Glorious Settees

May 29, 2015

In modern usage a sofa or settee, but in the 17th and 18th centuries a long, upholstered seat for reclining, one end sloping and high enough to provide a back rest and headrest.

Some late 18th-century versions had an arm running partly down one side, and this type continued to be made in England in the Regency period. Based on Greek prototypes, such flowing designs, of which there were many variations, were among the most elegant and successful interpretations of the classical revival. Many had scrolled ends and short, scimitar-shaped legs. The couch was superseded by the overstuffed sofa during the Victorian age.

Data Source: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/140015/couch

Image Source: http://moderncoolsofa.info/modern-victorian-settee.html

 

Source: http://www.polyvore.com/lovely_rococo_rosewood_victorian_settee/thing?id=20493646

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Brugmansia is a genus of seven species of poisonous flowering plants in the family Solanaceae. Brugmansia was named after Sebald Justin Brugmans, a Natural History professor in Holland. Their large, fragrant flowers give them their common name of Angel’s Trumpet. It is a heat-loving tropical or subtropical shrub that likes warm (80 -85 degrees F) days and cool nights. Brugmansia are native to tropical regions of South America, along the Andes from Venezuela to northern Chile, and also in southeastern Brazil. Brugmansia can be grown in a container in cold winter regions but they have to be taken indoors during the winter months. They must be grown in moist well drained soil. They have been grown as ornamental plants all over the world and have become naturalized in isolated tropical areas around the world including within North America, Africa, Australia and Asia.

Click here to shop Angel Trumpets.

Image Source: http://www.strangewonderfulthings.com/137.htm

Angel Trumpet have fragrant trumpet-shape flowers dangling from upright stems and appear in shades of white, yellow, pink, orange and cream. All parts of Brugmansia are poisonous if eaten and the plant has been banned in some communities. Most of the species of Brugmansia are fragrant in the evenings to attract pollinating moths. One species lacking scent is the red flowered Brugmansia sanguinea which is pollinated by long-billed hummingbirds. Angel Trumpets are sun-loving, fast-growing plants. Angel Trumpets need well-drained soil and when grown in a pot make sure that the container has a large hole in the bottom to allow easy water passage.

For Angel Trumpets planted in containers watering daily is required, don’t keep the pot in a saucer of water as this will make the soil soggy and this is not what the plant likes. Keep in mind that Angel Trumpets are heavy feeders and in order to keep producing flowers a liquid, blossom-boosting fertilizer is required. Remember to water with plant food at least every other week keep in mind you can’t feed these plants too much, especially those in containers.

Angel Trumpets are commonly available in nurseries and through mail order catalogs. They are easy to root and are available for pass-along gifts for fellow gardeners.

Image Source: http://www.strangewonderfulthings.com/345.htm

Image Source: http://www.gardenersworld.ca/?attachment_id=108

Image Source: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/15423/#b

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How to Grow an Iris

May 28, 2015

Iris Growing Tips

  • Plant them in a sunny spot in late summer. The plants need well-drained soil and at least six hours of sunlight per day. A full day of sun is even better to keep the rhizomes dry. (The rhizomes are the fleshy rootlike structures at the base of the plant.)
  • Prepare their beds. Doris recommends a low-nitrogen fertilizer and a soil pH slightly less than 7, which is neutral. She applies a granular fertilizer twice a year — in early spring and just after bloom when the rhizomes are forming the next year’s flowers. Water only if it is extremely dry or after transplanting.
  • Give them room to breathe. Bearded iris require good air circulation. Plant them a minimum of 16 to 18 inches apart (less space for dwarf irises and more for taller varieties).
  • Do not mulch. Mulching retains moisture, and too much moisture will cause soft rot of the rhizomes.
  • Break off seedpods that form after the blooms have faded. This prevents seedlings from choking the surrounding soil. Seed formation also saps energy needed by the rhizomes, roots, and leaves.
  • Prune back the foliage in the fall. This will reduce the chances of overwintering pests and diseases.
  • Make dividing a habit. Divide clumps of bearded iris every three to four years in the late summer. (See the next page for detailed instructions on dividing and replanting bearded iris.)

Source: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/flowers/perennials/how-to-grow-maintain-and-divide-bearded-iris/

 

Image Source: http://whatcomflowers.net/iris-flower-meaning-symbolism.html/beauty-iris-flower-pictures

 

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Milne named the character Winnie-the-Pooh for a teddy bear owned by his son, Christopher Robin Milne, who was the basis for the character Christopher Robin. Christopher’s toys also lent their names to most of the other characters, except for Owl, Rabbit, and Gopher. Gopher was added to the Disney version. Christopher Robin’s toy bear is now on display at the Main Branch of the New York Public Library in New York City.

Christopher Milne had named his toy bear after Winnie, a Canadian black bear he often saw at London Zoo, and “Pooh”, a swan they had met while on holiday. The bear cub was purchased from a hunter for $20 by Canadian Lieutenant Harry Colebourn in White River, Ontario, Canada, while en route to England during the First World War. He named the bear “Winnie” after his adopted hometown in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “Winnie” was surreptitiously brought to England with her owner, and gained unofficial recognition as The Fort Garry Horse regimental mascot. Colebourn left Winnie at the London Zoo while he and his unit were in France; after the war she was officially donated to the zoo, as she had become a much loved attraction there. Pooh the swan appears as a character in its own right in When We Were Very Young.

In the first chapter of Winnie-the-Pooh, Milne offers this explanation of why Winnie-the-Pooh is often called simply “Pooh”:

But his arms were so stiff … they stayed up straight in the air for more than a week, and whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off. And I think – but I am not sure – that that is why he is always called Pooh.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winnie-the-Pooh

Image Source: https://makinghousesbeautiful.wordpress.com/tag/nursery-design/

 

 

 

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Jacaranda Trees

The Jacaranda tree puts on a breathtaking floral display. Its vivid lilac-blue clusters of trumpet shaped blossoms appear in the summer, later falling to the earth carpeting the ground with a mass of color.

It is said that if you are walking underneath the Jacaranda tree and one of the trumpet blossoms falls on your head you will be favored by fortune.

Source: http://www.thetutuguru.com.au/garden-info/plant-factsheets/jacaranda-mimosifolia/

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/jacaranda-trees/

Image Source: http://www.nbnweathershots.com.au/content/jacarandas-under-grafton-bridge

 

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Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. It is observed on the last Monday of May and was originally known as Decoration Day which originated in the years following the Civil War which ended in 1865. A history professor from Yale University holds that the first commemoration was held at the race track in Charleston, South Carolina by liberated slaves in 1865.

Grand Army of the Republic veterans at the annual Memorial Day Parade in New York City, May 1922.

Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. Memorial Day was born out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead, regardless of the exact date or location. It unofficially marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.

May 30, 1912: The Memorial Day parade included many local posts of the Grand Army of the Republic organization. About 700 Civil War veterans marched in the parade. This photo was published in the May 31, 1912, Los Angeles Times.

Civil War Musicians in a Memorial Day parade in Los Angeles, ca.1915(below)

 

Image Source: http://framework.latimes.com/2012/05/26/memorial-day-1911-1929/

On May 5, 1862, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery on the first Decoration Day and over 5000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. In 1873, New York became the first state to officially recognize the holiday and by 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).

It is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971. This helped ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays, though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19th in Texas; April 26th in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10th in South Carolina; and June 3rd (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

Sources: Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day#In_the_North; Memorial Day: http://www.usmemorialday.org/?page_id=2, History.com: http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/memorial-day-history, Time: http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1900454,00.html

National Memorial Day Parade –  Medical Corps Rememberance – 

Source: http://ameddregiment.amedd.army.mil/

Arlington National Cemetary

 

Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery

 

 

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea at Jackson and Perkins

One of the purest pleasures for the sunny to partly shaded garden is this French introduction, a member of the PeeGee Hydrangea family. With blooms that arise continuously for many weeks, changing colors as they mature, plus a habit that turns from upright to cascading, ‘Vanilla Strawberry’ is a showpiece of a shrub that looks a bit different every time you glance at it, all summer long!

 

IMG_5320

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea at Jackson and Perkins

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In a world of decreasing garden space, living garden walls are becoming popular world wide as way of increasing our green space. They can be indoors or out, in small courtyards, replace art work or make a grand statement, they are versatile and irresistible.

Data Source: http://www.earthandwater.com.au/content/page/living-garden-walls.html

Image Source: http://www.thegreenhead.com/2009/03/living-wall-planter-large-vertical-garden.php

Image Source: http://www.earthandwater.com.au/content/page/living-garden-walls.html

 

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Cappadocia is known around the world as one of the best places to fly with hot air balloons. The spectacular surrealistic landscapes combined with excellent flying conditions allow the balloons to gently drift over and between fairy chimneys, pigeon houses in the unique rock formations, orchards and vineyards – through impressive valleys, each with distinctive rock formations, colors and features – and then float up over rippled ravines for breathtaking views over the region.

Image Source: http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/wallpaper/photography/photos/best-pod-september-2011/balloons-cappadocia-turkey/

The Cappadocian Region located in the center of the Anatolian Region of Turkey, with its valley, canyon, hills and unusual rock formation created as a result of the eroding rains and winds of thousands of years of the level, lava-covered plain located between the volcanic mountains Erciyes, Melendiz and Hasan as well as its troglodyte dwellings carved out of the rock and cities dug out into underground, presents an otherworldly appearance. The eruptions of these mountains which were active volcanoes in geological times lasted until 2 million years ago. A soft tuff layer was formed, 150 m in thickness, by the issuing lavas in the valley surrounded by mountains. The rivers, flood water running down the hillsides of valleys and strong winds eroded the geological formations consisting of tuff on the plateau formed with tuff layers, thus creating bizarre shapes called fairy Chimneys. These take on the names of mushroom shaped, pinnacled, capped and conic shaped formations.

Data Source: http://wikitravel.org/en/Cappadocia

The prehistoric settlements of the area are Koskhoyuk (Kosk Mound) in Nigde, Aksaray Asikli Mound, Nevsehir Civelek cave and, in the southeast, Kultepe, Kanis and Alisar in the environs of Kayseri. This area with unusual topographic characteristics was regarded as sacred and called, in the Scythian/Khatti language, asKhepatukha, meaning “the country of the people of the chief god Hepat”, although there are more poetic claims on the origin of the region’s name, such as the Old Persian Katpatuka, which allegedly means “the land of beautiful horses”. The tablets called Cappadocian Tablets and the Hittite works of art in Alisar are of the important remains dating from 2000s B.C. After 1200s B.C., the Tabal principality, of the Khatti Branches of Scythians, became strong and founded the Kingdom of Tabal. Following the Late Hittite and Persian aras, the Cappadocian Kingdom was established in 332 B.C. During the Roman era the area served as a shelter for the early escaping Christians. There are also several underground cities used by early Christians as hideouts in Cappadocia.

Image Source: http://www.afar.com/places/cappadocia-voyager-balloons-goreme

Image Source: http://www.vagabondish.com/photo-hot-air-balloons-cappadocia-turkey/

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The Common Starling

May 20, 2015

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds in the family Sturnidae. The name “Sturnidae” comes from the Latin word for starling, sturnus. Many Asian species, particularly the larger ones, are called mynas, and many African species are known as glossy starlings because of their iridescent plumage. Starlings are native to the Old World, from Europe, Asia and Africa, to northern Australia and the islands of the tropical Pacific. Several European and Asian species have been introduced to these areas as well as North America, Hawaii and New Zealand, where they generally compete for habitat with native birds and are considered to be invasive species. The starling species familiar to most people in Europe and North America is the common starling, and throughout much of Asia and the Pacific the common myna is indeed common.

Data Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starling

Image Source: http://10000birds.com/american-trash-bird.htm

 

Starlings have strong feet, their flight is strong and direct, and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit. Several species live around human habitation, and are effectively omnivores. Many species search for prey such as grubs by “open-bill probing”, that is, forcefully opening the bill after inserting it into a crevice, thus expanding the hole and exposing the prey.

Plumage of many species is typically dark with a metallic sheen. Most species nest in holes, laying blue or white eggs.

Starlings have diverse and complex vocalizations, and have been known to embed sounds from their surroundings into their own calls, including car alarms and human speech patterns. The birds can recognize particular individuals by their calls, and are currently the subject of research into the evolution of human language.

 

Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/marc-vogel/5195155568/

 

Image Source: http://www.wired.com/2011/11/starling-flock/