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When to Post:
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Thursday, 26 December 2013

FFF 110 - CLEMATIS

Clematis is a genus of about 300 species within the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. Their garden hybrids have been popular among gardeners, beginning with Clematis × jackmanii, a garden standby since 1862; more hybrid cultivars are being produced constantly. They are mainly of Chinese and Japanese origin. Most species are known as clematis in English, while some are also known as traveller's joy, a name invented for the sole British native, C. vitalba, by the herbalist John Gerard; virgin's bower for C. viticella; old man's beard, applied to several with prominent seedheads; and leather flower or vase vine for the North American Clematis viorna.

Illustrated here is the splendid hybrid Clematis 'Daniel Deronda'. Introduced in 1882, 'Daniel Deronda' still holds its own among modern varieties and has given the Royal Horticultural Society's prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in recognition of its outstanding excellence. It produces purple-blue flowers throughout the summer. These are semi-double early in the season and then single later on. The blooms are followed by eye-catching seed-heads which have a twist at the top.

To prune, remove any dead or weak stems in late winter or early spring and cut remaining stems back to the highest pair of strong-growing buds. To encourage blooms to cover the whole plant, train the stems so that they are evenly spaced on their support. As new growth appears in mid-spring, train this to fill any gaps. Plant in a sheltered position that is not north-facing.

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Thursday, 19 December 2013

FFF 109 - SURFINIA PETUNIA

Petunia is genus of 35 species of flowering plants in the family Solanaceae, of South American origin, closely related to tobacco, cape gooseberries, tomatoes, deadly nightshades, potatoes and chili peppers. The popular flower of the same name derived its epithet from the French, which took the word petun, meaning "tobacco," from a Tupi–Guarani language. An annual, most of the varieties seen in gardens are hybrids (Petunia × hybrida).

Here is one of the Surfinia series of petunia, called 'Purple Vein'. It is perfect for creating colourful summer displays in containers and hanging baskets. It is also a good ground cover plant, making a carpet of lavender blooms with contrasting veins. For the best displays, feed and water regularly.

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Thursday, 12 December 2013

FFF 108 - KING PROTEA

The king protea (Protea cynaroides) is a flowering plant. It is a distinctive member of Protea, having the largest flower head in the genus. The species is also known as giant protea, honeypot or king sugar bush. It is widely distributed in the southwestern and southern parts of South Africa in the fynbos region.The king protea is the national flower of South Africa. It also is the flagship of the The Protea Atlas Project, run by the South African National Botanical Institute.

The king protea has several colour forms and horticulturists have recognised 81 garden varieties, some of which have injudiciously been planted in its natural range. In some varieties the pink of the flower and red borders of leaves are replaced by a creamy yellow. This unusual flower has a long vase life in flower arrangements, and makes for an excellent dried flower. Protea cynaroides is adapted to survive wildfires by its thick underground stem, which contains many dormant buds; these will produce the new growth after the fire.

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Thursday, 5 December 2013

FFF107 - CHRISTMAS ROSE

Commonly known as hellebores, members of the genus Helleborus comprise approximately 20 species of herbaceous or evergreen perennial flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae, within which it gave its name to the tribe of Helleboreae. Many species are poisonous. Despite names such as "Christmas rose" and "Lenten rose", hellebores are not closely related to the rose family (Rosaceae).

The genus is native to much of Europe, from western Great Britain, Spain and Portugal, eastward across the Mediterranean region and central Europe into Romania and Ukraine, and along the north coast of Turkey into the Caucasus. The greatest concentration of species occurs in the Balkans. One atypical species (H. thibetanus) comes from western China; another atypical species (H. vesicarius) inhabits a small area on the border between Turkey and Syria.

The flowers have five "petals" (actually sepals) surrounding a ring of small, cup-like nectaries (petals modified to hold nectar). The sepals do not fall as petals would, but remain on the plant, sometimes for many months. Recent research in Spain suggests that the persistence of the sepals contributes to the development of the seeds.

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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

FFF106 - AMBRIDGE ROSE

The 'Ambridge Rose'  (David Austin. 1990) is an old-fashioned rose borne on an attractive bush, about one metre tall.  It has beautiful soft, apricot pink, fragrant flowers that bloom Repeatedly. This is one of two ('Fair Bianca' is the other) of Oprah's favourite roses for her bedside table.  The apricot pink rosettes have a deliciously strong rose fragrance and the medium size blooms with 50-100 petals bloom repeatedly on a medium size bushy plant with medium green coloured foliage.

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Thursday, 21 November 2013

FFF105 - SCARLET PIMPERNEL

Scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), also known as red pimpernel, red chickweed, poorman's barometer, poor man's weather-glass, shepherd's weather glass or shepherd's clock, is a low-growing annual plant. The native range of the species is Europe and Western and North Africa. The species has been distributed widely by humans, either deliberately as an ornamental flower or accidentally.

A. arvensis is now naturalised almost worldwide, with a range that encompasses The Americas, Central and East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, Malaysia, the Pacific Islands, Australasia and Southern Africa. Although traditionally included in the family Primulaceae, the genus Anagallis is now considered to be better placed within the related family Myrsinaceae. In the APG III system, Primulaceae is expanded to include Myrsinaceae, thus Anagallis is in Primulaceae sensu lato.This common European plant is generally considered a weed and is an indicator of light soils.

It is most well known for being the emblem of the fictional hero "The Scarlet Pimpernel", a novel written by the Baroness Emma Orczy.

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Thursday, 14 November 2013

FFF104 - BORAGE

Borage (Borago officinalis), also known as a starflower, is an annual herb. It is native to the Mediterranean region and has naturalised in many other locales. It grows satisfactorily in gardens in Australia, remaining in the garden from year to year by self-seeding. The leaves are edible and the plant is grown in gardens for that purpose in some parts of Europe. The plant is also commercially cultivated for borage seed oil extracted from its seeds.

Vegetable use of borage is common in Germany, in the Spanish regions of Aragón and Navarra, in the Greek island of Crete and in the northern Italian region of Liguria. Although often used in soups, one of the better known German borage recipes is the Green Sauce (Grüne Soße) made in Frankfurt. In Italian Liguria, borage is commonly used as a filling of the traditional pasta ravioli and pansoti.

The leaves and flowers were originally used in Pimms before being replaced by mint or cucumber peel. It is used to flavour pickled gherkins in Poland. It is also one of the key "botanical" flavourings in Gilpin's Westmorland Extra Dry Gin. In Iran people make tea for the relief of colds, flu, bronchitis, rheumatoid arthritis and kidney inflammations. People with heart problems can benefit using the borage tea in moderate amounts.

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Thursday, 7 November 2013

FFF103 - GAZANIA

Gazania is a genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, native to Southern Africa. They produce large, daisy-like composite flowers in brilliant shades of pink, maroon, yellow, orange and cream, over a long period in summer. They are often planted as drought-tolerant groundcover.

Most Gazania species and cultivars are low-growing, near-evergreen, clump-forming or carpeting plants. They quickly develop into small clumps of narrow lance-shaped leaves that can be downy and lobed near the base, often with lighter coloured undersides. Their showy flowers, which appear throughout the warmer months, are large, brightly coloured, often interestingly marked, and the ray florets tend to be darker at the base, with a contrastingly coloured central disc. The species usually have yellow or orange flowers, but the garden forms are available in a wide colour range.

Most gazanias tolerate very little frost and dislike wet winters, but they are otherwise easily grown in any sunny position with light, gritty, well-drained soil. They thrive in coastal gardens. Plants should be deadheaded frequently to encourage flower production. Annuals are propagated from seed; the perennials may also be divided or can be grown from basal cuttings.

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Thursday, 31 October 2013

FFF102 - NIGELLA

Nigella damascena (love-in-a-mist, ragged lady) is an annual garden flowering plant, belonging to the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. It is native to southern Europe (but adventive in more northern countries of Europe), north Africa and southwest Asia, where it is found on neglected, damp patches of land.

The specific epithet damascena relates to Damascus in Syria. The plant's common name comes from the flower being nestled in a ring of multifid, lacy bracts. It is also sometimes called devil-in-the-bush.

It grows to 20–50 cm (8–20 in) tall, with pinnately divided, thread-like, alternate leaves. The flowers, blooming in early summer, are most commonly different shades of blue, but can be white, pink, or pale purple, with 5 to 25 sepals. The actual petals are located at the base of the stamens and are minute and clawed. The sepals are the only coloured part of the perianth. The seed capsule becomes brown in late summer. The plant self-seeds, growing on the same spot year after year.

This easily-grown plant has been a familiar subject in English cottage gardens since Elizabethan times, admired for its ferny foliage, spiky flowers and bulbous seed-heads. It is now widely cultivated throughout the temperate world, and numerous cultivars have been developed for garden use. The related Nigella sativa (and not N. damascena) is the source of the spice variously known as nigella, kalonji or black cumin.

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Thursday, 24 October 2013

FFF101 - TRAILING LOTUS

Lotus berthelotii is a perennial plant endemic to the Canary Islands, in the genus Lotus. This plant is either extinct in the wild or persists as a few individuals. In 1884 it was already classed as "exceedingly rare" and plant collection probably hastened its decline.

The plant has a creeping or trailing habit, with leaves divided into 3-5 slender leaflets, each leaflet 1–2 cm long and 1 mm broad, densely covered with fine silvery hairs. The flowers are orange-red to red, peaflower-shaped, but slender, 2–4 cm long and 5–8 mm broad.

Lotus berthelotii is cultivated in the horticulture trade and widely available as an ornamental plant with its needle-like silvery foliage and red flowers for traditional gardens, container (pots), and drought tolerant water conserving gardens. A golden orange flowering cultivar is also grown.

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Thursday, 17 October 2013

FFF100 - FUCHSIA 'BLUE EYES'

Fuchsia is a genus of flowering plants that consists mostly of shrubs or small trees. The first, Fuchsia triphylla, was discovered on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola (present day Dominican Republic and Haiti) in about 1696–1697 by the French Minim monk and botanist, Charles Plumier during his third expedition to the Greater Antilles. He named the new genus after the renowned German botanist Leonhart Fuchs (1501–1566).

There are currently almost 110 recognised species of Fuchsia. The vast majority are native to South America, but with a few occurring north through Central America to Mexico, and also several from New Zealand to Tahiti. One species, F. magellanica, extends as far as the southern tip of South America, occurring on Tierra del Fuego in the cool temperate zone, but the majority are tropical or subtropical. Most fuchsias are shrubs from 0.2–4 m tall, but one New Zealand species, the kōtukutuku (F. excorticata), is unusual in the genus in being a tree, growing up to 12–15 metres tall.

The cultivar shown here, 'Blue Eyes' was hybridized by Reedstorm and its year of registration was 1954.

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Thursday, 10 October 2013

FFF99 - FEIJOA FLOWER

Acca sellowiana, a species of flowering plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, is native to the highlands of southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay, Uruguay, and northern Argentina, and Colombia. It is widely cultivated as a garden plant and fruiting tree in New Zealand, and can be found as a garden plant elsewhere such as in Australia, Azerbaijan, West part of Georgia, South part of Russia and South Africa.

Common names include feijoa, pineapple guava and guavasteen. It is an evergreen, perennial shrub or small tree, 1–7 metres in height, widely cultivated as a garden plant and fruiting tree. The German botanist Otto Karl Berg named feijoa after João da Silva Feijó, a Portuguese botanist born in the colony of Brazil.

The flower petals are edible, with a flavour that is slightly sweet with hints of cinnamon. The most common use is as an addition to salads. They regularly are consumed by birds. The fruit, maturing in autumn, is green, ellipsoid, and about the size of a chicken egg. It has a sweet, aromatic flavour. The flesh is juicy and is divided into a clear gelatinous seed pulp and a firmer, slightly granular, opaque flesh nearer the skin. The fruit falls to the ground when ripe and at its fullest flavour, but it may be picked from the tree prior to falling to prevent bruising.The fruit pulp resembles the closely related guava, having a gritty texture. The feijoa pulp is used in some natural cosmetic products as an exfoliant. Feijoa fruit has a distinctive, potent smell that resembles oil of wintergreen. The aroma is due to the ester methyl benzoate and related compounds that exist in the fruit.

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Thursday, 3 October 2013

FFF98 - ORANGE BLOSSOM

The orange blossom is the fragrant flower of the Citrus sinensis (orange tree). It is used in perfume making, has been written about as an aphrodisiac and is the state flower of US state, Florida. It is photographed in our garden, here, where it is currently in bloom.

It is traditionally associated with good fortune and has been popular in bridal bouquets and head wreaths for weddings. Orange blossom essence is an important component in the making of perfume. The petals of orange blossom can also be made into a delicately citrus-scented version of rosewater; orange blossom water (aka orange flower water), a common part of both French cuisine and Middle Eastern cuisine (most often as an ingredient in desserts and baked goods).

In the United States, orange flower water is used to make orange blossom scones and marshmallows. Orange blossom honey (citrus honey) is produced by putting beehives in the citrus groves during blooming period. This also pollinates seeded citrus varieties. Orange blossom honey is highly prized and tastes much like the fruit.

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Thursday, 26 September 2013

FFF97 - GARLAND CHRYSANTHEMUM

The garland chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum coronarium syn. Leucanthemum coronarium) is a species of flowering plant in the aster family, Asteraceae. It is native to the Mediterranean and East Asia. It is used a leaf vegetable. Other English language common names include chrysanthemum greens, edible chrysanthemum, chop suey green, crown daisy, and Japanese-green.

A leafy herb, the garland chrysanthemum is one of the few annual plants in its genus. It has yellow ray florets grouped in small flower heads and aromatic, bipinnately lobed leaves. The vegetable grows very well in mild or slightly cold climates, but will go quickly into premature flowering in warm summer conditions. Seeds are sown in early spring and fall.

The plant is rich in minerals and vitamins with potassium concentrations at 610 mg/100 g and carotene at 3.4 g/100 g in edible portions. In addition, the plant contains various antioxidants (in stem, leaf,and root tissues) that have potential long-term benefits for human health, although toxic (dioxin) properties have also been observed. Extracts from C. coronarium var. spatiosum have been shown to inhibit growth of Lactobacillus casei, a beneficial human intestinal bacterium."

The plant’s greens are used in many Asian cuisines. They appear in Cantonese dishes and Hong Kong cuisine in stews, casseroles, and hotpots. The leaves are also an important ingredient in Taiwanese oyster omelettes and, when young, are used along with stems to flavour soup and stir-fry. In Japan, it is used in nabemono. Korean cookery uses the greens in soups, stews, and alone as a side dish or (banchan). In a hotpot, it is added at the last moment to the pot to avoid overcooking.In Crete, a variety of the species called mantilida (μαντηλίδα) has its tender shoots eaten raw or steamed by the locals.

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Thursday, 19 September 2013

FFF96 - JACOB'S LADDER

Attractive, dense ferny foliage makes Polemonium pulcherrimum 'Blue Dove' (also known as Jacob's ladder) a valuable plant for all year round interest in the garden. As an added bonus loose sprays of open bell shaped flowers in a soft shade of blue can appear from spring right through to and including autumn. Its 'lacy' appearance makes it a useful plant for softening hard lines and edges created by rocks, garden edging or paving.

Polemonium is a genus comprising of around 30 species of mostly perennial herbs which are native to regions of North and Central America, Europe and Asia. An excellent plant for general garden use and suitable for most colour schemes. 'Blue Dove' looks particularly at home in woodland type settings or in the cottage garden. It may be grown in semi shade although this may decrease flower production. This, however, is not necessarily a reason to avoid planting it in such locations as the attractive foliage alone will lend a visual appeal to these often difficult landscaping zones. To accent the foliage further create a foil of foliage behind it using larger, broader leafed plants or those with tall slender foliage such as that of Irises.

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Thursday, 12 September 2013

FFF95 - AFRICAN DAISY 'WHIRLIGIG'

Osteospermum is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Calenduleae, one of the smaller tribes of the sunflower/daisy family Asteraceae. The common name is African daisy or Cape daisy.

Osteospermum used to belong to the genus Dimorphotheca, but only the annual species remain in that genus; the perennials belong to Osteospermum. The genus Osteospermum is also closely related to the small genus Chrysanthemoides, such as C. incana and C. monilifera.

Osteospermum ‘Whirligig’ is referred to as a “spoon” type of hybrid where the tips of each petal is scalloped and rounded in shape.

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Thursday, 5 September 2013

FFF94 - THE PRINCESS LAVENDER

Lavandula spp "Princess Lavender" is an early flowering, fragrant Italian lavender cultivar. Bred in Australia and selected for its large, vibrant, dark pink flowers, it has a lengthy flowering season. The main flowering flush begins in spring but the plants also free flower throughout the autumn and winter months. It has a neat, compact habit with aromatic foliage. Flowers last well for floral arrangements and it is hardy and easy to grow without any special needs.

Once established, the plants are quite dry tolerant requiring only occasional deep watering during extended periods of heat. They should be planted in a sunny location in a well draining soil. Clip back to two thirds of overall size in late summer to maintain shape and vigour. After pruning an application of slow release fertiliser and a light sprinkling of dolomite lime over soil would be beneficial to overall performance.

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Thursday, 29 August 2013

FFF93 - ICE PLANT

Aptenia cordifolia is a species of succulent plant in the ice plant family known by the common names heartleaf ice plant and baby sun rose. Perhaps the most common plant seen under this name is actually Aptenia 'Red Apple', a hybrid with red flowers and bright green leaves, whose parents are A. cordifolia and A. (Platythyra) haeckeliana. The true species of A. cordifolia has magenta purple flowers and more heart-shaped, mid-green, textured leaves.

Native to southern Africa, this species has become widely known as an ornamental plant. It is a mat-forming perennial herb growing in flat clumps on the ground from a woody base. Stems reach up to about 60 centimetres long. The bright green leaves are generally heart-shaped and up to 3 centimetres long. They are covered in very fine bumps. Bright pink to purplish flowers appear in the leaf axils and are open during the day. The fruit is a capsule just over a centimetre long.

The hybrid, Aptenia 'Red Apple', has, in some areas, escaped cultivation and now grows as an introduced species. Its far more vigorous growth and ability to root from small bits of stem makes it a poor choice for planting adjacent to wild lands as it can overwhelm native plants.

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Thursday, 22 August 2013

FFF92 - COUROUPITA

Couroupita guianensis, known by several common names, including cannonball tree, is a deciduous tree in the family Lecythidaceae, which also contains the Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa). It is native to the rainforests of Central and South America.

The tree grows up to 35 metres in height. The clustered leaves vary in length, generally from 8 to 31 cm, but reaching up to 57 cm.  The fragrant flowers are borne in large bunches up to 80 meters long. Some trees flower profusely, until the entire trunk is buried in flowers. One tree can bear 1000 flowers per day. They are strongly scented, especially at night, and in the early morning. They are large, up to 6 cm wide, and often brightly coloured, the six petals in shades of pink and red near the bases and yellowish toward the tips. There is a ring of stamens at the centre, and an arrangement to stamens that have been modified into a hood.

The large fruit, which is woody and very spherical, measuring up to 25 cm wide, gives the species the common name “cannonball tree”. A smaller fruit contains perhaps 65 seeds, while a large one can have 550. One tree can bear 150 fruits. The fruit takes up to a year to mature in most areas, sometimes as long as 18 months.

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Thursday, 15 August 2013

FFF91 - SPRING BLOSSOM

One of the best spring blossom trees, Prunus x blireana is a cross between the Japanese apricot (Prunus mume) and the purple-leaved plum (Prunus cerasifera 'Pissardii'). The common name is the double flowering plum. It is a deciduous tree growing to around 5m  tall. It has slender, arching branches, double mauve pink flowers, and reddish purple leaves which turn purplish green in summer. Flowering time is from mid August to mid September in Australia. This hybrid is sterile, so does not produce fruit.

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Thursday, 8 August 2013

FFF90 - JAPANESE STAR ANISE

Illicium anisatum, commonly known as the Japanese star anise, is a tree similar to Chinese star anise. It is highly toxic, therefore it is not edible; instead, it has been burned as incense in Japan, where it is known as shikimi. Cases of illness, including serious neurological effects such as seizures, reported after using star anise tea may be a result of using this species.

I. anisatum is native to Japan. It is similar to I. verum, but its fruit is smaller and with weaker odour, which is said to be more similar to cardamom than to anise. While it is poisonous and therefore unsuitable for using internally, it is used for treatment of some skin problems in traditional Chinese medicine.

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Thursday, 1 August 2013

FFF89 - CYMBIDIUM ORCHID

Cymbidium, or boat orchids, is a genus of 52 evergreen species in the orchid family Orchidaceae. It was first described by Olof Swartz in 1799. The name is derived from the Greek word kumbos, meaning 'hole, cavity'. It refers to the form of the base of the lip. The genus is abbreviated Cym in horticultural trade.

This genus is distributed in tropical and subtropical Asia (such as northern India, China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Borneo) and northern Australia. The larger flowered species from which the large flowered hybrids are derived grow at high altitudes. Cymbidium plants are sympodial and grow to a height of 60 cm and the racemes as high as 90 cm. The raceme grows from the base of the most recent pseudobulb. Each flower can have a diameter of 5 to 10 cm, according to the species. They bloom during the winter, and each plant can have up to fifteen or more flowers.

The fantastic range of colours for this genus include white, green, yellowish-green, cream, yellow, brown, pink, and red [and orange] and black (and there may be markings of other colour shades at the same time), but not blue. The flowers last about ten weeks. They have a waxy texture. The rounded sepals and petals have about the same dimensions. They show very diverse colour patterns, different for every species.

It is one of the most popular and desirable orchids in the world because of the beautiful flowers. These plants make great houseplants, and are also popular in floral arrangements and corsages. They have been cultivated for thousands of years, especially in China. Cymbidiums became popular in Europe during the Victorian era. One feature that makes the plant so popular is the fact that it can survive during cold temperatures (as low as 7˚ C or 45˚ F).

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Thursday, 25 July 2013

FFF88 - FIREWOOD BANKSIA

Banksia menziesii, commonly known as firewood banksia, is a species of flowering plant in the genus Banksia. It is a gnarled tree up to 10 m tall, or a lower spreading 1–3 m shrub in the more northern parts of its range. The serrated leaves are dull green with new growth a paler grey green. The prominent autumn and winter inflorescences are often two-coloured red or pink and yellow, and their colour has given rise to more unusual common names such as port wine banksia and strawberry banksia. Yellow blooms are rarely seen.

First described by the botanist Robert Brown in the early 19th century, no separate varieties of Banksia menziesii are recognised. It is found in Western Australia, from the Perth (32° S) region north to the Murchison River (27° S), and generally grows on sandy soils, in scrubland or low woodland. Banksia menziesii provides food for a wide array of invertebrate and vertebrate animals; birds and in particular honeyeaters are prominent visitors. A relatively hardy plant, Banksia menziesii is commonly seen in gardens, nature strips and parks in Australian urban areas with Mediterranean climates, but its sensitivity to dieback from the soil-borne water mould Phytophthora cinnamomi makes it short-lived in places with humid summers, such as Sydney. Banksia menziesii is widely used in the cut flower industry both in Australia and overseas.

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Thursday, 18 July 2013

FFF87 - GEUM

Geum, commonly called avens, is a genus of about 50 species of rhizomatous perennial herbaceous plants in the rose family Rosaceae, native to Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa, and New Zealand. They are closely related to Potentilla and Fragaria.
From a basal rosette of leaves they produce flowers on wiry stalks, in shades of red, yellow and orange, in midsummer. Geum species are evergreen except where winter temperatures drop below −18 °C. The cultivars "Lady Stratheden" and "Mrs J. Bradshaw" have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

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Thursday, 11 July 2013

FFF86 - VIOLET

Viola is a genus of flowering plants in the violet family Violaceae. It is the largest genus in the family, containing between 525 and 600 species. Most species are found in the temperate Northern Hemisphere, however some are also found in widely divergent areas such as Hawaii, Australasia, and the Andes.

Some Viola species are perennial plants, some are annual plants, and a few are small shrubs. A large number of species, varieties and cultivars are grown in gardens for their ornamental flowers. In horticulture the term "pansy" is normally used for those multi-coloured, large-flowered cultivars which are raised annually or biennially from seed and used extensively in bedding. The terms "viola" and "violet" are normally reserved for small-flowered annuals or perennials, including the species.

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Thursday, 4 July 2013

FFF85 - SUTERA CORDATA

Sutera cordata also known by the name Bacopa or Ornamental Bacopa (not to be confused with the genus of that name) is a species in the genus Sutera (Scrophulariaceae) and is now more properly called Chaenostoma cordata, and best known in its cultivated forms. Another synonym is Sutera diffusus. It originated in southern Africa, and is a tender perennial forming a ground cover, but often used in hanging baskets. Small dark green heart shaped leaves and small round five-petaled white flowers at the branch tips can be found year round, but at its prime in spring.

It is notable as the source of a breed marketed as "The Pikmin Flower", after the GameCube game "Pikmin". The plant was bred to have a similar appearance to most flower images found in the game. Other cultivars include 'Bridal Showers', 'Snowflake', 'Giant Snowflake' and 'Pink Domino'. The illustrated cultivar is Sutera cordata 'Snowstorm Pink' ("Pink Bacopa"). It has a profusion of small pink flowers, which look quite striking en masse.

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Thursday, 27 June 2013

FFF84 - WINTERSWEET

Chimonanthus praecox (wintersweet) has been cultivated in China for more than 1,000 years and has been introduced to Japan, Korea, Europe, Australia and the United States. It is a familiar plant in British gardens, where it is grown mainly for its gorgeous scent. The rather insignificant, creamy-yellow, waxy flowers are borne on bare stems from about December to March, with the leaves appearing later.

Long esteemed in China and Japan for its fragrance, many parts of the plant are rich in essential oils and are also used for culinary and medicinal purposes.Wintersweet was introduced to Japan from China during the 17th century, and to Britain, under the name of Calycanthus praecox, a century later. The generic name means "winter-flower', while the specific name means "precocious' as it flowers so early.

It is a deciduous shrub (or sometimes with persistent leaves), up to 3 m high and wide (up to 13 m tall in the wild), with rough, opposite, dark green leaves and small, solitary, highly scented, yellowish flowers borne on short stalks in winter and spring before the leaves appear. The outer petals (tepals) are waxy, almost transparent, in appearance, while the inner tepals are smaller and usually purplish. The flowers are beetle-pollinated.Named cultivars include Chimonanthus praecox ‘Luteus’, which has slightly larger flowers and yellow inner tepals, and C. praecox ‘Grandiflorus’, a larger shrub, with bigger leaves and larger, but less strongly scented, pure yellow flowers, with red-stained inner tepals.

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Thursday, 20 June 2013

FFF83 - PANSY

The pansies are a group of large-flowered hybrid plants cultivated as garden flowers. Pansies are derived from the viola species Viola tricolor hybridised with other viola species, these hybrids are referred to as Viola × wittrockiana. Some unrelated species, such as the Pansy Monkeyflower, also have "pansy" in their name.

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Thursday, 13 June 2013

FFF82 - ASIATIC LILY

Lilium (members of which are true lilies) is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants growing from bulbs, all with large prominent flowers. Lilies are a group of flowering plants which are important in culture and literature in much of the world. Most species are native to the temperate northern hemisphere, though their range extends into the northern subtropics. Many other plants have "lily" in their common name but are not related to true lilies.

Asiatic Lilies are a very popular garden and florist flower and they offer a brilliantly colourful range of blooms to choose from. The bulbs of Asiatic lilies are tough and resilient, providing a bounty of colourful blooms for vases, very easily grown and wonderfully tolerant of searing Australia's hot Summers. Asiatic Lilies come in a wide range of brilliant colours from bright red to soft and pretty pink which means they can be used to create pockets of colour or gentle waves of soft and pretty cottage colours. Asiatic Lilies have more advantages in that they are great in pots and the bulbs can be planted anytime between May and October (in the Southern Hemisphere).

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Thursday, 6 June 2013

FFF81 - CELOSIA

Celosia is a small genus of edible and ornamental plants in the amaranth family, Amaranthaceae. The generic name is derived from the Greek word κηλος (kelos), meaning "burned," and refers to the flame-like flower heads. Species are commonly known as woolflowers, or, if the flower heads are crested by fasciation, cockscombs. The plants are well known in East Africa’s highlands and are used under their Swahili name, mfungu.

Celosia 'Intenz' (Celosia caracus) seen here, has a vibrant magenta colour on spiky blooms and sought-after texture to add to mixed containers. Intenz is also versatile, able to be planted in patio pots, landscapes or used as a pot plant indoors. It performs well in full-sun with a long flowering time for home gardeners. It is a low-maintenance plant with high appeal.

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Friday, 31 May 2013

FFF80 - MOTH ORCHID

Phalaenopsis (Blume,1825), known as the Moth Orchid, is an orchid genus of approximately 60 species. Phalaenopsis is one of the most popular orchids in the trade, through the development of many artificial hybrids. The generic name means "moth-like" as the flowers of some species supposedly resemble moths in flight. For this reason, the species are sometimes called Moth orchids. They are native throughout southeast Asia from the Himalayan mountains to the islands of Polillo, Palawan and Zamboanga del Norte in the island of Mindanao in the Philippines and northern Australia.

Most are epiphytic shade plants; a few are lithophytes. In the wild, some species grow below the canopies of moist and humid lowland forests, protected against direct sunlight; others grow in seasonally dry or cool environments. The species have adapted individually to these three habitats. If very healthy, a Phalaenopsis plant can have up to ten or more leaves. The inflorescence, either a raceme or panicle, appears from the stem between the leaves. They bloom in their full glory for several weeks. If kept in the home, the flowers may last two to three months.

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Thursday, 23 May 2013

FFF79 - DANDELION

Taraxacum officinale, the common dandelion (often simply called "dandelion"), is a flowering herbaceous perennial plant of the family Asteraceae. It can be found growing in temperate regions of the world, in lawns, on roadsides, on disturbed banks and shores of water ways, and other areas with moist soils. T. officinale is considered a weed, especially in lawns and along roadsides, but it is sometimes used as a medicinal herb and in food preparation. Common dandelion is well known for its yellow flower heads that turn into round balls of silver tufted fruits that disperse in the wind called "blowballs" or "clocks" (in both British and American English).

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Thursday, 16 May 2013

FFF78 - IPOMOEA

Ipomoea is the largest genus in the flowering plant family Convolvulaceae, with over 500 species. Most of these are called morning glories, but this can also refer to related genera. Those formerly separated in Calonyction (Greek καλός, kalos, good and νύκτα, nycta, night) are called moonflowers. The generic name is derived from the Greek words ιπς (ips) or ιπος (ipos), meaning "worm" or "bindweed," and όμοιος (homoios), meaning "resembling". It refers to their twining habit. The genus occurs throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, and comprises annual and perennial herbaceous plants, lianas, shrubs and small trees; most of the species are twining climbing plants.

Ipomoea nil is a species of Ipomoea morning glory known by several common names, including picotee morning glory, ivy morning glory, and Japanese morning glory. It is native to most of the tropical world, and has been introduced widely. It is cultivated as an attractive ornamental plant in many places, and the descendants of garden escapees now grow wild. This is a climbing annual herb with three-pointed leaves 3 to 8 centimeters long. The flowers are several centimeters wide and appear in various shades of blue, pink or rose, often with white stripes or edges or blends of colors. Common cultivars include 'Scarlet O'Hara', 'Early Call', and 'Rose Silk'.

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Thursday, 9 May 2013

FFF77 - CHRYSANTHEMUM

Although once referred to as Dendranthema, the florists chrysanthemum is now correctly known under its old name. There are about 40 species int he genus Chrysanthemum, mainly from East Asia. In China, where they have been cultivated for over 2,500 years, the chrysanthemum was used medicinally and for flavouring, as well as for ornament. The flower is also significant in Japan where it is a symbol of happiness and longevity, and the royal family has ruled for 2,600 years from the Chrysanthemum Throne. The annual species are referred to Xanthophthalmum and are mainly used for summer bedding or as fillers in borders of perennial flowers.

Most chrysanthemums are upright plants with lobed leaves that can be aromatic. The many showy flowerheads, carried at the tips of strong stems, begin to bloom as the days shorten. Florists chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum grandiflorum) are grouped according to form: Irregular incurved, reflexed, regular incurved, intermediate incurved, pompon, single and semi-double, anemone, spoon, quill, spider, brush or thistle, and unclassified, which is a catch-all group for blooms not yet classified or not falling into one of the existing groups.

Florists chrysanthemums prefer a heavier richer soil in a sunny position, though they like a spot that offers some afternoon shade. The plants require training and trimming to produce their best flowers. Pinch back when young and disbud to ensure the best flower show. Propagate by division when dormant or from half-hardened summer cuttings.

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Thursday, 2 May 2013

FFF76 - EPIPHYLLUM

Epiphyllum crenatum is a species of cactus and one of the most important parents in creating the Epiphyllum-hybrids commonly cultivated throughout the world. It is cultivated for its beautiful diurnal flowers. It is found naturally from Mexico (Oaxaca & Chiapas) to Honduras. It is epiphytic (grows upon another plant) or lithophytic (grows on rocks) in moist or wet forests, sometimes in oak forests (1.750 m alt. or less).

It is an easily cultivated, fast growing epiphyte. Needs compost containing plenty of humus and sufficient moisture in summer. Should not be kept under 12°C in winter. Can be grown in semi-shade or full sun. Extra light in the early spring will stimulate budding. Flowers in late spring or early summer.

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Thursday, 25 April 2013

FFF75 - ANTHURIUM

Anthurium (Schott, 1829), is a large genus of about 600–800 (possibly 1,000) species of flowering plants, belonging to the arum family (Araceae). Anthurium can also be called "flamingo flower" or "boy flower", both referring to the structure of the spathe and spadix.

The Anthurium was discovered in 1876 in Colombia. TROPICOS lists 1901 types, although some of these are duplicates. It is one of the largest and probably the most complex genera of this family; certainly it is one of the most variable. Many species are undoubtedly not yet described and new ones are being found every year.

The genus has neotropical distribution; mostly in wet tropical mountain forest of Central and South America, but some in semi-arid environments. Most species occur in Panama, Colombia, Brazil, the Guiana Shield and Ecuador. According to the work of noted aroid botanist Dr. Tom Croat of the Missouri Botanical Garden, no members of this genus are indigenous to Asia. Deliberately or accidentally, however, some species have been introduced into Asian rain forests, and have become established there as aliens.

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Thursday, 18 April 2013

FFF74 - YELLOW DAISIES

The daisy is a cheerful-looking flower that's been a mainstay in gardens and fields for hundreds of years. The origin of the word "daisy" lies in the Anglo-Saxon "daes eage," meaning "day's eye," because the daisy blossom opens to greet each new day at the rising of the sun. The daisy petals are arranged with central disk florets surrounded by ray florets in an inflorescence known as a capitulum. Ten percent of all flowering plants on earth are types of daisy. All daisies belong to the Asteraceae family of flowering plants

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Thursday, 11 April 2013

FFF73 - ROSE: STRAWBERRY ICE

The Floribunda rose "Strawberry Ice" was bred by G. Delbard (France, before 1971). It was introduced in France by Delbard/Georges Delbard SA in 1973 as "Bordure Rose". It was subsequently introduced in the United Kingdom by Bees, Ltd. in 1975 as "Bordure Rose". It is white and pink, pink edges, no fragrance.

A double rose with 17-25 petals, cluster-flowered, in small clusters, cupped bloom form.  Blooms in flushes throughout the season.   Short, dense.  Glossy foliage.   Height of 90 cm.  Width of 60 cm. USDA zone 6b through 9b (default).  Can be used for beds and borders, container rose or ground cover.

It is very hardy and very disease resistant.  Spring pruning should remove old canes and dead or diseased wood and canes that cross should be cut back. In warmer climates, cut back the remaining canes by about one-third. In colder areas, you'll probably find you'll have to prune a little more than that.

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Thursday, 4 April 2013

FFF72 - AECHMEA FASCIATA

Aechmea fasciata (silver vase, urn plant) is a bromeliad native to Brazil. This plant is probably the best known species in this genus, and it is often grown as a houseplant in temperate areas. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

The plant grows slowly, reaching to between 1 and 3 feet in height, and spreading up to 2 feet. It has elliptic–oval-shaped leaves that are between 18 and 36 inches long and arranged in a basal rosette pattern.

A. fasciata requires partial shade and a well-drained, but moisture-retentive soil. It can also be grown epiphytically, as, for example, with moss around its roots and wired to rough bark. Root rot can be a problem if the soil is too moist. Scale insects and mosquitos will sometimes breed in the pools of water that are trapped between the leaves.

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Thursday, 28 March 2013

FFF71 - PANDOREA JASMINOIDES

Pandorea jasminoides is a species of woody climbing vine in the family Bignoniaceae. It is native to New South Wales and Queensland, Australia. It forms large pointed pods filled with papery seeds. It is easy to germinate, having two-lobed dicotyledons. It grows in USDA zones 9 and 10. Flowers range from magenta through to white, often with a darker trumpet, and produce a fragrant, jasmine-like scent. Their petals can grow up to 55mm long.  Pandorea is slow growing at first, but will cover a reasonable distance once established.

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Thursday, 21 March 2013

FFF70 - CYCLAMEN

Cyclamen persicum, the Persian cyclamen, is a species of flowering herbaceous perennial plant growing from a tuber, native to rocky hillsides, shrubland, and woodland up to 1,200 m above sea level, from south-central Turkey to Israel and Jordan. It also grows in Algeria and Tunisia and on the Greek islands of Rhodes, Karpathos, and Crete, where it may have been introduced by monks. Cultivars of this species are the commonly seen florist's cyclamen.

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Thursday, 14 March 2013

FFF69 - ICEBERG ROSE

'Iceberg' is a floribunda rose cultivar that was bred in Germany in 1958. It is also known by the names 'Korbin' (the registered cultivar name), Fée des Neiges and Schneewittchen. It is among the world's best known roses. Iceberg is a modern cluster-flowered floribunda rose cultivar. The cultivar is commercially available in two main forms. These are as a tall bush and a standard rose produced by grafting. Weeping and climbing forms are also available. Shrub forms of the cultivar have an upright habit and are 75 to 150 cm wide high and 60 cm wide. Leaves are light green and glossy. Blooms are about 5 cm in diameter and have 25 to 35 petals. Buds are long and pointed. The fragrant flowers usually appear throughout the year.

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Friday, 8 March 2013

FFF68 - PARADE MINI ROSE

Parade Roses are miniature, fragrant, potted roses meant to be grown indoors. They are hardy and will also do well out in the garden in temperate climates.

Poulsen's Nurseries of Denmark have developed a series of about twelve Miniature Roses with 'Parade' in their names. They have called them 'Rosa Nova' to distinguish them from similar roses from other breeders, just as Meilland's of France have called their Miniatures 'Meillandina' or 'Sunblaze'. The 'Rosa Nova' series are all very small, bushy growers that are suited to pot culture. They are all excellent pot plants with good continuity of bloom.

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Thursday, 28 February 2013

FFF67 - HELICHRYSUM

The genus Helichrysum consists of an estimated 600 species, in the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The type species is Helichrysum orientale. The name is derived from the Greek words helisso (to turn around) and chrysos (gold).It occurs in Africa (with 244 species in South Africa), Madagascar, Australasia and Eurasia. The plants may be annuals, herbaceous perennials or shrubs, growing to a height of 60–90 cm.

The genus was a wastebasket taxon, and many of its members have been reclassified in smaller genera, most notably the Everlastings, now in the genus Xerochrysum.Their leaves are oblong to lanceolate. They are flat and pubescent on both sides. The bristles of the pappus are scabrous, barbellate, or plumose.The receptacle (base of the flower head) is often smooth, with a fringed margin, or honey-combed, and resemble daisies. They may be in almost all colours, except blue.

There are many capitula and generally flat-topped corymbs or panicles. The corolla lobes show glandular hairs at the abaxial surface. Several species are grown as ornamental plants, and for dried flowers. When cut young and dried, the open flowers and stalks preserve their colour and shape for long periods.

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Thursday, 21 February 2013

FFF66 - CROWEA EXALATA

Crowea exalata, or Small Crowea, is a flowering plant in the family Rutaceae, which is native to the states of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria in Australia. It is a small shrub growing to 1 metre tall. It is named after James Crowe, an 18th-19th century surgeon and botanist. The specific name exalata means without wings, referring to the lack of ridges on the stems - this is not a definitive characteristic.

This species flowers during most months of the year, resting only in extremes of heat and cold, and with flushes in autumn and spring. Pointed buds open to five-petalled starry flowers 2 cm across, in clear tints of rose purple. They are of a solid waxy substance, and make a vivid display for the size of the plant. Before falling they close again to look like buds of deeper pink. Propagation by cuttings is easy using tip growth (which is very soft in character), at a half-ripe stage.

Nurseries dealing in native plants usually stock this small shrub and it should be planted in light, lime-free soil. A position with some shade is desirable - otherwise the soil should be shaded in some way from hot sun. This may be done by surrounding the plant with 5-10 cm of leaves, bush litter or compost. Rocks make an attractive setting, and in fact this is a beautiful rockery subject. Pruning should be done to maintain bushy growth, or a straggly plant with bare stems may develop. The end of winter is a good time to do this - or any time when sprigs of cut flowers are wanted, as these are dainty and long-lasting in water.

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