Phlowers – Gaura

The lovely pink blossoms of Gaura resemble butterflies. The flowers, growing from the base of the plant on tall stalks, easily move with the breezes giving a perfect impersonation of butterflies flitting about in the garden.

I’ve been pleased with both varieties of Gaura I’m growing in my garden. One is taller, with sparser light pink blooms, the other shorter, covered with hot pink blossoms. They are side by side and the long stems blend together creating a beautiful display all summer long.

I don’t use them as a cut flower because I’ve found the petals fall off easily. I do carefully snip the florets at their base and place them inside books to press. They dry beautifully and the flowers retain their vivid color for quite awhile.

One of my plants is two years old. The other planted this past Spring, quickly grew to a large size. I hope to plant more of these beauties, but first I will check beneath them in the Spring to see if they self-seeded. I grow them in full, hot sun, in soil that quickly drains. They will develop root rot if planted in poorly draining soil.

You can find more information on how to grow Gaura on Gardening Know How.

This post is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Phlowers – Forget-Me-Not

I love the clear blue of annual Forget-Me-Nots. The blossoms are smaller than a dime, and the foliage is unspectacular, but the way the color reflects the sky thrills me. I might try to grow a few in the house this winter. Although the flower is small, the annual variety produces a large and interesting seed, often found in wildflower seed packets.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits. ~Psalm 103:2

If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under. ~ Ronald Reagan

These beautiful annual Forget-Me-Nots are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Phlowers – Harvesting

Angelonia, in a gorgeous shade of coral, or is that fuschia, or is that pink? My pick for flower of the day and Cee’s FOTD Challenge.

I have been lax in my posting, not because I want to be, but because I am super-busy harvesting my flowers for pressing. I’ve pressed, hundreds, no, I’d say more in the thousands this summer. One reason I press so many is only one in three is perfect enough to be posted to my Etsy shop. For hydrangeas, the odds are even worse, only about one in five flowers is pristine and without spot and blemish.

I recently created a short fifteen second videotape, recommended by Etsy to advertise your shop. I thought you all might like to see me in action on my ‘Flower Farm’ harvesting flowers and foliage to press. In the Autumn, things will slow down, and I will have more time to blog.

Phlower – Daisy and Visitor


“Four things on earth are small,
yet they are extremely wise:
Ants are creatures of little strength,
yet they store up their food in the summer. ~Proverbs 30:24-25

When I downloaded my photograph of a daisy growing against the chimney I was surprised to spy a tiny ant on one of the petals. I wonder how high we would have to climb to match the ant’s ability to travel up the two foot plus daisy stem. Amazing!

This post is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Phlowers & Problem-Solving – Calendula and Whitefly Deterrents

I love this shade of yellow and am pleased that many of the Calendula seeds I sowed in the Spring are growing in my garden. Calendula are easy to grow. You can sow them indoors for early bloom, they also do well direct-sown into the ground, and are often part of wildflower seed packets. There are many medicinal uses for Calendula, making them a powerhouse plant when you consider the beauty they add to the garden. I’ve planted Calendula in hanging baskets, in pots, and in the ground. Calendula also bloom in a lovely cantaloupe shade of orange.

Unfortunately, that lovely yellow color and bright green foliage makes the Calendula a prime target of whiteflies and aphids. Aphids are easy to control with a dousing of the hose or handpicking. Whiteflies are not as easy, and need a bit of baiting to be trapped. I used the same beautiful yellow color to lure them to their demise.

I gathered a few items together, a yellow plastic cup, clear packing tape, string, scissors, and a paper clip.

I punched a hole in the bottom of the cup with the scissors, and strung the string into it with the paperclip opened up to keep it in place. I wound the tape around the cup, sticky side out, covering all the sides.

I hung this near the area of whitefly infestation.

Success! The whiteflies, attracted by the yellow, landed on the sticky tape and met their fate. It has rained, and the tape is a little less sticky now, but it’s easy to replace. This is a low-cost fix for pests with the plus of using no harsh chemicals. Brushing the plants near the trap several times a day causes the flies to swarm off the plants and helps the trap capture more of the pests.

This post is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

If you don’t want to make your own traps, whitefly sticky traps are also available in hardware stores and garden centers.

Phlowers – Flower of the Day/Fan Flower

I love Fan Flowers (Scaevola aemula) for many reasons. The fan-shaped bloom comes to mind first. The ease in growing them and the way the blossoms cascade over the edge of a hanging basket is also a plus.

They combine well in their pot with yellow and black pansies, purple heliotrope and diamond frost euphorbia.

My plants are often visited by goldfinches. They pluck the ripening seeds from the lower branches of the plant, giving me many moments to admire their beauty as they feed. Fan flowers are one of many plants that attract and shelter backyard birds.

I have a pinkish fan flower, but it is not as vibrant as the purple. I like having more choices though, and this color combines nicely with other shades of pink and purple.

Fan flowers are one of my favorites for flower pressing. If picked just after they unfurl they retain their color perfectly. They combine well with other pressed flowers.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday and Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Phlowers – Salvia Flowers and Hummingbirds

Salvias, sometimes referred to as Sage, are one of my favorite garden plants. I grow both types, perennial and annual, and find the flowers and plants rarely disappoint.

Salvias grow best in full sun, and draw hummingbirds, butterflies and many types of pollinating insects to my gardens. I have planted several in hanging baskets this year to keep them high and in full view of my kitchen window. Dinner preparations often become prime time for watching hummingbirds as they visit these plants.

A great article on various kinds of salvias can be found on the Spruce. Common types of Salvia Flowers.

This post is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Phlowers & Perspective – Cracked!

When I was much younger, and someone mentioned something that was without merit or totally crazy, the slang I would use to address their idea was often, ‘You’re cracked!’ Or if someone did something funny I might say, ‘You crack me up!’ Honestly, doesn’t it seem that suddenly so much we take for granted is CRACKED…and I mean that as crazy, broken, and out of sync due to the Covid-19 virus.

Right now, Covid-19 is all over the world, people in most civilized areas have had their normal routines shattered. As I think about this unexpected crack-up in my own life, I’m reminded of the Autumn 2019 moment I found a beautiful treasure in the cracks of my front sidewalk. As I walked over the cement blocks, little glimmers of green, and spots of color caught my eye. When I looked closer I recognized small plants, offspring of front garden coleus, growing in the bare minimum of earth gathered in the cracks. Being the scavenger that I am, I removed chunks of the dirt, plants intact, with a putty knife, placed them in a lidded produce package, and brought them indoors.

This week, which is months after I first gathered and planted the scraps of earth and small plants, my husband remarked that the sprouts growing in the cracks of the sidewalk had become the perfect arrangement.

Even better hidden beneath the larger plants are these gems:

What treasure can you find or discover in this ‘cracked’ time of  ‘social distancing?’ A new hobby, a garden, a pen-pal, blog posts, songs of praise, more time to pray; the list is endless. I hope we all find something new and special to occupy us during this time of change.

Phlowers – Laurentia/Pretty in Pink

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I’m growing Laurentia, (Isotoma axillaris) the ‘Pretty in Pink’ variety, as a container plant again this year. This lovely star-shaped flower also comes in a periwinkle blue and white. The foliage is daisy-like in a pretty green shade.

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The flowers are lovely from both front and side-view. The buds are interesting as they form and open.

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The petals have a nice curve and capture raindrops as they fall. I don’t do anything special for this plant. It grows in full sun from mid-morning until early afternoon. If the soil becomes a little dry it doesn’t seem to suffer. A few rainy days in a row don’t seem to bother it too much.

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The only problem I have found the plant to have is the leaves begin to yellow as they age. I remove them without difficulty for a better appearance. The Master Gardener Program of the University of Wisconsin says that Laurentia plants shed their spent flowers and don’t need deadheading. Shearing them back in mid-season will promote regrowth.

Laurentia are native to Australia.

This post is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

 

Phlowers – FOTD/Verbena

I press quite a few flowers over the course of the growing season and verbena is one of my favorites for this craft. I was pleased to find a pinwheel variety this year and can’t wait to see if it will hold its colors. Verbena is easily preserved between the pages of books or in a flower press. The flower is somewhere between the size of a dime and nickel. For small pressed flower arrangements it is irreplaceable. Red is usually a fugitive color in flower pressing, but verbena holds the red color for years. An entry from the Philadelphia Flower Show 1994 hangs on my wall and the verbena still has a bit of red left in its petals.

Verbena comes in a great variety of colors. Red, purple, lavender, fuschia, peach and whites. Just like my new pinwheel variety, new looks are debuted every year.

I don’t plant verbena directly in the ground. Every verbena plant I have is in a hanging basket or pot of some kind because the greatest threat to a long growing season is powdery mildew. I’ve found growing the verbena in pots protects the leaves from this problem for a longer period of time. I’ve read fungicides will work, but usually I just throw the plant away if it becomes diseased.

Verbena is my choice for Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Phlowers – Flower of the Day/Poinsettia

I know it’s a bit strange, but this poinsettia plant is my Flower of the Day. It has held onto its colorful bracts since November, and is still looking good. I think it deserves a second chance at life outside among the ivy. If I can coax it to grow after the bracts fall off or brown, I will try to get the green leaves to color up again, although I have heard it is near impossible. Still…I can dream.

Phlower & Perspective – Iris Cathedral

Purple Iris – Flower of the Day

“I have had more than half a century of such happiness. A great deal of worry and sorrow, too, but never a worry or a sorrow that was not offset by a purple iris, a lark, a bluebird, or a dewy morning glory.” ~ Mary McLeod Bethune

This regal flower reminds me today of beauty lost. How horrifying it was yesterday to witness Notre Dame in flames and realize there was nothing to be done to save it. A reminder to make the most of every moment, so much can change in just a matter of minutes or hours.

Phlowers – Matrix Yellow Purple Wing Pansy

It’s hard to make a decision. Today I stood in a greenhouse gazing at hundreds of pansies in every color imaginable. Matrix Yellow Purple Wing won out for this year. I love the contrast of deep purple and yellow, and as always, feel drawn to the flowers that resemble the face of a cat.

There is no other plant that better captures in flower form my feelings of spring.

Phlowers – A Humble Weed

It might be a weed, but I think it’s also pretty enough to be included in Cee’s Flower of the Day. Garden Cress is a wild edible. It grows luxuriantly in nooks and crannies all over my yard. This small plant has interesting leaves. I press quite a few each year to use in pressed flower crafting. You can take a look at how to press this on The Flower Ark – Pressing Garden Cress.

What you might not have noticed in the first photograph is how very small the flower is. The flowers in the first photograph would barely cover the diameter of a dime.

Phlowers – Silken Petals

Autumn Rose Scepter
Pure silk bloom of royalty
Reigning o’er chill Fall

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
                                                              ~ Matthew 6:28-30

This rose isn’t waiting for dormancy, but is blooming still. When I pick a flower, whatever the season, I have contact with the Creator of heaven and earth. Does this bring the 2018 growing season a sense of closure or will I still dream of rosebuds in December?

Today’s beautiful blossom is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Blog Post.