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1. Every Friday post a photo that includes one or more flowers.
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When to Post:
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Thursday, 20 June 2019

FFF394 - PHLOX

Phlox drummondii in the Polemoniaceae family has been around in various cultivars for many decades. Native to Texas, it is also widely distributed in the southeastern United States, especially along public highways. P. drummondii is often used as an ornamental plant. The flowers have a wide range of colours from white and cream through pinks, lilacs, roses, purples and reds, to almost black.

Phlox drummondii is named after Scottish botanist Thomas Drummond, who sent it and a variety of other plant samples back to Britain following his 1833–1835 expedition to Texas. It is an annual, growing from seed each year. The branches have sharp, pointed, lengthy, ciliated leaves with rounded flowers. The flowers are single or double, with lightly scented, flat, star-shaped petals. The flowers mature to 2.5 cm in diameter.

The plants tolerate cold weather well, but require plentiful watering and dislike drought, wind and heat. A popular cultivar the last few years is the very attractive Phlox drummondii 'Twinkle Stars' seen here. It flowers profusely, is available in a variety of colours and has a characteristic flower shape with deep indentations in the petals, reminiscent of a star. It brightens up the garden and also grows well in containers. It blooms starting early summer and continues all summer long. It likes full sun, but I have been successful with partial shade. It doesn't like being transplanted much so be careful with the root system.

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Thursday, 13 June 2019

FFF393 - CHIMONANTHUS

Chimonanthus praecox (wintersweet) has been cultivated in China for more than 1,000 years and has been introduced to Japan, Korea, Europe, Australia and the United States. It is a familiar plant in British gardens, where it is grown mainly for its gorgeous scent. The rather insignificant, creamy-yellow, waxy flowers are borne on bare stems from about December to March, with the leaves appearing later. Long esteemed in China and Japan for its fragrance, many parts of the plant are rich in essential oils and are also used for culinary and medicinal purposes.

Wintersweet was introduced to Japan from China during the 17th century, and to Britain, under the name of Calycanthus praecox, a century later. The generic name means "winter-flower', while the specific name means "precocious' as it flowers so early. It is a deciduous shrub (or sometimes with persistent leaves), up to 3 m high and wide (up to 13 m tall in the wild), with rough, opposite, dark green leaves and small, solitary, highly scented, yellowish flowers borne on short stalks in winter and spring before the leaves appear.

The outer petals (tepals) are waxy, almost transparent, in appearance, while the inner tepals are smaller and usually purplish. The flowers are beetle-pollinated.Named cultivars include Chimonanthus praecox ‘Luteus’, which has slightly larger flowers and yellow inner tepals, and C. praecox ‘Grandiflorus’, a larger shrub, with bigger leaves and larger, but less strongly scented, pure yellow flowers, with red-stained inner tepals.

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Thursday, 6 June 2019

FFF392 - BLUE WATERLILY

Nymphaea nouchali, or by its synonym Nymphaea stellata, or by name star lotus, red and blue water lily, blue star water lily, is a water lily of the genus Nymphaea. It is the national flower of Sri Lanka and of Bangladesh. This aquatic plant is native from the Indian Subcontinent to the Australian region. It has been long valued as a garden flower in Thailand and Myanmar to decorate ponds and gardens.

In its natural state, N. nouchali is found in static or slow-flowing aquatic habitats of little to moderate depth. Nymphaea nouchali is a day-blooming nonviviparous plant with submerged roots and stems. Part of the leaves are submerged, while others rise slightly above the surface. The leaves are round and green on top; they usually have a darker underside. The floating leaves have undulating edges that give them a crenellate appearance. Their size is about 20–23 cm and their spread is 0.9 to 1.8 m.

This water lily has a beautiful flower which is usually violet blue in colour with reddish edges. Some varieties have white, purple, mauve or fuchsia-coloured flowers, hence its name red and blue water lily. The flower has 4-5 sepals and 13-15 petals that have an angular appearance making the flower look star-shaped from above. The cup-like calyx has a diameter of 11–14 cm.

N. nouchali is used as an ornamental plant because of its spectacular flowers. It is also popular as an aquarium plant under the name "Dwarf Lily" or "Dwarf Red Lily". Sometimes it is grown for its flowers, while other aquarists prefer to trim the lily pads, and just have the underwater foliage. Nymphaea nouchali is considered a medicinal plant in Indian Ayurvedic medicine under the name Ambal; it was mainly used to treat indigestion.

Like all waterlilies or lotuses, its tubers and rhizomes can be used as food items; they are eaten usually boiled or roasted. In the case of N. nouchali, its tender leaves and flower peduncles are also valued as food. The dried plant is collected from ponds, tanks and marshes during the dry season and used in India as animal forage.

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Thursday, 30 May 2019

FFF391 - BERGENIA

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 the 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.

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Thursday, 23 May 2019

FFF390 - CORREA

Correa is a genus of flowering plants in the family Rutaceae, with bell-shaped flowers, native mainly to eastern Australia. There are about 11 species in the genus and 26 subspecies. Natural hybridisation between the species makes taxonomic relationships within this genus problematic. There are also hundreds of named cultivars, many of which have been registered with the Australian Cultivar Registration Authority (ACRA). The genus Correa is named after the Portuguese botanist José Correia da Serra (1750–1823), known as Abbé Correa.

Correa 'Ray's Tangerine' (Tangerine Australian Fuchsia) is slow growing compact evergreen shrub growing eventually to about 0.5-1 meter by only a bit wider, with closely paired shiny dark 2 cm long green leaves. The vibrant 4 cm long orange bell-shaped flowers are on display during the Autumn through Winter.

Grow in sun or partial shade, with good drainage. Tolerant of drought but best with regular water during dry periods. Hardy to about -7˚C. In the Appendix to the Encyclopaedia of Australian Plants authors Rodger Elliot and David Jones note that it is a hybrid between "Correa pulchella and a broad-bellied selection of C. reflexa var. scabridula from Carpenter Rocks, SA". It is an Australian fuchsia that stays small and has bright, shiny, dark-green leaves and vibrant orange flowers that bloom in Autumn and Winter. It grows well in containers or in-ground in gardens.

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Thursday, 16 May 2019

FFF389 - LOQUAT

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a species of flowering plant in the family Rosaceae, native to south-central China. It is a large evergreen shrub or small tree, grown commercially for its yellow fruit, and also cultivated as an ornamental plant.

Eriobotrya japonica was formerly thought to be closely related to the genus Mespilus, and is still sometimes known as the Japanese medlar. It is also known as Japanese plum and Chinese plum. Loquats are unusual among fruit trees in that the flowers appear in the autumn or early winter, and the fruits are ripe in late winter or early spring.

The flowers are 2 cm in diameter, white, with five petals, and produced in stiff panicles of three to ten flowers. The flowers have a sweet, heady aroma that can be smelled from a distance. These trees are currently in bloom in Melbourne.

Loquat fruits, growing in clusters, are oval, rounded or pear-shaped, 3–5 cm long, with a smooth or downy, yellow or orange, sometimes red-blushed skin. The succulent, tangy flesh is white, yellow or orange and sweet to subacid or acid, depending on the cultivar.Each fruit contains 2-3 large brown seeds. The skin, though thin, can be peeled off manually if the fruit is ripe. The fruits are the sweetest when soft and orange. The flavour is a mix of peach, citrus and mild mango.

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Thursday, 9 May 2019

FFF388 - SEASIDE DAISY

Erigeron karvinskianus is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae known by the common names Mexican fleabane, Latin American fleabane, Santa Barbara daisy, Spanish daisy, Karwinsky’s fleabane, or bony-tip fleabane. Erigeron karvinskianus is native to much of Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Venezuela, and is naturalized in many other places, including parts of Africa and Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, Chile and the west coast of the United States.

Erigeron karvinskianus was first described in 1836 by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle. The specific epithet refers to Wilhelm Friedrich Karwinski von Karwin, who collected the plant in Mexico according to de Candolle.

Erigeron karvinskianus is a vigorous, spreading perennial plant growing from woody rhizomes to a maximum height of 15 cm. Its leaves are located along the stem, the basal leaves dying off as the plant bolts. They are sometimes slightly toothed or lobed near the tips. The inflorescences hold one or more flower heads which are each about 1 cm wide. They have golden yellow disc florets in the centre surrounded by a fringe of up to 80 white to pinkish ray florets. 

Erigeron karvinskianus is cultivated for its daisy-like blooms, and is often confused with the closely related true daisy Bellis. It is frequently grown in crevices in walls or paving, where it rapidly spreads to provide a carpet of flowers. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. It was used to colonise the concrete terraces of the football stadium (Estadio Azteca) built in Mexico City for the 1970 World Cup.

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Thursday, 2 May 2019

FFF387 - PEA FLOWERS

The pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas, which can be green or yellow. Pea pods are botanically fruit, since they contain seeds and develop from the ovary of a (pea) flower. The name is also used to describe other edible seeds from the Fabaceae such as the pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan), the cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), and the seeds from several species of Lathyrus.

P. sativum is an annual plant, with a life cycle of one year. It is a cool-season crop grown in many parts of the world; planting can take place from winter to early summer depending on location. The average pea weighs between 0.1 and 0.36 gram. The immature peas (and in snow peas the tender pod as well) are used as a vegetable, fresh, frozen or canned; varieties of the species typically called field peas are grown to produce dry peas like the split pea shelled from the matured pod. These are the basis of pease porridge and pea soup, staples of medieval cuisine; in Europe, consuming fresh immature green peas was an innovation of Early Modern cuisine.

The wild pea is restricted to the Mediterranean basin and the Near East. The earliest archaeological finds of peas date from the late neolithic era of current Greece, Syria, Turkey and Jordan. In Egypt, early finds date from c. 4800–4400 BC in the Nile delta area, and from c. 3800–3600 BC in Upper Egypt. The pea was also present in Georgia in the 5th millennium BC. Farther east, the finds are younger. Peas were present in Afghanistan c. 2000 BC; in Harappan civilization around modern-day Pakistan and western- and northwestern India in 2250–1750 BC. In the second half of the 2nd millennium BC, this legume crop appears in the Ganges Basin and southern India.

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Thursday, 25 April 2019

FFF386 - AUTUMN ROSE

As we progress into Autumn we tend to see more rose hips than rose flowers in the gardens. However, some rose bushes still produce wonderful blossoms, such as this particular fragrant one. It was photographed in a neighbour's garden and as far she can remember it is called 'Apricot Silk'.

I looked up this hybrid and found that it is a sport of 'Souvenir de Jacques Verschuren' x seedling. It was raised by Walter Gregory and introduced into the nursery trade in 1965. It has large, fragrant yellow-pink, high-centered flowers with anywhere between 26-40 petals, with good rebloom potential in the season. It is a hybrid tea rose forming an upright, medium-tall shrub, 1-1.6 m.

It performs best in a sunny spot, with soil pH preference from slightly acid to neutral. It blooms from Spring through to Summer and Autumn. It makes for a good cut flower, although it does have thorns. It can be propagated by cuttings.

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Thursday, 18 April 2019

FFF385 - MUSSAENDA

Mussaenda is a genus of flowering plants in the Rubiaceae family. They are native to the African and Asian tropics and subtropics. Several species are cultivated as ornamental plants. It contains some 194 species. The cultivar seen here is Mussaenda philippica 'Queen Sirikit' and it is growing in the Singapore Botanical Gardens. Queen Sirikit is the Queen of Thailand. It was named to commemorate her first visit to the Philippines in the 1970's.

This Mussaenda is a tropical shrub or sub-shrub that will grow to 3 metres tall in tropical areas, but more likely will reach 1 metre tall in containers. Clusters (corymbs) of small, tubular flowers with five spreading lobes bloom in summer, however it is the large and colourful, ovate, leaf-like sepals (to 10 cm long) that provide the real ornamental display. Some individual flowers in each cluster will develop a single enlarged sepal. Elliptic to ovate, bright green leaves (to 20 cm long). Other hybrids typically feature flowers in red and/or yellow with showy sepals of white, bright red or pink.

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HAPPY EASTER TO ALL WHO CELEBRATE IT !
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