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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.

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:

Preparing My Backyard For A Flower Planting Season

A fair warning: This is more of a personal post.  If you want actual tips on planting and growing wildflowers, start here.

I recently moved to my new home. One of the things I love about my new home is the small backyard that my family and I spend most of our relaxing time in. One afternoon, as I was relaxing, I saw a very beautiful butterfly and it dawned on me that I had to make a small garden to welcome more of these beautiful and awesome creatures. My enthusiasm for gardening grew.

What a better time to do this than during this cold season: winter. There is no much movement and most of the time is spent indoors. The kids would play in the house and therefore I had all my attention focused on my soon to be an attractive flower garden.

My Soon-To-Be Attractive Flower Garden…

Since I had prior experience in flower planting, I began by landscaping the area using a garden hose to mark the exact area where I wanted my flowers to be. My chosen site had good soil; after adding nutrients and determining its pH and it could also get sunlight for up to six hours. With all this, I could choose flowers that require full exposure to the sun.

Next, I had to get rid of all the grass, weeds and sod. This is where my newly acquired Black & Decker electric lawn mower came in handy.   I bought it after reading about it on Mow Like a ChampThis self-propelled mower allowed me to mow my garden with confidence as it runs for almost an hour, making clean grass cuts and doing this effectively. I loved its ability to bag, discharge and mulch the grass clippings depending on the mode I selected. It is very easy to use and if I were to cut grass again in my compound, I would definitely use it over and over. The other great offer that I love is its height adjustment feature; I can change the cutting height to either too low or too high. For my garden, I chose too low.

After cutting, I dug using a garden fork, removed all the debris, added some more manure and then I added the grass cuttings that were finely done by the Black & Decker electric lawn mower. Finally, I leveled the bed and made sure that it was ready for planting this coming spring.

My Lovely Flower Selection

I have chosen to plant three types of flowers: Acoma iris, Snowdrop Anemone, and the Pansy. I chose the Acoma Iris flower type for its variety of colors, its tall growth and its delectable petal varieties; which will be a pretty and awesome addition to my garden style. I loved Pansy for its pleasant, lively uplifted blooms and the various petal colors.

The two flowers will be complemented by the Snowdrop Anemone. It’s fragrant, festive and it will do well in my garden that is slightly shaded. Its ability to bloom even in the fall is an extra bonus that I could not let dodge me. I cannot wait for the winter season to be over so that I can plant the alluring and gorgeous flowers, water them and watch transform my backyard.

Perhaps I’ll create “update posts” once I get it all together.  Now that I’ve got planned out, I am thinking of creating this lovely environment for my yard:

patio ideas

 

How To Plant WildFlowers For Beginners!

wildflowers!Wild flowers play an important role in the support of native animals and insects. They also make our gardens beautiful and colorful. If you have sufficient room in your garden, you can plant wildflower seeds and create your own colorful meadow but if you don’t, you can still plant the wildflowers in small areas such as the strip of land between the driveway and the property line. Below is guide on how to plant wildflowers. (PS. Not sure where to buy supplies?  Start at Home Depot’s Lawn & Garden section!)

1. When to Sow

Verify the last day you had frost and plant the seeds after this has passed. One advantage of this is that the seeds will not sprout until spring hence they will not have to encounter spring freezing.

2. Preparing the land

Wildflowers do not need any special kind of soil unless the soil you are about to plant them on is sterile. The soil only needs to be light and well drained. Ensure you have cleared it by digging up everything that was growing on it. Turn the soil and rake the area flat. In case it happens that the area has never been gardened; you might need to till the area to remove any growth. Also remember to choose a place where the plant can get 6 or more hours of direct sun daily.

3. Look for Wildflowers That are Suitable for Your Area

Most wildflowers are annual and they will quickly bloom heavily once they have been planted. Many of them are self sowing. Poppies, cornflowers and cosmos are examples of annual wildflowers.

Perennials wildflowers create a root system and come back every year. Perennials are capable of lasting for decades and continue to spread every year. Unlike annuals, perennials take a longer time to sprout and bloom. Some of the examples of perennials include Purple coneflowers, coreopsis and daisies.

Biennials sprout in one season and will not bloom until the following year. They will later be killed by frost but given the fact they self seed, they will still sprout in spring. Some of the examples of biennials include sweet Williams and Black eyed Susans.

4. Plant Your Wildflower Seed Using the Split Sand Method

First and foremost: divide the seed in half. Secondly, mix one of the seed with around 10 parts of light sand or vermiculate to one part seed. Thirdly, choose a day that there is no wind in order to be able to determine where your wildflower seeds will settle. After that, sow your seed over the prepared site. The light color of the vermiculite or sand will show you where the seed has fallen. Repeat the same procedure with the second half filling in the missed spots. Lastly, press the seed into the soil by walking or rolling over the planted area. Ensure you don’t cover the seed with more sand as it will prevent them from easily sprouting.

5. Grow

Plant your wildflower garden or meadow near water source. This will come in handy during a dry spell or even longer droughts. Ensure you water so that the soil is moist but not soaking wet until the seedlings are about 4-6 feet tall. After that, the seedlings can survive on natural rains. Wetting the seeds also ensures that the seed is not blown away.

6. Fertilize

Mostly wildflowers grow naturally and do not need any fertilizers. However, if you choose to fertilize them, choose a fertilizer that has little nitrogen.