Botany Babes

The adventures of PlantWoman, Sundew Kid and Black Eyed Susan

An interesting view on plants…. November 5, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — sundewkid @ 11:52 am

Once again, I have found an interesting link as a result of my job…basicallly because I don’t have a lot of work and get to sit in front of a computer all day browsing the internet…

This time its a site which provides a huge number of ‘Inspired talks by the world’s greatest thinkers and doers’ ted.com. One  video in particular has captured my interest, Michael Pollan’s talk on the Omnivore’s Next Dilemma. During this talk Pollan describes how humans are just pawns in the plants grand plan for world domination…..

..I’m eventually going to read one of his books talking about how plants are using man for their own benefit, I’ll probably get back with my thoughts on it when I do….

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Another South African Bulb October 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — plantwoman @ 11:17 am

I have now managed to gather enough background information to actually start writing my essay but having written the introductory paragraph it all went blank again. Which resulted with my staring aimlessly out of my window at my now rather sad looking Eucomis. Eucomis, also now as the pineapple flower, are another of my favourite plants despite only discovering them a few years ago while tidying out one of my dads greenhouses. At the back in amongst a mass of pelargoniums I found this massive tub full of large leaves and the most bizarre yet fascinating flower spike, the flowers were quite small and densely packed on this thick fleshy stem topped by what look like small leaves (imagine a pineapple and you’re pretty much there). It turned out that we had actually had this Eucomis for years (Eucomis comosa ‘bicolor’) but it hadn’t been put out for display for ages, so I dug it out and some small pots which had also been hiding and put them on display. However, it was not until this year that I realised how advanced the breeding and hybridization of these plants had become. My dad got a dwarf, very dark red one called ‘Octopus’ and then in the autumn ‘The Garden’ ran an article on a collection in the South of England and the range was great. Like all of the South African bulbs they need freely draining soil during the winter months. However, if they don’t drown in the winter they should be hardy although i’d still feel safer growing them in pots. Again ‘The African Garden’ has some good photos.

 

Mystery Plant no more October 29, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — plantwoman @ 4:26 pm

Having spent the last hour trying unsuccessfully to start my essay on bioprospecting and biopiracy… and making about a dozen cups of tea, I’ve finally given up and decided to write abit about a plant that I saw growing in one of my neighbours front gardens. It had very dark purple stems with heads of large white flushed pink trumpet shaped flowers, the combination was remarkably striking. This was a mystery plant to me, the closest thing I could think of was the houseplants Hippeastrum (often called Amaryllis) but these are definitely not hardy. So after walking past these for several days and thinking how striking they were every time I started out on a google searching mission. My first instinct was to try Nereines, but none had the colour combination or flower shape. So next move was Amareines (a Amaryllis x Nereine) but again no luck. Eventually I tried Amaryllis, which is a monotypic genus, and much to my surprise there it was….. Amaryllis belladonna. I’m not sure which variety although i think it is probably ‘Purpurea Major’. Some of the varities are illustrated at ‘The African Garden’. This is hardy, and apparently fragrant although i didn’t notice this, but being a South African bulb does need well drained soils particularly during the winter months. I’m now planning on getting hold of some bulbs for next year and am just hoping they’re not as hard to get to flower as a lot of nereine varieties.

 

Midori San’s Blog…

Filed under: Uncategorized — sundewkid @ 12:45 pm

I was sat at work reading blogs on e-learning (woohoo!!…fun!!) and I came across the blog of Midori San. This may seem uninteresting until you realise that this is in fact the blog of a plant! Unfortunately this is all in Japanese (However thanks to Google I have managed to get a badly translanted version of the blog, which will hopefully work so you too can read about Midori San’s day!)at the same time I was also directed to another blog explaining how Midori San posts entries.

Midori San is a Hoya kerii, or Sweetheart Hoya. This species was chosen as it is apparently easily affected by a humans mind…

…I will try to add the widget provided on her blog so that you too can interact with her by turning on a flourescent light, allowing her to photosynthesise more….

 

My poor pretty flowers…. October 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — sundewkid @ 1:35 pm

I was out in the garden yesterday, during those short periods when it stopped raining, and I noticed that my tub of violas, that had been planted to add a little colour to the garden for winter, had been attacked! About 90% of the flowers had been eaten by slugs and snails…..my problem now is that I don’t want to have to use slug pellets, but I don’t have any kinder ways to ‘discourage’ them, and I would really like to have flowers throughout winter!

We’ll have to see how the battle between me and the slugs/snails go this winter….

 

Sticking with the theme… October 23, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — sundewkid @ 7:34 pm
Miscellaneous geranium from my parents garden

Geranium 'Roxanne'

Well seeing as Plantwoman (we wanted plantgirl, as this is far cooler, but unfortunately it had already been taken!) has started off with introducing herself with one of her favorite plants, the Aster, I will try and do the same…

I would agree that Asters are a very good, and in my opinion under used, plant. What more could you want than a garden full of brightly coloured late flowering daises? They are just the thing to brighten up a cold, grey October morning! However she has beaten me too them…

…I’ve been sat thinking through what I would consider to be one of my favorite plants, a question that always puts me on the spot and leaves me questioning whether one is better than another, so I guess I’ll just have to pick one (and then do a seires of blogs over the next few weeks about the ones that missed out tonight!)…

So the chosen plant for this introduction is the Geranium. Not the gaudy red and pink plants associated with the Medditeranean (I believe they are actually Pelargoniums), but the classic English cottage garden ones. They are a plant I associate with home, we have a lot of them as they are one of the few plants that will grow successfully on the bank/rockery in our garden.  My favourite is Ann Folkard, it had wonderful golden green leaves, with a bright purple flower. It starts each season as a compact plant, and as the year progresses it scrambles across and through other plants, creating a wonderful displa(and conveniently for us covers a large area of rockery!)….

I guess I will stop here seeing as I have chattered on about nothing much for quite a long time, I’ll carry on with the favorite plant list another day….

 

After a serious mind blank……

Filed under: Uncategorized — plantwoman @ 5:40 pm
Harrison's Pink and a red admiral

Harrison

Having spent a number of hours wondering how to follow on from sundewkid’s start to the blog and suffering from a major mind blank the only thing I could come up with was an introduction to myself via one of my favourite plants….. the michaelmas daisy. It has to be said this title covers a large variety of species and cultivars within the genus Aster (A. amellus, A. novi-belgii, A. novae-angliae, A. cordifolius amongst others), which is probably one of the main reasons they rank so high in my list of favourites. These wonderful flowers provide a blast of colour from August through to late October, peaking in late September, providing a wonderful late season treat for not only us but also the bees and butterflies.