Formal Double Form Camellias

Formal Double Form Camellias

Camellia season is starting to wind down and I am left with images of beautiful camellias in my mind. Mostly, I picture the formal double form camellias. These little showstoppers are my favorites. Not always the largest, but with amazing form that only formal double form camellias can achieve. When I was first introduced to camellias, I was unaware of the different flower forms. I saw only beautifully saturated flowers of all different colors and sizes. It wasn’t until I saw one of my first formal double form camellias that I understood just how important the flower form is to camellias. Camellia Forms Camellia flower forms are divided into six categories: Single: One row of not over 8 petals and having conspicuous stamens. Semi-double: Two or more rows of petals and having conspicuous stamens. Anemone: One or more rows of large outer petals lying flat or undulating; the center a convex mass of intermingled petaloids (similar to a petal, but smaller and a bit irregular in shape) and stamens. Peony: A deep rounded flower of two forms; Loose peony: Loose petals, intermingled with stamens and sometimes petaloids. Full peony: Convex mass of mixed irregular petals, petaloids and stamens or with no stamens showing. Rose Form Double: Overlapping petals, showing stamens in a concave center only when fully open. Formal Double: Fully overlapping, many rows of petals, never showing stamens. The variation in formal double form camellias can vary. The ‘Brooklynia’ flower below shows a very “stacked” type of flower form. The petals line up one on top of the other to create really interesting layers.   Others, like Camellia ‘Miss Bessy Belville’ are a more loose type of petal arrangement. This variety is considered a medium size, but at 4-6″ in diameter are fairly large for the formal double form camellia category. Formal Double Form Camellias I enjoy looking back through my photos and admiring so many of the different images from the season. With formal double form camellias on my mind, I hope you enjoy these images of cultivars featuring this form.                ...
Yellow Flowers? Tabebuia Trees

Yellow Flowers? Tabebuia Trees

Tabebuia Trees are starting to steal the show… again. It seems like each March the most commonly asked question is, “What are those yellow flower trees all over town?” Those, my friends, are Golden Trumpet or Tabebuia Trees. Well, maybe that isn’t entirely true. The name “Tabebuia” has now been replaced with “Handroanthus.” Just when people were starting to learn real plant names they went and changed it. This is why people stick with the common names! According to Wikipedia, “the name Handroanthus was established in 1970, but was not generally accepted. In 1992, its species were included in Tabebuia in the most recent revision of that genus. Handroanthus was resurrected in 2007 when a comparison of DNA sequences by cladistic methods showed that Tabebuia, as then circumscribed, was not monophyletic.”  Huh. I am sticking with Tabebia.   These trees are relatively easy to grow and it seems that everyone wants one when they are flowering. This deciduous tree is native to South and Central America, and has been introduced to the Caribbean islands, United States, Kenya, and India. It grows best in warm and moist climates when in full sun. Sometimes evergreen but most often deciduous, golden trumpet tree has four-inch-long silvery leaves with tan, fuzzy undersides. These leaves drop for a short period in April to May, and it is at this time that the trees put on their heaviest flowering display, the trumpet-shaped, bright yellow blossoms appearing in clusters. Some trees produce a small number of flowers sporadically throughout the warm season. The eight-inch-long seeds which follow are brown, hairy, and persist on the tree through the winter. And one very important question: How do you pronounce Tabebuia Trees?  tab-eh-BOO-yuh I love the history of these beautiful, yellow flowering trees. From the Orlando Sentinel: Garden expert and Orlando Sentinel columnist Tom MacCubbin attributes Central Florida’s first tabebuia trees to late Orlando resident and horticulturalist Mulford Foster, who discovered their seeds along a Brazilian railroad in the early 1900s. Also marking tabebuia history 51 years ago was Martin Andersen, former owner, publisher and editor of the Sentinel-Star, now the Orlando Sentinel. He promoted a sale of tabebuia trees, each two or three years old, for $1.50 ($11.30 in today’s dollars) to raise cash for Edgewater High School’s band trip to the World’s Fair in New York. The Sentinel doors opened at 8 a.m. and 2,300 trees sold in an hour. Demand triggered a “mammoth traffic jam for blocks on all sides of the newspaper,” according to a Sentinel-Star account. Nearly 6,000 trees were picked up by early afternoon, a complete sellout. “We could have sold 25,000 trees,” a newspaper vice president, Charles Brumback, said afterward. He became chief executive for Tribune Co. after it bought the Sentinel.   The flower show is spectacular, but short lived. Enjoy our few weeks of these spectacular...
Add the Best Office Plants to Your Space

Add the Best Office Plants to Your Space

Is your work office feeling a little stale these days?  Let’s liven it up with the best office plants. The folks at Quill.com have created this great infographic to get you going. Hmm, perhaps you could just leave this sitting on your boss’s desk? I have to admit, I love the ZZ plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia.  This plant has glossy, shiny leaves, grows upright and actually thrives on neglect. The fastest way to kill this plant is by giving it too much attention (i.e. water).  Chinese Evergreen, or Aglaonema, is also one of the best office plants for adding a pop of color. New varieties of this old plant are now introduce bright pink, red or even orange into the leaves. Aglaonema prefer bright light, but don’t really need direct sun. Is this concept confusing?  I was recently writing an article and my husband (who does all of my editing) put a big question mark next to the term “bright shade.” For an office or home, I would describe this as an area near a window but without very much direct sunlight. Save those sunny windows for plants that need lots of direct sunlight! While your office may not be your sanctuary, a few simple changes can positively affect the way you feel and work. For starters, you can add a little life to your workspace with plants. Office plants not only make a space more aesthetically pleasing, but can also reduce stress, deter illness, remove air pollutants, and improve concentration, memory, and productivity. A little green goes a long way: Plants perfect for your officeInfographic by...
Golden Trowel Award from LawnStarter

Golden Trowel Award from LawnStarter

I am so happy to share this with our readers! MissSmartyPlants has been named with some of the Top Gardening Blogs as one to follow!  Do you follow other gardening blogs? This list includes some really great writers and gardeners. Enjoy the full list of top gardening blogs here. There are thousands of incredible bloggers who share stories, photos and knowledge about gardening and sustainable living. LawnStarter’s editorial team scoured the internet to put together a list of winners for LawnStarter’s Top Gardening Blogs of 2016, taking into account blog posts and other online activity during the year. Winners were judged on their reputation on Google, influence and popularity in social media, and quality and consistency of posts. So without further ado, in no particular order, allow us to announce the winners of our first-ever Golden Trowel Award. Here’s to another great year of...
Orchids at Franklin Park Conservatory

Orchids at Franklin Park Conservatory

A trip to Ohio in January?  Why not? A couple of weeks ago now I flew to Columbus to speak at the Midwest Green Industry Xperience, MGIX, and had just enough time to sneak away from the convention center to see Orchids at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden. The modern facade on the front is strategically combined with the very formal Palm House, build in 1895. The design of this grand Victorian-style glass greenhouse was influenced by the success of Chicago’s World Fair and Colombian Exposition in 1893. The high roofline of the Palm House let the tall palms grow, and even houses this glowing Chihuly glass sculpture. I arrived late in the afternoon and had just enough time to hustle my way through each of the greenhouses. I was happily surprised to find the Orchids exhibit was on display, and will be until March 7, and many of these beautiful flowers were in bloom. The Paphiopedilum orchids were one of the first stops for me in the Orchids at Franklin Park Conservatory display. There is an irresistible appeal to these lady slipper orchids that I can’t resist. Their beautiful colors and details are so intriguing!   Oncidium ‘Sharry Baby’ is one of the few orchids with a sweet scent. With the unique smell of chocolate, the spikes have dozens of individual flowers which release the sweet smell to attract pollinators. I learned that in 2003, Franklin Park Conservatory hosted a Chihuly exhibit.  Lucky for visitors today, many of these pieces were purchased by the Friends of Franklin Park Conservatory and are now on permanent display. My late afternoon visit on a cloudy day was a perfect time to appreciate the beautiful glass pieces. This piece reminds me so much of the Bellagio ceiling in Las Vegas, filled with beautiful discs of color. A skylight behind the piece makes it glow with color.   For a gloomy winter day, the sites and sounds of a tropical greenhouse were perfect. The hibiscus, tropical heliconias and gingers were all flowering and brightening the Pacific Island Water Garden greenhouse. These oncidium orchids are often called “dancing ladies.” With their wide yellow “skirts” and outstretched maroon arms at the top, it doesn’t take too much imagination to see their namesake. In the different biomes of the Franklin Park Conservatory, specific orchids were chosen for their connection to the specific habitat. The Himalayan Mountains section of the greenhouse is much cooler than the others, yet the perfect mix of orchids were highlighted. This mix of cymbidium orchids prefer cooler weather (some actually need a cool period to flower), and were presented beautifully. The Desert greenhouse was very tidy and well done. I usually find myself disappointed in most desert-themed displays, but this was really nice and the orchids were tied in beautifully!  I can’t say that there was anything specific here, but the overall quality was memorable. These suspended orchid displays seemed to fit in, which is really amazing, the desert landscape. The oranges and yellows that were chosen seemed almost like a bright sun hanging in the sky.   Outside the conservatory I had to make a quick walk to admire the conifers and ornamental grasses. “Winter Interest” is a foreign concept in Florida, but I appreciate these beds that still were interesting to see. The colors of the conifers were magnified by the dark skies. If you are in the Columbus area, take the time to go see Orchids at Franklin Park Conservatory this winter. I recommend giving yourself plenty of time to stop and appreciate all of these delicate flowers and to walk around the gardens...
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