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Thursday, 26 November 2020
Thursday, 19 November 2020
Osteospermum. the daisybushes, is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Calenduleae, one of the smaller tribes of the sunflower/daisy family Asteraceae. There are about 50 species, native to Africa, 35 species in southern Africa, and the southwestern Arabian Peninsula. They are half-hardy perennials or sub-shrubs. Therefore they do not survive outdoor wintry conditions, but there is still a wide range of hardiness.
Osteospermum are popular in cultivation, where they are frequently used in summer bedding schemes in parks and gardens. Numerous hybrids and cultivars have been grown with a wide range of tropical colors. Yellow cultivars tend to have a yellow center (sometimes off-white). Plants prefer a warm and sunny position and rich soil, although they tolerate poor soil, salt or drought well.
Thursday, 12 November 2020
Verbena rigida, known as slender vervain or tuberous vervain, is a flowering herbaceous perennial plant in the family Verbenaceae. It is native to Brazil and Argentina, and is not fully hardy in temperate climates, where consequently it is grown from seed as an annual.
Growing to 60 centimetres, it has a spreading habit, with stalkless toothed leaves and bright purple or magenta, scented flowers in summer. Numerous cultivars have been selected for garden use. The species has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Thursday, 5 November 2020
Nigella damascena (love-in-a-mist, ragged lady) is an annual garden flowering plant, belonging to the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. It is native to southern Europe (but adventive in more northern countries of Europe), north Africa and southwest Asia, where it is found on neglected, damp patches of land.
The specific epithet damascena relates to Damascus in Syria. The plant's common name comes from the flower being nestled in a ring of multifid, lacy bracts. It is also sometimes called devil-in-the-bush.
It grows to 20–50 cm (8–20 in) tall, with pinnately divided, thread-like, alternate leaves. The flowers, blooming in early summer, are most commonly different shades of blue, but can be white, pink, or pale purple, with 5 to 25 sepals. The actual petals are located at the base of the stamens and are minute and clawed. The sepals are the only coloured part of the perianth. The seed capsule becomes brown in late summer. The plant self-seeds, growing on the same spot year after year.
This easily-grown plant has been a familiar subject in English cottage gardens since Elizabethan times, admired for its ferny foliage, spiky flowers and bulbous seed-heads. It is now widely cultivated throughout the temperate world, and numerous cultivars have been developed for garden use. The related Nigella sativa (and not N. damascena) is the source of the spice variously known as nigella, kalonji or black cumin.
Thursday, 29 October 2020
Strelitzia reginae is a monocotyledonous flowering plant indigenous to South Africa. Common names include Strelitzia, Crane Flower or Bird of Paradise, though these names are also collectively applied to other species in the genus Strelitzia. Its scientific name commemorates Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, queen consort of the United Kingdom, wife of H.M. King George III.
The species is native to South Africa but naturalised in Mexico, Belize, Bangladesh, Madeira Islands and Juan Fernández Islands off the coast of Chile. The plant grows to 2 m tall, with large, strong leaves 25–70 cm long and 10–30 cm broad, produced on petioles up to 1 m long. The leaves are evergreen and arranged in two ranks, making a fan-shaped crown.
The flowers stand above the foliage at the tips of long stalks. The hard, beak-like sheath from which the flower emerges is termed the spathe. This is placed perpendicular to the stem, which gives it the appearance of a bird's head and beak; it makes a durable perch for holding the sunbirds which pollinate the flowers. The flowers, which emerge one at a time from the spathe, consist of three brilliant orange sepals and three purplish-blue petals. Two of the blue petals are joined together to form an arrow-like nectary. When the sunbirds sit to drink the nectar, the petals open to cover their feet in pollen.
Thursday, 22 October 2020
Tragopogon porrifolius is a plant cultivated for its ornamental flower and edible root. It also grows wild in many places and is one of the most widely known species of the salsify genus, Tragopogon. It is commonly known as purple or common salsify, oyster plant, vegetable oyster, Jerusalem star, Jack go to bed, goatsbeard or simply salsify (although these last two names are also applied to other species, as well).
Tragopogon porrifolius is a common biennial wildflower, native to southeast Europe and north Africa, but introduced elsewhere, for example, into the British Isles (mainly in central and southern England), other parts of northern Europe, North America, and southern Africa and in Australia.
In the UK it flowers from May to September, but in warmer areas such as California it can be found in bloom from April. The flower head is about 5 cm across, and each is surrounded by green bracts which are longer than the petals (technically, the ligules of the ray flowers). The flowers are like that of Tragopogon pratensis, but are larger and dull purple, 3–5 cm across. The flowers are hermaphroditic, and pollination is by insects.
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Thursday, 15 October 2020
Malus is a genus of about 30–55 species of small deciduous apple trees or shrubs in the family Rosaceae, including the domesticated orchard apple (M. pumila). The other species are generally known as crabapples, crab apples, crabs, or wild apples. The genus is native to the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere. Crabapples are popular as compact ornamental trees, providing blossom in Spring and colourful fruit in Autumn. The fruits often persist throughout Winter.
Numerous hybrid cultivars have been selected, of which 'Evereste' and 'Red Sentinel' have gained The Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Crabapples are small and sour tasting, and visually resemble a small apple, particularly some apples known as the "Lady Apple", which is also known as Pomme d'Api, Lady's Finger, Wax Apple and Christmas Apple. The tree shown here is the hybrid Malus × scheideckeri 'Exzellenz Thiel'.
Thursday, 8 October 2020
Bergenia (elephant-eared saxifrage, elephant's ears) is a genus of ten species of flowering plants in the family Saxifragaceae, native to central Asia, from Afghanistan to China and the Himalayan region. They are clump-forming, rhizomatous, evergreen perennials with a spirally arranged rosette of leaves 6–35 cm long and 4–15 cm broad, and pink flowers produced in a cyme.
The leaves are large, leathery, ovate or cordate, and often have wavy or saw-toothed edges. For most of the year, the leaves have a glossy green colour, but in cooler climates, they turn red or bronze in Autumn. The flowers grow on a stem similar in colour to a rhubarb stalk and most varieties have cone-shaped flowers in varying shades of pink. These can range from almost white to ruby red and purple.
The common names for Bergenia are pigsqueak (due to the sound produced when two leaves are rubbed together), elephant's ears (due to the shape of the leaves) and large rockfoil. Bergenia is closely related to Mukdenia, Oresitrophe, Astilboides and Rodgersia. The creator of the taxonomic genus name, Conrad Moench, honoured the German botanist and physician Karl August von Bergen by coining the name Bergenia in 1794.
Thursday, 1 October 2020
Rosa ‘Lorraine Lee’ was bred by a famous Australian Rose Breeder, Alister Clark in 1924. It is named after Lorraine Lee, who was born in Melbourne in 1890, and was a cousin of Jessie Clark, Alister’s niece. During World War I, Lorraine worked in the Women’s Land Army in England and the Ministry of Munitions, earning an MBE for her dedication. In 1920, on a visit to Australia, Alister showed her his unnamed rose seedlings and asked her to choose one. The rose she chose became Alister Clark’s most famous and popular rose ‘Lorraine Lee”.
The unique characteristic of this rose is its winter flowering. When nearly every other rose in the garden is asleep, Lorraine Lee is still flowering and will continue to do so until early spring when it should be pruned – it will recommence flowering early November. As a bush, Lorraine Lee can grow into a large 2m x 2m plant with dark glossy leaves. It is reasonably disease resistant. Watch out for its thorns. They are sharp, big and dangerous. Keep it well away from driveways and paths.
Its soft pink-apricot hybrid tea flowers begin as long, pointed elegant buds and open to a cupped bloom, with a superb strong fragrance. Regular removal of spent blooms will ensure this rose is almost constantly in flower. A climbing version of Lorraine Lee is also available, but it needs plenty of room as it is reasonably vigorous. Lorraine Lee is probably the most popular of all Australian bred roses and as a winter bloomer, deserves a place in all rose gardens and a perfect choice for the July ‘Rose of the Month’.
Thursday, 24 September 2020
Salvia guaranitica (Anise-scented sage, Hummingbird sage, blue sage) in the Lamiaceae family is a species of Salvia native to a wide area of South America, including Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. It is a perennial subshrub growing 1.2 to 1.5 m tall, spreading into a large patch through its spreading roots. The leaves are ovate, 4 cm long and nearly as wide, with a fresh mint green colour, and an anise scent when crushed.
The inflorescences are up to 25 cm long with flowers in various shades of blue, including an uncommonly true blue. In cold regions, flowering begins in mid summer and continues until frost. Salvia guaranitica is a popular ornamental plant in mild areas. It grows in either full or three quarter sunlight, in well drained soil. Numerous cultivars have been selected, including 'Argentine Skies' (pale blue flowers), 'Black and Blue' (very dark violet blue calyx), 'Blue Ensign' (large blue flowers), and 'Purple Splendor' (Light purple flowers). The cultivar 'Blue Enigma', with pure blue flowers, has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.