The rules for posting are simple!

1. Every Friday post a photo that includes one or more flowers.
2. Please only post photos you have authority to use.
3. Include a link to this blog in your post - http://floralfridayfoto.blogspot.com/
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5. Visit other blogs listed ... comment & enjoy!

When to Post:
inlinkz will be available every Thursday and will remain open until the next Wednesday.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

FFF291 - EURYOPS

Euryops chrysanthemoides (with the common names African bush daisy or bull's-eye) is a small shrub native to Southern Africa that is also grown as a horticultural specimen in tropical to subtropical regions around the world. It occurs in the Eastern Cape, along the coast and inland, to KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Swaziland.

It is usually found on forest edges, in riverine bush and in ravines, as well as in coastal scrub, grassland and disturbed areas. It is a compact, densely branched, leafy, evergreen shrub, 0.5 to 2m in height.

The species was moved to Euryops from the genus Gamolepis on the basis of chromosome counts. It is a ruderal weed in New South Wales, although it is not weedy in all places where it is cultivated or has naturalised. This particular variety is Euryops chrysanthemoides 'African Sun'. As you can see it is blooming profusely in our Winter here in Melbourne.

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Thursday, 15 June 2017

FFF290 - NEMESIA

Nemesia is a genus of annuals, perennials and sub-shrubs which are native to sandy coasts or disturbed ground in South Africa. Numerous hybrids have been selected, and the annual cultivars are popular with gardeners as bedding plants. In temperate regions the annual cultivars are usually treated as half-hardy bedding plants, sown from seed in heat and planted out after all danger of frost has passed.

The flowers are two-lipped, with the upper lip consisting of four lobes and the lower lip two lobes. The cultivar 'Innocence', a low-growing bushy perennial with white flowers, has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. The cultivar shown here is 'Sunsatia Banana', which is a popular ornamental hybrid.

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Thursday, 8 June 2017

FFF289 - CHICKWEED

Stellaria media, chickweed, of the Caryophyllaceae family is a cool-season annual plant native to Europe, but naturalised in many parts of North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. It is used as a cooling herbal remedy, and grown as a vegetable crop and ground cover for both human consumption and poultry. It is sometimes called common chickweed to distinguish it from other plants called chickweed. Other common names include chickenwort, craches, maruns, winterweed. The plant germinates in autumn or late winter, then forms large mats of foliage.

The plants are annual and with weak slender stems, they reach a length up to 40 cm. Sparsely hairy, with hairs in a line along the stem. The leaves are oval and opposite, the lower ones with stalks. Flowers are white and tiny, with 5 very deeply lobed petals. The stamens are usually 3 and the styles 3. The flowers are followed quickly by the seed pods. This plant flowers and sets seed at the same time. This plant is common in gardens, fields, and disturbed ground as a weed. Control is difficult due to the heavy seed sets. Common chickweed is very competitive with small grains, and can produce up to 80% yield losses among barley.

Stellaria media is edible and nutritious for humans, and is used as a leaf vegetable, often raw in salads. It is one of the ingredients of the symbolic dish consumed in the Japanese spring-time festival, Nanakusa-no-sekkuS. media contains plant chemicals known as saponins, which can be toxic when consumed in large quantities. Chickweed has been known to cause saponin poisoning in cattle. However, as the animal must consume several kilos of chickweed in order to reach a toxic level, such deaths are rare.

The plant has traditionally been used medicinally in folk medicine. It has been used as a remedy to treat itchy skin conditions and pulmonary diseases. 17th century herbalist John Gerard recommended it as a remedy for mange. Modern herbalists prescribe it for iron-deficiency anaemia (for its high iron content), as well as for skin diseases, bronchitis, rheumatic pains, arthritis and period pain. Not all of these uses are supported by scientific evidence. The plant was used by the Ainu for treating bruises and aching bones. Stems were steeped in hot water before being applied externally to affected areas.

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Thursday, 1 June 2017

FFF288 - CORREA 'DUSKY BELLS'

Correa ‘ Dusky Bells ’ belongs to the Rutaceae family which includes the commercial citrus fruits. The Australian endemic genus Correa is a small group within this family. The genus Correa is named after the Portuguese botanist Correia de Serra. Correa ‘ Dusky Bells ’ is a probable hybrid of C. reflexa and C. pulchella. It is thought that it may have been cultivated for at least 50 years. In 1986, its registration with Australian Cultivar Registration Authority (ACRA) was applied for by W. R. and G. M. Elliott, though the cultivar was received by the authority in 1980. Its synonyms are: Correa ‘Pink Bells’, Correa ‘Carmine Bells’, Correa ‘Rubra’ and Correa sp. (Pink).

Correa reflexa, a parent species of Correa ‘Dusky Bells’, ranges from southern Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, eastern South Australia and Tasmania. Correa pulchella is pretty much restricted to South Australia. Both of the parent species are mostly distributed in temperate regions. Therefore, it can be inferred that Correa ‘Dusky Bells’ is not likely to grow well in the hot tropics such as northern Queensland.

It is an attractive evergreen shrub which grows to 1m high and to 2-4 m in diameter. The entire plant is stellate hairy. Leaves have stellate hairs and the older leaves lose hairs. The leaves are to 4.5 cm long, and 2.5 cm wide; narrow oval (elliptic) or lance-shaped (lanceolate) to egg-shaped leaf (ovate). The beautiful bell-shaped flowers are up to 2.5cm long. The four fused petals are pale carmine pink.

Hybrid Correas have a tendency to be more compact and heavy flowering than the wild species, which makes them a desirable gardening plant. Correa ‘Dusky Bells’ is drought and frost tolerant. It is great for a shaded environment. It prefers somewhat shady situations rather than full sun. It also attracts birds to the gardens. Many of the Correa species are pollinated by birds such as honey eaters as it normally has a lot of nectar. Flowering time is from March to September. However, it also flowers sporadically displaying its lovely bell-shaped flowers throughout a year.

In general, growing Correa ’Dusky Bells’ is easy. It prefers moist soil, though it is drought tolerant. It grows wells on friable, well-drained and fertile loam. Propagation of this plant is possible by cutting. If it grows tall or wide, you can prune the plant. Regular pruning is good for the plant. It is best to avoid humid areas. Scale infestation of Correa due to insidious black smut was reported, but it is not common. Correa ‘Dusky Bells’ is an excellent evergreen garden plant. It is easy-to-grow, drought and frost tolerant and beautiful.


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Thursday, 25 May 2017

FFF287 - ROSE CONE FLOWER

Isopogon formosus, or Rose Cone Flower, in the Proteaceae family is a shrub that is endemic to areas near Albany and Esperance in Western Australia. It occurs naturally in heathland and woodland areas. It has an erect or bushy form and is usually between 1.5 and 2 metres high. The pink flowers appear from mid winter to early summer. Rounded "drumsticks" containing the seeds appear later, formed from the old flower parts.

The plants leaves are divided, narrow, terete and about 5 cm long. It was first described by Robert Brown in 1810. In 1891, German botanist Otto Kuntze published Revisio generum plantarum, his response to what he perceived as a lack of method in existing nomenclatural practice. Because Isopogon was based on Isopogon anemonifolius, and that species had already been placed by Richard Salisbury in the segregate genus Atylus in 1807, Kuntze revived the latter genus on the grounds of priority, and made the new combination Atylus formosus for this species. However, Kuntze's revisionary program was not accepted by the majority of botanists. Ultimately, the genus Isopogon was nomenclaturally conserved over Atylus by the International Botanical Congress of 1905.

Isopogon formosus requires excellent drainage and full sun. It will not tolerate long periods of dryness or heavy frost. It is usually propagated from seed which germinates readily without pretreatment. Cuttings are also successful using firm, current season's growth. Some limited work has been carried out by enthusiasts on the grafting of western species of Isopogon, onto eastern rootstocks to extend the range where the plants can be grown. This offers the best chance for successful cultivation in humid areas.

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Thursday, 18 May 2017

FFF286 - "PANSY ORCHID"

Miltonia, abbreviated Milt. in the horticultural trade, is an orchid genus formed by nine epiphyte species and eight natural hybrids inhabitants of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, one species reaching the northeast of Argentina and east of Paraguay. This genus was established by John Lindley in 1837, when he described its type species, Miltonia spectabilis.

Many species were attributed to Miltonia in the past, however, today, the species from Central America and from cooler areas on northwest of South America have been moved to other genera. Miltonia species have large and long lasting flowers, often in multifloral inflorescences. This fact, allied to being species that are easy to grow and to identify, make them a favourite of orchid collectors all over the world. Species of this genus are extensively used to produce artificial hybrids.

Despite the fact that Miltonia is now a well established genus, most of its species were originally classified under other genera as Cyrtochilum, Oncidium, Odontoglossum, and Brassia. All were discovered between 1834 and 1850 with the exception of M. kayasimae, discovered only in 1976. These epiphytic orchids occur from Central to Southern Brazil down to Argentina. They are named after Charles Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 5th Earl Fitzwilliam, formerly Viscount Milton, an English orchid enthusiast.

These orchids have two leaves, arising from a pseudobulbs, covered with a foliaceous sheath. The inflorescence consists of waxy, nonspurred flowers. The lip is large and flat and lacks a callus at its base. They possess a footless column with two hard pollinia. The flowers have a delicate, exotic scent, some compare to that of roses. The species in this genus are sometimes referred to as the "pansy orchids", but it is the Miltoniopsis orchids that have flowers that closely resemble the pansy. Almost everyone except for the most serious orchid hobbyists use the name pansy orchids interchangeably, which may cause confusion.

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Thursday, 11 May 2017

FFF285 - CAMELLIA

Camellia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae. They are found in eastern and southern Asia, from the Himalayas east to Japan and Indonesia. There are 100–250 described species, with some controversy over the exact number. The genus was named by Linnaeus after the Jesuit botanist Georg Joseph Kamel, who worked in the Philippines, though he never described a camellia.

This genus is famous throughout East Asia; camellias are known as cháhuā (茶花) in Chinese, "tea flower", an apt designation, as tsubaki (椿) in Japanese, as dongbaek-kkot (동백꽃) in Korean and as hoa trà or hoa chè in Vietnamese. Of economic importance in the Indian subcontinent and Asia, leaves of C. sinensis are processed to create the popular beverage, tea. The ornamental Camellia japonica, Camellia oleifera and Camellia sasanqua and their hybrids are represented in cultivation by a large number of cultivars.

This is a very old shrub in a neighbour's garden, which nevertheless flowers prolifically and early in the season, in late Autumn. It is enjoying the warm sunshine of a lovely fine Melbourne Autumn day in April. I am not sure of the cultivar, but it could be "Mouchang".

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Thursday, 4 May 2017

FFF284 - CHRYSANTHEMUM

Although once referred to as Dendranthema, the florists chrysanthemum is now correctly known under its old name. There are about 40 species in the 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. All chrysanthemum flowers are edible, but the flavor varies widely from plant to plant, from sweet to tangy to bitter or peppery. It may take some experimentation to find flavours you like. 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, 27 April 2017

FFF283 - AZURE SAGE

Salvia azurea, the azure blue sage, azure sage, blue sage or prairie sage, is a herbaceous perennial in the genus Salvia, family Lamiaceae, that is native to Central and Eastern North America.

Its thin, upright stems can grow to 1.8 m tall, with narrow, pointed, smooth-edged to serrated, furry to smooth green leaves, connected to their stems by petioles to 1.0 cm long. There are no basal leaves. The blue flowers (rarely white), nearly 6.4 to 12.7 mm

The blue (rarely white), flowers  nearly 6.4 to 12.7 mm long, appear summer to autumn near the ends of their branched or unbranched spikes; their calyxes are tubular or bell-shaped and furry. Two varieties are Salvia azurea var. azurea (azure sage) and Salvia azurea var. grandiflora (pitcher sage). It is found on the wild on roadsides, glades, fields and pastures.

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Thursday, 20 April 2017

FFF282 - ROSA 'HOME RUN'

Rosa 'Home Run' (Home Run® Rosa x 'WEKcisbako' USPP 18,552) is easily the best true-red rose with continuous blooms and top level disease resistance to both black spot and powdery mildew. It has a high level of tolerance to downy mildew as well. Plus it's heat tolerant, cold hardy and requires no deadheading.

It prefers full sun, and will grow to 1-1.5 metres in height and width in your landscape. It is hardy in zones 4-9 and will bring wonderful colour to your garden for years. You still have time to plant it this autumn, trim to shape comes spring, then simply sit back and enjoy. Like its father (Knock Out), Home Run has excellent resistance to black spot. Unlike Knock Out, Home Run is also completely resistant to powdery mildew and has a higher level of tolerance to downy mildew as well.

It is a useful in mass plantings and mixed borders. A very low-maintenance yet colourful plant for sunny areas. Little care is needed, with a trim to shape in spring, and application of a controlled release fertiliser. This rose does not need deadheading or winter protection. Prefers moist, well-drained soil.

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Thursday, 13 April 2017

FFF281 - ANGAHOOK FINGERS

Caladenia maritima, commonly known as coastal fingers or Angahook pink fingers, is a species of orchid (family Orchidaceae)endemic to Victoria. It has a single, almost hairless leaf and one or white flowers with greenish backs and only occurs in the coastal district of Anglesea, Victoria, Australia.

Caladenia maritima is a terrestrial, perennial, deciduous, herb with an underground tuber and a single, almost glabrous, linear leaf, 60–150 mm long and 1–3 mm wide. One or two white flowers 20–25 mm long and wide are borne on a stalk 100–200 mm tall. The backs of the sepals and petals are greenish with a dark line along the centre. The dorsal sepal is erect, sometimes curving backwards and is 10–15 mm long and 2–3 mm wide. The lateral sepals are 13–17 mm long, 4–5 mm wide and spreading. The petals are 13–15 mm  long and 4–5 mm wide and arranged like the lateral sepals. The labellum is 7–9 mm long, 5–8 mm wide and white with purple lines and blotches. The tip of the labellum is orange and curled under. The sides of the labellum have a few narrow teeth near the tip and there are two short rows of yellow or white calli in the centre of the labellum. Flowering occurs from September to October.

This orchid was first described in 1999 by David Jones from a specimen collected near Anglesea and the description was published in The Orchadian. The specific epithet (maritima) is a Latin word meaning "of the sea". Coastal fingers occurs near Anglesea in a single population, growing in woodland with a heathy understorey. Caladenia maritima is not classified under the Victorian Government Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 or under the Australian Government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 but has been listed as "endangered" in Victoria according to the Advisory List of Rare or Threatened Vascular Plants in Victoria – 2004.

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Thursday, 6 April 2017

FFF280 - YUCCA

Yucca is a genus of perennial shrubs and trees in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Agavoideae. Its 40-50 species are notable for their rosettes of evergreen, tough, sword-shaped leaves and large terminal panicles of white or whitish flowers. They are native to the hot and dry (arid) parts of North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

Early reports of the species were confused with the cassava (Manihot esculenta). Consequently, Linnaeus mistakenly derived the generic name from the Taíno word for the latter, yuca (spelt with a single "c"). It is also colloquially known in the Midwest United States as "ghosts in the graveyard", as it is commonly found growing in rural graveyards and when in bloom the cluster of (usually pale) flowers on a thin stalk appear as floating apparitions.

Native American tribes used the plant extensively: They ate the flowers, stalks and fruits, used the fibrous, spiky leaves for cordage, and mashed the pulpy root with water for soap.You do need to watch for ants and other critters in the flowers, as the nectar is irresistible to them, and there is a particular moth that pollinates yucca in return for depositing its larvae on the flowers; larvae are not good eats. But the grubs are rarely on the petals, and it is only the petals you eat.

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Thursday, 30 March 2017

FFF279 - TORCH GLOW BOUGAINVILLEA

Bougainvillea ‘Torch Glow,’ stands on its own amidst the many garden bougainvilleas due to its unique, upright, shrubby form. Bougainvilleas are technically lianas, tropical shrubs with reaching stems that grow into the treetops of their jungles of origin. Yet this selection was discovered in California among a group of seedlings imported from the Philippines. Ordinary plants have fast-growing stems with widely spaced leaves. The leaves of ‘Torch Glow’ are tightly packed together on their branches, which are shortened, resulting in a compact habit, a true a true shrub for the landscape, very different from the massive vines of many bougainvilleas.

At the tips of its short branches, ‘Torch Glow’ blooms in bright magenta bracts densely packed among yellow green leaves. Bracts are modified leaves evolved to lure pollinators to the nearly insignificant true flowers nestled among them. These small, white tubular blooms are pollinated by hummingbirds.

Grow ‘Torch Glow’ in full sun on well-drained, even slightly dry soil. Too much fertiliser and water can reduce the show of colour. Plant with care because it is sensitive to root disturbance. It will not transplant once in the ground. This upright form makes a fine foundation plant or a specimen focal point in the dry garden. The range of uses is almost endless.

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Thursday, 23 March 2017

FFF278 - SNAIL VINE

Vigna caracalla is a leguminous vine from the family Fabaceae, originating in tropical South America and Central America. The species is named "caracalla", from the Latin for "hood or cloak", referring to the hooded shape of the open flowers. Some people suggest that this specific meaning comes from Caracas in Venezuela, but this is probably a misapprehension.

This perennial vine has fragrant flowers reminiscent of hyacinths. The buds, especially have a distinctive curled shape, giving rise to the common names "corkscrew vine", "snail vine", "snail creeper", or "snail bean". This vine is hardy in zones 9 and above, liking full sun and consistently damp soil. It prefers high heat and humidity and can become invasive if these conditions are met. In colder zones, it does well in a pot if it is overwintered inside.

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Thursday, 16 March 2017

FFF277 - KURRAJONG

Brachychiton acerifolius, commonly known as the Illawarra Flame Tree, is a large tree of the family Malvaceae native to subtropical regions on the east coast of Australia. It is famous for the bright red bell-shaped flowers that often cover the whole tree when it is leafless. Along with other members of the genus Brachychiton, it is commonly referred to as a Kurrajong.

Brachychiton acerifolius was first described in 1855 by W. Macarthur and C. Moore. It is sometimes spelled as Brachychiton acerifolium, under the assumption that the genus name Brachychiton is (Greek) neuter. In fact, Brachychiton is masculine, and hence the correct species epithet is acerifolius. The name Brachychiton is derived from the Greek brachys, meaning short, and chiton, a type of tunic, as a reference to the coating on the seed.

The specific epithet acerifolius suggests the appearance of the foliage is similar to that of the genus Acer, the maples. This tree is tolerant of temperate climates and is now cultivated world-over for its beauty. However, the maximum height of 40 metres is reached only in the original, warmer, habitat. It usually grows to be about 20 metres. Similarly to its Kurrajong relatives the leaves are variable, with up to 7 deep lobes. It is deciduous - shedding its leaves after the dry season.

The spectacular flowering occurs in late spring and new foliage is ready for the summer rains. In areas where the winter is not particularly dry, this natural rhythm may become somewhat erratic and the tree may flower only partially. Flowers are scarlet bells with 5 partially fused petals. The pod-like fruits (technically known as follicles) are dark brown, wide, boat-shapes and about 10 cm long. They contain masses of thin bristles that stick in the skin, as well as yellow seeds. These are nutritious and were eaten by Aborigines after toasting.

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Thursday, 9 March 2017

FFF276 - CALENDULA

Calendula, is a genus of about 15–20 species of annual and perennial herbaceous plants in the daisy family Asteraceae that are often known as marigolds. They are native to southwestern Asia, western Europe, Macaronesia, and the Mediterranean. Other plants are also known as marigolds, such as corn marigold, desert marigold, marsh marigold, and plants of the genus Tagetes.

The genus name Calendula is a modern Latin diminutive of calendae, meaning "little calendar", "little clock" or possibly "little weather-glass". The common name "marigold" refers to the Virgin Mary. The most commonly cultivated and used member of the genus is the pot marigold (Calendula officinalis). Popular herbal and cosmetic products named 'calendula' invariably derive from C. officinalis.

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Thursday, 2 March 2017

FFF275 - PINK TULIPS

The tulip is a perennial, bulbous plant with showy flowers in the genus Tulipa, of which around 75 wild species are currently accepted and which belongs to the family Liliaceae. The genus's native range extends west to the Iberian Peninsula, through North Africa to Greece, the Balkans, Turkey, throughout the Levant (Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan) and Iran, North to Ukraine, southern Siberia and Mongolia, and east to the Northwest of China. The tulip's centre of diversity is in the Pamir, Hindu Kush, and Tien Shan mountains. It is a typical element of steppe and winter-rain Mediterranean vegetation.

A number of species and many hybrid cultivars are grown in gardens, as potted plants, or as cut flowers. Tulips are spring-blooming perennials that grow from bulbs. Depending on the species, tulip plants can be between 10 cm and 71 cm high. The tulip's large flowers usually bloom on scapes with leaves in a rosette at ground level and a single flowering stalk arising from amongst the leaves.Tulip stems have few leaves. Larger species tend to have multiple leaves. Plants typically have two to six leaves, some species up to 12. The tulip's leaf is strap-shaped, with a waxy coating, and the leaves are alternately arranged on the stem; these fleshy blades are often bluish green in colour.

Most tulips produce only one flower per stem, but a few species bear multiple flowers on their scapes (e.g. Tulipa turkestanica). The generally cup or star-shaped tulip flower has three petals and three sepals, which are often termed tepals because they are nearly identical. These six tepals are often marked on the interior surface near the bases with darker colourings. Tulip flowers come in a wide variety of colours, except pure blue (several tulips with "blue" in the name have a faint violet hue).

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Thursday, 23 February 2017

FFF274 - DIANTHUS 'KING OF BLACKS'

Dianthus is a genus of about 300 species of flowering plants in the family Caryophyllaceae, native mainly to Europe and Asia, with a few species extending south to north Africa, and one species (D. repens) in arctic North America. Common names include carnation (D. caryophyllus), pink (D. plumarius and related species) and Sweet William (D. barbatus).

The species are mostly herbaceous perennials, a few are annual or biennial, and some are low subshrubs with woody basal stems. The leaves are opposite, simple, mostly linear and often strongly glaucous grey-green to blue-green. The flowers have five petals, typically with a frilled or pinked margin, and are (in almost all species) pale to dark pink. One species, D. knappii, has yellow flowers with a purple centre. Some species, particularly the perennial pinks, are noted for their strong spicy fragrance.

We have the cultivar Dianthus caryophyllus Grenadin "King of Blacks" growing in our garden and this is an amazing, extremely fragrant flower. This is an heirloom Dianthus flower found in many home gardens which is often used for a cut flower. 'King of Blacks' is a dark reddish purple colour and has the appearance of velvet, with a blue-gray foliage. Easy to grow from flower seed and wonderfully coloured and sweetly scented attracting bees and butterflies.

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Thursday, 16 February 2017

FFF273 - PELARGONIUM X VIOLAREUM

Pelargonium violareum, Geranium violareum or Pelargonium 'Splendide' are all synonyms for this unusual hybrid identifed as Pelargonium violareum in the Geraniaceae family. It is an upright, shrubby perennial with soft smooth stems bearing grey-green leaves with serrated edges and pansy-like flowers with bold carmine upper petals and paler pink lower petals in summer.

The plants will reach a height of 0.5 m and a spread of 0.5m after 1-2 years. They do well in City, Coastal, Cottage/Informal, Drought Tolerant, Beds and borders, and in Containers. They grow well in compost mixed with sharp sand in a sunny position. They should deadheaded frequently to encourage further flowering.

Pelargoniums will not survive a severe Winter outdoors, so will need to be overwintered indoors or be replaced with new plants. In cases where the Winter is milder, the plant survives but may lose its leaves. Pruning will encourage new growth in Spring. Use a high potash fertiliser in Summer.

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Thursday, 9 February 2017

FFF272 - COMMON FRINGE LILY

Thysanotus tuberosus, known as the common fringe-lily is a perennial herb in the Asparagaceae family, which is endemic to Australia. The generic name comes from the Greek θύσανος (thysanosand means "tasselled", while species name tuberosus refers to the crisp tasting edible root.

The leaves are linear in shape, and round at cross section towards the top. The plant reaches a height from 20 cm to 60 cm tall and grows in a wide variety of situations, from semi-arid parts of south eastern Australia to coastal areas receiving more than 1300 mm of rain per year. The plants are often found in open country, heathlands or in dry sclerophyll woodland.

Flowers form from September to April. The three-petalled flowers are purple, with frilly edges, and only last for one day. They are among the more colourful wildflowers in Southeastern Australia. There two sub-species: The tepals are somewhat longer and wider in subsp. tuberosus, being 10 to 19 mm long, and around 10 mm wide. In subsp. parviflorus the inner anthers are smaller, and straight to slightly curved.

Fringe-lilies are not often seen in cultivation despite their obvious beauty. Generally they have proved to be difficult to maintain in cultivation. T. tuberosus should be grown in a well-drained sunny position. It is also suited to growing in a container. Propagation is relatively easy from seed which does not require any special pre-treatment.

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Thursday, 2 February 2017

FFF271 - HIPPEASTRUM

Hippeastrum is a genus of about 90 species and 600+ hybrids and cultivars of bulbous plants in the family Amaryllidaceae, subfamily Amaryllidoideae, native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas from Argentina north to Mexico and the Caribbean. Some species are grown for their large showy flowers.

For many years there was confusion amongst botanists over the generic names Amaryllis and Hippeastrum, one result of which is that the common name "amaryllis" is mainly used for cultivars of this genus, which are widely used as indoor flowering bulbs. The generic name Amaryllis applies to bulbs from South Africa, usually grown outdoors.

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Thursday, 26 January 2017

FFF270 - DURANTA

Duranta erecta is a species of flowering shrub in the verbena family Verbenaceae, native from Mexico to South America and the Caribbean. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical gardens throughout the world, and has become naturalised in many places. It is considered an invasive species in Australia, China, South Africa and on several Pacific Islands. The genus name is in honour of Castore Durante, a fifteenth-century Italian botanist. The specific epithet erecta means "upright" in Latin. The plant is also known as D. repens, from the Latin for "creeping". The latter name was originally used to identify smaller-leaved varieties of the species.

Common names include golden dewdrop, pigeon berry, and skyflower. In Mexico, the native Nahuatl name for the plant is xcambocoché. In Tonga it is known as mavaetangi (tears of departure). Duranta is registered as an invasive weed by many councils of Australia. It is a prolific, fast growing weed that is spread by birds from domestic areas to natural reserves. It was introduced and marketed as a hedge plant some years ago. Many people now fight to keep this thorny pest under control. It is highly ranked in the most invasive weeds in Australia.

Duranta erecta is a sprawling shrub or (infrequently) a small tree. It can grow to 6 m tall and can spread to an equal width. Mature specimens possess axillary thorns, which are often absent on younger specimens. The leaves are light green, elliptic to ovate, opposite, and grow up to 7.5 cm long and 3.5 cm broad, with a 1.5 cm petiole. The flowers are light-blue or lavender, produced in tight clusters located on terminal and axillary stems, blooming almost all year long. The fruit is a small globose yellow or orange berry, up to 11 mm diameter and containing several seeds. The leaves and berries of the plant are toxic, and are confirmed to have killed children, dogs and cats. However, songbirds eat the fruit without ill effects.

The cultivar illustrated is the hybrid "China Girl".

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Thursday, 19 January 2017

FFF269 - MARIGOLD

Tagetes erecta, the Mexican marigold, also called Aztec marigold, is a species of the genus Tagetes, family Asteraceae, native to Mexico. Despite its being native to the Americas, it is often called African marigold. In Mexico, this plant is found in the wild in the states of State of México, Puebla, and Veracruz. This plant reaches heights of between 50 and 100 cm. The Aztecs gathered the wild plant as well as cultivating it for medicinal, ceremonial and decorative purposes. It is widely cultivated commercially with many cultivars in use as ornamental plants, and for the cut-flower trade.

The ray florets have been used in lettuce salads and other foods to add colour and flavour. The dried flower petals, ground to a powder, may be used in poultry feed to ensure a good colouration of egg yolks and broiler skin, especially in the absence of well-pigmented yellow maize in the feed. This is still a use today, but now usually in the form of an extract which may have advantages of lower transport and storage cost, better stability and better utilisation. It is also used to enhance colouring in crustaceans, such as the Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei).

The oil of the flower may be added to perfumes to infuse an apple scent into them. Today, T. erecta is grown to extract lutein, a common yellow/orange food colour (E161b). The essential oil of the flower contains antioxidants.

Since prehispanic times, this plant has been used for medicinal purposes. The Cherokee used it as a skin wash and for yellow dye. This marigold may help protect certain crop plants from nematode pests when planted in fields. It is most effective against the nematode species Pratylenchus penetrans.

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Thursday, 12 January 2017

FFF268 - ROSA 'PIERRE DE RONSARD'

Rosa 'Pierre de Ronsard' is a moderately vigorous, climbing rose ideal to cover an arch or small trellis. Bred in France, by Meilland and introduced in 1987, 'Pierre de Ronsard' is a very disease resistant rose. The 7 to 10 cm globular flowers comprising 55 to 60 petals are a very attractive creamy white suffused with carmine pink borne singularly or in clusters up to 4 blooms on reasonably sturdy stems.

Adding to its seductive, colourful display these flowers have a light, delicious tea rose fragrance. Flowers last reasonably well when picked for floral arrangements. This rose has performed well throughout the world and thrives in our Melbourne climate. When grown against an arch, the plant can achieve heights around 3 metres, so it is preferable to plant a rose each side of the arch to achieve a complete and even cover in 3 to 4 years. Regular removal of spent blooms will ensure repeat and constant flowering throughout the growing season.

'Pierre de Ronsard' roses have a few thorns implying the arch needs to be at least 1.5m wide to avoid being caught by thorns when passing through the arch. For romantics, an arch of 'Pierre de Ronsard' provides a classic framework setting for photography, such as wedding photographs. Due to its popularity 'Pierre de Ronsard' is readily available to purchase.

The rose name honours Pierre de Ronsard (B.1524 – D.1585). Pierre de Ronsard was a famous French Poet whose 16th Century poetry earned a place in literary history. He enjoyed a great life: Well educated, well-travelled, highly productive, popular and he mixed socially, as friends, with royals such as King Charles of France, Queen Elizabeth I of England and Mary Queen of Scots. His own generation, in France, called him the “Prince of Poets”.

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Thursday, 5 January 2017

FFF267 - PINK CALLA LILY

Zantedeschia is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the family Araceae, native to southern Africa from South Africa north to Malawi. The name of the genus was given as a tribute to Italian botanist Giovanni Zantedeschi (1773–1846) by the German botanist Kurt Sprengel (1766–1833). Common names include arum lily for Z. aethiopica, calla, and calla lily for Z. elliottiana and Z. rehmannii although it is neither a true lily (Liliaceae), nor Arum or Calla (related genera in Araceae). It is also often erroneously spelled as "cala lily". It has often been used in many paintings, and is visible in many of Diego Rivera's works of art (see The Flower Vendor, amongst others).

The Zantedeschias are rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plants growing to 1-2.5 m tall with leaves 15–45 cm long. The inflorescence is a showy white, yellow or pink spathe shaped like a funnel with a yellow, central, finger-like spadix. The Zantedeschia species are poisonous due to the presence of calcium oxalate. All parts of the plant are toxic, and produce irritation and swelling of the mouth and throat, acute vomiting and diarrhoea. However, in some countries the leaves are sometimes cooked and eaten after suitable preparation.

Zantedeschia rehmannii Pink Calla Lily, shown here, has charming, funnel-shaped blooms that may be pink, rose, lavender or violet. It is a smaller plant (growing up to 40 cm) than the white or yellow varieties. Its long, tapered leaves are deep green, often with faint white spots.

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