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Campanula rapunculoides-Creeping bellflower

This pretty bellflower is the Campanula rapunculoides - Creeping bellflower, member of the Harebell Family (Campanulacae).

This European wildflower occurs in lawns, roadsides, waste places, fence lines and river banks, reaching 30–100 cm (12–40 in) in height.

Campanula rapunculoides blooms from June to autumn, producing showy, bright blue-violet, drooping flowers with five deep lobes.
The flowers come in spike-like racemes on slightly curved flower stalks.

Campanula rapunculoides closeup photo - Creeping bellflower
All the hanging blue bells are arranged on the same side of the slender flower stem, giving the whole inflorescence an attractive profile view. A 3-lobed stigma, white or pale purple is showing from under the corola.

Creeping bellflower produces erect, unbranched, smooth or finely hairy stems.
Its basal leaves are heart-shaped and wider, becoming shorter and narrower toward the top.

Small seed capsules will follow the flower, containing many small, shiny, light brown seeds.

Campanula rapunculoides grows in any soil, in full sun and part shade.

As beautiful as they are, wildflowers are not garden ornamentals.
Creeping bellflower is one of those extremely vigorous wildflower species that will overwhelm less vigorous garden plants.

Bellflowers on the river bank - Campanula rapunculoides

It spreads into adjacent areas by persistent underground rhizomes and taproot-shaped tubers as well as by its numerous, tinny seed. It is a very persistent plant, nearly impossible to eradicate it by digging or pulling the roots out because any small pieces of the roots will sprout into new plants.

It can be easily controlled though, when planted in containers and deadheading before the seed capsules form.

My orchids in full bloom

Two of my orchids are in bloom, after a long period of inactivity.
Orchids don't like our long, cold winters and rainy spring days but now, in the summer heat, they have a happy look.

I have this white Phalaenopsis for three years now.
Though it is not as vigorous as it was when I bought it, the sweet plant still rewards me with its long lasting blooms.

This time, the flower pot fell down from the window sill and the fragile, new orchid stem  broke in an instant.
A few days later, the plant brought a new side shot from the broken stem and these are the flowers after the accident:

White Phalaenopsis - closeup photo

I'm quite happy with this beautiful spray of orchid flowers, this summer.

White moth orchid flowers
This is my purple orchid, also in flower now.
It has beautiful purple, velvety petals with whitish markings and a very dense spray of flowers but the blooms don't last long. The flower that opened first fades away before the last bud even opens. 

Purple orchid with velvety petals

Though I have this orchid for several years now, I was not able to identify this species and the proper care for it, in all these years.
If anyone happens to know how to care for this orchid species, please let me know in a comment.
I have a close-up photo of the flower in an earlier post, have a look at it for a better idea.


Snow-in-Summer flowers-Cerastium tomentosum photos

This lovely, snow white flower is the Snow-in-Summer - Cerastium tomentosum, another member of the carnation family.

This perennial plant blooms from May into June, providing a mass of tiny, white flowers over a silver-gray foliage. There's
Snow-in-Summer grows 15-20 cm (6-8 inches) tall, though it can grow much taller if it has to compete with other flowers for sunlight.
Like all members of the genera Cerastium and Stellaria, this plant is a chick-weed, spreading very fast, maybe too fast sometimes.

These are the Snow-in-Summer flowers with five waxy petals. In the photo bellow, the similarity with the Stellaria flowers mentioned above, is obvious.
Snow-in-Summer flower closeup - Cerastium tomentosum
It will thrive in full sun, in normal soil and is even drought tolerant, to a certain extent.
Its spreading habit makes this plant a popular ground cover and a lovely addition to rock gardens, edgings and containers.
Snow-in-Summer flowers and silver foliage
A spectacular show can be achieved in the landscape when planted in the company of other colorful, mat forming ground cover plants like Purple Aubrieta, pink creeping phlox and yellow Basket of Gold.

Cardinal flower - Lobelia cardinalis photos

Cardinal flower - Lobelia cardinalis, is another showy perennial for swamp gardens, bog garden, along ponds and wet, water gardens.
Its brilliant, scarlet red flowers are produced in long, erect spikes from July to September.

The flowers are 2-lipped tubular flowers, with two lobes of the upper lip and three, more prominent lobes of the lower lip, as seen in the close-up photo of the flower bellow.
Cardinal flower grows about 30-60cm (1-2'), having long leaves with a toothed margin and purplish underside.

They are not often seen in our gardens, so these pictures were taken at one of our garden centers and that's were I have all the info about them, as well.
Cardinal flower close-up photo - Lobelia cardinalis
Mature plants form clumps which can be divided and spread out, for propagation.

Hummingbirds love the nectar of this plant and they do an excellent job pollinating the flowers, in return.
Lobelia cardinalis can grow even underwater, being used as ornamental plants in aquariums.

Lobelia cardinalis flower spikes
Cardinal flowers need no maintenance but moist, reach soil and full sun or part shade in very hot areas.

Blue lobelia, is a showy plant as well, used as a colorful ground cover.

Sweet Alyssum - Lobularia maritima

My Sweet Alyssum - Lobularia maritima, is blooming profoundly in my small rock garden.
I have the white and pink variety but cultivated garden varieties in rose-red, violet and lilac colors exist as well.
It is blooming continuously throughout the growing season, from March to September in temperate regions or year-round in areas free of frost.

The sweet scented flowers come in dense clusters of tiny flowers, 5 millimeters (0.20 in) in diameter, having four rounded petals and yellow stamens.

Sweet Alyssum - Lobularia maritima
Sweet Alyssum flower - closeup photo

The stem is very branched with narrow and hairy, lanceolate leaves, about 1-4 cm (0.39-1.57 in) long.

As a low growing plant, not taller than 20 cm (7.87 in), Sweet Alyssum is often used as ground cover, especially showy when combined with pink-purple Creeping Phlox and blue Lobelia.

Sweet Alyssum, also Sweet Alison, is a lovely addition to borders and rock gardens.

Sweet Alyssum inter-planted with pink phlox in rock garden
Filling empty spaces between taller garden flowers with Alyssum, is a good idea to provide partial shade needed by this plant.
Though it is an annual or short-lived perennial, it will self-seed and come back to the garden each year.

This is my pink alyssum; planted in full sun the flowers lose some of the color intensity (and image's highlights are blown out).
Pink Sweet Alyssum in rock garden
This low-maintenance, drought tolerant plant will thrive in partial shade and well drained, calcareous soil.
Though its name "maritima "already describes its habitat, Sweet Alyssum is naturalized at heigher elevations as well. We are here at 360 meters (1181 ft) above sea level and these flowers love it.
In the wild, Sweet alyssum is found in sandy beaches and dunes, on walls, slopes and waste ground.

Sweet William - Dianthus Barbatus pictures

Sweet William - Dianthus barbatus, is a popular, old-fashioned favorite in flower beds, borders, rock gardens and window boxes.
This biennial Dianthus variety grows to 30–60 cm tall, producing fragrant flowers in dense clusters of white, pink, crimson and bi-colored flower heads at the top of the stems.

Each flower head of this carnation variety consists up to 30 tiny flowers with five serrated petals, sometimes with circular patterns and picoteed petals.
Its flowers are edible and its nectar attracts birds, bees, and butterflies.

Like most dianthus varieties, the foliage of Dianthus Barbatus is blue-green.
Sweet William -  closeup photo of white Dianthus barbatus
Deadheading is recommended, not just to encourage further flowering but to get rid of the brown, spent flowers, that spoil the show.
Though, if allowed to set seeds, the plant will re-seed itself and it will bloom early the following summer.
Sweet William - red white Dianthus Barbatus picture

Growing Sweet William dianthus plants:

  • Plants can be grown from seed or transplants. When sown in spring, after the last frost, it will flower in the second year. Seedlings grown indoors and transplanted after the last frost may flower in the first year.

  • Grows best in sunny spots or partial shade. They are not suitable for hotter climates, in tropical zones.

  • Sweet William plants prefer slightly alkaline soil but any well-drained garden soil which is not acid will do.

  • Flowering period is in midsummer, from June to August.

Sweet William dianthus is native to Europe.

Aubrieta x cultorum "Cascade Purple"-flowering plant images

Aubrieta 'Cascade Purple'- Rock Cress is a popular spring-flowering, evergreen perennial, member of the cabbage family (Brassicaceae).
This hardy, low spreading plant inhabits rocks and banks throughout Europe and Asia, forming a showy mat of purple flowers for several weeks, in April - May.

Aubrieta plants, also known as Aubretia, are 10-15 cm (4-6 inches) in height with a spread of 30-60 cm (12-23 inches).

Combined with other spring flowering perennials like Golden Alyssum and Evergreen Candytuft, or the white Snow-in-Summer, purple Aubrieta creates a breathtaking spring display along pathway edges, rock walls and containers.
Aubrieta Purple ascade-closeup
Aubrieta x cultorum Cascade Purple

Growing Conditions:

  • Exposure:
    full sun or partial shade
  • Soil:
    light, well-drained, sandy or normal
  • Flower Colour:
    violet, pink or white
  • Blooming Time:
    mid spring - early summer
  • Foliage:
    grey -green
  • Plant uses:
    rock gardens, container, edging, ground cover.


Alyssum saxatile - Rockcress images and description

Alyssum saxatile - Aurinia saxatilis, is a hardy, evergreen perennial, very popular for rock gardens, edging garden beds or as groundcover plant.
Basket of Gold and Golden dust are come of the common names of this plant.

It grows 15 - 20 cm in height and spreads out, creating a dense cover.
Alyssum saxatile blooms from April until May with tiny, golden yellow flowers covering completely the plant.
Alyssum saxatile-Basket Of Gold closeup photo
Alyssum saxatile plant-flowers and foliage

Growing Conditions:

  • full sun on open position is a must
  • soil has to be free draining, sandy and chalky
  • feeding is not necessary but a small amount of complete plant food in early spring could be beneficial.
  • propagation is from seeds sown in fall.
There are various cultivars producing white, cream and lemon flowers as well.

Combined with other spring flowering perennials like Purple Aubrieta cascade and Evergreen Candytuft, Golden dust creates a breathtaking spring display.

Flowering Malus 'Van Eseltine'-crabapple tree blossoms

Flowering crabapple trees, just like flowering almonds, create a great visual impact in the spring landscape.
Malus Van Eseltine is a charming crabapple hybrid with narrow, upright growth, reaching up to 4m in height.

It produces showy, scented, semi double and double, pink flowers at the end of April, a great attraction to bees.
The mid-green leaves on the irregular branches of the Van Eseltine crab apple emerge at the same time as the blossoms. Its edible, small fruits are yellow, sometimes with a red tone.
Malus 'Van Eseltine' flowers on branches against the blue sky
Malus 'Van Eseltine' blossoms - crabapple flower close-up picture
This ornamental tree makes an incredible accent for a smaller garden or a narrow yard.

Flowering almond - Prunus triloba-pink shrubs

Flowering almond - Prunus triloba is one of the most beautiful spring flowering shrubs, sometimes becoming small trees.

The flowers of this shrubby cherry are of a pale pink color, covering entirely its bare branches.

The double flowered form, Prunus triloba 'Multiplex', has amazing double, pink flowers, a breathtaking show in the landscape in mid-spring.

Flowering almond - Prunus triloba Multiplex
Double Flowering Plum-Prunus triloba Have a look at some beautiful, pink crabapple blossoms too.

Dwarf Irises-early flowering Iris reticulata-Iris danfordiae

Dwarf Irises are very early blooming, bulbous plants. They bloom after snowdrops, in the same time as giant crocuses.

These tiny plants have a big flower, compared to the overall size of the plant, which is not taller than 10 cm in height.
The flowers come before the leaves on a short tube (stem).

The two best known species of dwarf irises are Iris reticulata and Iris danfordiae.
Both species of miniaure irises are very hardy, they produce flagrant flowers in early spring and go dormant in summer.

Iris reticulata

Iris reticulata is the best known species with a wide range of colors from blue to violet to purple, with somewhat darker falls and veins and white and yellow blotches. The flowers are violet scented.

Iris reticulata-blue Dwarf Irises
Iris reticulata-purple Dwarf Irises
Many beautiful named varieties and hybrids resulted due to intensive cultivation of this wildflower.
One of these hybrids is the Iris reticulata "Katherine Hodgkin". Its flowers are pale sea-green with blue veins and impressive yellow markings.

Iris reticulata close-up-Katharine Hodgkin Dwarf Irises
Iris reticulata-Katharine Hodgkin

Iris danfordiae

Iris danfordiae is another species of dwarf iris. Its flowers are of a bright canary yellow color with green or brown spots and are honey scented.
Iris danfordiae is very hardy, it starts blooming sometimes in February.

Iris danfordiae close-up-Dwarf Iris

All dwarf irises prefer full sun of part shade and well drained soil.

Tete a Tete daffodils-Dwarf narcissus flowers

Tete a Tete daffodils bloom very early in spring, together with other dwarf plants like crocuses and dwarf irises.
These miniature narcissus plants are not taller that 10-15 (4-5 in).

Dwarf daffodils blooms abundantly in March with bright yellow flowers, producing 2-3 blooms per stem.
The flowers have narrow trumpets and slightly swept-back petals.

Tete a Tete daffodils do best in full sun or part (afternoon) shade.
Their little flower heads turns always towards the sun. Planted in a place facing south they'll always have their pretty faces oriented towards the viewer.
Dwarf daffodils-close-up of Tete-a-Tete Narcissus
These here are young miniature daffodils but bulbs multiply rapidly, producing pretty clumps of flowers year after year.
Tete a Tete daffodils-Dwarf Narcissus
The yellow dwarf daffodils in the background are nicely complementing the purple crocuses.
Dwarf yellow daffodils as background to purple crocus

Dutch yellow crocus flower-Crocus flavus-pictures

We've had another warm, sunny day today, the perfect day for spring flower photography.

I went for a walk early in the afternoon and I found these gorgeous, deep golden yellow crocuses in a small, yet empty flower bed near the sidewalk.
Yellow and white crocuses were smiling at the passers-by but, to my luck, not many of them had the time to notice their beauty.

This is the Dutch yellow crocus (Crocus flavus or Crocus luteus), it grows wild in Eastern Europe but it's the first time I see one.
This small crocus is just 5-6 cm tall and blooms shortly after snowdrops, with bright orange-yellow flowers.
Dutch yellow crocus -Crocus flavus
As the sun goes down, these yellow Crocus flowers close up for the night. They will open again in the morning and I'll be there to watch them greeting the day because I left my glasses there, somewhere near them.
Yellow crocus with closed flowers-Crocus luteus
See also our autumn flowering, purple crocus.

Joy of spring-rushing the season

Nature's rebirth feels us with hope and joy each year, at springtime. These positive feelings are responsible for people always being tempted to rush this wonderful season.

All the snow is not even melted and the March wind is roaring, trying to blow the winter wind away, still I can feel spring is around the corner.
The bright sunlight of the first days of March is very inviting but I start shivering just looking at the trees swinging in the strong wind.

It's so true that the difference between the first day of spring and the first spring day is sometimes as great as a month (quoted from Henry Van Dyke).

It's also true that no winter lasts forever and no spring skips its turn but only passing though a cold winter can we truly appreciate spring's fairy offerings.

I may be rushing things a bit with this cheery blossom picture but I can't wait to see the real ones.
White cherry blossoms on tree branch against the blue sky
When the buds open upon the trees and their fragrance fill the air, I'll know than, it's spring!

Helleborus argutifolius flowers-Corsican hellebore macro

There are not many flowers peaking out from under the snow in winter. Besides snowdrops, Corsican hellebore - Helleborus argutifolius is one of those few flowers pushing through the snow.

Corsican hellebore is an evergreen perennial blooming in late winter and early spring. Its cup shaped flowers have pale green color.
Its leaves are light green having three leaflets with deeply toothed margins.

Though evergreen, the foliage of this plant may die back in mid-winter with cold and long winters like we are having this year in East Europe. Even without foliage, the flower stems will rise up starting sometime between January or February, depending on the weather.
This year it seams, winter want to bury us alive in snow in Romania, so these lovely flowers will have to wait.
Corsican hellebore is known to be hardy to about -23°C, I hope they will survive.
Corsican hellebore flower-macro
At the time I took these photos, in mid May last year, their flowering period was almost over.
Helleborus argutifolius grows best in full sun to light shade, it prefers a well drained or sandy soil but will tolerate clay if drainage is adequate. It is a lovely addition to rock gardens.
Helleborus argutifolius flowers-Corsican hellebore
Corsican hellebore is the largest of the species hellebores. In our parts the plant reaches 50-60cm,as seen in the next picture, but it is much taller in its native regions.

Helleborus argutifolius plant-Corsican hellebore
Take care when handing this plant, all its parts are poisonous and in contact with the skin it can produce a severe allergic reaction.

Red Valentine's rose-for my friends

It's Valentine's Day and there is a special fragrance in the air today.
Love, the most precious gift is in full bloom.

Sometimes, the right words are not so easy to find but I will always have a photo for you that speaks loader than all words in the world.

With this bright red rose, I wish all my dear friend from blogosphere

Happy Valentines Day!

"Love is the only flower that grows and blossoms without the aid of the seasons."
~ Khalil GibranHappy Valentines-Macro Flowers

It's easy to say we love but difficult to show it every day.

"It is kindness in a person, not beauty that wins our love."
~ Anonymous

Carnations with negative symbolism-photos

In general, carnations symbolize fascination, love and distinction.
They are gorgeous flowers and a wonderful gift for any occasion.

Short before Valentines Day, it is a good idea to check the symbolism of each particular color of carnation, before you gift them.
The various colors of carnation flowers have different meanings and hidden messages attaches to them, some positive and some negative.

While red, pink and white carnations have a positive message, yellow, purple and striped carnations symbolize the opposite.

Carnation flowers with negative symbolism:

Yellow carnations are joyful, warm colored flowers.
Take care though, yellow carnations stand for arrogance, disappointment and rejection.
Yellow Carnation-macro
If you feel disappointed by someone, sending a bouquet of yellow carnations will convey the message. Drowning your sorrows will not help much.
Yellow Carnation means disappointment
Purple carnations stand for capriciousness.

Purple Carnation-macro
while striped carnations symbolize refusal and/or regret.
Red striped carnation-closeup

Carnations with positive symbolism

Carnation, also called clove pink and gillyflower is the birth flower for people born in the month of January.
In general, carnations symbolize fascination, love and distinction.

Most of us appreciate their beauty regardless of the meaning attached to the flower color.
It is a good idea though to check the symbolism of each particular color of carnation to avoid hurting someones feelings.
The various colors of carnation flowers have different meanings and hidden messages attaches to them, some positive and some negative.

Carnations with positive meaning:

- Dark red Carnation means deep love and a woman's affection.

Red carnation flower with greenery
White carnations symbolize pure love and good luck.

Red and white carnation flowers
- Light red carnation means admiration.

Light-red carnation-macro
The pink carnation is the symbol of a mother's undying love.

Pink carnation-macroUnlike the above gillyflowers, the yellow, purple and striped carnations have a negative symbolism attached to them.

Gloxinia - Sinningia speciosa care-pictures

Gloxinia - Sinningia speciosa) is one of the most spectacular houseplants, which does not require special care and is well adapted to environmental conditions in our homes.

Flowering period lasts from May to August but forced cultures sold in flower shops can bloom at any time of year.

Blooms come on short flower stems in a wide variety of colors from white to pink to purple solid colors, with white edging or bicolor ones. The bell shaped flowers come in a great variety of single or double flowers, plain or ruffled petals.
Its hairy, oval leaves with toothed edges arise from tubers.
Red-white gloxinia picture-Sinningia speciosa
Being a close relative of the African violet, Gloxinia requires the same care, soil and humidity with a little bit more light requirements as African violet.
The essential difference between the two is that Gloxinias need a period of dormancy during winter (on the northen emisphere), before they start blooming again.
Purple Sinningia speciosa-Gloxinia

Gloxinia - Sinningia speciosa care:

  • Light conditions
    Gloxinia requires bright, indirect light but it doesn't tolerate direct sunlight.

  • Watering

    Gloxinia (Sinningia) prefer evenly moist soil and plenty of humidity.
    When watering the plant, fill the saucer under the pot and irrigate from the bottom. Let it soak up water for an hour and then dump excess water out
    Avoid watering the crown of the plant as it will tend to rot.
    Avoid getting water on the hairy foliage as this will produce brown spots on the leaves.
  • White-magenta gloxinia-close-up
  • Feeding

    Feed regularly with a general, liquid houseplant fertilizer at intervals of two weeks, while the plant is growing and blooming.
    As soon as it stops putting out blooms, stop feeding so the tuber can grow dormant.

  • Soils

    Use soil high in humus; the same commercial potting soil mixture as for African violets will do. Make sure it drains well.

  • Dormancy

    After the flowering period, around October or November, the plant will start to wind down. It's time for the plant to rest. At this time reduce watering each week.The leaves will slowly go yellow and dry as the plant goes dormant.

    Leave it in the pot and allow the soil to go quite dry. Move the pot with the tubers in a cool, dark room 5-10°C (40-50°F) for the next 3-4 month.
    After several months new growth will start. Bring back the plant to a well lit, warm room at 16-26°C (60-79°F) and start watering, feeding again.

  • Repotting

    It is advised to repot the gloxinia in spring or when it goes dormant, so the new growth will happen into a bigger pot with fresh soil.