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7 Of The World’s Most Exotic Flowers

If you love discovering new exotic species of flowers, simply continue reading to discover 7 of the world’s most exotic flowers. Examples of which are native to Brazil, South Africa, South East Asia and Central America. If you live in a particularly warm climate, you may also want to consider planting a few of the species listed below in your garden.

1. Bird of Paradise

bird of paradise

The Bird of Paradise is a striking tropical flower which was originally native to South Africa. However, this flower now flourishes in a variety of tropical places. You can usually identify the Bird of Paradise by its thick stalk and bright orange and purple flowers, which are clustered together in an arrowhead shape. If you live in a humid, tropical climate, Bird of Paradise should thrive in your garden. As a bonus, it can also serve as a centerpiece for a tropical themed bouquet of flowers. Alternatively, you can always wrap a single stem in colored cardboard as a gift for a friend or family member.

2. Philippine Ground Orchid

philippine ground orchid

The Philippine Ground Orchid typically comes in two varieties…a violet and pink version, and a magenta and purple version. However, a rare white species of this flower can also be found in South East Asia. Each stunning flower features 3 petal like sepals and two oversized side petals. If you’re looking to design an Asian inspired garden, it’s well worth planting the Philippine Ground Orchid in your garden.

3. Magnolia

magnolia

Did you know that the Magnolia tree has existed for 20 million years? If you love gorgeous flowers, it’s well worth witnessing a Magnolia tree in full bloom as nothing smells as sweet as its fresh flowers. Typically Magnolia comes in three colors…pink, white and purple. However flower sizes vary and whilst one tree will produce large flowers which span 12 inches, other trees will produce smaller flowers which measure 3 inches. By the way, Magnolia is typically known as a symbol of femininity and beauty. These trees can be found in Central America, North America and South East Asia.

4. Frangipani

Frangipani

If you ever have the chance to visit a South Pacific destination such as Hawaii or Samoa, you’ll see wild Frangipani blossoming on the side of the road. If you’re lucky enough to have visited Hawaii, you may have noticed that Frangipani are commonly used to create beautiful floral leis. However this flower is also native to Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Venezuela. Although Frangipani come in a wide array of striking colors, the most popular type of boasts pink petals and have a yellow center. The outside of the pink petals will normally have a white border.

5. Ice Blue Calathea

blue calathea

Chances are you’ve never heard of the Ice Blue Calathea. It is a rare plant which is native to Brazil, and boasts a pretty pine cone shaped flower which features tubular ice blue frontal lobes and sepals. Just think of the Ice Blue Calathea as a tropical version of a traditional Foxglove. It is also striking as it boasts gigantic oversized banana tree shaped leaves which can grow up to 5 feet tall.

6. Shell Ginger

shell ginger

Another plant species which you may never have heard of is the Shell Ginger. It is native to Asia and boasts drooping flower panicles which look a little like a string of pink and white shells or a cluster of white and pink mussels. So it should probably come as no surprise that Shell Ginger is also known as Shellplant or Shellflower. If you’re tempted to create a tropical bouquet of flowers, it’s also well worth incorporating a piece of Shell Ginger in your bouquet.

7. Red Pineapple

red pineapple

If you look carefully at a Red Pineapple plant when it’s growing, you may notice tiny purple flowers hiding amongst the base of the plant. The small yet striking purple and pink flowers often catch people by surprise as not many people know that Red Pineapples boast such delicate, beautiful flowers. These plants are traditionally native to Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, but can now be found in Hawaii and Central America.

Super Bloom In California

In a desert in California, there is a “super bloom” of flowers that have been dormant for 20 years! To the northeast of San Diego lies Anza-Borrego Park, which has been plagued by drought for some time, but is now seeing these flowers which are attracting big crowds. Almost 150,000 people have visited in the last month alone. The police were even brought in to handle the traffic jams! The whole scene has been comically called “Flowergeddon”.

super bloom

It’s not the only place where these flowers are blooming. Some orange poppies are coming up northeast of Los Angeles in Antelope Valley. But most of this action is being seen in Anza-Borrego State Park, which is 1,000 square miles of mostly desert. These super blooms only happen once per decade, but it’s been happening less because of the lack of rain. But with recent rain in the past year, flowers are being seen in Death Valley as well.

There are different flowers, depending on which are you are in in the park, including blazing stars and desert lilies. Tourists from as far away as Japan have flown to California to see these beautiful wildflowers. Many pictures are being taken, with people posing in different ways with the flowers. The blooms attract sphinx moth caterpillars, which in turn attracts Swainson hawks that are migrating from Argentina.

sphinx moth caterpillar

Rain is not the only cause of these blooms. There have been volunteers and female prisoners helping to remove an invasive plant species called the Sahara Mustard plant, which they believe was brought to the state in the 1920’s. Both humans and rain have come together to make this possible, and although they’ve been removing the invasive plants in 2010, it’s proving to be very stubborn.

sahara mustard plant

The desert does not come without its dangers, so people wanting to visit to see these wildflowers should be very cautious, especially with children. There are also cactuses around that have painful needles that are hard to remove if you get stuck with them. It’s a good idea to wear proper shoes and long sleeved clothing to protect your skin from anything that may get onto it. Careful attention should be paid to the ground, as there might also be deadly snakes.

snake

The town nearby has seen an extraordinary amount of extra business from all the tourists, who not only come from overseas, but from across the country as well. The Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce had visitor log sign ins from Chicago and Canada. Lodging places were filled up in no time as well. It was 92 degrees recently and the desert can get pretty hot, so that’s another thing to consider for visitors.

Officials are urging people to bring a medical kit, plenty of water, food, and be prepared to wait for hours in traffic, especially on the weekends. They are asking people to visit during the week to avoid this particular problem. The Anza-Borrego State Park shouldn’t only be visited during this bloom, as it’s a great camping spot where you can roast marshmallows under the stars and/or race dirt bikes during the day. And also, nearby is the Salton Sea, which is directly on the San Andreas Fault and contains more salt than the Pacific Ocean!

salton sea

Dealing With Allergies While Gardening

If you are passionate about gardening and have severe enough allergies, as much as you look forward to spring, you also hate when the pollen count kicks up.  With that comes coughing and irritated lungs as well as asthma attacks.  God forbid you love being inside; sometimes just staying inside is bad enough.
Here are some tips for you to take in to fight those allergies and keep your body calm on those tough spring days:

Love My Backyard Birds

On Saturday mornings I like to sleep in, but today was different because my girlfriend had finally heard enough excuses and it was time for me to mow the lawn finally. I had to do the job in the morning to avoid heat stress on the grass and myself. The first thing I did was to clear debris from the yard. I also ensured that my pets were safely out of the way before I started. After plugging in my black & decker electric mower, I started the job just as the sun was beginning to rise.

sunrise

My job was easy because I have a great lawn mower. It allows me to bag, mulch, or discharge while cutting the grass. The mowing deck won’t dent, rust or corrode and the machine is expected to give me a lifetime of service. The engine runs on electric, so there’s no smelly fumes to deal with and it doesn’t require a choke to start. I can also adjust the cutting position seven different mowing heights using a convenient lever. I’m really glad I read all the reviews at mowlikeachamp.com that helped me choose the best mower for my yard.

Apart from having a great mower, my job is more enjoyable as I get to watch birds in my garden. There’s a large tree there that plays host to many different birds. One of those birds is the robin, with its bright orange breast and singing a happy song. This robin was busy tugging earthworms out of the ground, and I decided to stop my mower and allow it to have some breakfast without being disturbed. After the bird had had its fill and flew off, I restarted the mower and continued with the task at hand.

robin

When I reached the large tree in the garden, I looked up to see a nuthatch. It is characterized by a large head, short tail, and powerful bill and feet. We had placed a bird feeder under one of the branches, and the bird was feasting on sunflower seeds and suet. It was also industriously carrying seeds away to hide. The nuthatch has a quiet call but what I like most about this bird is that it shows little fear of humans, and there are times when it comes very close to us when we’re sitting under the tree.

nuthatch

As I continue mowing the lawn, I see another familiar friend. It’s a jay bird, and this colorful bird from the crow family is noisy as usual. It’s also a beautiful bird with a black and white flecked crown, black mustache, and white throat. It’s also a hoarder and spends its days hiding hazelnuts, acorns and other seeds in the garden. This jay had also made its home in our mature oak tree, and it was busy burying seeds in one of our flowerbeds. My reverie is broken when I feel someone hug me from behind. It’s my girlfriend, beautiful as usual and happy to see that I had finally gotten around to mowing the lawn after a week of procrastination.

How Gardening Can Relieve Stress

Gardening has played an important part in my life: it has allowed me moments of relaxation, zen and has allowed me to get rid of anxiety in some questionable times in my life.  As we get older, we value activities that help center us.  Of course, this includes friends as well.

Bear with me: while this video sounds “robotic” (you will see in a moment), it shows us why gardening is great for our health and our brains and how it keeps us sharp!  Give it a chance and let me know what you think.  By the way, if you want to start gardening, start nice and easy.  Literally, anyone can grow flowers, even if you live in an apartment.

Anyway, let’s explore how gardening can relieve our stress:

Let Flowers Heal You!

Today, I found the most wonderful, most relaxing video. It is perfect: it is a flower time lapse video with relaxing music in the background. Remember the hummingbird video? If you haven’t watched that one, make sure to do so! You will be pleasantly surprised.

If you are feeling fatigued or wound up, this is a two hour, time lapse video showcasing beautiful flowers. It’s perfect if you blast the music and do your daily chores or you can choose to meditate to it for just 10 minutes. The details are yours to explore!

The Corpse Flower

The Corpse Flower is another name for the Titan Arum, a weird looking plant that can grow to 10 ft high or more. It is called the corpse flower because of its horrible smell, which has been described by some to smell like roadkill or rotting fish, among other things. Its scientific name is Amorphophallus Titanium, meaning ‘misshapen giant penis’, named so at a time when people named plants after body parts.

corpse flower

The leaves on the corpse flower can grow up to 20 ft high and 16 ft across, which makes it one of the biggest flowering plants on earth. It usually weighs 110 pounds, but the record weight is 305 pounds, grown by a doctor in New Hampshire in 2010. You would think that since it’s so big, it might be carnivorous, but all it needs to survive is water, air, and the soil it’s grown in.

flower exhibit

The Titan Arum originates from and grows only in Sumatra, an island in Indonesia, in a rain forest. It takes the plant 7-10 years to bloom for the first time, and after that it varies from 2-3 years. However, some plants will still take another 10 years for the next bloom. The male and female parts are all together, so the female flower blooms first, hours ahead of the male, to prevent self pollination. Other pollinators of this plant are carnivorous insects, attracted to it by the rotten smell and deep burgundy color that looks like a dead animal.

corpse

If the corpse flower only grew in the wild, it would become endangered due to habitat destruction. Many conservatories, gardens, zoos, and private owners around the world have ensured that it will survive into the future for generations to come. It’s such a unique looking, AND smelling plant that everyone should experience seeing one.

Watching Hummingbirds Feed On Flowers

As off topic as it may seem, I promise you, it is not: when I get stressed, I love to spend time gardening, hiking, bird watching. Just in case if you can’t pick up the theme, I turn to nature when I’m going through hard times.

Today, I wanted to share something personal. As mentioned above, bird watching is just one of my most favorite activities to do. Last time I felt anxious, I found a really cool video that not only alleviated my stress, but also brought to the forefront one of God’s most beautiful creations (other than flowers!): hummingbirds.

I would like to share this video with you today. If you are having a hard time, please hit play. I have found that in my hardest of times, it is simple things like meditation, or watching something as simple as this video. Even my two cats enjoyed it 🙂

Enjoy!

Want to Grow Plants But Live In An Apartment? No Sweat!

Having my own space to grow a garden the way I like, I look back at a time when I used to live in apartments which is quite common even adults 30 and older in today’s economy. After the big economical collapse in 2008, renting apartments became even more appealing than owning a home, as with homes, if anything breaks down, you have to fix it or replace it yourself.

However, with homes can also come more space and more specifically, a front and/or a backyard. Of course, city or urban homes do not have yard space.

With all that said, welcome to today’s topic: growing plants on a tiny patio or balcony. That’s right: you no longer need to worry about space or soil as there are plenty of ways for you to accomplish this. This video is great; it goes into depth about what options you have and how you can build a thriving, zen green space in your tiny patio or balcony.

Be ready, as it is close to 30 minutes, but a lot of fun to watch and learn from: