Where to cut the stem of an orchid after the flowers are gone.

Posted by on February 15, 2018 in Gardening | 0 comments

Where to cut the stem of an orchid after the flowers are gone.

House Magic by Ani. GARDEN ON FEBRUARY 13, 2018 BY ADMIN Orchids bloom at various times throughout the year depending on the species and growing conditions. Cattleyas and phalaenopsis, for instance, tend to bloom in the spring while cymbidiums and oncidiums generally bloom in the winter. The flower stems will dry up and turn brown after the flowers fall, at which time they can be cut off. Where the stem or spike should be cut depends on the type, health and maturity of the orchid. Stakes can be used to support long flower stems. Orchids in General Dendrobium orchids can produce five to 20 flowers per stem. The general rule of thumb when cutting spent flower stems or spikes from orchids is to cut them off at the base. This should be done on cattleyas, cymbidiums, dendrobiums, epidendrums, paphiopedilums, phragmipediums and vandas. After these orchids have bloomed, they will not produce any more flowers on the flower spike. There is no need to leave the spike on the orchid until the whole thing turns brown. It can be removed as soon as the flowers drop and the tip of the spike turns brown. As long as the orchid is healthy and growing conditions are right, it will put out a new spike for the next bloom season. Phalaenopsis Orchids Phalaenopsis orchids are commonly called moth orchids. Phalaenopsis orchids produce multiple blooms on the same spike. Most types of phalaenopsis can have the spike cut back to just above a healthy growth node when the flowers drop and the spike begins to turn brown. Growth nodes are raised triangular flaps of plant tissue on the flower spike. The healthy phal will grow new spikes from the growth node and bloom from those. Small, young phals that are less than 30cm tall or those that are not growing vigorously should not be allowed to try to rebloom. Their flower spikes should be removed at the base of the spike as soon as the blooms drop. Some orchid growers always cut the spike off at the base to prevent reblooming regardless of the size, health or maturity of the orchid. Blooming saps energy from the plant, resulting in slower plant growth. Amboninsis, Cornu-cervi and Violacia Descendants Phalaenopsis orchids may produce additional flower spikes while still blooming on an old spike. Phalaenopsis orchids that are descendants of amboninsis, cornu-cervi, violacia and similar orchids bloom continuously from the same flower spike. The spikes on these phals should not be cut unless they grow too long. If the spike has grown so long that it has become unsightly, it can be cut back to just above a growth node. It can also be removed at the base in the spring to give the orchid a rest and encourage new plant growth. Oncidiums (Psychopsis) Some types of oncidiums (psychopsis), such as papilio or butterfly orchid, should not have the flower spikes cut when the blooms drop. These orchids will bloom on the same spike for years. The spikes can grow to 2 feet long. The flower spike should be removed at the base when the orchid is repotted to reduce stress while it becomes re-established. Use a good potting medium that breaks down very slowly to allow as much time as possible between repottings. Share this:Click to...

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Bird lime tree

Posted by on February 1, 2018 in Gardening | 0 comments

Bird lime tree

I came across the article below about Pisonia.  Somewhere in my foggy past the name Pisonia rang a bell – then I remember when I first did consultancies for nurseries in Gauteng, these plants were used as indoor plants akin to the rubber plant. Then I thought I may have seen them growing in Knysna, and low and behold it is growing next door in my ex neighbour’s garden! Now that all the tall growth has gone due to the fire, this specimen is exposed revealing it’s variegated leaves.  Not quite as dangerous as it’s cousin Pisonia grandis, but non the less still a threat to bird life.  Look out for these trees and remove them, replace with fruit bearing indigenous trees that pose no danger to wildlife! Pisonia umbellifera Family: Nyctaginaceae Bird-lime Tree, Bird Catcher Tree Origin: Andaman Islands Pisonia umbellifera ‘Variegata’ (Map Plant) – It resembles a compact variegated rubber tree. It grows as a small tree (up to 4 meters) and produces fresh green leaves with blotches of cream color. Blooms, which appear in early summer, are open clusters of green flowers tinged with pink. The sticky fruits that follow are responsible for another common name, Bird Catcher Tree, as insects and small birds can get stuck to these fruit.   More about Pisonia grandis, native to the Seychelles. Article by the Seychelles Seabird Group Pisonia grandis…A grand problem? PUBLISHED ON June 2, 2013 by april243 Pisonia grandis belongs to the Bougainvillea family and is a native tree to the Seychelles as well as other tropical areas of the world. It looks like a normal tree but there are several rather special adaptations which make it one of the most interesting tree species I have encountered, not to mention the most deadly! Seabirds are intrinsically linked to the success of this species via zoochory but quite often lethal zoochory! The tree’s fruit produce hooked, sticky seeds (aka athocarps). The extreme stickiness of the seeds evidently evolved to stick to birds and resist removal, facilitating long-distance dispersal (Burger, 2005). Seabirds are the sole, long- range, dispersal vector of Pisonia (Walker 1991). The seeds are borne on multi-branched infructescences, each bearing from 12 to over 200 seeds. These usually fall to the ground when ripe. Birds become entangled in one or more infructescences and depending on where the seeds attach to the bird as few as 2-5 seeds can impair flight (Pers.Obs). Once entangled and unable to fly the bird will become starved, exhausted and eventually die. Either way the zoochory via this method is effective albeit the death of the vector is somewhat unnecessary. The effect that Pisonia has on seabird populations has been studied on Cousin Island, initially it was thought that mortality via Pisonia was an unfortunate consequence but had little impact on the large populations of tree and ground nesting seabirds (Burger, 2005), however it is directly proportionate to the extent of the flowering event. Throughout the year there appears to be 3 main flowering events of varying extent, studies of the impacts of these events have been documented (Davies, 2010; Andrews, 2009). Results showed in both cases there was a significant impact on seabird populations, notably Davies (2010) recorded that both White Tern and Tropical Shearwater appeared particularly impacted with an estimated proportion of the populations entangled and killed of 24.52% (±7.92) and 9.38%...

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Rosemary replacement?

Posted by on January 30, 2018 in Gardening | 0 comments

Rosemary replacement?

Get to know sweet myrtle, a hardy, evergreen herb that has few problems and many culinary uses.  It blends well into the indigenous garden with the fine foliage resembling fynbos. Sweet Myrtle Myrtus communis (MUR-tus kom-EW-nis), sweet myrtle, myrtle, true myrtle Family: Myrtaceae Habit: Hardy evergreen, shrubby herb. Compact, attractive, with small 1-inch white flowers in early summer, sometimes followed by blue-black berries. Small, aromatic, dark green, glossy foliage. Bushy and slow growing. Beautiful when in bloom. Sweet-scented leaves and flowers. Usually grows to a height of 1.5 – 2m but can grow up to 5m. The spread is 1.5 x 2m feet, but it rarely gets that big. The dwarf form, ‘Compacta,’ only grows 80cm – 1m  in height. Sweet myrtle (Myrtus communis) needs full sun to part shade. (Howard Garrett/Special Contributor) Culture Sweet myrtle needs full sun to part shade. It is very easy to propagate, and you can start from cuttings from spring to fall. Set out container-grown transplants year-round. Final spacing: 30cms. Pick flowers while in full bloom and store in glass with tight-fitting lid in a dark place. It will last in those conditions for three years. In northern climates, bring plants indoors to overwinter. Myrtle made its way from the Mediterranean in the 16th century when it was introduced to England. It has few, if any, problems. Culinary uses Flower buds and berries can be used in sweet dishes, and the leaves can be used in meat dishes. Purple-black berries can be used whole or coarsely ground. Myrtle berries are sweet, with juniper and rosemary-like flavors. The leaves can be used whole or chopped and have a spicy, astringent and bitter taste with a refreshing, fragrant and orange-like aroma. Myrtle leaves can be dried and used like bay leaves. They have a flavor similar to allspice with a touch of menthol. The flowers are used as a garnish, and berries are dried, ground and used like a spice as with juniper berries. Myrtle leaves and berries are used to season lamb and pork dishes in Middle Eastern cuisine but are far less popular in the west. In Italy and on the island of Sardinia, where myrtle grows wild, myrtle is a staple spice used in the kitchen and in wood smoking to add a distinctive flavor to barbecued food. Mirto is a liqueur produced from both myrtle berries, known as mirto rosso, and myrtle leaves, mirto bianco. Sweet myrtle (Myrtus communis) is a hardy evergreen, shrubby herb. (Howard Garrett/Special Contributor) Medicinal uses Leaves are antiseptic, astringent and used on bruises, acne and hemorrhoids. It is used as a poultice, tea or tincture. Landscape uses Myrtle is attractive in containers, can be pruned into topiaries and works well for bonsai. It makes a good edging plant in the landscape and is excellent for cut flower arrangements because the foliage lasts a long time. Other uses Myrtle flowers are used to make perfume. Dried leaves are used in herb pillows and potpourri, and cuttings are used in weddings as a symbol of chastity and beauty. Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new...

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Top 11 Most Beautiful Flowers In The World

Posted by on January 28, 2018 in Gardening | 1 comment

Top 11 Most Beautiful Flowers In The World

Grow Green World   Did you know that Henry Beecher once said: “Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into?” Yet, every flower is a soul blossoming in nature! Indeed, our God is an artist ‘par excellence’, simply the best, and flowers are perhaps one of His best creations on the Earth. Although flowers can have quite a short life, just like butterflies, they undoubtedly fill our hearts and eyes with endless joy for their time being! For ages, these wonderful gifts of nature have been helping us show and reflect our emotions and feelings. Their shapes, fragrance and brilliant myriad of colors are enough to make every person ‘get in the mood’. A beautiful bouquet of sweet-smelling flowers can be a perfect present for any occasion, be it anniversaries, birthdays or wedding ceremonies! A great number of flowers are also used for making cosmetic products and natural medicines. And many of these blooming beauties have special significance or meanings (for instance, the red rose is always the symbol of love and passion!) Roses, carnations, tulips, sunflowers, dahlias… the list goes on and on. With so many options to choose from, selecting 11 most beautiful flowers in the world is certainly not an easy task to do. Here is a list of the most beautiful flowers in the world: The Rose “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” wrote Shakespeare once in his renowned play Romeo and Juliet. Oh yes, most ‘top most beautiful flowers’ lists out there reserve the No. 1 spot right for this one. This pretty, sweet-smelling flower has all what it takes to be the prettiest flower in the world! It would not be wrong to say that rose is a synonym with beauty and love. This woody perennial shrub belongs to the genus ‘Rosa’. Roses are found almost everywhere on Earth. This beautiful flower comes in a variety of colors and hues, and each color holds a different meaning.  For example, while a red rose is a symbol of love, a yellow rose stands for friendship. From poets to artists, the rose has been a source of undying inspiration for people through the centuries! The Gazania   Gazania is native to South Africa where it is also known as ‘treasure flower’. The best thing about this flower is that it comes in a variety of strange patterns and radiating colors such as shades of pink, dark red, yellow and orange. The petals of this amazing flower come in single colors as well as in graded shades. This hardy beauty with its daisy-like flowers certainly deserves a top spot in the list of most beautiful flowers in the world! The Plumeria   Plumeria, which is native to Brazil, Caribbean and Central America, comes in several varieties. It belongs to the dogbane family – Apocynaceae, and is known for its mesmerizing scent and dazzling beauty.  Plumeria has medium size flowers, which come in a variety of vibrant colors like pink, red, yellow and other. The Chrysanthemum Carolus Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy, gave this beautiful flower its name, which means ‘golden flower’ in Greek (‘chrys’ means golden and ‘anthemon’ means flower).  The flowers come in a number of shapes- they can be button-shaped, pompous, decorative or daisy-like. Although yellow is the traditional color of chrysanthemum flowers, these...

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