All About Orchids – Beautiful Flowers

Orchid 2017

All About Orchids – Beautiful Flowers

Orchids are a beautiful flower, that you can get weeks of joy in admiring the bloom before they fade and die.

Maybe it was a passing fad, but orchids were one of those crazes I had, I still love orchids, and my family still give me orchids, but I have found I do not look after them as well as I used to.

The main problem is, I never seem to get them repotted after flowering, that is what they need or they just seem to die or not flower the next year, they need a lot of feeding in the spring and summer.

They are not cheap to buy and I thank my family for all those beautiful orchid they have gifted me.

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Cymbidium Orchids

Cymbidium Orchids have been gracing living rooms and conservatories for decades, they survive a surprising amount of cold, even thriving light frosts that catch me out in late autumn.

Living in the hills in eastern Taranaki, they did not like the cold winds even in the autumn, it knocks them.

I get caught out with the slugs and ants getting at the flower spikes before they have really formed.

If you are growing Cymbidium orchids, in the summer place them outdoors under the shade of a large tree, and give them plenty of water.

Decrease the water in the autumn and overwinter – only water once the plant is completely dry.

Feed them frequently in spring and summer, but give them a rest from feeding in the winter.

There are hundreds of hybrids available in stores, but it pays to purchase plants in flower so you know what you are getting unless you know the names of the plant you are purchasing.

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Phalaenopsis – Moth Orchids

I have had Moth Orchids flowers to last for over two months inside they are well worth the price you pay for them, as one plant is more economical than buying fresh flowers every week.

But to make them last they need a little bit of tender loving care.

Place them in a position that receives filtered natural light, constant warmth, high humidity, good air circulation and minimum nighttime temperature of 15 c.

Set the pot on a tray filled with pebbles and topped with water to help maintain humidity levels.

Feed them weekly, year-round, with dilute soluble fertilizer, applied when watering.

Water only when the plant is almost, but not quite dry.

Cut flowers stem back to just above the second node from the base to promote further flowering – but don’t chop off the strange looking aerial roots sticking out of the soil.

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Cattleya Orchids

Cattleya orchids are often used as corsage flowers because of their size and fragrance.

They require the same temperature and light conditions as moth orchids.

Water and feed Cattleya regularly in spring and summer.

Reduce watering in autumn and winter (or after flowering), allowing them to dry out between watering as they are very susceptible to over-watering.

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Paphiopedilum – Slipper Orchid

Slipper orchids have been classed as a poor man’s orchid, but I never thought of it as that, it is a beautiful orchid, well worthy of there name.

The slipper orchid is fascinating, the little pouch on the front lip of the flower is designed to trap small insects, which become covered in pollen.

When they escape, the insects transfer the pollen to another orchid.

When treated correctly slipper orchid flowers will last for months, and they do.

Place them in a high light position out of direct sun. They prefer day-time temperatures in the region of 21c to 26c and night temperatures of 15c, although a period of lower night temperatures in autumn will help initiate new flower buds.

Keep them constantly moist, but not soggy over summer and just moist in winter. Keep water away from the leaf base where flowers emerge to prevent new buds rotting.

Feed orchids with a weak solution of soluble plant food every fourth watering. Re-pot every second year.

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Disa Orchids

Disa orchids grow naturally amongst reeds on the banks of cold mountain streams in their native homeland, South Africa.

Unlike most other orchids which are grown in a bark mix, Disa orchids are grown in chopped sphagnum moss or a peat and pumice mix.

Grow them in a sunny to semi-shaded area outdoors anywhere the temperatures do not fall below freezing.

Water them with fresh rainwater and feed with 1/4-strength soluble plant food over spring and summer.

Re-pot new shoots each year and be sure to discard old flower shoots.

A tip or two about repotting orchids   Don’t over-pot orchids, they resent being in containers much larger than their root system.

Re-pot when roots have just started coming through the base of the pot.

Feed with well-diluted soluble fertilizer while watering and go easy on fertilizer – little and often is the key

NanoPoblano 2017 – Day 27 – Beauty of a Rose

NanoPoblano 2017 – Day 27 – Beauty of a Rose

#NanoPoblano 2017

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Beauty of a Rose

Where did the rose originate from?

The rose is, according to fossil evidence, 35 million years old.

The name “rose” comes from French.

The rose is a type of flowering shrub. It comes from the Latin word Rosa

Trying to find the true “the name rose was french” in one search, in another ” Rose Latin” Is it the same place?

I came up with this; (The French culture is, like Spanish, Italian or Portuguese, a Latin culture). Is French Latin?  I do not know.

When researching, it said; The name rose, or rosa, is derived from a Celtic word rhod, meaning red.

From the Greek word rhodon – a rose tree.

I’m a bit confused maybe someone reading this can leave a comment at the end of this post about “where the word rose came from the French or the greek”.

Tuscany Superb Rose

This ‘Tuscany Superb’ rose cultivar was discovered in 1837.

In New Zealand, the first roses were introduced by European settlers about 1836 there were hedges appearing that had been grown from seeds, like ‘Sweet Briar’. ‘Dog Rose’, the China rose, red and pink which is still popular in most gardens as shrubs.

Ornamental roses have been cultivated for millennia, with the earliest known cultivation to date from at least 500 BC in Mediterranean countries, Persia, and China.

Roses have been symbols of love, beauty, war, and politics.

Rosa Rubiginosa Hips

Rosa Rubiginosa Hips

5 Uses for Roses

Cut Flowers – Generally they are harvested and cut when in the bud, and held in refrigerated conditions until ready for display at their point of sale.

Perfume – Rose perfumes are made from rose oil, which is a mixture of volatile essential oils obtained by steam distilling the crushed petals of roses.

Food and Drink – Rose hips are occasionally made into jam, jelly, marmalade, and soup or are brewed for tea, primarily for their high vitamin C content.

Medicine – Many roses have been used in herbal and folk medicines. Rosa chinensis has long been used in Chinese traditional medicine. This and other species have been used for stomach problems, and are being investigated for controlling cancer growth.

Art – Roses are a favored subject in art and appear in portraits, illustrations, on stamps, as ornaments or as architectural elements.

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Rosa Polyantha Hybrid ‘The Fairy’

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Types of Roses

There are many types of roses in various forms, this is a few of them, the modern day breeding of roses are changing and bringing in new varieties every day.

Hybrid Teas are by far the most popular type, representing about 75% of the roses grown, they have large blooms in the spring, summer, and autumn, are single or in small clusters.

Floribunda (Latin for “many-flowering”) is a modern group of garden roses that was developed by crossing hybrid teas with polyantha roses, it is a rose that features a large cluster of smaller blooms, some of which are of classic hybrid tea form, while others are single or semi-double, with up to twelve or more florets on the flower head.

They are used extensively for massed beds and low hedges, also suitable for cut flowers.

Climbing Rose – They produce long willowy canes that may be trained to cover a feature wall, trellis, archways or even unsightly fences or sheds.

Shrub Roses – These bushy cultivars are hybrids between a strong bush rose and a climber. Single or double flowers bloom continually throughout the rose season.

Weeping Standards – They are up to 2 meters in height, the flowering canes drop down almost to the ground creating an impressive spring display.

Standard Roses – They are usually a hybrid tea or floribunda variety which have been budded into the top of a tall stock stem, usually up to a meter in high.

Miniature Rose Bush – Sometimes called “Fairy Rose” they have been bred to almost a dwarf size 6-12 inches in height and width, they are remarkably hardy and easy to grow. Because of their small size, they are suitable for a rock garden or as a border to a rose garden or planted in a flower box, or as a houseplant on a window ledge.

The majority of ornamental roses are hybrids that were bred for their flowers.

Rosa Else Poulsen

Rosa Else Poulsen 1924 – an early Floribunda cultivar

Perfume Roses

For hundreds of years, the rose has been cherished for its beauty, form, and fragrance inspiring gardeners everywhere.

Roses are relaxing and even entertaining, (have ever stopped and looked at a perfect rose and admired its perfection)? there is nothing nicer than the subtle perfume of the rose.

Have you ever wonder how it keeps its perfume year after year and wonder if you changed the way you feed them, would the smell change?

Rosa Angel Face Rose

Rosa Angel Face – Floribunda Rose

Rosa Angel Face – Floribunda Rose flowers are an unusual lavender-blue.

They are heavy bloomers, and you will be rewarded with repeat waves of blooms as you remove the spent blooms

It is a good rose to use as a cut flower, both for its beauty and its deep fragrance.

Tip for the best scent, cut stems just as the bud opens and keep in cool water in a dark room for a few hours. Recut at an angle.

The short, dense form of flowers, makes it an excellent choice for a border or low hedge, or in front of a mixed shrub border, where it will receive an abundance of morning sunlight but will be protected from the hot afternoon sun, especially in mid-summer.

For continued flowering, fertilize them, at least, three times a year, keep well watered.

Prune in late winter, to reduce the bush to about one-third to encourage new growth, fertilize established roses when the leaf growth starts to appear.

Tips – Rose Diseases

Powdery Mildew – The first signs of this disease are the appearance of white or greyish white spots on the young leaves and stems. These spread rapidly and very soon affect leaves stem and the buds, giving them the appearance of being dusted with powder.

Black Spot – A virulent rose disease if not checked, this is particularly rifle in humid, atmosphere and high temperatures. It appears as random black or purplish-brown spots on the upper surface of the almost fully grown leaflets which eventually yellow and drops.

Rust – The fungi have several forms will unless checked defoliate a bush. The rust spore roots enter into the leaf structure itself. The first visible stage occurs as small rust-colored pustule like swellings on the under surface of the leaves

The rose will need spraying. It is wise to collect and destroy the fallen leaflets, it will help to reduce the incidence of these diseases.

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NanoPoblano 2017 – Day 27

Perennials Suitable for any Garden

Liliies

Perennials Suitable for any Garden

Lilies are tall perennials ranging in height from 2–6 ft (60–180 cm).

The weather is warming up, I have been out weeding, enjoying the shrubs budding, the magnolia tree has its first flower appearing. Today I’m writing about my love for natures beauty – Flowers

What are Perennials?

Perennials are plants that grow for more than two years. Although trees and shrubs are perennials, the term is used to describe plants that have soft top growth. Those that have foliage that dies down in winter are herbaceous perennials.

Well, known examples are delphiniums, astilbes, and gypsophila. Other perennials such as kniphofias (red hot peppers) hellebores and agapanthus are evergreens.

Many perennials have the relatively short flowering period, but often this is made up for by the beauty of their flowers and the quantity produced. Such as the tall varieties of delphinium, are real garden aristocrats.

Every few years perennials should be lifted and divided, this should be done in winter or early spring.

Popular Perennials

Some of the showiest of garden plants are perennials, they add the distinctive charm to gardens large or small. Many have extended the flowering period, if chosen with the care they will complement trees and shrubs and provide a colorful display year round. Whether plants are required for sun or shade, there are perennials suited for the situation.

The following perennials I have grown and recommend with enthusiasm.

Delphinium, Dahlias, Agapanthus, Chrysanthemums, Primulas Aster or Michaelmas Daisy, Peonies, Red Hot Poker.

Hope your garden will be blooming as the seasons go by, as even in the winter you can have shrubs flowering in some areas.

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Dahlias

Dahlias is a genus of bushy, tuberous, herbaceous perennial, there are at least 36 species of dahlias, they make a striking summer autumn bedding display with colors ranging from white and cream to yellow, orange, pink, crimson and purple. These plants appreciate organic manure in the soil and this should be dug in well before planting out, they thrive in sunny open areas, in well-drained soil. When the plants have made five or six good leaves pinch out the tip to encourage shoots from the axis which will ultimately flower.

Tubers are usually lifted after flowering and stored to dry, I have lost many beautiful plants by not lifting them and the rot in the wet cold winter soil. When replanting the tubers, make sure the danger of frosts is over, as their new shoots will die. A sunny sheltered spot is best.

When they have had their first flowers, I cut the dead flowers off and the second growth of flowers will appear in a very short time, extending their time of beauty.

In recent years I have not cut the dead flowers off, just let them go to seed and they will feed the birds for a while in the early winter.

Agapanthus

Agapanthus

Agapanthus is a genus of herbaceous perennials that mostly bloom in summer. The leaves are basal and curved, linear, and up to 60 cm (24 in) long, they, are arranged in two rows. The inflorescence is a pseudo-umbel subtended by two large bracts at the apex of a long, erect shape, up to 2 m (6.6 ft) tall.


They have funnel-shaped flowers, in hues of blue to purple, shading to white.
Some hybrids and cultivars have colors not found in wild plants. The ovary is superior. The style is hollow. Bulbs should be placed deeper in the soil and mulched well in the fall. Agapanthus can be propagated by dividing the bulbs or by seeds. The seeds of most varieties are fertile and very easy to grow.

In some regions, one or more species of Agapanthus are invasive plant species.
In New Zealand, Agapanthus praecox is classed as an “environmental weed” and calls to have it added to the National Pest Plant Accord have encountered opposition from gardeners.

Moondust Carnation

Carnations

Around 1996 a company used genetic manipulation to extract certain genes from petunia and snapdragon flowers to produce a blue-mauve carnation.

In 1998 a violet carnation called Moonshadow was commercialized.

As of 2004 three additional blue-violet/purple varieties have been commercialized.

Most carnations are perennials.

Do not manure the soil too heavily as this encourages vegetative growth rather than flowering carnations.

Heavy soils can be improved for carnation growing by the addition of lime and sand.
Carnations respond well to mulching producing better blooms in hot dry weather.

If planted in a green house with the careful attention they can be persuaded to flower all the year round in warmer districts.

Chrysanthemum show

Chrysanthemums

Modern chrysanthemums are showier than their wild relatives. The flowers occur in various forms and can be daisy-like decorative pompons or buttons. In addition to the traditional yellow, other colors are available, such as white, purple, and red.

Chrysanthemums are not fussy about soil type, but they prefer a well dug, free draining soil with a high humus content, in a sunny open position. If you intend to cut your chrysanthemums to use inside you should pinch off the main shoots once or twice during the growing season to foster a bushy growth habit. Because chrysanthemums are not strong plants, they need to be staked carefully and new growth tied regularly to the stake.

Aster Amellus

Michaelmas Daisy

Aster, or Michaelmas Daisy?

Asters are valued in the garden for the fact that they provide late summer and autumn color in shades of blue, pink and white. Spring is the best time to divide these plants into rooted pieces, this is necessary if fine flowers are to be produced year after year.


There are miniature forms of the Michaelmas Daisy which grow to no more than 30 cm,(12 ins) and these make attractive borders or rock garden plants. They require a rich soil to produce their best display of flowers.

Peony Bush

Peonies

Peony or Paeony is a name for plants in the genus Paeonia, the only genus in the flowering plant family Paeoniaceae. Boundaries between species are not clear and estimates of the number of species range from 25 to 40, most are herbaceous perennial plants 1.5 – 5 feet (0.5 – 1.5 meters) tall, but some resemble trees up to 5 – 10 feet (1.5 – 3 meters) tall.

From the Northern Hemisphere, preferring cooler climates. General opinion seems to consider peonies difficult to grow. Any good garden soil, however, can grow and flower peonies provided it is dug over very deeply and well enriched with decayed animal manure. Good drainage is the key factor.

Peonies are gross feeders and every year as soon as the flowers have finished they should be heavily top dressed. They should not be manured in winter and spring when the new growths are appearing as they may be affected by a fungus disease (Botrytis paeonies) which is sometimes called bud rot or bud blast. Coper-base sprays will control this disorder.

They have compound, deeply lobed leaves, and large, often fragrant flowers, ranging from red to white or yellow, in late spring and early summer, flowers do not appear in the first season.

Peonies can be classified by both plant growth habit and by flower type.
Plant growth types are Herbaceous (Bush), Tree, and Intersectional (Itoh).
Herbaceous peonies die back in winter and regrow in spring, while tree peonies lose their leaves in the winter but leave woody stems which shoot new growth in the spring.
Propagation, if required, is by root division in winter, but it is preferable to leave this slow grower undisturbed.

Check out this link – Spring Gardens

Indoor House Plant

Spider PlantPhoto Credit 

My First Indoor House Plant – Spider Plant

Most people know what a Spider plant or airplane plant is, but did you know it’s real name – Chlorophytum Comosum?

There are quite a few different species of this plant.

Chlorophytum Comosum, often called the spider plant, airplane plant or hen-and-chickens

The spider plant was one of the first indoor plants that I bought after starting my own home, actually, I have still got some alive, from that one I first had some fifty years ago.

Young plants duplicate from the parent, they form at the ends of long stems emerging out from the parent plant, just remove one and plant it in new soil and it will be growing in no time.

They like bright light, plentiful watering, they have roots adapted to water storage and prefer to dry out between waterings, so it is a plant that you can go away in the summer holidays and not worry about it getting too dry, as long as you don’t have it in the hot sun all day.

Just one point about watering don’t use water that has fluoride, all other chemicals in it, catch some rainwater, it is one of the main reasons, that kills indoor plants.

It is one plant that I have never had a need to worry about pests and disease, quite a healthy plant.

It is not a plant that I feed very often, just repot every year, but if it is going a little off color, just give it little liquid fertilizers in the water when watering, it will respond very quickly with new growth.

Spider plants make fine hanging baskets, which look very attractive when the new baby plants hang over the sides.

Maidenhair Fern

Maidenhair Fern.

The Maidenhair Fern above is a new one I’m growing from a seed taken from under the fern leaves. It is in a shelter area beside bricks which surround the fireplace. 

Maidenhair Fern

Ferns are attraction plants for the indoor environment, by nature they are shade lovers and are suited for rooms with a low light intensity, a bathroom is a place that’s perfect for them, in years gone-by it would have been unthinkable to add them to the toilet, but it’s a perfect place and the foliage adds calmness to the room perfect for relaxing and taking care of nature.

As I said at the beginning of this article indoor house plants have become very fashionable, to have plant displayed throughout the house, this fern is one perfect example.

Never let the Maidenhair fern dry out as it will die, water at regular intervals, but don’t saturate the soil, let it drain, don’t leave it sitting on a saucer containing water.

They require a moisture retentive yet porous potting mixture which allows air to reach the roots

They don’t like draughts so it’s better not to set them by an open window.

Just remember Maidenhair ferns are not so hardy but are most attractive with a little loving care they will last.

If it does dry out and the foliage dies, cut it all off with a pair of shears, water again as I said above and put it in a shady corner, it will regrow again and look as good as before.

To sum it all up ferns like cool containers, muted light and relatively high humidity and bathrooms are perfect.

Healthy House Plants

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Keeping Indoor House Plants Healthy

  • It is not always easy to grow healthy house plants, it can be very disappointing watching ones healthy shop brought plants, decline and die, they just give-up. (Very sad).

To be a successful indoor gardener, you will need to become fully conversant with the conditions that growing indoor plants need to be healthy.

  • Every house plant is different, so you need to take note and follow directions on plants that you buy, always make sure they are looking their best and no bugs on them before purchasing.

Light, temperature, humidity, and watering are all important key factors.

  • Certain plants are of course, more likely to make successful house plants than others.

Few plants grown mainly for their flowers will put up with room conditions for too long so most permanent house plants are evergreens for their foliage.

Containers for House Plants

Containers come in all shapes and sizes, there’s no strict rule about what you use.

Here are a few helpful hints.

  • Always use a container with drainage holes to grow healthy plants.
  • Select a container big enough for the plant when it has matured.
  • Good idea to buy a drip saucer when you buy the container.
  • Clay pots are generally better than plastic pots because they are porous and absorb moisture and allow air to circulate.
  • Provide a thin layer of stones and pebbles below the potting mix to improve drainage.
  • Never stand the container in water or the potting mix will become too wet, most plants don’t like it and will die or fail to grow.

Pest and disease

  • Pest and disease can be a problem with indoor house plants.
  • The atmosphere in the house is often quite dry and this can encourage certain pests to multiply rapidly and cause sudden damage.
  • Aphids, thrips, mealybug, and scale can all be troublesome.
  • The modern approach is to use a house plant spray marketed in an aerosol can always read the directions on the can before spraying as all spray are not suitable for some plants and can damage them or even kill them.
  • Check for hazards especially on some spray cans, are not all friendly and can be dangerous to humans if absorbed through the skin, also for domestic animals.

Chrysanthemums

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Chrysanthemums as House Plants

In the past years, I have received many indoor plants for Mother’s Day, Birthdays, and Christmas.

I enjoy the peaceful attractive environment, the addition of indoor plants as a gift is appreciated, as they last year after year, giving me many memories of the gift giver and the Chrysanthemum is one of my top flowers for beauty.

Chrysanthemums are a nice indoor plant, they have been shown to reduce indoor air pollution by the NASA Clean Air Study


In New Zealand and Australia, traditionally the chrysanthemum is given to mothers for mother’s day gifts as the flower is naturally in season during autumn, they are beautiful reminder that autumn has arrived, making an excellence mothers day gift.

Peace Plant

Peace Lily

  • The Peace Lily is an evergreen herbaceous perennial plant.
  • The plant does not need excessive light or water to survive it cleans indoor air of many environmental contaminants, including benzene, formaldehyde, and other pollutants, therefore making it a perfect indoor plant.
  • They let you know quickly when they are dry by a noticeable droop in the foliage.
  • They’ll bounce back quickly once watered.
  • The proper time to water them is when the leaves start to droop, just a little.
  • They are one of the best low light house plants you can have, I have always had these of indoor plants, I just love looking at the flower it’s beauty is perfect.

Go Green With House Plants

This video it tells you what plants are best for going green in your home, yes the Peace Lily is one of them.