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.

Perspective & Phlowers – Colors

“The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.” Revelation 21:18-20

I love to imagine the colors and beauty of heaven. I am so often reminded of what will come when I wander around my garden admiring the flowers of God’s creation. I get excited watching a flower bud form and then bloom. God has filled the earth with such wondrous colors and sights, oh my, what will heaven be like?

Yesterday, unsure of the direction we were driving, we accidentally found a new garden center. (Sometimes the best moments/places/friendships in life appear when we think we are lost.) I am always on the lookout for a type of small dahlia called harlequins. These dahlias come in an array of bright colors. The feature that really gets me excited about this type of dahlia is the collar of ruffles around the center. I can’t wait to grow and press these beauties this year. The Harlequin Dahlias are my Flower of the Day.

I came upon a great article with growing tips for dahlias while researching this post. If you grow dahlias you might enjoy reading Longfield Gardens: 8 Tips for Growing Better Dahlias.

People – Why I Blog & Buttercups

I’ve known many of you for years—friendships I would miss dreadfully, if the technology of the Internet, as we know it, should expire. Who you are though, your words, your lives, your posts and comments, are in my heart and thoughts for eternity. I’ve rejoiced that so many of you love God. Through your blogs I’ve visited most of the U.S., Qatar, India, The Philippines, Australia, Europe, Canada, Japan, The Caribbean and many more. I’ve walked with you in the morning and met your neighbors. I’ve loved your chickens…cats…and dogs…and even some donkeys and other assorted creatures. I’ve enjoyed glimpses into your homes and loved meeting your families. I’ve cooked your recipes, used your DIY tips, planted flowers you’ve recommended, admired your photos, commented on your posts, and enjoyed taking part in your blog challenges. In short, you’ve influenced my life for the better.

I have taken great delight in comments left on my blog. In fact, a recent comment was so beautifully worded it gave me the inspiration for this post. I knew I had to share it and leave a link to this lovely blog and the poetry of the author.

“…one of the marvelous things about blogging: people share golden new things, and still shimmering old things.” Leyda Bien/Poetic Heart Dregs

I thank Leyda for the lovely comment found on my post – Mirrors. Visit her blog by way of the link in the blockquote above.

What connection do buttercups have with this post? Well, when they are newly blossomed there is no other flower quite so golden. When they are old, such as pressed between the pages of a book, they still retain a definite shimmer of the beauty they first exhibited. Live Science gives a wonderful explanation of how and why buttercups have a sheen like no other flower. You can read about it here: How Buttercups Get Their Yellow Gloss.

Buttercups reflect so much light it is hard to get a clear photograph of them. Even on an overcast, damp day, they caught the sun and shone it’s light back at me. Buttercups are my choice for today’s FOTD. These beauties are blooming in southern New Jersey this month.

Pressed buttercups are a perfect example of Leyda’s phrase, ‘shimmering old things.’ Even when pressed between the pages of a book for years, they retain their shimmer. Thank you everyone who blogs here and on other sites…I enjoy your lives and you have made mine very full.

For pressed flower tips visit: The Flower Ark.

Plants – Flower of the Day and Invasive Plants

My flower of the day, part of Cee’s FOTD challenge, is this gorgeous yellow iris blooming in my garden. I love my iris plants. I also grow a deep purple and pink iris in my gardens.

Iris plants spread at a good rate, but they rarely become invasive, and are easy to dig out and share with friends when they take over too much room.

A plant I’m having trouble with this year is yarrow. I have this nice clump near the air conditioner. I appreciate its tenacity in this inhospitable dry soil. The plant spreads a bit each year, but for the most part is easy to control.

The flip side of this story is the yarrow sown last year via a pack of mixed wildflowers. These yarrow plants are not cooperative. They have returned and spread like a noxious weed. I am having a terrible time pulling the long tap roots out of the rich soil in the back yard plot. Yarrow is  a medicinal herb for muscle aches, but I certainly don’t need this much medicine, and if I keep yanking it up, it’s going to give me a backache. The moral of the tale: read the back of mixed wildflower packets and don’t plant any that contain yarrow.

I love my Rudbeckia Daisies,  but they also spread and can take over any plot they are in. Each year I end up pulling plants out of the beds and also seedlings out of the lawn. Still, I wouldn’t eradicate the Rudbecka altogether; I love the tall yellow stems of daisies they produce in mid-summer.

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.

Quick Tip – Yard Walkabout/Storm Repair

Monday’s Yard Walkabout had me cringing as I checked all my garden beds. We had a spring rainstorm last night that rivaled a mid-summer downpour. I found my top-heavy hyacinths lying on their sides.

To the rescue, twigs from last year’s Rudbeckia daisies.

I rarely cut these tall stems down in Autumn. They retain seeds on the spent flower heads for a good part of the winter, a food source for birds, and in the spring and summer their tall stems, turned wood-like in the winter weather, are perfect stakes for zinnias and other tall border plants. I usually break off the smaller twigs and discard, this year they will come in handy; I’ll poke the end in the ground and let the branches hold the hyacinth up until time to cut the faded flower away.

My propped-up hyacinths are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Quote – Shine!

” “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:15-16 (The Message)


My interpretation: Shine like morning sunshine on forsythia!
This post is part of Sunday Trees and Cee’s Flower of the Day.

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.

Photo Challenge – Weather Vanes March 27th

It’s a proven fact, unless you’re looking for an item, you often walk by unaware of its presence. I never noticed this weather vane during past visits to Longwood Gardens. I was glad to find it. I want to let the Wednesday Weather Vane challenge run for a full year and that means through June. I’m running out of sources for vanes.

The terrace the gazebo is built on provides a spectacular view of the fountains and the conservatory.

Inside the Exhibition Hall Himalayan Blue Poppies bordered the outer wall. Poppies are spectacular in color and form, but unfortunately, when we visited most of the blooms were turned away from the walkway and faced the sunshine beaming through the windows.

This beauty cooperated and I was able to get a wonderful photograph. It is my contribution to Cee’s Flower of the Day. I’m contemplating making an attempt at painting a blue poppy again, but I know from experience, that their heavenly shade of blue is hard to capture.

Thanks to these bloggers for taking part in last week’s challenge.
Geriatri’x’ Foto Gallerie – Weather Horses
The 59 Club – Flipper

The Photo Challenge: Each Wednesday, I post a photograph of a Weather Vane with a short description of where it can be found and any history connected to it. The main focus of the challenge is the photo of the Weather Vane and the location. The challenge can be Wordless if that is what you choose. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. The challenge is open all week for comments and posts. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge.

Many thanks to Cee, of Cee’s Photography, for including this challenge in her listing of WordPress Challenges. If you love challenges take a look at this page and while you are there check out some of Cee’s terrific posts. Thanks Cee!

Perspective and Praise – Casting Cares

“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

~ Psalm 55:22 (KJVA)

The acacia passage is one of my favorite areas in the Longwood Garden Conservatory. This beautiful vignette is just one of the many plant displays that will pique your interest during the Orchid Extravaganza.

If I was the gardener in charge of the area, the care, placement and upkeep of all the plants would be daunting. To cope, and do the best job possible, I would remind myself of wise counsel a good friend once gave me, “Concentrate on one problem at a time.” This sage advice works for so many aspects of life. We get into trouble when we overextend ourselves and try to take care of too many problems at one time.

Aha, you say, all my problems must be taken care of now, I have no choice. Yes, sometimes choosing just one doesn’t work, but in that case, I remind myself of the verse I began the post with, and I cast the burden on the Lord. What a promise to cling to in the midst of our busy, problem-filled lives. He will sustain me, He will sustain thee. God bless you on this Sabbath Day.

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

Quotes – The Heart of Christmas

“The very purpose of Christ’s coming into the world was that He might offer up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of men. He came to die. This is the heart of Christmas.”

                                                      ~ Billy Graham

“Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love Divine; Love was born at Christmas; Star and angels gave the sign.”

                                                      ~ Christina Rosetti

“It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you…yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand.”

                                                    ~ Mother Teresa

The red poinsettias in this post are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day

Plants – Bargains in the Clearance Aisle

Christmas Red Tulips/Longwood Gardens Conservatory-Friday Foto Friends

What is that oddball bag lying beside my carrots in the vegetable bin of my refrigerator?

What looks like small onions or shallots is really a bag of Spring-Flowering bulbs, leftovers from my Autumn plantings.

While you’re looking for Christmas trees and poinsettias in big box stores or garden nurseries, take a moment to check if there are any leftover Autumn bulbs on clearance. Often a business will slash prices of out of season plants to the point of almost giving them away. I mimic frosty cold by storing unplanted bulbs as the Gardening-Know-How site suggests:

The highest chilling temperature is around 40 degrees F. (4 C.), so chilling bulbs in the refrigerator is ideal. Just be sure not to store them near any fruit, as the released ethylene gas reduces bloom. Store the bulbs in the refrigerator in a ventilated mesh bag.
~ Gardening Know How/How to Chill Flowering Bulbs

The article has many fine tips on how to select, chill and plant the bulbs in Spring. I have about three months to come up with good ideas for forcing these beauties. The bright flowers and colors will certainly be an antidote for the doleful greys of late-winter skies.

The glorious red tulips are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Goodbye November!

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.