19 Aug

For the love of Bougainvillea

I sat down to write something about Bougainvillea but I feel I do not have words worthy of its praise. Bougainvillea has a special value in my life – it is harbinger of spring.

The lovely and show colors of Bougainvillea are signs of spring and warm sunny season. The lush colors of Bougainvillea fill our local landscape to absorb all the rough and harsh texture of the surroundings. I just love it.

See and enjoy yourself…

Bougainvillea

Image by Asha Susan

Magenta Bougainvillea

Image by y Simone Zucchelli

Orange Bougainvillea

Image by Janex & Alba

Bougainvillea bracts

Image by Andres Hernandez S.

Mix Color Bougainvillea

Image by by Slices of Light (flickr)

White Bougainvillea

Image by Saad Faruque

Pink Bougainvillea

Image by Leonora Enking

Purple Bougainvillea

Image by Terri Needham

Bougainvillea shrub

Image by Tushar Pokle

 

16 Aug

Euphorbia rigida: the Gopher Plant

Euphorbia rigida is a shrubby and evergreen, succulent from the Mediterranean climate. Known for its attractive spiral-forming foliage and ability to withstand drought, the plant makes a valuable addition to a rock garden.

Euphorbia rigida, the Gopher Plant

Euphorbia rigida, the Gopher Plant / Image by FarOutFlora.com

Commonly known as Gopher Plant, Euphorbia rigida forms clumps of upright ascending stems and grows up to 2 feet in height and 3 feet in width. The blue-green leaves of the plant form spiral formation around its stems that make this plant very attractive. Flowers of bright yellow color appear in spring followed by formation of seed pods. Gardeners usually prune spent flowers to prevent self-seeding. The plant itself can be pruned at the end of flowering season to prevent a leggy appearance.

Euphorbia rigida can be grown in raised beds, garden borders and rock gardens and as an excellent ground cover. It also performs well in containers and landscaping with other drought-tolerant plants.

Propagated from seeds or cuttings, Euphorbia rigida can be grown under prefer full sun to partial sun. The plant usually blooms well in rather poor or sandy soil.

Like other plants from Euphorbia family, the milky sap emitted by Euphorbia rigida can be toxic and may cause severe skin irritation.

14 Aug

Lovely Flowring tree Liriodendron tulipifera, the Tulip Tree

Liriodendron tulipifera, commonly known as Tulip Tree or sometimes as Yellow Poplar, is a tall and deciduous flowering tree from North America. Characterized by its height and beautiful flowers, Liriodendron tulipifera makes an excellent flowering tree for gardens and landscapes. With a rapid growth rate, the tree can gain the height of up to 150 feet or more in wild. However, it takes much time to reach that height (An old Tulip Tree in Queens area in New York measures 134 feet; it is said to be 400-450 years old and often described the oldest living thing in New York. The tree is named Queens Giant). In cultivation, it can grow as tall as 70 to 100 feet.

Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Tree)

Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Tree)/ Image by Tim Waters

Liriodendron tulipifera does not branch much and tends to form columnar growth which makes it a good source of fine-grained timber.

Like most plants in the Magnolia family, Liriodendron tulipifera is a valuable plant in horticulture. It has broad, glossy green leaves that turn to golden in autumn. Large tulip-like, cup-shaped flowers appear in spring to add to the grandeur of the tree. Flowers are predominantly greenish-yellow with dashes of red and orange.

Liriodendron tulipifera prefers bright sunlight, and a rich and moist soil. The tree can be propagated from seeds. Young plants should be grown under partial sun and later moved to direct sunlight. Young plants of Liriodendron tulipifera have deep and fleshy roots that are easily broken if handled roughly.

05 Aug

Aspalathus linearis: the Rooibos plant

Aspalathus linearis is a shrub the Fabaceae family – the family of many popular flowering plants like Liperia, Lupinus and Mimosa. However, unlike its cousins Aspalathus linearis is not common in horticulture. It is rather grown commercially for leaves that are used for preparation of Rooibos tea.

Aspalathus linearis grows as a small shrub and prefers acidic and slightly sandy soil. The plant is characterized by needle-like leaves that are rich source of antioxidants. The leaves are used to brew herbal tea which is like not only for its flavor but also for its anti-cancer properties.

In its native habitat in South Africa, Aspalathus linearis have been consumed by the locals for a long time for its medicinal benefit. The plant is locally known as Red Bush tea. The tea brewed from the leaves of Rooibos is believed to alleviate asthma and allergies making it a useful plant for gardeners.

Aspalathus linearis, Rooibos

Aspalathus linearis / Image by Winfried Bruenken

 

Aspalathus linearis grows into a broom-like shrub and produces bright yellow flowers. The plant prefers moderate watering and a well-drained soil. For more detail on growing Aspalathus linearis.

03 Aug

Tropical Flowering Vine: Clytostoma callistegioides

Clytostoma is a small genus of evergreen vines and shrubs from tropical parts of South America. These lovely plants are known for their showy flowers that grow abundantly on creeping stems.

Most species of Clytostoma grow quite fast and creep up trees, walls or whatever support they can find. Growing as creeping vines, Clytostomas are drought resistant pest free plants thus making a good choice for beginners. Clytostoma grows in a well-drained soil where it gets moderate watering and bright sunlight. Fertilization boosts their already fast rate of growth.

 

Clytostoma callistegioides

Clytostoma callistegioides/ Image by PL Tandon

The most popular and widely grown species is Clytostoma callistegioides which is characterized by glossy green leaves and pale lavender flowers. Generally it is a maintenance-free vine that grows up to 3 meters and looks pretty even when not in bloom.

Common names of Clytostoma callistegioides are Violet trumpet vine and Argentine trumpet vine.