Monthly Archives: September 2011

Heliconias in Heaven

  The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden (HTBG), a 40-acre, former estate garden near Hilo, occupies a rainforest canyon. The first plant that blew me away was this bromeliad near the visitor center.

  This was the next. And my companions and I had yet to descend into the garden!

  As we did so, palms and tree ferns towered overhead, creating sunlit layers of green. Next to the trail grew ferns as dainty as feathers, and glossy ginger flowers that resembled red roses.

  Leaves of ti plants were variegated red-and-green…

  and were breathtaking when backlit by the sun.

  Beneath them grew conical orange temple flowers (Clerodendrum paniculatum).

  The HTBG boasts over 200 varieties of rare and wild collected specimens of heliconias, garden manager Sean Callahan said as he pointed out one spectacular species after another—including an unusual hairy one.

  “What appears to be flowers are actually bracts that can contain as many as 50 tiny flowers,” Sean told us, adding that heliconias native to the Americas are colorful in order to attract hummingbirds; those native to the islands are pollinated by bats instead and are a dull green.

  Bracts of this heliconia grow as long as I am tall.

  Speaking of bats, this is arguably the most unusual flower we saw: a bat plant (Tacca chantrieri).

  Also airy were cat’s whisker flowers.

  Not surprisingly, Zingiber spectabile is commonly called honeycomb ginger.

  Given 100+ inches of warm rainfall a year, these leaves get as big as tablecloths.

  In a glade of palms as tall as redwoods, we fell silent as we gazed upward. Sean looked not at the trees but at us. It struck me that the reward of gardener-artists is not—as people assume—hours of serene contemplation, but rather seeing the results of their hard work through others’ eyes.

  After discovering that I’m skeeter candy, I deflected them with a parea (shawl). Btw, the HTBG gift shop sells inexpensive repellent towelettes, a good idea wherever there are heliconias on earth.


Housewarming Gifts that are sure to please

Getting off on the right foot with your new neighbors can end up being beneficial to you for years to come. After all, where else are you going to go for a cup of sugar? The welcome gift is a time-honored tradition – a great way to demonstrate friendliness and show how eager you are to get to know those in your neighborhood. Deciding what to bring can be a bit harrowing, however. If you’re not sure what would make the best welcome gift, here are a few stand-bys that are sure to please even the most discerning recipients.

If your neighbors have just moved in, they may be somewhat light on household amenities. An empty house can seem daunting and unwelcoming, so why not help them spruce up their décor? A delightful bouquet of flowers is the perfect gift for this occasion. You can choose pretty much any bloom you like, but make sure it’s colorful – that it bursts out of the vase. Roses are a great option. They come in a wide variety of hues and are sure to be well-received. You could also opt for something a bit more modest, like lilies or irises.

If you’d like to bring something to make a more lasting impression, you can’t go wrong with potted plants. They’ll endure for years, adding a unique visual flair to a home that your new neighbors will definitely appreciate. A green fern is a great choice, or you could go for something like a zebra plant or even a small indoor herb garden.

As an alternative, although it’s technically a flower, an orchid can last for years and it’s one of the most rewarding plants to harvest and watch grow. This is a good option for those who fancy themselves a bit of a green thumb.

Don’t feel as though you have to limit yourself to flowers. If the occasion calls for it, you can bring over some tasty treats as a way of welcoming your neighbors to the block. Brownie pops are an absolutely delightful and unique treat, and they are sure to go over well. You could also bring over a heaping plateful of brownies or a delicious cake. Whatever you decide, your goodwill certainly won’t go unnoticed. Soon you’ll be well on the way to forging a strong and rewarding friendship with your new neighbors.

How to Get Rid of the Winter Blues with Flowers

Let’s face it, winter is a gloomy, and bitter cold time of year. The grass has now turned into white snow, our beautiful landscaping job from last summer will have to wait another year to be seen, and the color green is very minimal.

Although winter can be a depressing time of year, surrounding yourself with positive things is a great way to void the depression. Just remember that spring is right around the corner, and that flowers will shortly be in bloom. Here are some ways a simple bouquet of flowers can brighten your day, or someone else’s.

Reminder of spring: Winter can seem like it’s never going to end, but it’s important to remind yourself that spring is always just a few months away. Once the birds are chirping, flowers tend to pop up right behind them. In the meantime, it will get you motivated to work on your garden all spring and summer long.

Touch of color: Since winter time is always so grey and white, flowers can really turn your mood around. Scientific studies have shown that having a living plant or vase of flowers can really enhance your mood almost instantly, while connecting you with the outdoors.

Smell: There is something about the smell of flowers that just makes you feel good. Walking into your home after a long day of work to a beautiful bouquet can make for a great air freshener, and a great mood booster.

Therapeutic: There is something therapeutic about a nice vase of flowers. Once again, scientific studies have proven the many benefits of having flowers in your home or in your yard. When someone gives you an arrangement of flowers, it makes you involuntarily smile no matter what. Maybe this is why we always give them as presents and see them in hospitals.

Be creative: No matter what flower it is, every flower is gorgeous and unique. Take time to be creative with them. Create a beautiful arrangement, make your own potpourri, or even use dried up flowers as a nice touch for scrapbooking. Whether the flowers are fresh or dried up, you can always find a nice purpose for them!

When the winter blues get to you, keep a positive attitude and surround yourself with flowers! Between the fresh smell, beautiful colors, and the liveliness of them, you’re guaranteed to brighten your day. Give flowers to brighten someone’s day or even buy some for yourself!

– This is a guest post written by Lauren Dzuris. Lauren runs,, a website that offers several ways to get rid of anything from abdominal fat to a bad sunburn.

Romantic Flowers

Henry Ward Beecher has very aptly said- flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men and animals. Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and the hollyhock. Flowers express emotions most eloquently. This is the reason why romantic flowers are an important part of Valentine’s Day celebrations.

Romance and flowers are synonymous. They are the most innocent expressions of heart felt passions and feelings. Flowers have their own language. In fact nothing can express your feelings to your beloved better than romantic flowers. Keeping this in mind the French had written a dictionary called the ‘Language of Flowers’.

Every romantic flower has a meaning. You can choose your romantic flowers depending on the type of message you want to communicate. If you want to make a bold declaration of your love then you can gift your beloved with a bunch of red tulips. If you want to give romantic complements then pink carnations are perfect for you. Lilacs express innocent love and baby’s breath stand for eternal love.

Red and pink roses are the most popular romantic flowers. However some of the other common romantic flowers are:

  •   Carnations
  •   Lilac
  •   Sunflowers
  •   Lilies
  •   Daisies
  •   Tulips
  •   Gardenias
  •   Calla lilies
  •   Gerbera daisies
  •   Orchids

Wild flowers are interesting romantic flowers and tend to express your feelings with simplicity and innocence. Romantic flowers can be assembled into beautiful flower arrangements and Valentine’s Day flower bouquet. Romantic flowers are very popular Valentine’s Day gifts. You can team a bunch of beautiful romantic flowers with a box of rich chocolates. Your dear one will be impressed. A Valentine’s Day greeting card and a bunch of fresh yellow roses are ideal for a romantic Valentine’s Day together. You can mix different kinds of romantic flowers to create an array of effects. There are many more interesting articles on Valentine’s Day in which are sure to catch your interest.

Recommended Blogs:  romantic moment

Safe flower choices

Men that are caught up in the beginning stages of a blossoming relationship may have the tendency to go overboard when trying to impress a new flame. Flowers are always a wonderful choice to show how much of an effect she has made on you, but some blooms mean many things to different people. Before you order flowers, be sure to keep a few of these tips in mind to stay cool and casual when you’re trying everything to impress her.

1. Avoid red roses! Red roses are probably the most recognizable representation of unconditional love, so for your purposes in this young relationship, you should avoid them at all costs. That’s not to say that roses aren’t a great way to surprise your new flame, just stick to bright and cheery colors instead. Pink, white and yellow roses (or a mix of colors) are all suitable choices, and they can be combined with many other summer flowers to create a dynamic floral arrangement.

2. Lilies. If there’s one flower that’s sure to brighten her day and tug at her heart strings, it’s the boundless beauty of a bouquet of lilies. These bold and beautiful blooms can be found in many colors and will arrive to your sweetheart budding and ready to reach their peak. In addition to your wonderful flowers, you can also include some chocolate covered strawberries so she can enjoy the best of both worlds.

3. Iris. Purple iris flowers are wonderful gifts for any occasion, and they are the perfect elegant and touching present that are sure to spruce up her abode or office. A great combination to consider is iris and yellow tulips – the color contrast between the two makes for a jaw-dropping display and it will be even more spectacular when placed in a matching purple vase. It’s exactly the kind of gift that you’ll need to wow that new love interest of yours. It’s sure to brighten her day, and it’s not the over-the-top gift that could scare her away.

Finding a new love can be a confusing but exciting time for any young man, but the best course of action is to take it slow and be casual. Flowers can be a wonderful ally to help win that special someone’s attention, but you’ll have to work a little bit before you start sending her red roses!

July flowers

The Fourth of July will be here in less than a week, and with such little time to prepare, if you haven’t got decorations for your upcoming barbecue squared away, you may be wondering how you’re going to get it done. There are a number of ways to show your patriotism, though, and online florists make the process much easier. Whether you want to stick to the classic combination of red, white and blue or go for something a little different, you’ll be very pleased with the arrangements and treats that these companies have to offer.

Few things will make a better table centerpiece than One Dozen Long Stemmed Patriotic Roses. The bouquet is comprised of a dozen flowers, made up of six red and six white Ecuadorian roses and is rounded out with purple-blue statice and a collection of greenery. A miniature American flag ties the entire package together and creates an undeniable impact on anyone who lays eyes on it. The flowers are hand-picked by skilled growers and shipped fresh from the fields, ensuring that they are fresh and bright for at least seven days – though often longer.

If you’re looking for something a bit tastier than a bouquet of Fourth of July flowers, you’ll be pleased to know that online florists have a variety of delicious treats that will put a smile on anyone’s face. Mrs. Fields’ Patriotic Pail of Treats is perhaps the most extravagant of these collections, coming with two-dozen bite-sized cookies of various flavors, 18 brownie bites and two free sugar cookies in the shape of a star. How could you not be proud to be an American when looking at such a collection of delights? With so many treats in one package, you and your friends will be working on the pail for a long time!

Best of all, online florists are used to accommodating rush orders, so you can be sure that your package arrives at its destination exactly when you need it to. Just because you haven’t yet picked up anything for the Fourth doesn’t mean you have to worry about being empty-handed when the day finally arrives. Simply specify when you want your package to arrive and you can relax knowing it will be there.

Rosh Hashanah Flowers for a Holiday

Rosh Hashanah marks the start of the Jewish New Year, and is the first of the High Holidays. It’s a time when families come together to eat, drink and be merry. If you’re hosting a Rosh Hashanah event in your home, you may be wondering what you can do to make it memorable. Aside from serving delicious food and entertaining your guests, you may want to think about sprucing up your home’s décor.

There’s no need for this to become an overly complicated project. With cleverly placed flowers, you’d be amazed at how beautiful your home can look. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are a few ideas that will soon have your guests in awe.

Orchids are always a great choice and can be used practically anywhere. Feel free to artfully place a few blooms on your dining room table – they’ll add a quiet dignity to the proceedings – or simply have a more lavish arrangement on an unused counter or coffee table. Denobrium orchids work particularly well for this occasion, given their modesty and elegance.

You need not limit yourself, however. A lovely bouquet of lilies can look great. They tend to arrive in bud form, meaning you’ll enjoy rich and full blooms as your family arrives at your house. You’ve got a number of color options available to you, which is good news for anyone who likes to add a bit of flair to their interior décor.

Given that the seasons are changing, why not think about adding an autumnal flavor to the proceedings? Poms are beautiful and are quite evocative of the fall season. Fill a vase with colors like orange and deep red. You can’t fight the changing seasons, so you may as well embrace it where you can!

Alternatively, you may be looking to pick up something to eat for the evening. There are plenty of delightful desserts you can bring with you to help mark the occasion. A vanilla bean cake is bound to go over well, as is a nice bowl of fruit. The fruit bowl is especially nice because it doubles as a visual centerpiece, and what reminds you of autumn more than a dazzling cornucopia?

What’s your family’s tradition for celebrating Rosh Hashanah? Are there any flowers that you associate with the holiday?