Phlowers – Longwood Conservatory Winter/Part 2

The Longwood Gardens Conservatory boasts a gorgeous display of orchids. Not only can you view hundreds of varieties, you can also gaze out upon the ongoing construction of Longwood Reimagined in the Orchid room. There are many signs on the grounds, and articles available on the web, that apprise visitors of the future gardens and buildings. It’s quite exciting to imagine myself walking in these structures in the future.

The orchids in today’s post are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

While the sun glare, magnified through the window, can make it difficult to take a larger photo, a close-up of these beautiful blooms in the orchid room is enhanced by the back-lighting.

There is no one dominant species of orchid in the display, but I am always drawn to the faces of the Paphiopedilums. Just like pansy blossoms, they seem to have a perky personality.

This lovely orchid almost seems artificial. The inner recesses of the labellum are sunrose yellow, the January 30th color for City Sonnet’s January Colors and Letters.

Phlowers – Six on Saturday/Longwood Conservatory Winter

Here’s a sampling of the hanging baskets in the Longwood Gardens Conservatory yesterday. It’s hard to capture the size/scale of the flower baskets. To say they are large is an understatement.

Some of the plants are: Cape-primrose (Streptocarpus), Anthuriums, Cinnamon-Wattle Acacia, Bromeliads.

My favorite walk was along the acacia passage. The Cinnamon-Wattle acacias were in bloom. The fragrance was incredible. There was definitely a feeling of enchantment present as we gazed down the corridor. Periwinkle is one of my favorite colors, and the combination of the streptocarpus with the soft yellow of the acacia was stunning. The streptocarpus are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

I also had some moments of inspiration. I don’t know if this is a hanging basket of some type for displaying flowers, a light fixture, or something totally unique to my imagination. I am determined to create better hanging basket arrangements this year for the porch and outdoors and this will be my artistic muse for the project.

As we walked within the walls the soft winter sun outdoors illuminated everything inside with a glow of Royal Silver. I wish I could somehow capture and copy the indescribable atmosphere in a watercolor painting.

Here’s a silly self-portrait of us in the conservatory; a visual description of our joy. It’s a little distorted, the mirror had a funhouse quality, but it still captured our happiness in being in a place filled with flowers and fragrance.

Phlower – Crown of Thorns

I love the soft pink of these dime-sized blooms on my Crown of Thorns, the color almost a copy of cotton candy. The plant lives outdoors on the screened-in porch for five months of the year. Through the Autumn and Winter it delights me with flowers when everything outdoors is dormant. No coddling needed, the plant is easy to grow and maintain. This beautiful flower is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Phloral Arrangements – In a Vase on Monday – Fairy Roses with Friends

In A Vase on Monday – Fairy Roses with Evergreen, Holly, and Friends.

These are the last of my 2022 garden blooms. They are among the most delicate in appearance, but oh my, though small, they are still blooming in bunches. They are a bit worn and damaged by the cold, but they are still showing new buds along the stems.

This small miniature rose is called ‘Fairy,’ and the name belies its resiliency. Fairy Rose is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

“The Fairy is a polyantha rose. Polyantha roses produce their flowers in sprays or bunches rather than as single flowers. Unlike a lot of heirloom roses that only bloom once a year in the spring, The Fairy blooms continuously from spring until fall.” Dengarden

The small angel was given to me when I was a baby. I don’t remember who, but I am so grateful to have this vintage remembrance of a time long past.

Another of my Christmas favorites showed up in my photo. Christmas is wonderful: Angels, Scrooge, The Grinch, Frosty, Rudolph, the list can go on and on. Of course, my favorite is the reason for this season, THE CHRIST CHILD. This is a good time to leave a link and reminder to watch THE NATIVITY during this special season. I am always thrilled to my core when the child is born and wish I could have been there to be in his presence. God is so good to us.

Phlower & Quotes & Pages – Mr. Lincoln Roses

These gorgeous Mr Lincoln roses were blooming in the mid-November sun this Sunday morning. Somehow, their petals stayed intact through rather heavy rain Friday and overnight. They began to emit their compelling fragrance as they warmed up in the house. Not many roses can surpass Mr Lincoln blooms for scent and beauty.

I usually don’t expect such a perfect rose in November. These blooms are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

The small hymnal in the first photo, The Gospel Hymn Book, is signed and dated 1890. Surprisingly, I found it in a local library, shelved in the Books for Sale section, available for purchase for only fifty cents. Oh my! I am blessed to have it. It is very fragile, dog-eared and spotted, bound with aged string, but the wisdom within is full of strength, power, and timeless. Under a title of Sweetness of Prayer is printed the following verse:

Come, Holy Comforter, Presence Divine,

Now in our longing hearts graciously shine;

O for Thy mighty power,

O for a blessed shower,

Filling this hallowed hour with joy divine.

Here from the World We Turn

Words: Frances Jane Crosby

Music: Tryst | William Howard Doane

Phlowers – Autumn Rose

“Do not watch the petals fall from the rose with sadness, know that, like life, things sometimes must fade, before they can bloom again.” – Anonymous

The best rose of the year is blooming today in my Autumn garden. Winter Sun was a great performer all summer, covered in flowers, abundant leaves, and strong canes. Blossoms at this time of year are scarce, but this beauty is perfect and as large as the span of my hand. Winter Sun is my Flower of the Day?

Photo Challenges – FOTD Salvias/Six on Saturday

Salvias, sometimes referred to as sage, are the champions of my Autumnal garden beds.

In truth, all SAGES are SALVIAS. Over time, though, the term sage has been closely aligned with cooking or medicinal use and the term salvia has been given to the more ornamental members of this genus. Nevertheless, Salvia is the Latin name, or Genus, given to all these plants. ~Mountain Valley Growers

The colors of my salvias have stayed vibrant through several frosty mornings.

Pineapple Sage, Salvia elegans, is my Flower of the Day, part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge

The flowers of Mexican Sage are fuzzy and remind me of purple bumblebees and velvet.

The salvias are so blossom-loaded; I felt the hummingbirds stayed too long this year, sipping their nectar through early October. I hope they have made their journey now to warmer climates.

I held a piece of this salvia up against the bluest of Autumn skies; the camera captured the velvet texture of the blossoms and the detail of the leaves. What I didn’t see when I took the photo was the small flying insect resting beneath one of the buds. This photo is part of Friday Skywatch.

Six on Saturday Collage

Phloral Arrangements – Lilies Extraordinaire

I think the ‘extraordinaire’ in my title fits this lovely vase of lilies. The bouquet is still going strong 10 days after the purchase of the flower stems. Most of the buds were closed when I brought them home, but a diagonal cut along the bottom, a bit of flower food in warmish water, and several lilies unfurled within 24 hours. Arranging each stem opposite another, giving the vase a turn before continuing on, creates an intricate design aspect through the glass vase rather than a bunched-up mass. Today, I cut away the first of the faded blossoms. There are still many flowers left in bloom, and a couple of promising buds still ready to burst. The fragrance is strong and distinctive of lilies.

You might be wondering why the open blossom is missing the dark anthers that are within the bud beside it. I learned this tip while taking classes on floral design: lily anthers are staining. If the pollen dust on them touches clothing, table coverings, or upholstery, the stain is usually impossible to remove. As the lilies open, I remove the anthers and dispose of them. I love the way they look, but I know from experience, remove them.

If you like the ‘freckled’ appearance the pollen gives the petals, gently tap the anthers over the petals before removing. Be aware though, even this small amount of pollen can cause a big stain.

My vase of lilies is part of Cees Flower of the Day Challenge.

Phlower – Pink Balsam

September brings an end to many of my garden flowers. If they have not gone to seed, they are falling victim to browning blossoms and leaves. I still have an outlet of admiration blooming in a side garden, a lovely pink Balsam I have named Leona’s Pink. My grandmother loved this shade, and so the name is perfect; she cultivated gentle colors in the garden, nothing brash was allowed in her flower beds.

The lovely flowers leave behind large seedpods. I’m hoping to collect many seeds in the next few days to plant next year. The seeds are large, easy to harvest and store for next year’s garden beds. The seedpods are self-scattering, and if care is not taken, can become invasive. Since the small plants have shallow roots and are easily removed, this has never been much of a problem for me. I often transplant the volunteers to new locations in early Spring.

Pink Balsam is posted in Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

Plants – Brazilian Plume Flower

I wonder how I have never before noticed this beautiful plant in my local nursery. Perhaps this is the first year they have offered it, or maybe the quantities are limited and they are quickly bought by those who, like me, adore finding a unique specimen. I know I would have walked right by it if it had no bloom. The leaves are typical of so many common flowering plants, and on their own not that attractive.

I potted the plant instead of planting in a garden bed. I want to bring it indoors and keep it growing through the winter months. One annoying problem is the plant came with a load of mealy bugs. Yikes. I have been painting them with rubbing alcohol, but they are still winning the battle. I might have to resort to systemic insectide, always a last choice for me. I don’t want to lose this beautiful flowering plant.

Brazilian Plume Flower is posted as part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

Instructions for growing this plant can be found at The Garden Helper.

Plant – Colossal Lily

Lilies, yes, they are colossal. A perfect fit for the Monday Ragtag Community Challenge. The flowers are eye level to me, and I am of average height. The petals are a blazing yellow-gold with beautiful rust speckles and pretty anthers. They seemed perfect for Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge. My lilies also fit right in with City Sonnet’s Colors and Letters challenge for June 20th, which is the letter L.

I love taking part in challenges, though at times, try as I might I come up dry. Today the creative juices were flowing and the challenges fit what is blooming in my garden. A big thank you to the Ragtag Community, Cee, and CitySonnet for their daily challenges.

Plants – Updates

An update on the Mother-of-Thousands sprouts: Both types of propagation techniques worked well for rooting the tiny succulent plantlets.

Flower of the Day Challenge: Hyacinth blossoms in their last days. Still beautiful and very fragrant. The flower bloomed so well the stem couldn’t handle the weight, and the flowers are now right-side down.

My coleus sprouts are small, growing steadily but slow, and beginning to develop nice color.

Phlowers – Camellia Blossoms

Camellia flowers – what a perfect way to start the week. Cee, host of Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge, posted a beautiful camellia today. Inspired by her photograph, I looked through my flower files and found a few vibrant Camellia photos taken in the Longwood Gardens Conservatory. Nothing banishes winter blues quite as well as the indelible hope and beauty of flowers in bloom.

Even the buds are beautiful.

What’s better than a perfect Camellia blossom? Why, two of course.

Phlowers – Tulips for a Valentine

Beautiful ovals, egg-shaped, the flowers open above the slender green stems into a gorgeous blossom with interesting centers. I like tulip flowers in all their stages. Even as they begin to dry and become papery, they have subtle beauty. Their vase life is well over a week in my cold winter house, and as a bonus, they grow taller as they age. I sure wish I was growing taller as I aged. 🤔

Valentine Tulips – Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

Phlowers – Final Bow and Wow

These beautiful petals, and spring-like fragrance they emitted in their final days, were a pleasant surprise this week. They began their display in my home, a bit disappointing being a little shorter than expected. They finished off their flowering with a bang, wowing me with streaks of pinkish red and wide open bloom. The flowers above are yellow tulips.

When I look at the unfurled petals my first impulse is to grab my watercolors and brushes. Perhaps I will do just that this week if I find the time. The tulips are bordered by spider plantlets rooting in green glass. The chartreuse leaves behind the flowers are a newly acquired philodendron called, ‘Golden Goddess.’

The tulips are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day, Floral Friday, and Floral Fotos.

Photographs – First Snowfall 2022

The first snowfall of winter is drifting down from whitened skies here in Southern New Jersey. The quick accumulation of several inches is surprising after last week’s record warmth. I took a quick stroll around my yard and found this small sparrow watching me from the leafless Vitex tree.

The gourd birdhouse is vacant, and I am reminded I need to repair the opening and rodent-proof before Spring arrives.

My Rosemary plants are covered with blue blossoms. I’m glad I waited for the first snowfall to use the surprise burst of florets for Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

The bright contrasting tones of peach, courtesy of my last blooming rose of 2021, give me chills in reality, and also in spirit. Covered in a white blanket of snowflakes the flower suggests a mysterious slumber before rebirth in Spring, truly a sleeping beauty. I can see a few starry points of individual flakes. How beautiful and rare, snowdrifts on live rose petals, not a sight I often see.

Plants – Autumn Superstar – Tithonia/Mexican Sunflower

In my back garden you’ll find a towering plant near eight feet in height. I didn’t know Tithonia (Tithonia diversifolia), often called Mexican Sunflower, could grow so tall. The petals open up for me in late summer and are surprisingly velvety to touch. The seeds were part of a Wildflower Mix by Botanical Interests. The plant grows in a plot of ground once prepared as a square foot garden. The amended soil, vermiculite, mushroom soil, etc., must still have some ‘POW’ remaining; the plants within the confines grew much larger than average.

The size the plant reached in one season amazes me. Unfortunately, Tithonia is an annual and won’t survive my southern NJ winter. I saved mature/ripened seeds and will replant in Spring. The ground hasn’t frozen yet and is still soft and workable; this week, in addition to the seeds I saved, I will also scatter a few Tithonia seeds throughout my garden beds in hopes they will grow when warm weather returns. Seeds overwintered in the earth always grow best.

The flowers blossom at the end of a long stem, perfect additions to floral arrangements. The stems remain sturdy in a vase, the flowers, if picked at peak bloom, stay fresh and lovely for over a week. The stems can be cut short or tall for height.

Requirements for growing Tithonia:

*7-10 days for germination

*Sun for most of the day

*Needs at least three feet of spread room

Will I grow Tithonia again. Oh yes…I am saving many of the seeds and intend to leave the remainder for the birds to nibble through the winter. I will leave the plant in place instead of cutting away. The branches and any leaves that stay on the plant will provide shelter for the birds and also give them a chance to land and check for predators in the area around the bird feeders.

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

Phlowers – Amaranth/Love Lies Bleeding

Amaranthus caudatus – Love Lies Bleeding, is a beautiful annual plant. Mine self seeds and comes back every year in the same spot. It is a heavy plant, bending over in summer storms when laden with flowers.

The flower heads droop down, in a deep magenta/crimson shade. Often the strands will touch the ground.

My Love Lies Bleeding grows in full sun. When the flowers reach a good length I often cut them where they join the stem, rubber band them together, and hang them in a dark closet. Harvesting and drying them is that easy…but wait…I should have put something beneath them to capture the seeds that fall out as they dry.

I have also dried the flowers in my dehydrator.

One drawback is the inevitable chewed leaves on the plant. The lush foliage is attractive to bugs, and is also a green that can be eaten by people. The leaves can be used like spinach and sauteed. The seeds are a type of grain and can be dried, cooked, and eaten like porridge. They can be ground into flour. Amaranth is gluten free.

I love this unique, old-fashioned cottage garden annual. Love Lies Bleeding is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

Phlowers – Deluge of Pink Flower Showers

Who would believe this gorgeous deluge of pink florets is atop the humble herb Oregano? I have quite a few Oregano plants in the front of my herb garden border. Not only flavorful, this member of the mint family is a healing herb. Oregano is a wonderful herb to use for its preventative/medicinal qualities. As with most foods and herbs, organically grown Oregano is the best choice.

Oregano florets draw pollinators by the dozens. Today, along with the honeybee, I also spotted wasps, bumblebees, cabbage white butterflies, hoverflies and sweat bees on the blossoms.

The Oregano blossoms are my entry into Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Phlowers – Friday Gems

Black-eyed Susans are a reliable flower in my gardens. They usually don’t last the whole summer, and often fall victim to downy mildew on the leaves, but the golden sunshine they display is worth growing them. I’ve never been able to eradicate the mildew once it starts, so my remedy is to plant a late-flowering annual nearby to take over when the Black-eyed Susan withers away. This Photograph is part of Skywatch Friday.

The plants are part of the sunflower family and will turn their faces to follow the sun. There are many varieties of this beautiful garden flower. The long stems make them a perfect choice for floral arrangements.

Black-eyed Susans are a reliable self-seeder. Let them go to seed and they will return every year.

Black-eyed Susans are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.