Posts Tagged ‘garden’

Floral Friday

Camellia ‘Setsugekka’

These camellia flowers are especially welcome.  The shrub has significance because it was given to me two years ago as a leaving present from the Network of Volunteer Cantres Aotearoa.  It didn’t flower at all last year, but this year it’s got lots of buds and I hope it may still be flowering on Suffrage Day.  In 1893 New Zealand suffragists gave their supporters in Parliament white camellias to wear in their buttonholes, and it’s remained a tradition to wear this flower on Suffrage Day (19 September).

Camellia sinensis is used to make most green and black teas. The leaves and petals of the camellia plant are dried and are known for their high levels of caffeine.  Green tea is made by drying the camellia leaves and black tea is made from the same process, with an added fermentation stage.  Green tea in particular is known for its antioxidants which have many health benefits including lowering cholesterol, reducing heart disease, and boosting metabolism.  According to legend, tea was discovered when an early Chinese emperor ordered all the water in the land to be boiled before drinking to prevent disease.  Some dried camellia leaves fell in his cup and began to steep. He was so taken by the flavor that camellia tea was born.

“I hope this flower that blooms in May
will still be here on Suffrage Day.”




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Floral Friday

This is the first of next season’s sweet peas.  When the old plants die I scatter the seed pods in the earth, and this one has grown and flowered in anticipation of next summer.  It reminded me of the 1966 song by Tommy Roe.  I wonder who else remembers that?

“Its colour bright and lovely scent
make this a welcome new event.”



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Floral Friday

The first narcissus has flowered, very early.  Usually the snowdrops come first, but not this year.  The seasons are all mixed up these days.

“They miscontrue the time of year
it’s early for these to appear.”

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Yesterday was perfect weather for the Autumn Garden Show in the Botanic Gardens, and there were many interesting things to see.  I liked the nostalgia of Bill and Ben, the Flower Pot Men.  Didn’t see Little Weed.

Ben and Bill

Jenny Gillies’ floral creations were on show:

Fuschia and Poppy

Watering can and Iris

Many groups had displays, including the Christchurch Community Gardens’ Association

Christchurch Community Gardens’ Association

The Canterbury Horticultural Society had a stall where you could buy an attractive posy for just $5.  Next to them was this collection of teapots with teabag trees.

Teapots with teabag trees

“So much to see and all for free
some open air, some in marquee.”




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Floral Friday

The first cyclamen flower has emerged.  I love the way its petals unfurl.  This sign of spring is especially welcome as temperatures have been low this week.

In times past the cyclamen signified maternal love.  Perhaps that’s why potted versions are often on sale just before Mother’s Day.  I’ve read that the cyclamen, together with the columbine, was one of the flowers of choice for Leonardo Da Vinci at the beginning of the 16th century, and he covered the margins of his manuscripts with it.

In antiquity the cyclamen was recognised for its therapeutic virtues, due to the presence of cyclamine, a bitter substance with purgative powers.  Its root provides a basic remedy in homoeopathy for depression and feelings of guilt.  The roots which are enjoyed by pigs once earned the European cyclamen the nickname of ‘pig bread’ or ‘sow bread’.

The name cyclamen, which is identical in Latin and English, is transcribed from the Greek word kuklaminos, derived from kuklos, meaning “circle”.  It refers to the round and flattened shape of its tuber.  There may also be an allusion to the nicely curved shape that the flowers take.

“This flower unfolds all in a round
as it emerges from the ground.”

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Floral Friday

This Fairy Rose was planted in 2002, and continues to provide pretty flowers over a long period each summer.  It’s a shrub rose, first bred in 1932, is the ancestor of modern flower carpet roses, and is easy to care for.  Mine gets a good prune in July and no other attention except water if the weather is exceptionally dry.

“There’s absolutely nothing scary
about this easy care pink fairy.”

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Floral Friday

This origanum plant is flowering profusely despite being almost smothered by mint and emerging bulbs.

Its name comes from the Greek oros a mountain, and ganao joy and thus means ‘joy of the mountains’.  Greek legend tells that Aphrodite, goddess of love, found the herb growing at the bottom of the ocean.  She took it to a mountain top to bring it close to the sun, and it became associated with warmth and love and the banishment of sorrow.

Aristotle reported that after catching snakes, turtles used to eat origanum, which led to the idea that origanum was an antidote against snake venom.  Greeks and Romans used to put it into bath water to deodorize, to stimulate the tired body, and to purify skin.  Apparently it’s a repellant for ants, as well as being a fundamental ingredient of traditional pizzas.

“If pizza you want to embellish
this herb will give it extra relish.’


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