Monday, December 31, 2007
I love this beautiful bougainvillea pergola in our friend's patio and pool garden in warm, tropical Florida. Left double click on this photo to enlarge this photo and note all the lovely architectural and landscape details.
A photo of our Florida friend's lovely landscaped front garden which complements the beautiful Spanish Mission architecture.
A special friend since our childhood sent me this picture of her beautiful Spanish Mission style home in Florida.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Looking back on various garden projects this past year, I am pleased that I was able to install this goldfish pond myself, although moving and stacking 2,300 pounds of stones one-by-one was laborious. I have new respect for the slaves who built the pyramids. My goldfish and waterplants are thriving and seem very happy in their new home with just the right combination of morning sunshine and afternoon shade.
This deciduous 6' shrub forms a dense thicket if not restrained. It has these beautiful and fragrant (like the old-fashioned soap with the name "Cashmere Bouquet") clusters of flowers up to 8 inches across in summer, but its leaves when crushed have a disgusting stench.
Monday, December 24, 2007
My first cousin sent this photo of his reindeer yard art that he has in his Florida garden for a Christmas decoration. I much prefer his beautiful crotons in the tropical background over a snowy landscape.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
My first cousin in Florida sent this photo of a huge orchid plant in his garden. It is hanging above his wife who is sitting in their swing.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
I have a pair of these terra cotta wall planters on the patio that were cast from Roman Era effigies excavated in London. The faces have very strange expressions and truly are "conversation pieces".
For once my Christmas Cactus plants are actually blooming at the appropriate time. Some years they bloom at Halloween and other years at Valentine's, but this year they are right on schedule.
I am impressed with the Japanese horticulturalists' progress in developing amazing new varieties of ornamental kale and cabbage. Each year I see interesting new types of leaves and colors.
Our first freeze of the season is forecast for tonight so by morning these red peppers will be mush, and then the yellow pansies will have room to flourish in this crowded terra cotta pot.
Monday, December 10, 2007
The cool nights and morning sun are making these pots of Ultima Morpho pansies perk up. I used to think the variety, Majestic Giants II, was the best for this climate but now my blue ribbon for "Best Of Show" goes to this one.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
The history of the poinsettia: The plant we know today as the poinsettia has a long and interesting history. The fact is, that lovely plant you place in your home during the holidays was once used as a fever medicine! Native to Central America, the plant flourished in an area of Southern Mexico known as Taxco del Alarcon. The ancient Aztecs had a name for this plant found blooming in the tropical highlands during the short days of winter:cuetlaxochitl. Not merely decorative, the Aztecs put the plant to practical use. From its bracts they extracted a purplish dye for use in textiles and cosmetics. The milky white sap, today called latex, was made into a preparation to treat fevers. Joel Roberts Poinsett: The poinsettia may have remained a regional plant for many years to come had it not been for the efforts of Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779 - 1851). The son of a French physician, Poinsett was appointed as the first United States Ambassador to Mexico (1825 - 1829) by President Madison. Poinsett had attended medical school himself, but his real love in the scientific field was botany. (Mr. Poinsett later founded the institution which we know today as the Smithsonian Institution). Poinsett maintained his own hothouses on his Greenville, South Carolina plantations, and while visiting the Taxco area in 1828, he became enchanted by the brilliant red blooms he saw there. He immediately sent some of the plants back to South Carolina, where he began propagating the plants and sending them to friends and botanical gardens. Among the recipients of Poinsett's work was John Bartram of Philadelphia, who in turn gave the plant over to another friend, Robert Buist, a Pennsylvania nurseryman. Mr. Buist is thought to be the first person to have sold the plant under its botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima (literally, "the most beautiful Euphorbia"). Though it is thought to have become known by its more popular name of poinsettia around 1836, the origin of the name is certainly clear!