Flowers

Orchid Tips - The Fall Season is here

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The fall season for orchids is an important one. It is when where a great number of the orchid plants need care as well as a change in the basic requirements. Most orchids use this season as a "rest period" to get ready to produce blooms in the winter or spring.

From the summer season to the fall there is a less a requirement for water as the temperature decreases. You will need to monitor this closely. Don't forget it you see wrinkling on the leaves this means that you need more H2O.

As a general rule, this time of the year requires the use of an orchid fertilizer, richer in phosphorous to boost the bloom potential. This means that there is higher percentage in nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium in the fertilizer mixture. As you use fertilizer on the orchid plants use it as half strength and generally once a week.

Be sure that you allow the water and fertilizer to run out of the pot. Leaving water and fertilizer in the pot allows root rot to destroy the orchid very quickly.

Flower of the Month

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As the old saying goes “every dog has his day”, but did you know that each flower has it’s month? The symbolism of flowers has a history going back to at least the 1600’s. Here is a brief list of of some flowers and their “assigned” month. Feel free to make up your own list.

January: Carnation
Carnations are traditionally worn on the Brisish Mother's Day, either in pink to honor a living mother or white in memory of one who has passed on. In a bouquet, this flower stands for pure love, devotion and dedication. Just don't include any yellow carnations. (That would be "flowerese" for disdain.)

February: Iris
The warm, deep color of the iris is a harbinger of spring and symbolizes respect, honor, wisdom, hope and valor.

Easter lilies, a brief history

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Flowers play an important role during Easter time. Lily plants can be found on the altar and in many homes, with the beautiful trumpet-shaped white flowers symbolizing purity, virtue, innocence, hope and life - the spiritual essence of Easter. But, few people know how these flowers came to play their part for the holiday.

Easter lilies are native to the Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan, and the islands of Okinawa, Amani and Erabu. The flowers were introduced to England in 1819. In 1853 a Japanese missionary gave it to a friend in St. George, Bermuda who later marketed it. The Bermuda lily was introduced to America in 1880, but a severe virus in 1898 ruined the Bermuda lily industry. Lily bulb production came to the U.S. in the late 1800s, and was centered in both Japan and the southern U.S. after 1898. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Japanese source of bulbs was cut off. As a result, the value of lily bulbs greatly increased and many people who were growing lilies as a hobby went into business. The Easter lily bulbs at that time were called "White Gold," and growers everywhere attempted to cash in on the crop. By 1945, there were around 1,200 growers up and down the Pacific coast, from Vancouver, Canada to Long Beach, California. Over the years, the number of Easter lily bulb producers diminished to just ten farms in an isolated coastal region on the Oregon-California border called the Easter Lily Capital of the World.

Lilies themselves can be found mentioned prominently in the Bible. When Eve left the Garden of Eden she shed real tears of repentance, and from those remorseful tears sprung up lilies. Often called the “white-robed apostles of hope” lilies were also found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ's crucifixtion. White lilies are said to have sprung up where drops of Christ's sweat fell to the ground from the cross. Traditionally, Easter Lilies are arranged in churches, to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

One of the greatest challenges for Easter lily producers today is to get all the plants to bloom at the same time and just in time for Easter! This is especially difficult because Easter comes at a different date each year. Growers measure the progress of Easter lilies every day. They look for certain signs of development, such as when the first flower buds appear, the number of new leaves that unfold everyday, and the height of the plants. These progressions determine whether or not the plants will be ready for sale at just the right time. For example, by counting the leaves on each plant, growers can predict how many days until that plant will flower. If the plants are growing too slowly, or too fast, the grower must adjust the humidity and temperature of the greenhouse. If some plants develop faster than others, those plants may have to be placed in a cooler until the other plants catch up.

Nowadays, other flowers have come to be associated with Easter, such as tulips, iris, gerbera, and even roses. Generally, spring time colors such as yellow and orange are popular. By the way, did you know that Easter lilies can be planted out side and will flower each summer?

Easter lilies, a brief history

on .

Flowers play an important role during Easter time. Lily plants can be found on the altar and in many homes, with the beautiful trumpet-shaped white flowers symbolizing purity, virtue, innocence, hope and life - the spiritual essence of Easter. But, few people know how these flowers came to play their part for the holiday.

Easter lilies are native to the Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan, and the islands of Okinawa, Amani and Erabu. The flowers were introduced to England in 1819. In 1853 a Japanese missionary gave it to a friend in St. George, Bermuda who later marketed it. The Bermuda lily was introduced to America in 1880, but a severe virus in 1898 ruined the Bermuda lily industry. Lily bulb production came to the U.S. in the late 1800s, and was centered in both Japan and the southern U.S. after 1898. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Japanese source of bulbs was cut off. As a result, the value of lily bulbs greatly increased and many people who were growing lilies as a hobby went into business. The Easter lily bulbs at that time were called "White Gold," and growers everywhere attempted to cash in on the crop. By 1945, there were around 1,200 growers up and down the Pacific coast, from Vancouver, Canada to Long Beach, California. Over the years, the number of Easter lily bulb producers diminished to just ten farms in an isolated coastal region on the Oregon-California border called the Easter Lily Capital of the World.

Lilies themselves can be found mentioned prominently in the Bible. When Eve left the Garden of Eden she shed real tears of repentance, and from those remorseful tears sprung up lilies. Often called the “white-robed apostles of hope” lilies were also found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ's crucifixtion. White lilies are said to have sprung up where drops of Christ's sweat fell to the ground from the cross. Traditionally, Easter Lilies are arranged in churches, to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

One of the greatest challenges for Easter lily producers today is to get all the plants to bloom at the same time and just in time for Easter! This is especially difficult because Easter comes at a different date each year. Growers measure the progress of Easter lilies every day. They look for certain signs of development, such as when the first flower buds appear, the number of new leaves that unfold everyday, and the height of the plants. These progressions determine whether or not the plants will be ready for sale at just the right time. For example, by counting the leaves on each plant, growers can predict how many days until that plant will flower. If the plants are growing too slowly, or too fast, the grower must adjust the humidity and temperature of the greenhouse. If some plants develop faster than others, those plants may have to be placed in a cooler until the other plants catch up.

Nowadays, other flowers have come to be associated with Easter, such as tulips, iris, gerbera, and even roses. Generally, spring time colors such as yellow and orange are popular. By the way, did you know that Easter lilies can be planted out side and will flower each summer?

The Versatile Plant: All About Mums

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When fall arrives, it's hard not to regret the passing of all the summer blooms we love so much: pompon dahlias, Shasta daisies, African daisies, little zinnias, asters, coreopsis, and calendulas.

But take heart, for the fall garden offers all these flower shapes from just one plant, the chrysanthemum. Hundreds of hardy cultivars provide an array of colors and bloom shapes, making mums the divas of the autumn garden. The blooms last for weeks, not days, and the sheer number of flowers per plant will convince anyone that this flower really likes to show off. Add the mum's impressionistic abilities to its longevity, and you have a plant that pulls its weight in the garden.

Chrysanthemums constitute a wide variety of plants including painted daisy, the very popular Shasta daisy and what we commonly refer to as the hardy mum. Hardy mums provide us with a wide array of color and form in the fall. They are a perfect replacement for the annuals you have enjoyed since spring.

Because of their tight, mounded habit and stunning bloom cover, garden mums are perfect for mass plantings. To get the maximum effect from far away, stick to only one or two colors. Another possibility is to arrange a gradual transition of related colors. Look around your yard to see what colors would best complement the existing landscape. If you decorate for fall with pumpkins and gourds, choose orange, bronze, yellow, and creamy white mums. If you have a lot of evergreen plants that provide a backdrop of varying shades of green foliage, try bright pinks, lavenders, pure whites, or reds. With such bold colors, a large grouping of mums can excite even the most drab of fall landscapes.

Garden mums also make great container plants. They're just right for popping into a clay pot, lining up in a row in a window box, or placing in the center of a mixed container with trailing foliage plants all around. Many landscape plants can provide a backdrop for groupings of mums. For texture, choose ornamental grasses or the neon purple berries of the beautyberry shrub (Callicarpa). You also can pair mums with smoke tree (Cotinus), variegated sedum, the deciduous dwarf Fothergilla gardenii, or almost any conifer.

To get the most from your mums, choose cultivars according to their bloom times. It also helps to coordinate bloom time with the length of fall in your location. Most garden mums will withstand a light fall frost, but finding the right cultivars will provide the longest possible amount of pleasure.

Annual or Perennial?

Mums aren't as expensive as many perennials, so if you choose to, you can plant them as annuals without worrying that you've spent too much money on something that might not live more than one season. If you're an impulse buyer, you'll probably see pots of colorful mums this fall and not be able to resist.

Winter Protection

Keep your garden mums' soil moist as winter approaches. There is no need to prune back plants until the following spring. In fact, Yoder Brothers of Barberton, Ohio have proven, by experiment, that mums cut back in early spring, instead of fall, survive hard winters better.