THE FLOWER GIRLS
The magic and romance of the rose are known to almost everyone.
The rose features in many flags and emblems around the world and is the national flower of England. English maidens are referred to as 'English roses' and red roses are worn on St George's Day on the 23rd April each year. Roses were considered the most sacred flowers in ancient Egypt and were used as offerings for the Goddess Isis, goddess of motherhood, magic and fertility. Roses have for centuries been valued for their culinary, medicinal, cosmetic and aromatherapy properties. Rose ~ the Rugosa roses have large single flowers and are the most flavoursome petals of all the roses. On selecting petals from hybrid roses remember that only fragrant roses have flavoursome petals and that some can leave an aftertaste, so sample a petal before taking it into your kitchen. Ensure when harvesting petals that the whitish petal base is removed, as it is quite bitter. Rosewater and rose petal jam are common condiments made with fresh roses. Rose hip jelly and rose hip syrup may also be used in a variety of dishes. Sugared rose petals are really lovely and can be used to decorate cakes many cakes and pastries. Rose flavoured Turkish delight has been produced in Turkey since the 15th century and is known there as lokum.
The Dog Rose (Rosa canina) is a scrambling rose that is native to Europe. Widespread and common, growing in open fields, thickets, and woodland edges. A thorny plant with arching stems with hooked prickles, and large, soft pink, five-petalled flowers. The fruit ( rosehip) is a orange-red berry. Wild roses are edible and medicinal. They are used in making jelly and jams and can also be dried to make a tea. Flower petals are great in salads adding a light flavour and beautiful colour. During World War II, there was a shortage of citrus fruit in England, and the British government organized the harvesting of all the Rose Hips in England as a substitute for vitamin C. This illuminated the importance of Rose Hips as a superior source of the vitamin and began its worldwide popularity.Rose hips were the original rosary beads worn by Catholic priests.
Also known as Black Hellebores,these flowers with their dark green evergreen foliage, may indeed bloom around Christmas; if you're in zone 7+ or you're having a mild winter in a colder zone. For most, early Spring is a more likely blooming time. White to pinkish white are the most common but the Pheder Select Strain features a dark purple almost black flower. The root is considered poisonous but at one time it was used to treat insanity and some believe that Alexander The Great died from an overdose of this plant.
The Dahlia is a daisy-like flower that now has many hybrids around the world. It is related to the daisy as well as the sunflower and the chrysanthemum. Dahlias have an interesting history. The first tubers arrived in Europe at the end of the 18th century. Andreas Dahl (after who the plant is named) regarded it as a vegetable rather than a garden flower, but interest switched from the edible tubers to the blooms when the first varieties with large, double flowers were bred in Belgium in 1815. Within a few years nearly every colour we now admire had been introduced and Victorian catalogues listed hundreds of varieties.
Dahlias come in such a marvelous range of colours and shapes!
Dahlia plants range from dwarf bedding to giants taller than a man! Flowers range in size from an inch to the largest dinner plate. Bedding dahlias add a cheerful colour to front of borders, as well as pots and window boxes. Tall growing dahlias are excellent for late summer and autumn interest and make wonderful cut flowers. Their bright, vibrant colours are used in place of any kind of fragrance or scent to attract pollinating insects and birds. Ideas and tips for fabulous flowers indoors.
Dahlias originated as a wildflower in the high mountain regions of Mexico and Guatemala. That’s why they naturally work well and bloom happily in cool Autumn/ fall breezes. Pompon-shaped varieties are the toughest types, they’re extremely resistant to cold and rainy weather. Earwigs can be pests of garden flowers, such as dahlias, eating young leaves and petals. However, while they can be a minor garden problem, earwigs also play a beneficial role in the garden by attacking pests, such as aphids. To remove earwigs, provide shelter in the form of inverted pots. Trap the earwigs by placing upturned flower pots loosely stuffed with hay or straw on canes among plants being attacked. Every morning shake out the pots and remove the earwigs.
The amount of available varieties of ivy run into the hundreds and offers a wide range of leaf shapes and foliage variegations. Ivies are very useful plants for those places where 'nothing will grow'. Ivy is a wild evergreen climbing vine that attaches itself to the bark of trees, brickwork and other surfaces. Ivy's most common association is with the Holly tree, the “Holly and the Ivy” being used extensively worldwide as a Yuletide decoration. Ivy is one of the most valuable plants around for wildlife as it provides shelter at all times and the winter flowers and berries are a welcome food source when other supplies have all but disappeared.
Winter Jasmine (Jasminum Nudiflorum) has cheerful, but unscented, starry, yellow blossoms on leafless green stems, through the winter, and early spring. It really brightens up a dark, winter day. This vigorous climber is easy to grow and easy to train on wires or a trellis, but it looks just as attractive left to scramble freely over low walls. Winter jasmine is hardy as far north as St. Louis, making it the most winter-hardy jasmine. It was introduced from China in 1844 when the English plant collector Robert Fortune sent the Royal Horticulture Society plants he had purchased from a Shanghai nursery.
The common spindleberry (Euonymus europaeus) is a large native shrub that is found in hedgerows and scrub, it bears tiny flowers in the summer followed by shiny, scarlet fruits and pink autumn foliage. The fruits split partially open the reveal bright orange seeds. (The seeds are poisonous.) Numerous insects, including bees and hoverflies are attracted to the flowers. The flowers are pollinated by St Mark's Fly. Spindle wood is hard and was often used for making tool handles, skewers, pipe stems and artists charcoal.
Chrysanthemums are members of the compositae family, which includes daisies and sunflowers. They come in many different classes - pompon, quill, spider, brush, thistle, single, incurve and spoon. The Chinese consider the chrysanthemum the flower of autumn. Chrysanthemum seeds came to Japan via Korea in the fourth century, and in AD 910, Japan held its first imperial Chrysanthemum Show and declared this the National flower. Chrysanthemums were first introduced to Europe in 1688, and to the US in 1897. Chrysanthemums were always great favourites of the noble class, and in China, up until recently, common folks were not allowed to grow them in their gardens. They are one of China’s “Four Most Graceful Plants,” the others being ume, orchid and bamboo. Chrysanthemum petals are said to be quite tasty and are particularly good added to cream soups or salads.
The bluebell is commonly found in deciduous woodland, especially in oak and beech woods. Bluebells poke their heads out in spring, usually between April and May and form spectacular carpets of blue amongst the trees. Bluebells are an important early food flower for bees, hoverflies and butterflies which feed on nectar.
There are several different types of bluebells in the UK. English bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) have been gracing gardens and wooded areas since the early 1500’s. These spring delights can be planted in the Autumn/Fall for spring blooms. The flowers are fragrant and make a wonderful addition to any cut bouquet.
There is also the Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica) grown in gardens and found in the countryside. Spanish bluebell stalks are straight and do not display the curve as seen in English bluebells. Spanish bluebells do not have as strong a fragrance as English bluebells either and tend to bloom a bit later. The English Bluebell is under threat from the Spanish Bluebell. The Spanish bluebell has escaped the confines of the garden to which it was first indroduced and it has made its way into the wild! The English and Spanish Bluebells can cross pollinate but it is the attributes of the Spanish Bluebell that dominate. If the spread of the Spanish Bluebell is not halted, it could take over the English Bluebell. Be careful when buying bluebell bulbs, try to choose the delicate long stemmed English bluebells and avoid the heavier bells and broader leaves of Spanish bluebells.
Bluebells have long been symbolic of humility and gratitude. They are associated with constancy, gratitude and everlasting love.
The White juices from the bluebells stem make a useful glue. During the Middle Ages it was used to stick feathers on to arrows, and during Elizabethan times, it was used for laundry starch and glue.
Bluebells are strongly associated with fairies, and are sometimes referred to as 'fairy thimbles.' It is said that the fairies would ring these tiny bells to summon their people to fairy meetings. The fairies were rather protective of their bells, another name for bluebells is 'Dead Man's bells,' fairies would cast spells on those who dare to pick or damage the beautiful, delicate flowers, which would explain why it was considered unlucky to walk through a field of bluebells.
Planting Nasturtiums in your vegetable garden is an organic and easy way to keep the aphids off your other vegetables while adding a bright splash of colour to your garden. Nasturtiums are very versatile they'll creep through your beds and borders to fill any unsightly gaps, climb a trellis to brighten up walls and fences, and you can even put them in your salad! Nasturtium are one of the most popular edible flowers. The colourful flowers, leaves and seed pods of this annual plant are all edible. A deliciously spicy-peppery tasting flower. The leaves have a taste similar to cress, a great asset to any salad. Pick flowers throughout the summer for immediate use. The fat green seed pods can be pickled and used as an alternative to capers. Nasturtiums can be added to salads, pasta, meat dishes and vinaigrettes. The Leaves are best picked and eaten when still quite small and young. Try growing them together with your herbs in a windowbox or trailing from a hanging basket. Nasturtium 'Empress of India' is an old heirloom variety with leaves as lovely as the flowers. Stunning Scarlet red blooms surround the plant.
Forget-me-not blooms are often sky-blue with white or yellow centers, but there is also pink and white flowered varieties. There are about 50 different species of flowers in this genus. The botanical name myosotis which comes from the Greek words 'mus' for mouse and 'otis' for ears, refers to the leaves that are shaped like mice ears.
They are great companions for Spring bulbs and other annuals. Invaulable for Spring colour, they flurish in most conditions whether it be shady areas or river banks. while these flowers don't have much scent during the day they are very fragrant in the evening. Even though the Forget-me-not is a small flower, it has a lot of meaning to it. It is a beautiful flower and it has a lot of great history to it.
Henry IV adopted the flower as his symbol during his exile in 1398, and retained the symbol upon his return to England the following year. A bit of quaint folklore tells of a Knight and his love walking alongside a river. He was picking Forget-me-nots for her when he tripped and fell into the river. Before he drowned he threw the flowers to her and cried 'Forget-me-not.'
In the Victorian language of flowers, the Forget-Me-Not flower was interpreted as meaning faithful or true love.
Forget-me-not is a flower of remembrance that actually is used by nations as a symbol of those that they have lost at war.
The Forget-Me-Not is a symbol of Alaska, as it is the state flower. The Forget-Me-Not flower is also the symbol of the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
There are over 180 species of honeysuckle in the lonicera family ranging from short evergreen shrubs with no flowers to the vigorous, wonderfully-scented climbers found in many gardens around the world. The climbers are great for covering fences, trellises or garden arches and combine well with clematis. The powerful aroma attracts bees, moths and butterflies to its sweet nectar. Other names for honeysuckle include woodbine, fairy trumpets, honeybind, trumpet flowers, goats leaf and sweet suckle. The old name Woodbine describes the twisting, binding nature of the honeysuckle through the hedgerows.
Periwinkle or Vinca minor, is a evergreen trailing plant which has delicate, five-petaled flowers in shades of white and purple-blue. Its especially useful in shady areas. It spreads by long shoots that root wherever they touch the soil, making new plants. Vinca is also sometimes called creeping myrtle. Perwinkles are thought to have powers associated with ghosts, spirits, witches and the dead. It was traditionally grown on graves and used in garlands for the recently deceased but more often than not periwinkle would grow naturally in graveyards. Some other names for periwinkle flowers are - blue buttons and cutfingers. In Italy, they are called centochhio – “the hundred eyes” – probably because of the impressive mass of blooms that peer out from the plant’s foliage. French referred to it as "violet of the sorcerers." An old name, given both in reference to its colour and its use in magic, was 'Sorcerer's Violet’.
This delightful,early Spring blooming perennial,is the official flower of four English Counties.The little,nodding,cupped flowers,were commonly called Fairy cups and yet English folklore tell us that Cowslip was used to protect cows from milk sucking faeries. The fresh scented flowers,can be used for making wine and the leaves used as salad greens
Hawthorn is a thorny deciduous shrub or tree that grows up to fifteen metres high. There are more than 200 species of hawthorn that grow around the world. Folk names for hawthorn vary around the world. In some countries the berries are known as Pixie Pears, Cuckoo's Beads and Chucky Cheese, whilst the hawthorn itself has been known as the May, Mayblossom, Hagthorn, Mayflower, Ladies Meat, Bread and Cheese and Quickthorn. In May its flowers bloom, hence its name of May tree. The flowers grow in small clusters that are white, red, pink or combinations of those colours. These flowers turn in to small red berries in the autumn, which are also known as haws. The maypole was originally constructed from hawthorn. In parts of Europe, branches were cut from the hawthorn on May or Beltane eve and were used to decorate the doors of houses and the blossoms made into garlands for the maypole on May Day.
With their formal structure and wide range of stiking colours, tulips have always had a unique role in the Spring garden. They can be grown alone in contianers or massed with other bulbs and annuals. Good comapnions are - daffodils, hyacinths, forget-me-nots,grape hyacinths and primrose. Tulips look best when grown in groups of a single type. Plant bulbs deeply in mid-late Autumn.
The Tulip flower has a fascinating history. Originally the Tulip flower was a wild flower growing across the Middle East and Central Asia. Its cultivation was started over a thousand years ago in Persia and Turkey. In the 16th century the Tulip flowers were introduced into Europe from Turkey by Carolus Clusius, a famous biologist. Tulip flowers were soon widely distributed throughout Holland. The demand for Tulip flowers exceeded the supply and prices began to rise. In the Dutch Golden Age Tulips became very costly. Some Tulip bulbs were being sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. Tulip flowers became a symbol of power and prestige, only the very wealthy could afford them. Fortunes were made and lost on tulip bulbs. Tulip flowers became so popular that they resulted in phenomena called 'tulipomania'.
Nowdays the Tulip flower is cultivated almost all over the world but most associated with Holland where it is grown in great numbers and in huge fields. Holland is considered to be the Tulip capital of the world. Each spring, Canada’s capital city comes alive with colour as millions of tulips burst into bloom. These beautiful flowers serve as a symbol of the unique friendship that blossomed between the people of Canada and the Netherlands during the Second World War.
Snowdrops are among the best loved flowers of the spring - probably because they are often first to bloom. Snow might still be on the ground, but these fragile looking little snowdrops, can survive the cold and bring cheer to our hearts. The little snowdrop is a symbol of hope. According to legend, the snowdrop became the symbol of hope when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden. When Eve was about to give up hope that the cold winters would never end, an angel appeared. She transformed some of the snowflakes into snowdrop flowers, proving that the winters do eventually give way to the spring. In some folklore, snowdrops are seen as unlucky. The reason for this is perhaps that they often grow in cemeteries and churchyards. Along with other white flowers, superstition says it is disaster to bring snowdrops into the house.
There is an old rhyme that goes like this ~
"The Snowdrop, in purest white array, First rears her head on Candlemas day."
Also called Belle De Nuit and Marvel of Peru. Botanical Name - Mirabilis Jalapa. In Latin 'Mirabilis' means 'wonderful' and 'Jalapa' is the 'name of a town in Mexico'. Four o'clocks are old fashioned perennials from South America. An attractive plant with dark green leaves, the blooms are trumpet shaped and come in a variety of striking colours including magenta, red, yellow, pink, salmon, and white, or striped or blotted with any of these colours. The flowers are gloriously scented and start to open like clockwork from 4 o'clock in the afternoon-(hence its common name, four o'clocks) and they bloom on throught the night. Hummingbirds and lunar moths like to visit this flower for the abundance of nectar. Blooms will last throughout the summer until the first frost. Four o'clocks can be used for edging walks and borders or grouped in the centre of the border, they also grow very well in large containers too. Four o' clocks has another valuable use in the garden besides its beauty and fragrance. The Four O’Clock flowers will attract Japanese beetles, making them an excellent bait flower to place near your vegetable gardens. These flowers are also poisonous to pets and people too, so take care to choose safe locations if you choose to plant these. More on Telling the Time with a Flowers.
Most people are familiar with Sweet Violet - 'Viola odorata' also known as the English violet or common violet. Sweet violets are widely adapted perennials that have a delicate fragrance and taste. The Violets are fairly common in hedgebanks and shady places. Much cultivated in gardens and also found in wooded areas.
Sweet violets 'Viola odorata' can be candied or used in violet tea, violet cake, and violet syrup. While commonly added to salads, you can also use violet flowers to make vinegars, butters, spreads, and jellies. Sweet violet flowers are as beautiful as they are edible. Making Crystallised flowers . In the past sweet violet flowers were used quite extensively in cooking for their fragrance and decorative qualities. In the fourteenth century they were beaten into a ground rice pudding along with ground almonds - they still make a wonderful flavouring for rice puds today.
True Violets have been known for centuries with the ancient Greeks cultivating them about 500 BC or earlier. Both the Greeks and the Romans used Violets for all sorts of things such as for herbal remedies, and for wine 'Vinum violatum'
The Daffodil, otherwise known as Narcissus or Jonquils- which is the Spanish name for this flower. Daffodils are also known as Lent Lilies because they start blooming as the season of Lent begins. The daffodil is also known affectionately as the Daffy-down-dilly or daffodilly.
Has come to town
With a yellow petticoat
And a pretty green gown."
Daffodils flourish among the first spring buds. Because of its hardiness, beauty, fragrance, and early spring blooming, daffodils are favoured by many gardeners. Daffodils re-appear faithfully every year, and not just in the garden but in places such as churchyards, parks and along the roadsides, where they have been planted. Despite the large amount of variation, all daffodils have the same basic shape a 'trumpet' or corona and a ring of petals surrounding it called the perianth.Daffodils are quick to naturalize and deter animal pests from more scrumptious flowerbed or garden delicacies. Bulbs and leaves produce toxic crystals that rodents and deer don't like. Do be careful though when planting them if you have pets as daffodils could make them very sick if they ate them. In fact, this poison will also wilt other flowers placed in display alongside daffodils.
* Daffodils can be harmful to other cut flowers. So its best not to mix daffodils with other flowers, unless the daffodils have been in water for 24 hours and the water changed first. Even Searing is not effective in halting the seepage secretion from daffodils. Therefore daffodils should not really be mixed with other flowers if you want a long-lasting arrangement.
Many say that Windflowers are just the old common name for Anemones but I can recall my Grandmother telling me that they were taller than most of todays Anemones or the wood Anemone and thus fluttered in the breeze more readily,hence the name.Perhaps the ones she had were the heirloom Anemone,'Robinsoniana'.A little taller than most with a nice pale lavender center.There's no doubt that Anemones move in the breeze but the name also comes from the Greek god of wind, Anemos.
Mistletoe is a parasite that grows on a variety of trees, including the apple and the oak. The practice of hanging it in the house goes back to the times of the ancient Druids. It is supposed to possess mystical powers which bring good luck to the household and ward off evil spirits. It was also used as a sign of love and friendship in Norse mythology and that's where the custom of kissing under Mistletoe comes from. The original custom was that a berry was picked from the sprig of Mistletoe before the person could be kissed and when all the berries had gone, there could be no more kissing.
There are hundreds of different types of poppy. The corn poppy is native to the Mediterranean areas of Europe, and does not contain opium like the Oriental poppies. (Papaver somniferum is the one opium is derived from.)The corn poppy is wide spread and abundant in arable fields and by roadsides. The red corn poppy has become a symbol of Remembrance Day. This custom began after WWI when thousands of poppies bloomed on the battlefields of Flanders. In folklore, poppies symbolise sleep as well as death, and peering into the black centre of a red poppy is a folk remedy for insomnia. Poppy seeds are edible, they are extensively used in European and Middle Eastern cookery, seeds are sprinkled on bread, rolls, cakes and biscuits. They also go quite well with honey as a dressing for fruit.
The sight of holly leaves and berries are linked with Christmas. In some parts of Britain holly was formerly referred to merely as Christmas, and in pre-Victorian times 'Christmas trees' meant holly bushes. The early Romans decorated their hallways with garlands made from Holly for their mid-winter feast. The prickly leaves of holly represent the crown of thorns that Jesus wore when he was crucified. The berries are the drops of blood that were shed by Jesus because of the thorns. Holly trees were traditionally known for protection from lightning strikes, so they were planted near a house.
A sure sign that the warm days of spring are upon us is the bloom of the Lilac tree -Syringa species. Common lilac is a decidious shrub with dark green, heart-shaped leaves. Their colourful clusters of flowers and magnificent fragrance make the lilac tree a favourite shrub to grow in parks and gardens. Most lilac trees are hardy, medium to large shrubs that are easy to grow and can last for hundreds of years. There are over 20 species with 1,000 lilac tree varieties alone. Different varieties of lilac trees can have blossoms that are pink, purple or white. Lilacs are sometimes grafted onto privet rootstocks. The botanical name for lilacs is Syringa, which is from the Greek word 'syrinx,' which means 'pipe'. The name was given because the stem is quite pithy and can be hollowed out. Shepherds made flutes of lilac wood. Whoever heard the music from flutes made of lilac will never forget the melody. The scent of lilacs is one that lingers in memory and as such has been used in perfume and many other scented products. It is said that the wood of the lilac bush retains the odour of the blossoms and when old lilac branches are burned they give off the scent of lilac. In a lot of cultures lilacs symbolises love. Lilac- Purple - First emotion of love. Lilac White - Youthful innocence and Purity.
For many folk the lily is the queen of bulbs, a glamorous showpiece of the garden in summer. Lilies are tall, exotic plants. Lilies grow from scaly bulbs, by early to late summer the long, plump flower buds open to showy, flat or funnel-shaped flowers. There are many species and varieties in a range of shapes, sizes and colours and with varying flowering times. Many lilies are easy to grow and there are numerous compact types too that are suitable for pots and for the smallest of gardens.
The classic lily of cottage gardens is 'Lilium candidum' the Madonna lily, which has beautiful, highly fragrant white flowers
The lilies beautiful trumpet-shaped blossoms symbolize purity, hope, and life.
Lilies add height and colour to any planting scheme, they are elegant and make excellent cut flowers. Lilies are beautiful used for weddings and are lovely in a hand-tied bouquet with roses. The pollen from lilies stains but it is possible to enjoy lilies if you take some precautions first. Make sure you cut off the anthers (the long stalks bearing the pollen) as soon as the flowers open enough for you to get access to them, use scissors and snip them off as low as possible. Alternatively, you can also 'stick' the pollen to the flowers by giving the anthers a quick spritz with hairspray, but this is really only suitable for flowers that are to be used to for a short time, such as wedding bouquets. If you do happen to accidentally spill Lily pollen on you clothes or soft furnishings, then DON'T RUB OR WET the area, simply hoover or dab off with stickytape.
There are many folk tales surrounding the blackberry, the most common one being a debate on the correct time to pick them. According to biblical tales, when the devil was cast out from heaven he landed on a blackberry bush, afterwards he's said to have cursed the blackberry because of its thorns. So any blackberries picked after Michaelmas day (29th September) are said to have the devil's spittle on them. During World War One, children in England were given time off school to collect blackberries for the production of juice that was sent to soldiers to help maintain health.'Rubus fruticosus' is the Latin name for the European blackberry, also known as bramble. Its a highly adaptable and fast-growing shrub that's found in hedgerows, woodland, meadows and wasteland. The wild berries have a depth of flavour rarely rivaled by cultivated varieties.
This is an old-fashioned favourite in the summer flower garden commonly known as Pincushion Flower. It has grey-green leaves with pretty flowers that look like pincushions surrounded by frilly petals. Scabious are often seen in cottage gardens and cornfield fringes. Scabious flowers bloom from Summer through to the first months of autumn, and carry domed flowers of red, white, blue, purple, yellow, soft lavender blue, lilac or creamy white colour atop long stems. These blooms are gorgeous and they make excellent cut flowers. Pincushion Flower Scabious plants are sun-lovers, and they are ideal for borders, edging, and beds. The are very attractive when planted in mass groupings. Scabious is nectar rich and will attract a variety of insects, bees, moths and butterflies.
Marigold are grown for their bright, summer and autumn flowers. Grow marigolds as fillers or edgings for flower beds, borders and vegetable gardens. There are two main species. African marigolds are large plants, usually double yellow or orange flowers. French marigolds are daintier, with smaller, single or double flowers in yellow, orange or red. Include a few French marigolds (tagetes) in the vegetable patch to repel pests that may attack your crops. Their strong scent is thought to mask the smell of surrounding crops so the pests cannot detect them. Mariglods are also edible. Petals can be sprinkled on soups, pasta, salads and rice. The Powdered petals, also known as 'poor man's saffron,' can be added to give a golden hint to herb butter, spreads, soups and scrambled eggs. Pick flowers just as they open in summer for fresh use and for drying.
The Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa) commonly grows in woodlands but can also be found in some grasslands, marshes and heaths. It grows from a slow spreading underground stem. It needs to be grown in carpets to make an effect. A good plant for bees and bumblebees. The name comes from 'anemos', the greek word for wind. It is sometimes called windflower. Other names include thimbleweed and wind crowfoot. The leaves have a distinctive smell, often described as kind of musky, which may account for one of the wood anemone’s other names 'smell fox'. Wood Anemones close up in wet and cloudy weather and hide away at nightime. Folklore has it that the fairy folk would close up the flower and hide inside from the rain.
The Cornflower got its common name due to being found mostly in cornfields. Although these days, due to modern methods of harvesting corn and other grains, it is much rarer. A Spring to late Summer blooming annual. They can reach three feet tall and the intense blue colour of the heirloom variety,'Blue Boy', is a must have in any garden. You can tell by its colour why Cornflowers were and are greatly prized for their blue pigment. Folklore has it that young men in love wore these flowers and if they faded quickly it was a sign that their love was scorned. Perhaps that's why they are also called Bachelor's Buttons.
Greatly valued for their unique variety of forms and their ease of maintenance, cactus and other succulents plants add a touch of drama and an unusual beauty to a garden. Cactus belongs to the family Cactaceae . It has more than 2000 varieties which are found in different colours, shapes, and forms. Instead of leaves, most cactus have spines or scales. These spines and scales do not lose water through evaporation, unlike regular leaves. The spines protect the cactus from predators which would like to eat the cactus to obtain food or water. Many cacti species are pollinated by bats. The lifespan of a cactus plant can vary from 25 years to 300 years.
Saguaro Cactus is the tallest cactus plant that can grow up to 20m high. It takes Saguaro Cactus 60 and 75 years to sprout its first arm and about 50 years to produce its first flower. Gila woodpeckers like to nest inside the stem of the saguaro cactus. Native Americans used the Barrel Cactus as a cooking pot. It is also known as 'Candy Barrel Cactus' as its pulp has been used to make cactus candy. The Spines of the Barrel cactus were used by locals for fishing hooks. The dramatic Organ-Pipe Cactus is considered the second tallest cactus after Saguaro Cactus. Often grown as a living fence in Mexico. Tis a great cactus for creating different vertical accents. It produces edible fruits which lose their spines upon maturity and display an edible red pulp. The Prickly Pear Cactus - Opuntia ficus-idica, is an edible cactus plant. Barbary fig, Indian fig, cactus pear and paddle cactus are just some of the common names for this versatile plant. Broad, flat leaves and sharp spines characterize the prickly pear cactus, and the colourful flowers turn into edible bulb-shaped fruits. The fruits, also named 'tuna' are typically used to make candies, jellies, jams, syrups, juices and even alcoholic beverages. The prickly pear pad, also called 'nopales,' often appear in boiled or grilled vegetable dishes, particularly in Mexican cuisine. The Christmas Cactus is a popular, winter-flowering houseplant. Schlumbergera bridgesii is the correct botanical name but they are also called Zygocactus which was their former botanical name. Christmas cactus are of the botanical plant family called Cactaceae. It has flat stems, which are called cladodes, which resemble leaves, even though they are not actual leaves. Traditionally the colours of Christmas cactus are deep red flowers, although it also blooms in various colours of purple, pink, orange, and cream. Christmas cactus are easy to look after and will live for many years. They make a great choice for hanging baskets. Christmas cactus is a member of a group sold as holiday cacti that includes the Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) and the Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri). The Christmas Cactus were originally forest cactus which grew in southeast Brazil, South America.
The willow family (Salicaceae) has many tree and shrub species. The botanical name of the Willow 'Salix' comes from the Celtic word 'sal' - meaning near, and “lis” - meaning water. Pussy Willow is likely the most well-known willow. Fairly easily identified in the spring by the characteristic "pussy willow" flowers. Reddish-brown twigs have long buds for a willow. The Willow tree is particularly rich in folklore and mythology. The Willow is the tree most associated with the moon, water, the Goddess and all that is feminine. Willow is also called the Tree of Enchantment, Osier, and Sough Tree. In western tradition it is a symbol of mourning and unlucky love. Willow wood is good for harps. Good for planting and lining burial graves for its symbolism of death and protection. If one wants to know if they will be married, on New Year's Eve, throw your shoe or boot into a willow, if it doesn't catch in the branches the first time, the individuals has eight more tries, if they succeed, they will wed.
The scent from Sweet pea - Lathyrus odoratus are divine. Their ruffled blooms look like little butterflies all aflutter. English gardeners call sweet peas 'the Queen of Annuals'. These charming annuals are unique among garden flowers with their vivid colours, fragrance, and length of bloom in the garden. They are quite at home in a Cottage garden, let them scramble up wigwams and obelisks. Sweet Peas are excellent in a cutting garden, ensuring a bounty of flowers to enjoy indoors. When the first flowers appear, start cutting flowering stems for your indoor bouquets. In addition to adding the sweet perfume in the home, you’re encouraging the plant to produce more flowers. Cut the stems every other day, early in the morning when they are the freshest.
There was a time when the breeders of sweet peas concentrated on size, colour and vigour at the expense of the scent, but many of the old varieties are now popular again. The flowers may be smaller but their scent is powerful! Grow the single varieties that are known to be highly scented or look out for 'Old-fashioned' and 'Heirloom' mixtures. Lathyrus odoratus 'Cupani' is the oldest cultivated Sweet pea. It is popular again due to its gorgeous rich colouring of deep-violet blue and dark magenta-purple, and also for its very powerful scent. This Sweet pea was named after the Sicilian monk - Francis Cupani, who introduced it Britain in 1699.
The sunflower-Helianthus annuus is a member of the Asteraceae plant family.
Sunflowers are an annual plant and are easily identifiable by a large, bright yellow flower head. The wild sunflower is native to North America. They probably originated in Mexico. They were introduced to Europe in the 16th century. Sunflowers were primarily used as a decorative plant until the mid-1900s when Russians began to cultivate them as an oil crop. The botanical name is Helianthus. The Greek word "helios" means sun and "anthos" means flower. It is aptly named after the sun which it resembles-a large flower head with usually a big dark centre and bright yellow petals. Although most sunflowers are bright yellow with dark brown centres, varieties are appearing now which have tan, orange, maroon or striped petals, and green-yellow centres. Sunflowers can grow to be very tall, some varieties grow up to fifteen feet tall!However, today you can find dwarf varieties that are only two or three feet tall. The Smaller sunflower varieties are often used as cut flowers for bouquets and flower arrangements. More on Sunflowers.
Irises are perennial plants, growing from creeping rhizomes or from bulbs, like old friends, irises come back year after year. There are over 300 species of irises, they come in many forms, shapes, colours and sizes and the sword-like foliage is attractive when the plant is not in bloom. Bearded Iris and Siberian Iris are two of the most common types of irises grown.
The word Iris means 'rainbow.'in Greek. It was named after the Goddess of the rainbow who was said to have been the link between heaven and earth.
The three leaves of the iris are believed to represent ~ faith, wisdom, and valour.
Irises are one of the best-known spring flowers. The show begins with Dwarf Irises (Iris reticulata). They are followed by the late-spring and early-summer varieties.
There are two main classes of iris flowers, namely 'bearded' and 'beardless.'
Bearded Irises are old-fashioned, cottage garden favourites and come in a range of colours, the plants have stiff, upright leaves. They make good cut flowers. The bearded iris flowers have six petals. Three of the petals, called 'standards' grow up, while the remaining three, called 'falls' hang down. The bearded iris flower gets its name from the falls, which have a ‘beard’ of fuzz down the centre. Siberian Irises are mostly blue, white and violet flowers and have tall, grass-like foliage. Siberian irises grow well in cool, wet conditions, though they thrive in full sun, they can also tolerate some shade. Louisiana Irises are from the Gulf Coast, these irises are water lovers and will be happy growing at a pond's edge. They feature a broad range of flower colours, including a true red. The foliage is tall, upright and sword-like. Japanese Irises, like Louisiana irises thrives in wet soil. You could grow them along the edge of a pool or stream, or in a partially submerged pot in a water garden. With a range of flower colours from white to lavender. Japanese irises have the largest flowers of the iris species. Dutch Irises, also called Beauty Irises are perfect for cutting gardens. Orchid-like flowers bloom from late spring to early summer. This group of irises has an especially wide range of colours and patterns.
Orris root powder is made from the dried rhizomes of the iris plant. Dried 'orris root' smells similar to violets. It is used primarily as a base for natural toothpastes, and as a fixative in perfumes to enhance other aromas. Powdered orris root also lends a pleasant scent to freshly laundered linens and to also potpourri.
Clematis are among the most beautiful and highly desired floral climbers. Clematis is from the Greek word klema, meaning "climbing". Clematis are part of the same family as anemones and buttercups. Clematis Vitalba is a toxic climber, which is also known as Old Man's Beard, Poor Man's Friend, and Traveller's Joy. The White flowers later turn into fluffy seedheads. Found naturally in hedges and wood margins. The Plant has been associated with devils and witches because it was thought to choke plants to death.
Lavender was first introduced to England around 1568. English farmers wore spikes of lavender flowers under their hats to prevent sunstroke and headaches. There are many different kinds of lavender. The most widely grown is the English Lavender. There are more than a hundred varieties ranging in height and colour. Winter rain and cold are enemies of all mediterranean shrubs and lavender is no exception. Give it a well-drained position and plenty of sunshine. Some lavenders are more tolerant, whilst others are quite tender and require winter protection. Lavender brings bees and butterflies into the garden as well as other beneficial insects, making it a gardener's friend. A few lavender plants amongst the roses not only make a wonderful companions, they can also help prevent greenfly. In Medieval and Renaissance Europe, the washer women were known as 'lavenders' as they used lavender to scent drawers and they dried the laundry on lavender bushes. Queen Victoria loved lavender so much she had it used to wash the floors and furniture. Lavender was very fashionable among all the ladies at the time, and they bought it from street sellers. Cut Them, Dry Them and enjoy them - Making Dried Floral Arrangements.
Marguerites offer masses of dainty, daisy flowers over many months and are great beginners plants. The shallow rooted, shrubby plant has bright green or bluish leaves and abundant daisies in white, pink or yellow with golden centres. Daisies fit well in a cottage garden. They are fast growers and soften a new garden or give quick colour in containers.
A Daisy symbolizes innocence and purity. The name daisy comes from the words 'day's eye' because the flowers open in the daytime and close at night. Named by Carolis Linneaeus in the 17th century. The daisy has a very long history. According to an ancient Celtic legend, daisies came from the spirits of children who died at birth. To cheer up their parents, God sprinkled the flowers all over the earth. This legend is the reason why daisies have the meaning of innocence. Daisy chains should always have their ends joined when finished as they represent the sun, the earth, and the circle of life.
Some of the varieties of Daisies are the white Daisy-like flowers, Michaelmas Daisy, Swan River Daisy, Shasta Daisy, Ox-eye Daisy and Gerbera Daisy.
MICHAELMAS DAISY / ASTER
Once very popular, these hardy, late Summer/Fall bloomers are not seen as much any more. Pity. They make a great addition for the back of a perennial border. It's not surprising that they have naturalized throughout Europe as their name comes from the fact that they bloomed at the same time St.Michaels Day was celebrated in England. Aster have a flower meaning of patience, love, Faith, and Wisdom. In ancient times it was thought that the perfume from their burning leaves could drive away evil serpents. Asters are also known as Starworts, Frost flowers or Michaelmas daisies, the name aster is derived from the word of Greek meaning 'star'. According to one legend, the field bloomed with asters when Virgo scattered stardust on the earth. Aother claimed that the Goddess Asterea began to cry when she looked down upon the earth and saw no stars. The asters bloomed where her tears fell. Asters are daisy-like in appearance. Asters come in white, purples, lavenders, blues, robust red and a variety of pinks. Aster flowers provide a beautiful addition to a fall flower garden.
LILY OF THE VALLEY
Lily of the valley has to be the most purely beautiful flower there is. They are known for their mild, sweet fragrance, which has been captured in so many scents that we are all familiar with it. Its quite unbelievable that such a tiny little plant could emit such a heavenly scent, it is just glorious! The best way to appreciate the fragrance is to plant Lily of the Valley along a walkway or grow them in raised pots to scent the patio. Some folk consider it bad luck to bring these flowers into the house. Lily of the Valley may have a beautiful fragrance, but all parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested. Lily of the valley is easy to accommodate anywhere in shade, tuck it among ferns and other shade-lovers at the back of a border. They do have a running habit and can spread very quickly by underground stems called rhizomes, they need to be kept in check so they don't become a bit of a problem in the garden, as Scotty points out. Our Scotty doesn't care much for Lily of the valley, you see, they ate his Hosta! :)
The name 'Lily of the Valley' is derived from the Latin convallis, meaning 'valley' and 'majalis', 'May-flowering' when the plant commonly flowers. It is also known as Little Maybells, Mary's Tears, Our Lady's Tears, Ladder to Heaven, Jacob's Tear, and May Lily. Lily of the valley were first cultivated in 1420 and are thought to be native to Europe. They grow wild here in England, where they are found in abundance in many areas.
These small, fragile, bell-shaped flowers are considered traditional marriage flowers. The Lily of the valley flower is much used in bridal arrangements for their lovely sweet perfume.
Traditionally, Lily of the Valley is sold in the streets of France on May 1. It is often given as a small gift and is said to represent good luck and happiness. The scent of this flower is said to attract nightingales and to give people the power to see a better world. In the language of flowers, lily of the valley represent the return of happiness. They are generally a symbol of humility, purity, and sweetness.
NIGELLA / LOVE-IN-A-MIST
There are several annual species in this genus but 'Nigella damascena' are by far the most commonly grown. A lovely Cottage garden flower. Above delicate, dill-like foliage, its dainty pale blue flowers on thin stalks are supported by a spiky green ruff. The seed pods that follow are a little like miniature hot-air ballons. Both the flowers and pods are great for cutting, so easy to grow, just scatter the seeds onto the ground or sow in pots. Stems may need some support, with twigs in windy areas.
Nigella - 'Miss Jekyll' is a beautiful sky blue variety and is named after the famous Victorian gardener, Gertrude Jekyll 1843-1932. A most respected gardener of her time, her influence on the art of gardening is evident throughout the world today.
Nigella seeds are used as a spice. The seeds are also known by other names, black caraway, black cumin and black onion seeds. The seeds have little aroma but if rubbed in the fingers they will give off a kind of peppery smell and they have a herb like taste that is similar to Oregano. Nigella is one of the five spices in Bengali five spice (panch phoron) and is used alot in Indian cooking usually in vegetable and dhal dishes as well as pickles and chutneys, and quite often the seeds are scattered on naan breads to give them that peppery flavour.
Pansies are invaluable for injecting colour into Winter and Spring gardens. Use them as fillers, as an edging or in containers and basket's. I often call pansies smiley faces. The pansy is a delicate looking flower often with a "face" which seems to nod forward as if in deep thought. :) They are delightful flowers. I love them. Pansies come in a huge range of colours. Pansies are also a edible flower. Use pansies to garnish cocktails, desserts, soups and fruit salads. Also their flowers and petals are pretty when sprinkled on top of salads or even as decoration on top of fairy cakes. More on Edible Flowers
Carnations are members of the genus Dianthus and also called pinks. Carnation petals are edible and quite sweet. The flowers taste similar to spicy cloves. They can be added to salads or fruit pies. Candied, pickled in vinegar and made into a syrup. For 400 years, well into the 18th century, carnations were used to flavour beer, ale, and wine, are still used to make the French liqueur Chartreuse. In England, Pinks were thought to be favourite flower of William the Conqueror, Edward III, Charles II, and George V. In 1907 Anna Jarvis chose a carnation as the emblem of Mother's Day because it was the favourite flower of her mother. This tradition is now observed in the United States and Canada on the second Sunday in May. Ann Jarvis chose the white carnation because she wanted to represent the purity of a mother's love. A red carnation symbolizes appreciation and love for a living mother, and a white one for the love and respect for a mother who has passed away.
Poinsettias are traditional Christmas plants. Poinsettias are native to Mexico, where they grow wild. The most common colour is red. However, there is a wide range of other colours available, including pink, white, marbled, speckled, and yellow. The colourful petals on the poinsettia are often referred to as the flower, but they are actually called bracts. The flower heads are the tiny yellow clusters at the center of the bracts. The poinsettia was first used as a Christmas decoration by Franciscan friars in Mexico during the 17th century.The plant’s star-shaped leaf pattern symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem, and the bright red colour signifies the blood of Jesus. The enchanting legend of the poinsettia dates back several centuries, to a Christmas Eve in Mexico when a little girl named Pepita had no gift to present to the Christ child. Her cousin Pedro urged her to give a humble gift. So, on her way to church she gathered some weeds she found along the road. As she approached the altar, a miracle happened - The weeds blossomed into bright red flowers. From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the Flores de Noche Buena, or Flowers of the Holy Night, for they bloomed each year during the Christmas season. More beautiful Christmas Flowers.