Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Top 7 Fragrant Flowers

There are some flowers which are not only beautiful but quite fragrant as well. Such flowers are thus, a treat for one's senses and make the surroundings more pleasant. Therefore, fragrant flowers are often planted in gardens and put in bouquets so that people can enjoy their scent. Some of the highly fragrant flowers are mentioned below.
Aside from their beauty, roses are also famous for their fragrance. There are many perfumes created from the essence of roses. However, nowadays the commercial breeders of roses emphasize on appearance of roses rather than their fragrance. Thus, there is only a hint of the fragrance in such roses. On the other hand, garden roses still have their sweet and spicy scent.
Lavenders are tiny purple flowers with a rich fragrance. The fragrance of lavenders is commonly used in perfumes, colognes, bath oils, soaps and other body care products. Moreover, lavender oil is used for aromatherapy due to the calming effect of the scent of this flower. Besides the flowers, the leaves of lavender are also very fragrant.
Jasmines are white flowers popular all over the world for their strong fragrance. In fact, they are widely cultivated for their scent. Jasmine oil is used in perfumes and cosmetics all over the world.
Gardenias are small white flowers with a sweet and strong scent. Although gardenias are quite beautiful, they are grown primarily for their fragrance. The scent of the flower is like that of a jasmine.
Winter Honeysuckles
Winter honeysuckles are the most fragrant species of honeysuckles. The fragrance fills up the air during the winter months. Although the flowers are quite small in size, they have a powerful scent, which can be detected from miles away. The flowers have a lemony scent, which fills up the air during December and January.
Lilacs have a strong intoxicating fragrance. The fragrance is frequently used in candles, perfumes and skin care products. Among the various types of lilacs available, the white lilacs have the sweetest scent. The scent of lilacs can be smelled in the early months of summer.
Sweet Peas
Sweet peas have a unique fragrance due to which, they are popular all over the world. They have gotten their name due to their sweet fragrance. However, the intensity of the fragrance of sweet peas varies with factors like heat, rainfall, time of the day and age of the flower.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Monarch Butterfly Host Plant

The Milkweed species is so crucial to the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly that Monarchs and their kin, like the Queens and Tigers, are called "Milkweed Butterflies." In Britain the Monarch is called simply The Milkweed.
The Monarch butterfly ranges all over the United States and Canada, but is limited in the Pacific Northwest unless there is a long and warm summer. Monarchs are famous not only for the beauty of their tiger-colored wings, but also for their multi-generational migration to Mexico, where they overwinter. Sometimes the trees there are so full of Monarch butterflies that even heavy limbs break off. Monarchs are also known for being one of the rare insects that cross the Atlantic ocean. 
The Monarch is found just about everywhere in its range, including meadows, gardens, parks and roadsides. Fortunately, milkweed plants also find these habitats to their liking.
Monarchs use milkweed as both a source of nectar and as a host plant for their larvae. After mating in the spring, the female lays her eggs on the milkweed plants leaves. The eggs hatch and the black, yellow and white striped caterpillars eat their own egg case for a burst of energy, then start eating the milkweed. The milkweed not only gives the caterpillar food, but also toxins called cardenolides, which makes both the caterpillar and the adult butterfly distasteful to potential predators. After about two weeks the caterpillar turns into a chrysalis. The Monarch chrysalis is uncommonly beautiful. It is pale-jade green with dots of what look like gold paint. After about two weeks the butterfly emerges. Monarchs live anywhere from one to seven months depending on the time of year they hatch. 
There are over 140 species of milkweed, including the Common milkweed (Asclepias syraica), the Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) and the Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). Flowers can appear in shades of white, pink, mauve, orange, yellow or scarlet. The Common milkweed is a perennial that grows in full sun, but can also tolerate some shade. It can be invasive and is considered a weed in many areas. The flowers, which grow in umbels, appear in late spring or early summer. The seeds are famous for having long parachutes made of pappus, or floss. They burst out of conspicuous seed pods and are carried away on the wind. Pappus has been shown to have such good insulating qualities that it's now used to stuff pillows.
Common milkweed can grow from three to six feet tall. It propagates through rhizomes. Swamp milkweed is not invasive, prefers soil that's a bit damp, and can be found on the edges of bodies of fresh water. The flowers bloom later than the common milkweed. Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) has orange flowers and grows to three feet tall. It needs full sun as well and is a popular garden plant.
All milkweeds exude a milky sap that gives them their name. This sap irritates the skin and milkweeds are considered to be poisonous to humans. Yet, in ancient days, milkweed was prized for its medicinal properties. Indeed, the species is named after Asclepius, who was the god of healing in ancient Greece. The sap, though irritating in itself, is still used to treat poison ivy. 
Gardeners who want to grow milkweed plants to attract the Monarch butterfly should know that they do well in Zones 4 to 10. They're excellent in meadow gardens and borders. The Butterfly weed can tolerate drought and the Common and Tropical milkweed plants need an average amount of watering.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Native Flowers of Bermuda

Bermuda is a British island territory located in North Atlantic Ocean. It is situated off the east coast of USA and is near North Carolina. The island has a subtropical climate and therefore, many flower species flourish there. The countryside of the Island is full of displays of flowers, which have distinctive beauty. There are some native flower varieties but most of the flowers growing in Bermuda are native to some other place and have been introduced on the island. Some of the native flowers of Bermuda are discussed in this article.
Blue-Eyed Grass
It is not actually grass but looks like grass with its narrow leaves. It is said to be the unofficial national flower of Bermuda. The flower is blue in color and has a yellow center. It is a member of the Iris family. The flower blooms from June to August. It opens only on bright sunny days and lasts for only one or two days
St. Andrew's cross
It is native to Bermuda, South-eastern USA and the Bahamas. It is actually a shrub, which produces bright yellow flowers with four petals shaped like an 'X'. The plant has gotten its name due to this shape of the flowers. In Bermuda, it used to be frequently found in marshes and on hillsides. It is quite rare now and only a few species have survived the wild. The plant is now being grown in gardens and used in landscapes.
Turnera is native to Bermuda and areas in tropical and subtropical America. The flower is yellow in color and has five petals. It belongs to the passion flower family. It grows wild in Bermuda but also makes a very good garden plant. The flower looks like those of wire weed but is bigger in size and darker in color.
Seaside Heliotrope
The flower is white in color and has a yellow center. It is shaped like bell and has five rounded lobes. It is native to places ranging from western North America to the Caribbean but has been introduced in other continents as well.
Darrell's Fleabane
It belongs to the daisy family and so, the flower looks like a small daisy with a yellow center and white petals. Darrell's fleabane is endemic to Bermuda. It grows in the coastal areas of Bermuda. It also flourishes in rocky areas like rock gardens.
White Stopper
It is actually a shrub native to Bermuda, Florida and West Indies. The flowers of the shrub bloom in summer and autumn. The flowers are small and white and look like the flowers of the Surinam Cherry.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Flowers of Oman

Oman, or the Sultanate of Oman, is a small country located in the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. The country has expansive deserts, mountains and several oases. The country has an arid climate and fluctuating temperature but sill, various flowers thrive in Oman. The flowers of Oman are known for their hardiness and beauty and so, are grown in gardens all over the world. Some of the flowers of Oman are discussed below.
Desert Rose.
The desert rose is also known as sabi star, kudu, mock azalea and impala lily. It is grown for ornamental purposes all over the world. It is also often made into a bonsai. The flower is trumpet-shaped and quite showy. It comes in shades of pink and red and has a prominent white throat. The desert rose generally appears in spring. It is moderately toxic and the sap of the plant is used as a poison in rural areas of the country.
Black-Eyed Geranium
It can be found in mountainous areas of Oman, which have moderate summers. It is a delicate flower with the shape of a cup. The flower is pink in color and has a purplish black center. Although it is quite small in size, the black-eyed geranium is highly beautiful and thus, is grown worldwide.
Summer Asphodel
It flourishes along the rocky slopes and arid grasslands of the country. The flower looks like a lily and is salmon-pink in color. It has chocolate-brown stripe marks on all its petals. The tuber of the summer asphodel is used for food and medicine in Oman.
Abyssinian Rose
This is a yellowish-white flower grown all over the world for its ornamental value and fragrance. It generally grows as a wildflower in Oman. However, it is also grown in gardens throughout the country. It can be found on roadsides, disturbed areas and the cool mountainous regions of Oman. It has a special place in Omani culture and is often planted in cemeteries.
Creamy Peacock Flower
This flower can be found growing in coastal areas and has adapted to the country's climate well. It is creamy-white in summers with long coral-red sepals and bulbous tips. The flower blooms in the spring and summer season.
Arabian Jasmine
This is a species of Jasmine and grows in South and Southeast Asia. It is cultivated for its beauty and fragrance. The flower is also used for making perfumes and tea. In Oman, the flower is a part of a child's first birthday party. It is sprinkled on the child's head while other children chant "hol hol".
A species of the lavender can be found in the mountainous areas of Oman. It is quite tiny and has a violet color.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

5 Traditional Sympathy Flowers

Sending flowers to a family, who has recently lost a loved one, is an effective way to express sympathy. Besides expressing sympathy, sympathy flowers can also be used as a means of paying tribute to the one who has died and brightening up the sad atmosphere. These days many flowers are sent for expressing sympathy but there are a few flowers, which are traditionally associated with sympathy, loss, remembrance and funerals. Such flowers are more suitable than others for sending to the bereaved family members as they provide a meaningful gesture. Some of the traditional sympathy flowers are mentioned below.
Lilies are commonly associated with funerals and sympathy. According to Christian folklore, the flowers symbolize resurrection. In the language of flowers, lilies symbolize the innocence of the departed soul. Moreover, white stargazer lilies denote sympathy due to which, they are the most suitable choice for someone who has lost a loved one.
Carnations are also popular as sympathy flowers. Carnations come in different colors, which have different meanings. For example red carnations stand for admiration, pink carnations denote remembrance and white carnations symbolize purity. Thus, a bouquet consisting of carnations of different colors will be a suitable choice for this occasion. Besides being sent for expressing sympathy, carnations are also used for making wreaths displayed at funerals due to their dense blooms.
Chrysanthemums are often included in floral arrangements for funeral services in Asian and European countries. White chrysanthemums stand for death, loss and grief. Hence, they are only used for funeral services. They are often combined with roses and carnations in floral arrangements.
Roses are also included in sympathy flower arrangements. Like carnations, they also have different colors, which have different meanings. They have a formal look and therefore are suitable for sending to families who have experienced the loss of a loved one. A bouquet, which includes roses of different colors, can express the sender's sympathy effectively.
Gladioli are frequently used in sympathy flower arrangements. A fan spray of gladioli is a classic at traditional funeral services. Gladioli denote sincerity, moral integrity and strength of character, due to which, they are suitable as sympathy flowers.
These days, florists have many different sympathy flower bouquets. These bouquets consist of many other flowers besides traditional sympathy flowers. In addition to this, the sender can also order customized bouquets to express their sympathy to the recipient in times of grief and loss.