By (Simon Eade)

Image credit – BS Thurner Hof
The Camellia genus contains some of the most beautiful of all flowering trees and shrubs, they also hold some of the most coveted. And why wouldn’t they be? They are evergreen, the majority of which are as tough as old boots, and they are more lime tolerant that the equivalent Rhododendron. But that isn’t even half the story, it is the incredibly beautiful flowers that make this plant a world class show stopper!
Image credit – Kowloonese

As we know, Camellias come in a huge range of species and cultivars so finding the exact species or variety you desire can be difficult. To make matters worse they can be expensive to purchase, especially if you plan to grow a reasonable selection.

Of course there is anot...

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THE CHRISTMAS ROSE – Helleborus niger

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By (Simon Eade)

The Christmas rose is a plant that comes with its fair share of confusion. While it does flower around the Christmas period, it is not a true rose – although I do accept that the flower shape is representative of a wild rose. Be that is at may, Hellebores are actually from the buttercup family – Ranunculaceae.

There is an old legend surrounding the Helleborus niger which appears to be the responsible for to reinforcing its ‘Christmas’ association. It is said that it sprouted in the snow from the tears of a young girl who had no gift to give the Christ child in Bethlehem.

However, there is a second, more down to earth story that secured it name in English culture...

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By (Matt Mattus)

Once as common as ferns in a Victorian Fernery, the Florist Gloxinia and Cape Primrose, (Streptocarpus)
they fell out of fashion in the late 20th C. But thanks to Russian, Ukrainian and Polish hybridizers,
new and incredibly complex selections are arriving on our shores.

Remember this two years from now. I was the first to tell you that the Gloxinia is back. It’s big, awesome and nothing at all like the old Gloxinia of 1960. But really? Gloxinias from the land of Kielbasa, Pierogi and Vodka? Oh yeah baby…..Read on. This is big news for us plant geeks.

As our weather here in the northeast begins to turn truly wintry, with our first snow on radar arriving tomorrow morning, I can’t help by think about old fashioned house plants, and for some rea...

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Tis the season for holiday plants

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By April Demes

With Remembrance Day behind us and Halloween firmly in the past, it is time for many of us to get into the full swing of all things Christmas.

I’ve got my poinsettia going, and my baby rosemary plants are putting on new growth. Now it’s time to try something else: forcing bulbs.

I’ve never grown an amaryllis or anything like that, but this year I thought I’d try paperwhites. I’m a die hard daffodil fan, so these cousins (Narcissus papyraceus) aren’t too far outside my comfort zone.

The little gift pack I stumbled across at Walmart for five bucks actually came with a pot and a disk of compressed coir, but many people plant the bulbs in a dish of water topped up with pebbles or marbles for stability...

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The Japanese Flower From Japan

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By rodneyeason

That is literally what the Latin name Nipponanthemum nipponicum translates to in English. I would like to imagine that the botanists who named this plant has a wicked sense of humor. Latin name aside, this week’s plant is a new plant for me and one that I “discovered” after moving to coastal Maine. We live in East Bootbay, a block from the East Boothbay General Store. Right after we moved into our home in September of 2012, we took many trips to the General Store for breakfast until we got our home unpacked. I remember the first time we walked up to the store, I saw a plant that looked like a Pittosporum tobira, growing alongside of Route 96. This shrubby plant was about 3′ wide and tall...

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By (Simon Eade)

The bee orchids – Ophrys species, are one of natures most amazing mimics. First mentioned in the book “Natural History” by Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD), Ophrys species are a large group of ground orchids which inhabit a huge range that stretches from the central to South Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor, up to the Caucasus Mountains. Although they clearly at home around the Mediterranean, for those of us who live in the colder climates of the United Kingdom there is at least one species – Ophrys apifera that can be found inhabiting dry, chalk and limestone grasslands throughout the southern and central regions.

The Bee Orchid gets its name from its main pollinator, the bee, which is thought to have driven the evolution of its flowers...

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HOW TO GROW THE BLEEDING HEART – Dicentra spectabilis

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By (Simon Eade)

The ‘Bleeding Heart’ – Dicentra spectabilis is one of the most popular of all the early flowering herbaceous perennials, and why wouldn’t it be. The emerging foliage is so fresh and succulent that it looks good enough to eat (don’t eat the foliage) and the beautifully heart-shaped flowers produced on arching stems are truly exquisite.

It is a native to Siberia, northern China, Korea and Japan, and it is from Japan that a legend behind the ‘Bleeding Heart’ name originates.

‘…It begins with a young man who is trying to win the heart of the one he loves.

As a gift he gave her a pair of rabbits which represents the first two petals of the flower...

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By (Simon Eade)

It is a flowering plant that you may well be familiar with, but the obscure common name for Dicentra spectabilis – ‘The lady in the Bath’ – couldn’t be more perfect!

Reminiscent of a Victorian, roll-top bath, the pink outer petals open up to reveal an elongated protective structure within. With a little imagination this white structure appears to be a willowy figure sitting up in the bath.

Of course, the above image has been inverted to prove the aptness of the ‘Lady in the Bath’ common name, but in nature the flower hangs downwards on arching flower stems. Viewing each flower the correct way up, and not quite so ‘blown’, they strikingly resemble the conventional heart shape, with a droplet beneath – hence the more popular common name – Bleeding Heart.

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