Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dominican flowers part 2

A few more photos for your pleasure.

This plant has thick waxy leaves. Here it is sprawling but I saw it quite contained elsewhere. The next photo is a close-up of the flower.

A bit of a view of the hedge, but I took this for the grass. 

This is called the hibiscus swan of course.

From the Dominican

I recently returned from a week holiday in the Domincan Republic. I am so relaxed now I am tired all the time. Very nice hotel, very good food, beautiful beach and wonderful warm weather. I took some photos of flowers, of course, which I will share here with you. I did try to determine what they are but have been unsuccessful. I will include my guesses but if you should happen to recognize a flower write in and let us all know.

Quite obviously the Phalenopsis orchid

This shrub was everywhere as hedge. The flowers were dark pink or scarlet, white and even yellow. My guess is some type of honeysuckle.

Gorgeous flowers that grow on a tree. Beats me what they are...

I missed the peak for these beauties. At first I thought they might be a type of lily, now I wonder if they are in the daffodil family.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I have leaves

Just a quick update on Desmodium and Burnet. These two germinate in warm, humid conditions. The seeds were sown February 24 and started to emerge from the soil yesterday (11 days later). Today they all stand approximately one inch tall. Please excuse the photos -they are not the best- as I tried taking them in macro setting and I don't think I did it quite right. You are seeing the seed leaves. The seed leaves are what feeds the seed until it has its true leaves and then it can begin to feed itself through photosynthesis. The top photo is Desmodium and the bottom is Burnet.

I think this all pretty cool. However in my ignorance in growing from seed I have come upon a problem. As you can tell the seeds were planted in a tray. The tray was covered to keep moisture and humidity for germination. Now that the seeds are growing some are just starting to touch the cover. OK so I remove it, but I still have potential plants that have not yet germinated. Do I keep the cover off or do I start to transplant into pots? Transplanting at this time seems wrong. Anyone care to help me with this quandary?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

History books

I enjoy reading about the history of the garden. It has something to do with perspective in time and trying to understand how we got to where we are today. In some sense a garden as we know it today is still a new idea. Consider that for a thousand years we hunted and gathered as we were primarily nomadic in nature until some point when we decided that settling down in one spot had its advantages too. So we learned agriculture and farming. At many points in history a garden was a forest, with trees and wild animals. Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome and Greece and even during the renaissance period in countries such as France and England a forest was considered a garden - but a garden for royalty. To enjoy such gardens it was necessary to transport water from outside sources. This was and still is an expensive thing to do, divert water from lakes and rivers via canals. Of course if you wanted fountains that cost extra. Flowers were generally grown for rituals for use in temples and churches. Growing flowers for beauty was available again only for the wealthy. Although not a flower grower herself, Madame de Pompadour, known for her ties to Sevres porcelain, would spray her porcelain roses with perfume called the attar of roses. Eventually the ordinary person grew flowers for themselves but only after it had been in vogue by their betters.
Of course this is only a temptation I give you about the history of the garden. I am presently reading volume one of a two volume set called A History of Garden Art by Marie Luise Gothein first published in English from German in 1928. I have a long way to go, but already she offers amazing insight to some of the earliest periods of time.  
A favourite of mine is The Story of Gardening by Richardson Wright. Mr. Wright (1887-1961) wrote many, many gardening  books and makes for very enjoyable reading .
Women Gardeners a History by Yvonne Cuthbertson changes perspective and looks at the woman's role in the garden and gardening through time.
Finally, The Garden by Howard Loxton, is a coffee table size book that has lots of lovely colour pictures. Some history, mostly European, as well as information of design and the plants. 
Tip of the iceberg regarding the books which means I have many more hours of reading ahead of me. Write in and tell me of your favorite gardening books (not necessarily history ones) !