Friday, July 22, 2011

Zinnias after storm-Zinnia flower photos

Zinnias are very hardy flowers, I told you so, in another post.

The many weeks of heat wave is finally over and now we are having the other extreme:summer storm with ice pieces from cherry size to egg size.
Thanks God, I have all my windows intact but my flowers in the window boxes are history and probably, the crops too.

I went out a few hours earlier to see what's left of the flowers at the church yard, across the street. The place is one of my photo sources.
Yellow zinnia flower-macro photo
As you can see in the pictures Zinnia flowers are standing tall as always, a few holes in the leaves and some minor scratches on the petals, that's all.
Pink zinnia after storm-macro
It's true that these flowers are planted under trees, so they were partially protected.
Dark pink zinnia-close-up photo
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Phlox paniculata-Garden phlox-pictures

Phlox paniculata-Garden phlox is blooming from July till early fall.
Unlike its creeping sister, the Moss phlox, Phlox paniculata is an upright, 0.6-1 m (2-4 ft) tall, colorful perennial.

Its abundant flowers come in compact clusters of white, pink, purple or bi-color, scented flowers.
Many cultivars have a darker eye in the flower center.

They are very ornamental in borders and flower beds.
Phlox paniculata-garden phlox picture
Garden phlox is an easy to grow, drought-resistant perennial and does well on a sunny exposure. Plants planted in the shade and those heavily fertilized are more exposed to diseases.
Phlox paniculata -pink garden phlox
Powdery mildew is a well-known fungus on many ornamental plants like on roses, zinnias, begonias, lilacs and on Phlox, as well.Though many cultivars have a higher resistance to the powdery mildew fungus, some elementary measures should be taken to prevent this nuisance:
/White Phlox paniculata-closeup
White border phlox plantPowdery mildew prevention:
  • Allow air circulation throughout the foliage by properly spacing plants, when planted.
  • Choose an area with adequate sunlight for the plant.
  • Apply fungicides at the first signs of fungus.
  • Remove diseased leaves and affected plant tissue in fall to prevent survival of the fungus over the winter.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sunflower pictures-sunflower bouquet

Sunflowers are such happy flowers. A bouquet of sunflowers in the kitchen or in the office brightens your day and makes you do your job with a smile on your face.
No wonder that a bouquet with three sunflowers and some field herbs around them is so expensive ($5) at the flower vendors. Everybody likes them.

These in the photo are giant sunflowers that grow on the field reaching over 2.5 m in height. They don't need any care except the help of the busy, little bees.
From the seeds of these healthy flowers my favorite oil will be produced in autumn.
Sunflower against the blue sky
Did you know that sunflowers can be used to extract toxic chemicals from soil, such as lead, arsenic and uranium?
Sunflower center and petals-details-close-up
Have you seen my Teddy bear sunflower?

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Oregano in flower- Oregano plant pictures

Oregano, the pizza herb is in flower right now.
Oregano-Origanum vulgare aka wild marjoram is a hardy perennial in the mint family, native to temperate western and southwestern Europe and to the Mediterranean region.

The flowers of the Oregano plant are of a beautiful pink color produced in erect spikes, in July.
I found these flowers yesterday in a flower bed in front of a shop, growing wild among other carefree ground cover plants.
Looking for some info about them on the web, I was surprised to read how miraculous this plant is. Here I share my findings with you:

For centuries, fresh and dried leaves of oregano are commonly used for culinary purpose to add flavor in sauces and various food preparations, in many parts of the world like Italian, Mexican, Spanish, Turkish and Greek dishes. It has a warm and slightly bitter taste and it is a must ingredient of the Italian pizza sauce.
Flowering Oregano-Origanum vulgare plant
There are several species of Oregano plants but climate and soil composition has the most important effect on the flavor of the aromatic oil contained in the plants' leaves. Dried leaves seam to be more flavorful than green ones.
Oregano flowers-closeup
Oregano leaves and flowering stem has been used as medicinal herb since thousands of years back. You can grow Oregano in a container or a flower pot or you can buy Oregano oil from your local health food store.
Oregano oil is an important volatile oil obtained from the plant's leaves and contains precious chemical constituents like carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, niacin, riboflavin and is also rich in vitamins. The plant is a powerful anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, a natural antibiotic and antioxidant, stimulant and mild tonic.
Oregano-wild marjoram leaves and flowers

Oregano- medicinal uses

  • For its anti-fungal properties Oregano is used in external and internal fungal infections like Candida, insect bites and skin problems.
  • The flavonoids the plant contains have powerful anti-microbial and natural antiseptic properties.
  • Oregano herbal tea is used in urinary problems, lung problems, diarrhea, nausea, as a digestive.
  • Oregano is also an efficient pain killer used in headaches and toothache. Tooth infection is treated by applying Oregano oil directly to the infected tooth.
  • The plant has higher levels of antioxidants than vegetables. A tablespoon of fresh leaves from your garden can be added to the daily food

Oregano side effects

  • This medicinal herb has no serious side effects. However, by people having allergies to herbal supplements it can produce skin rash, itching and chest discomfort, if administered in high doses.
  • Oregano is not recommended for pregnant women and lactating women, neither for children.
  • People having high blood pressure or heart problems should ask for advice a qualified physician before using oregano.
  • Oregano Oil sold as essential oil is very concentrated, you will need to dilute it with olive oil or coconut oil before using.
  • Start with the smallest recommended dose, working up gradually to larger doses.
  • Just simple common sense is needed to benefit of the Oregano's healing properties, without having any side effects.
Like Basil, oregano contain large amounts of (E)-beta-caryophyllene, which seams to help in the treatment of arthritis and inflammatory conditions of the colon and small intestine.
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Saturday, July 02, 2011

Four o'clock flower-Mirabilis jalapa-pictures

The four o'clock flower-Mirabilis jalapa, this popular garden plant is starting to bloom in July.
The flowers open in the afternoon, that's where the name comes from. They stay open during the night, being pollinated by nocturnal pollinators, like the sphinx moths or hawk moths.

Also called the Marvel of Peru, the flowers of this plant are splashed with different colors, like these yellow flowers with pink- magenta spots. More interesting is that as the plant matures, it can display flowers of different colors on the same plant; the yellow flowers can change to pink or white ones change to light violet.
Four-o'clock flower-Mirabilis Jalapa yellow
Four o'clock plants are shruby perennials in warm climates, growing from tuberous roots. In colder climate the foliage dies back to the ground in autumn but the tubers must be stored indoors during winter and replanted in the garden in spring.
Four-o'clock flower-closeup
The flowers are used for food coloring. Parts of the plant are used in herbal medicine as a diuretic and for wound healing.
Though its black seeds are poisonous, they are used as a powder in cosmetics.
Four o'clock flowers-pink marvel of Peru
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