shred the leaves that accumulate from the trees in your yard and spread them over the garden beds.

November 11, 2010

Future Flowers: Plant Bulbs Now For Spring Enjoyment

I am now digging big wide round holes and placing lots of bulbs of different sizes and bloom times all together at differing depths.

November 4, 2010

To Be Remedied Next Summer

In the fall when I look at my garden, and possibly when you look at yours, there are so many things that seem to need a remedy next summer.

October 28, 2010

Tender Tropicals

All tropical plants must be kept from freezing and stored in a state of dormancy. Lack of warmth inhibits growth, which is why cool temperatures are best.

October 21, 2010

Television For Plants

Experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats stated that since plants are rooted and cannot travel he thought that they would like to see videos of other locations.

October 14, 2010

A Euphorbia Cultivar Named "Cherry Cobbler"

Last Spring, I received a lovely gift from my friend Marie Louise. It was a euphorbia cultivar named ‘Cherry Cobbler’.

October 7, 2010

Borrowed Views: Neighbors' Gardens Frame Plantings In One's Own

Look at your autumn garden and your borrowed views and maybe add a few echoes of your neighbor’s colorful specimens in your own plantings next spring.

September 30, 2010

"Survivor Plants" Remain Elegant Even In Hot, Dry Weather

Natives with long tap roots like the bright orange butterfly weed were completely unfazed by the heat, as were shrubs like crepe myrtles and caryopteris.

September 23, 2010

Perennial Mums

To grow mums as perennials here in the Midwest, it is best to buy small plants in the spring and pinch them back in the summer for more blooms in the fall.

September 16, 2010

Verbascum (Mullein) Offers An Imposing Architectural Presence

Most species in the Verbascum genus have gray, woolly leaves born in a rosette at the base of the plant and erect bloom stalks covered in very small flowers. There are about 360 species, and the majority is biennials. The common name is mullein, and it likes full sun and well drained, but not rich, soil.

September 9, 2010

Aegopodium (goutweed) has one very bad habit

Goutweed can grow up to 3 feet tall and to an indefinite width. Therein lies the problem, the indefinite width is a polite way of describing the plant’s rampant spread by underground rhizomes. It loves moist soil and partial shade, and even a tiny piece of root will sprout.

September 2, 2010

Flowers for the Virgin Mary

Within the Roman Catholic Church properties worldwide, there are many gardens dedicated to the mother of Jesus. Many are rose gardens, but others also contain many different types of lilies, marguerites, marigolds, rosemary, virgin’s bower clematis, and many other flowers that are associated with Mary, too.

August 26, 2010

St. Cecilia and Spirituality in Gardening

It has been said that when the weather is cold, as in British gardens, there are paths for walking, and where the weather is hot as in desert areas of the world, there are more pools and places to lounge. However, despite minor design differences related to the weather, most religious faiths seem to use a garden as a metaphor for heaven.

August 19, 2010

St. Francis Garden: Providing Food And Water For God's Creatures

There are some sacred gardens known as saint’s gardens that are designed to honor a particular person and reveal a vision of God through nature. Usually the specific saint’s spirit and philosophy is embedded in the character of the garden, and there is at least one statue of the saint to whom the garden is dedicated.

August 12, 2010

Peony Problems: Buds But No Blossoms?

Many of us in the Midwest are planting even more peonies than ever because they are deer resistant. However, these easy-care plants do have some problems. One is buds that never develop into blooms.

August 5, 2010

James Oswald's Airs for the Seasons

The composer of the music entitled "Airs for the Seasons" is Scotland's most famous 18th Century composer James Oswald, who was born in 1710 and died in 1769. I listened to a recording of his 48 Floral Suites each representing a particular shrub or flower, played by the Broadside Band.

July 29, 2010

Adding Charm Throughout The Year: Airy Perovskia

Perovskia is known by the common name Russian sage and is native to central Asia. It is a strong grower though looks delicate. However, it is not aggressive, even though it is a member of the mint family. Its pungent scent is a valuable asset as deer dislike it, and so this is a plant that usually blooms where it is planted.

July 22, 2010

Growing Campanula Bells (Bellflowers)

Campanulas, or bellflowers to use their common name, are plants with bell-shaped blue or white blooms, and they range in height from ground-hugging dwarfs to plants that grow to 6 feet. A gardener who plants a number of different types can have bloom for most of the summer.

July 15, 2010

Stalwarts In The Garden: Hardy Hellebores

Although their early spring blooms are especially treasured, hellebores are stalwarts in the garden during all seasons. Long lived, shade loving, deer resistant, hellebores have handsome evergreen or semi evergreen foliage depending on the harshness of the winter conditions.

July 8, 2010

SunPatiens: Impatiens That Won't Wilt In Full Sun

Plant breeders have been busy, and now SunPatiens® is the newest member of the impatiens family, and as one would guess, it is a sun tolerant variety of the tried-and-true favorite annual. It also is advertised as blooming longer and being bushier than the impatiens that we all use in our shady spaces.

July 1, 2010

Malvas (Mallows): Self Seeding And Abundant For Bouquets

The malva plant is a mainstay in my cutting garden. The flowers are followed by small round seed heads that are similar to wheel-shaped cheeses. Because there are so many of these on each plant, they self seed well, and I have sufficient that the munching deer leave a few for me to enjoy in my bouquets.

June 24, 2010

Euphorbia (spurge): A Vigorous Relative Of Poinsettia

Euphorbia, commonly called spurge, is related to Poinsettia, as the outer bracts look like flowers. There is usually a single colorful female bract, actually a leaf, surrounded by male bracts born beneath the inconspicuous true flowers.

June 17, 2010

Dwarf Spiraea Shrubs

Because the deer do not eat the spiraeas in my garden, I am becoming more and more devoted to these shrubs. I would never have predicted this would happen, but one’s preferences are often shaped by unforeseen circumstances – in life as well as in the garden.

June 10, 2010

Cicely Mary Barker: A Leaf Umbrella

Cicely Mary Barker wrote a poem for children called “The Song of the Nasturtium Fairy.” Like all of her poetry, it is old fashioned and whimsical. She visualizes a nasturtium fairy using a leaf as an umbrella, or as she says, a brolly.

June 3, 2010

Nasturtiums: A Peppery Nose Twister

Tropaeolum minor was first found growing in Mexico and Peru and introduced to England in 1574. The English called the plant Indian Cress because the leaves tasted sharp. The peppery taste and characteristic scent led to the name “nasturtium,” which is from the Latin word meaning “nose twister.”

May 27, 2010

Balloon Flowers

Balloon flowers enjoy sandy, well drained soil in full sun or partial shade and after planting they do not like to be disturbed, so cannot be divided. Seeds can be sown in the spring, but most gardeners buy young plants from garden centers so that they will bloom the first summer they are planted.

May 20, 2010

Listening to the Iris

These flowers appeal to all of the senses, according to Collette who wrote “I can hear the iris bloom... We too can listen to the iris. And if we are very still and attentive to our flowers, one day like Collette, we may even hear one open.

May 13, 2010

Death of A Flower

Many of us who love to grow tulips in our gardens have visiting deer who love to eat them. It seems to be such a violent death for a bud or flower. The poet E. J.Scovell must not have had deer in her garden because she describes a more gradual demise.

May 6, 2010

Reviving a Tulip

Sometimes we can prolong the life of a cut flower like a tulip by cutting the stem shorter and placing the flower in deep water in a tall narrow vase, which provides support and keeps the bloom upright.

April 29, 2010

Garlic Chives' Many Virtues Makes Them Worth The Bother

The botanical name is Allium tuberosum, and it produces small globes of starry white flowers in mid-summer and blooms for about a month. The flowers are as attractive to bees as they are to gardeners.

April 22, 2010

Ferny Corydalis, an enthusiastic self-sowing perennial

There are about 300 species of Corydalis, both perennial and biennial, belonging to the poppy family. Give these plants full sun to partial shade where summers are not too hot and well-drained soil with regular moisture.

April 15, 2010

A Gilly-Flower (European wallflower)

Since the poem I read mentions “gilly flowers of gold” it is likely that the poet John Drinkwater was referring to the European wallflower that has spikes of yellow blooms with brown markings. Wallflowers are still frequently seen in English gardens even today, though they are rarely grown in America.

April 8, 2010

April's the busy month, the month that grows... (poem)

A brief poem by Vita Sackville-West about the growth occurring during the month of April.

April 1, 2010

Freezing Plants

At this time of year, gardeners must still beware of late freezes. A severe freeze causes water to freeze inside the plant's cells, irrevocably injuring them.

March 25, 2010

Temperature And Its Effects On Emerging Spring Plants

Freezing temperatures at the end of winter may injure plants that have started growing for Spring.

March 18, 2010

Frost: Know Your Zone, Climate And Microclimates

Gardeners need to be aware of the frost dates in their region. This means the date of the last frost in the springtime and the first frost in autumn.

March 11, 2010

Storehouses of energy...the miracle of bulbs!

All types of bulbs have one thing in common and that is that they are self contained storehouses of energy. They burst forth and bloom at their appointed time when the moisture and temperature levels trigger their respective awakenings. It is orchestrated in a way that seems quite miraculous.

March 4, 2010

Growing And Caring For African Violets

African violets are propagated from leaf cuttings and stem cuttings and provide wonderfully diverse flower forms in purple, pink, violet white and rose shades.

February 25, 2010

Prolonging Life for Cut Flowers

Our winter homes are not ideal environments for cut flowers to flourish in. Fortunately, there are still ways to make sure they have a long life.

February 18, 2010

Drinks with Flowers

Laura M.Holson wrote: "Recently floral concoctions and aromatic blossoms have moved out of the kitchen and behind the bar."

February 11, 2010

How To Make Rose Water

Rose water is a natural tonic that hydrates the skin and helps restore the skin’s moisture balance. It also allegedly firms and refines pores. In addition, it smells divine.

February 4, 2010

Edible Flowers

There are many plants that produce edible flowers and are safe to eat if they are grown without the use of pesticides.

January 28, 2010

Edible Flowers And Ice Cubes

Try freezing edible flowers into ice cubes for a unique touch to your dinner party drinks.

January 21, 2010

Make Your Pots Pop With Licorice Plant

Silvery foliage plants such as the licorice plant are invaluable for container gardening as they enhance the impact of more showy, colorful annuals.

January 14, 2010

The Varieties of Jasmine

Jasmine's latin name, "jasmine polyanthum", meaning "many flowers", is telling of this plant's variety. This vine is known for its fragrance and its history.

January 7, 2010

Cyclamen: Caring For Cold Weather Houseplants

Those of us who live in cold climates love houseplants that will flower indoors in winter and one with great appeal is the cyclamen.

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