Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

August Plant

August 15th, 2010

Daphne [Thymelaeaceae]

Sweet Daphne

My gorgeously perfurmed and most treasured of shrubs for the winter the Daphne is covered in fragrant flowers at the moment.  The perfume drifts across the yard while I hang out the washing and meets me late in the evening when I go outside to tuck the ducks up in their cosy pen. 

Daphne Odora

Growing daphne can be a heartbreaking job as they will sometimes give up the ghost for no apparent reason and suddenly die, despite all the care you lavish upon them.   What they need is the right spot, no where else will do aparently, and if you find them the place where they are happy, they are very easy plants to care for. 

The Daphne loves morning sunshine, but likes a shady retreat in the afternoon.  These ladies also like a well drained position and don’t like to get too wet, or in the summer too dry – but too wet and they get collar rot, to combat this you need to plant your daphne in a raised garden bed and make sure the root junction is above soil level.  In the summer don’t hover about watering and loving it every day, but let the soil dry out in between the waterings. 

bring a little inside to enjoy

Little Daphne loves, loves, loves old manure or compost gently worked into the surface back around the drip line, but be careful not to dig around to close to the roots, Daphne does not care to be disturbed!  And, whatever you do, do not give her any lime, she does not care for that at all.

Reading over the above, I am amazed at how well my daphne is doing, all things considered.   But, if you can find a spot where they are happy, it is truely a wonderful investment to have a Daphne somewhere near your back door.

Happy Gardening.

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Magical Flowers

July 18th, 2010

Flowers cheer us

I love flowers!  They are truely magic!  Flowers are irresistible to birds, bees, butterflies and me!  Flowers make us think of love, passion, peace, beauty and harmony.  They are perhaps the most powerful of all human symbols.  We set off to visit friends in hospital with a bunch of flowers to cheer them.  Flowers are present at births and funerals.  No bride is complete without a garland of flowers in her hair or a bouquet and  nothing quite cheers a room like a few flowers placed lovingly into a vase.

Flowers smile at us as we pass

Flowers make the world a much more beautiful place to be.  They smell good and good smells make you feel happier.  You can tell the seasons from which flowers are in your garden or simply from the florist you pass on the way to work.  Daffodils in spring and roses in summer, chrysanthemums for Mother’s Day. 

If you want birds in your garden plant masses of flowers, especially the many grevilleas and sages.  They will attract the butterflies too. 

Memories are made of flowers!  The violets that grew in your mothers garden, the flowers you were given at your child’s birth, the rose bush you grew from a cutting given to you by a very dear friend.  Flowers make you smile!

Well, I am off out to bring in a bunch of flowers for my desk.

Happy gardening!

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Flower Power

December 27th, 2009

When you think about the pleasure you get from a garden, or being in a garden, one of the most important elements is undoubtedly scent. Scent is perhaps the most powerfully evocative of all sensory stimuli. The average person can distinguish around ten thousand different smells. For professional ‘noses’ the total is even higher. Our ability to taste depends about 85 per cent on our sense of smell, which is why wine experts judge a wine primarily by smelling it.Garden -Dec09 027

Scent offers a very pleasurable experience. That is why people throught history have paid large amounts of money for perfumes. A perfume can contain up to 100 different ingredients. A few of these ingredients come from animals, but the vast majority are plant-based. Essential oils extracted from flowers, leaves, bark, gum etc. The five main categories are:      Floral: Lavender, lily of the valley, violet.
Green: basil, lemon balm, pine, rosemary
Citrus: Orange, mandarin, lemon
Woody: Cedar, birch
Spicy: Carnations and pinks, bay, fennel seedsGarden -Dec09 044
While you are not setting out to be a master perfumier, it is worth bearing these groups in mind when you are choosing scented plants for your own garden.

The pleasure that scent gives also does you good! Research in the relatively new science of psychoneuroimmunology is showing that if we feel good, if our sense of well-being is enhanced, then our immune system is stronger and we are better able to fight off illness. Scent also works on a physiological, molecular level, with the scent molecules passing into the bloodstream either via the lungs or through the skin and being carried all around the body. This fact was discovered over two thousand years ago by the Greek botanist Theophrastus, when he found that a scent applied to the skin as a plaster or poultice could be detected some time later in the patient’s breath. While scent is at its most powerful in essential oils extracted from plants, the fragrance you smell from plants growing in the garden, though less concentrated works in the same way. That is why you feel so good after weeding in amongst the rosemary or in the herb garden.

Garden -Dec09 043

Aromatherapy is an alternative therapy that is becoming increasingly recognized as having real merit.  Mandy aromatherapists apply essential oils, which are distilled from plants, by means of massage – by itself  a very useful therapy for relieving physical and mental stress, which is made even more beneficial by the oils.  Others use the oils purely for inhalation, either by means of a burner, in bath water or applied to fabric – a pillow or handkerchief for example.  While aromatherapy techniques rely mainly on the use of highly concentrated essential oils, growing scented plants in your garden offers at least some of the same benefits.  Certainly, there is nothing like sitting in your garden on a warm evening breathing in all the scents and just relaxing.

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