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Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

Floral Friday

This Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis) was given to me this week as I stood down from a voluntary role I’ve held for the last nine years. I’ve never had an orchid plant before, but I’ve admired them, and was delighted to receive one. Currently I have three other pot plants, all of which I’ve successfully nurtured for several years, but I’m not confident of my ability to keep this one thriving. Its roots are visible so I’m keen to move it into a larger pot, but I need to get some special orchid mix to do this. Apparently the most important thing is to ensure it’s not over-watered as they don’t like damp feet. Wish me luck!

Restricted to a tiny shower
will be best for this lovely flower

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Our very first narcissus for this year is flowering.

Actually it’s not the very first. There was another dead head beside it on the plant, but the flowers are outside the fence, and these last few weeks have been so busy I haven’t walked along that part of the fence, so hadn’t seen it.

The name Narcissus comes from a character in Greek mythology who was extremely handsome. It was said that he would live to old age, if he never looked at himself. Many female admirers were entranced by his beauty, but he rejected them all. One of them, Echo, was so upset by his rejection that she withdrew from the world to waste away. All that was left of her was a whisper. This was heard by the goddess Nemesis, who, in response, made Narcissus fall in love with his own reflection in a pool. He stared at this reflection until he died and was replaced by a narcissus flower.

His self-absorption was complete
but the result was bittersweet

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Floral Friday

I was thrilled to find a flower on my camellia Setsugekka. This plant was given to me in 2016 when I left Volunteering Canterbury as a gift from the Network of Volunteer Centres in Aotearoa, and it wasn’t easy to find a space for it in our small garden. I planted it by the south fence, and have tried to espalier it. Three weeks after planting it produced one flower but there have been no more in the six years since, although I have fed and watered it assiduously. It was a lovely surprise this week to find it had several flower buds, and yesterday the first flower opened. I’m not sure how long it will flower for but I hope I may have white camellias for Suffrage Day in September.

I very nearly gave up hope
that I would see this suffrage trope

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Floral Friday

These Canterbury Bells or Campanula were planted beside our pool many years ago. They have been almost smothered by ivy, but I was pleased to see their flowers again this week.

There are several legends about these flowers. One says that three evil men were transformed by a priest into swans and cursed to fly without rest for over a thousand years. Then, when flying over Canterbury (U.K.), the men heard the ringing of church bells and felt so remorseful about their past deeds that the curse was broken. With the spell lifted, the men fell to earth at Canterbury where they were discovered by North African scholar Saint Augustine, who led them into a church. Where the men trod, tiny campanulas grew, and the flower was subsequently dedicated to Saint Augustine and later to England’s Saint Thomas a Becket who was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral.

Another legend tells that campanulas were so named because of their resemblance to the bells carried by pilgrims to Canterbury.

The flower is also known as Venus’s looking glass. According to myth, Venus’s mirror bestowed beauty upon anyone reflected in it. However, one day the goddess lost her mirror, and it was found by a shepherd who proceeded to gazed at himself in the mirror. It so angered Cupid that his mother’s mirror had been used by a mortal that Cupid knocked the glass from the shepherd’s hand, and where it landed sprang forth a campanula.

So, there are several suggestions as to where the flowers got their name. They certainly seem appropriate for gardens in our Canterbury.

Just where they came from who can tell?
But in this province they’re our bell.

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Floral Friday

This lupin is flowering outside our front fence, just behind the green box that holds the connections for the local fibre cables. It’s a brave volunteer, self-sewn from plants inside the fence, and has occasionally been nurtured with worm pee. It demonstrates the kind of tenacity that has enabled its relations to colonise the McKenzie Country.

I actually took the photo on Tuesday, and wondered whether some passer-by might abduct the flower, but it’s still there.

It’s grown up through a footpath crack
where recent sealing has been slack

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Floral Friday

Sunflower with bee

Yellow flowers don’t fit my garden colour scheme, so I’m not inclined to ,plant them. These sunflowers were a gift so I had to find a spot for them, and they are flourishing outside the fence in my ground level window boxes.

The last time I grew sunflowers was four years ago, and those were small ones from New World’s Little Garden. This year’s ones are much bigger and, as you can see, the bees are enjoying them.

It’s only the buds and leaves of the sunflower that turn towards the sun. Once the head of the plant comes into bloom it remains facing the east where the sun rises.

Sunflowers have been cultivated for over 4,500 years. Because the whole of the plant, including leaves, stalks, and roots is edible, they were grown as food in North America before other crops such as corn became common.

Each flower head is actually made up of about 2,000 florets. These tiny flowers are packed full of nectar which makes them attractive to bees.

Sunflowers have a remarkable ability to absorb toxins, including radiation, which is why they were planted at Chernobyl and Fukushima after nuclear disasters.

A useful plant the bright sunflower
where bees good nectar can devour

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Floral Friday

Today’s flower is a gladiolus, with many tomato flowers behind it. I planted four heirloom tomatoes, with names like Bloody Butcher and Cocktail True Red. They are probably too close together, but are flourishing and all have flowers and small tomatoes on them.

The glad counts as an heirloom too, because I’m not sure where it came from, but these pale orange ones have appeared in our garden each year. Maybe they’ve been here longer than we have?

I’m happy to have flowers and veges in the same bed. The only place I keep them separated is in the raised bed, which is limited to veges and herbs only, although the occasional volunteer flower sneaks in.

My plants all nestle in together
support each other through bad weather

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Glad-napper foiled

I noticed someone loitering just outside our side fence, so I walked up the path and peered over, to see a women about to break off one of the gladioli flowering there. I said “Excuse me” and she jumped! She said confusedly “I wasn’t going to grab it. I was just grabbing it for a friend.” and she hurriedly scuttled across the road and away.

If she’d stayed a little longer I would have asked her why she wanted the flower for her friend, and quite possibly have cut it for her. I’ve done this previously when I’ve found people trying to break off roses. I’m happy to share my flowers, but I like people to ask first.

I scared the would-be flower thief
and so our interchange was brief

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Floral Friday

“What happened to our gypsophila?” Stephen asked me. We used to have a lovely bush of white gypsophila which was very useful for making posies. Sadly it disappeared a few years ago.

This morning I was at Portstone Garden Centre, actually in the café for an end-of-year meeting, and afterwards I went to seek gypsophila. They didn’t have any white, but I was pleased to buy four plants of Gypsy Pink.

Gypsy Pink Gypsophila

I managed to find four spots in the garden to plant them, and was surprised that the label said they were “designer flowers”, as that phrase has quite another meaning for me. Some years ago I wanted to buy artificial flowers (I now wonder why!) and asked at a shop for false flowers that didn’t pretend to look like real flowers. “Oh, you mean designer flowers” said the woman, and ever since that’s what designer flowers have meant to me. I shall just have to ignore the label on the gypsophila.

I’m looking forward to evening showers
to nurture my new-planted flowers

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Over the weekend the temperature reached 30° and it was a pleasure to sit on our patio in the shade of the walnut tree and enjoy balmy breezes.

Today the forecast is for 13° and cloudy with rain. These contrasts may be related to the climate emergency, but Canterbury has long been notorious for having four seasons in one day. The rain is good for the garden with everything growing apace.

Hollyhocks in the gutter

There are hollyhocks flourishing in the gutter outside, along with the ubiquitous alyssums. I try to keep the bottom of the gutter clear, and the Council sweepers haven’t been around lately, so the hollyhocks have been left to enjoy the sun and rain.

Fluctuations in the weather remind me of a poem my mother used to quote. Google tells me it’s by someone who’s anonymous and British – not surprising as Britons have a traditional interest in the weather. According to research in 2015, 94% of British respondents admitted to having conversed about the weather in the past six hours, while 38% said they had in the past 60 minutes.

Whether the weather be cold
or whether the weather be hot
we’ll weather the weather whatever the weather
whether we like it or not

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