Wednesday, 14 December 2011


Rose is one of the most beautiful of all flowers. It is a symbol of fragrance and loveliness. Its name calls to mind pictures of the sweetbrier, or wild rose, the loveliest wild flower of the country roadsides. No other flower has been mentioned so often by the poets of all ages and all countries. In the language of flowers its blossoms have always been the symbol of love. 
The rose has even played its part in history. In England, when the Houses of York and Lancaster were fighting for power, they chose white and red roses respectively for their emblems. The flowers gave their name to the War of the Roses. Today the rose is the national flower of England. It is also the state flower of several states in the United States. The rose is not limited to any one country, however. Its many species and varieties can be found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. They will even grow in the mountain districts of the tropics. 
All present-day roses are descendants of wild roses. We may doubt this if we compare a full-flowered cultivated bloom with a five-petaled swamp or prairie rose. But many wild-rose species tend to bear double blooms—flowers with more than five petals. A skillful gardener can select a wild rose plant that shows an occasional double blossom, give it and its descendants expert care for several years, and produce plants that consistently bear handsome double flowers.
Until the 19th century all rose culture was of this type. Many species were popular for cultivation, including cabbage, damask, and French roses. The cabbage (Rom centifolia) is a large pink rose that grows wild in the Caucasus. It was cultivated in ancient Greece and Rome.  Later the French called it Flower experts recognize three main classes of cultivated roses. Members of the first class, sometimes called old roses, bloom once a year, usually in early summer. They include the yellow briers, damask roses, moss roses, and many climbers. 
The second kind of roses bloom in early summer and again in fall. The best-known members of this class are called perpetual roses or summer-and-autumn roses— are the hybrid perpetual. Members of the third main class, the ever blooming hybrids, flower almost constantly during the growing season. These roses include floribundas, grand floras, hybrid teas, and polyandrous.


The white lily stands for purity. Artists for centuries have pictured the angel Gabriel coming to the Virgin Mary with a spray of lilies in his hand, to announce that she is to be the mother of the TURK’S. LILY is the family name of about 2,000 species of plants. Most are herbs (plants without woody stems). The family includes onion, asparagus, tulip, and hyacinth. The name comes from a group of perennials of the genus Lilium, often called the true lilies. Of the 80 or 90 species known, about 24 are natives of North America, about 50 are Asian, and 12 are European. True lilies have underground bulbs made of overlapping scales which contain stored food. Their flowers (except for rare double forms) have three sepals and three petals so nearly alike that all six often are called petals. The blossoms grow at the top of a leafy stalk. They are of many colors and shapes. Among the most beautiful are the white Madonna (Easter) lily; the Japanese Turk’s-cap with orange flowers spotted with red; the clustered dark-orange, purplish-spotted tiger lily; the scarlet coral lily; the gold-banded lily of Japan; and the pink Specious lily.
Lilies (chiefly lily bulbs) have served as human food in many countries. The ancient Greeks and Romans used some kinds in making certain salves and ointments. Lilies appeared as pottery decorations, in paintings, and in other forms of art hundreds of years ago. Species from many lands are cultivated in a number of countries, especially in Europe. From them, plant growers have developed popular hybrids and varieties of many colors and shapes, suited to different climates and uses. In most of the United States, lilies bloom in almost every color (except blue). They can be grown from early summer to frost. Some kinds are grown as house plants. Many are raised each year in commercial greenhouses, especially for Easter.
To supply gardeners and other growers, thousands of different kinds of lily bulbs are raised in the United States, Japan, Bermuda, and many parts of Europe. New bulbs may be produced in several ways:
(1) By natural division of older bulbs.
(2) By small bulblets produced underground above or around the bulb.
(3) By aerial bulblets that grow in the leaf-axils of some species.
(4) By seeds, and from scales taken from bulbs. The word lily is included in the common name of many plants that are not true lilies. Among these are day lilies, plantain-lilies, Mari-pose-lilies, and trout-lilies or dogtooth violets. All of these are in the lily family but not of the genus Lilium. Others are calla lilies, in the same family as Jack-in-the-pulpit; belladonna lilies, of the Amaryllis family; and water lilies.


Snowball, also called European cranberry bush or Guelder rose, is a handsome shrub of the honeysuckle family. It produces large, ball-shaped white flowers that grow in clusters. The plant is believed to be native to the Dutch province of Gelderland. Today, it is often grown in parks and lawns in the United States. It is a cultivated form of high bush cranberry and grows from 7 to 12 feet (2.1 to 3.7 meters) tall. The flowers of the cultivated species are sterile and do not produce fruit, but a wild variety bears juicy, red berries.
Scientific classification. The snowball is in the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae. It is Viburnum opulus. Snowdrop is the name of a group of flowering plants native Europe, the Middle East, and western Asia. Some species, including the common snowdrop of Europe, are commonly grown in gardens. Snowdrops bear nodding, white, bell-shaped flowers. 
Snowdrops are one of the earliest spring flowers, and they sometimes during warm spells in midwinter. Some snow-drops bloom in the fall. The common snowdrop is sometimes called the Fair Maid of February. Snowdrops grow from a small bulb that produces two or three narrow leaves and a flower stalk. The stalk of the common snowdrop usually grows from 4 to 9 inches (10 to 23 centimeters) tall. Snowdrops are easy to cultivate, and they grow best in partial shade and moist soil. The bulbs are planted 3 to 4 Inches (7.5 to 10 centimeters) deep in the fall. The plants multiply each year, and a few bulbs may eventually produce large clumps of snowdrops.


EVERLASTING is any one of a number of plants whose flowers keep both their color and shape long after they have been picked and dried. Most of them belong to the composite family. Some of them, such as the globe amaranth, belong to the amaranth family. 
The wild pearly everlasting grows in North America. It is a small plant found on sunny, dry hillsides and in open woods. Its straight, leafy stems are covered with soft wool. Its flowers grow in many branched clusters. In southern France great quantities of immortelles, another type of everlasting, are grown. These are woven into wreaths for decorations or winter ornaments. Immortelle flowers are deep yellow, but they can be bleached white or dyed in different colors.
Other kinds of everlastings are found under the name of strawflower. This name is given because of the straw like blossoms. They are often an inch or more across. If picked before fully mature and dried, they may appear fresh for a year or more. There is an Australian everlasting which bears both single and double flowers that vary in color. The everlasting of the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, has silky white flowers.


Lavender is the name of about 20 species of small bushes that bear fragrant flowers and leaves. Lavender belongs to the mint family. It grows wild in Mediterranean countries and is widely cultivated.
Lavender bushes grow from 3 to 4 feet (91 to 120 centimeters) high. They have long, narrow, pale-green leaves and pale purple flowers. This shade of purple is called lavender after the flowers. The flowers grow in clusters around the stem. When dried, they keep their fragrance for a long time.
Lavender comes from a Latin word that means to wash. This name may have been used because the ancient Romans used the leaves and flowers of the plant to scent their bathwater. Women once routinely stored dried lavender flowers with their linens and clothing. Today, the dried flowers are used in fragrant sachets (powders) and potpourris (mixtures). The flowers also are distilled to make oil that is used in some perfumes.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


TULIP (tu’lip) is any of the flowering plants that make up the genus Tulipa. This genus belongs to the lily family (Liliaceae). There are about 160 species of tulips. They grow wild from Italy and Austria eastward across Asia to Japan.
Common garden tulips are thought to have developed from only a few of these wild species. Plant breeders have produced thousands of garden varieties in a wide range of colors, sizes, and shapes.
Tulip blossoms are cup-shaped and grow pointing upward. Upside down they look something like a turban—in fact the word “tulip” comes from the Turkish word for turban. The plants grow from bulbs. They do not fare well in hot climates since a cool winter period is necessary to mature the bulbs. Well-fertilized soil is best for tulips. In Europe, the United States, and Canada the bulbs are planted in the fall. The bulb contains a stem and the beginnings of the next year’s flower and leaves, formed while the plant was in bloom. (See Bulb)
There are three main classes of tulips: early flowering, which usually have short stems; midseason, long stemmed with larger blossoms; and late flowering, which have long stems and the widest range of colors. 

Tulips came to Europe in about 1554 from Turkey, where they were being grown before 1500. They reached the Netherlands a few years later and became extremely popular there. The Dutch became so skillful in raising them that they are still the leading growers of tulip bulbs shipping large quantities all over the world. At one time tulips were so popular in the Netherlands that people paid huge prices for new varieties. During this “tulipomania,” tulip bulbs were the object of much financial speculation.


FORGET-ME-NOT is a small flower that grows wild in moist fields or along the edges of ponds and streams in Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America. 
Easily cultivated, forget-me-nots are frequently used as borders for gardens because of their pleasing blue color and delicate beauty. 
In some varieties the blossoms are pale yellow or white in-stead of blue. 
The Chinese forget-me-not is taller, and the flowers are darker blue than those of the common type. Varieties of it have light.
The forget-me-not is usually a light-blue flower, blue or white flowers. Forget-me-nots are a poetic symbol for friendship and faithfulness. They form the genus Myosotis of the Boraginaceae family.


GARDENIA is a plant of the family Rubiaceae. The Cape jasmine, or florist’s gardenia, is raised in China for its fruit, which produces a yellow dye. In the East Indies, another species is valuable for a gum which exudes from its bark. In South Africa, two species are prized for their strong, hard wood. Although none of the many species of gardenia is native to the United States, the plant was named for an American naturalist, Alexander Garden. 
In the Americas and Europe, gardenias are grown for their beautiful waxy blossoms, which are very fragrant. The flowers somewhat resemble those of the camellia. They are dainty and may be double or single, ivory while or lemon yellow. They offer a striking contrast against the shiny evergreen foliage.
Since gardenias are natives of tropical countries, in cultivation they require plenty of heat and moisture, and are usually grown in green-houses. In greenhouses gardenias are usually grown from cuttings. A few varieties are raised outdoors in the southern United States.


The word dandelion comes from the French dent de lion, meaning lion’s tooth. This name was given to the plant because of the toothed margins of its leaves. When the leaves are young, they are used for healthful salad or as greens. The plant has medicinal value. Its roots, like those of its relative the chicory, are sometimes dried, roasted, ground, and mixed with coffee or used as substitute for it. For these reasons dandelions are cultivated to some extent, and a number of improved varieties have been developed. 
The wild dandelion, of which there are several species, is a native of Europe and Asia It has spread throughout all temperate regions, including the United States and southern Canada. Its golden-yellow flowers that brighten fields, waysides, and neglected lawns in spring are beloved of childhood. However, everyone who has the care of a good lawn dislikes this weed and does his best to get rid of it. This may be accomplished readily by treating the plants with sprays which kill the dandelions but do not injure the grass. The dandelion differs from most other plants in the way it reproduces. Its ovaries form fertile seeds without having to be pollinated (see Pollen).
Young dandelion leaves can be used in salads or they can be cooked. They taste best when they are young, before the plant has blossomed. Wine sometimes is made from the dandelion flowers.
In order to keep dandelion plants from growing on lawns, gardeners must cut deep into their roots. The roots grow to about 3 feet (91 centimeters) long in soft, rich earth. Slicing close under the surface only encourages the plants to grow. Gardeners sometimes spray dandelions with chemicals that destroy the dandelions but do not harm grass.
The flowers close at nightfall and remain closed on a dark day. After fertilization, the flower head closes and the fruit clusters develop. When the fruit is ripe, the head opens into a globe of parachuted fruits, which a puff of wind will scatter far and wide.

Monday, 12 December 2011


VIOLET (vi’olut) is a large genus of flower that has about 400 species. Mythology says that it was Aphrodite’s sacred flower. It has been known since earliest times and was the symbol of the ancient city of Athens. North America has the greatest number of species. It has been named the state flower of Wisconsin, Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
Most kinds of violet are low-growing, compact bushes, but others are more upright and may be a foot tall. Some of the species have delicately perfumed blossoms borne amid heart-shaped, deep green leaves. In color violets range from white through light yellow and blue to purple. Examples are the bird’s-foot violet and the violas and pansies commonly grown in gardens. The flower called dogtooth violet is not a true violet but belongs to the lily family.
Although perfume is made from violet odor, most kinds of violet are odorless. Sometimes the blooms are crystallizes into candies or used in salads.
In the wild state most violets grow on rich, moist soils in the shade of trees or bushes An exception to this is the bird’s-foot violet commonly found in sunny spots on sandy soils or rocky ledges. Wild violets multiply by means of seeds or runners which spread out from the parent plants and take root. The cultivated types are usually grown from divisions of the old plants. The two most important rules in the care of violets are to give enough but not too much moisture and to supply plenty of shade. Early spring is the best time to plant them. If they grow slowly weeding is necessary. Often they grow vigorously and compete readily with other plants.