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Floral Friday: A Potinara by any other name…

After skipping last year’s bloom cycle, the Potinara orchid I purchased in 2013 decided to wake up.  This is how it looked on October 27:

Potinara is a man-made genus (aka nothogenus) combining orchids from the Brassavola, Cattleya, Laelia, and Sophronitis genera. Taxonomists have begun reclassifying the 4 component orchids so Potinara Elaine Taylor is now an unpronounceable Rhyncattleanthe. You can read more about the science and name changes here but regardless, this is one striking flower!

Rhyncattleanthe Elaine Taylor, October 31, 2014

Rhyncattleanthe Elaine Taylor, October 31, 2014

Elaine Taylor typically blooms two 3.5-4″ flowers per inflorescence, set off be a bright white column. The labellum, petals, and sepals are covered in a crystalline “dust” that lends sparkle and refraction depending on sunlight.  In a few more days–when this flower is fully open–gold veins will be visible along the throat and mid-lip.

Rlc. Elaine Taylor was hybridized by the Krull-Smith Co. of Apopka, FL. Its family tree includes such famous parents as Rlc. Oconee, Ctt. Hazel Boyd and C. Beaufort, all much awarded and highly valued for the excellent crosses made from them.

For other Floral Friday photos click this link.

Until next time…

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Happy Halloween!

 

kewcafeteria

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art (Requiem for a Dream)

This week’s challenge asks us to share a photo to illustrate the cover of a movie, cd, or book.   For several days I plowed through every image on my hard drive but nothing inspired me. Then ten minutes ago, a light bulb moment: I DO have a picture that illustrates an award winning movie from the year 2000 AND ties in with key components of my blog.

First the photo, then the explanation/description.

Requiem for a Dream (2000) is a psychological drama that explores the mental states of people suffering drug addiction. When they use, a door opens briefly into a world where everything is colorful and bright; but then it closes and everything is worn, rusty and miserable.  Having been through this struggle, I can vouch for the movie’s portrayal, and I love how the photo informs it

Now at first glance you may not notice (I didn’t!) the small green “running man exit sign”. How great is its inclusion for the cover art?  Sure, there’s a way out, but it’s barely visible in the upper right corner of an addict’s mind.

This photo was taken last month from inside The Orangery at Kew Gardens and I feel fortunate to have it!  Two days prior, I sat alone in Turnham Green and wept at being drug and methadone free thousands of miles from home. In a way, this image is a souvenir of my past as well as a trip I thought I’d NEVER take.   I’m glad I could share it as cover art.

Until next time…

:) :) :)

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Royal Pavilion Gardens: Brighton and Hove (Part 2)

King George IV‘s former Brighton palace defies description, although Taj Mahal West seems pretty apt. ;) Completed in 1823, this blend of minarets and onion domes is an arresting sight against the bright blue sky.

Royal Pavilion Brighton, September, 2014

The Pavilion and Gardens were designed by architect John Nash and William Townsend Aiton, founder of the Royal Horticultural Society. Both viewed buildings and landscapes as part of a picturesque whole, combining trees, shrubs and plants along carriageways leading to the Palace.

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Their goal was to create the accidental effects of the “countryside” in a series of changing patterns as people approached the building.

Yellow Helianthus

In the early 2000s, the gardens were revamped to exacting standard and historic accuracy. Everything growing today is typical of the Regency Period.  Strolling the grounds is like stepping back in time!

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This next image is one of my favorites from our entire trip. :) What a beautiful Buddleia!

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Unexpected textures and shapes were everywhere. Look at these Hydrangeas!

Royal Pavilion Hydrangeas

My knowledge of Mediterranean zone plants is fairly lacking! Might this be Killarney Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo?) The leaves don’t look quite right, but what a pretty shrub!

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I’ve Googled (hard!) and also asked a few gardening friends about this next “unknown.”  No luck!  Any ideas?

Who am I?

Who am I?

I do however know Fuchsia! I grew quite a few in Massachusetts and was thrilled to see this vibrant specimen!

Fuschia

The Asters were everywhere, but I liked these best:

Aster amellus "Violet Queen"

As we were leaving, I noticed something else I couldn’t quite identify. Eupatorium? Some kind of Verbena? Oy..I have a lot to learn!  :)  (Nice iron scrolled fencing, though!)

Iron Fence

For further info and scheduled events, check out the Royal Pavilion official site.

Until next time!

:) :) :)

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Mid October Flowers

The 85-90° heat has broken!

As I type this, it’s sunny, clear and 71°F, a perfect morning to move around the garden. :)  The Super Cosmos (as I call them) are having their fullest/tallest bloom cycle ever, several reaching 10ft!

Super Cosmos, 10ft tall!

After conserving energy in the long Florida summer, the vine wall is waking up nicely.  Tecoma capensis (aka Cape Honeysuckle) is a particularly welcome sight.

Tecoma capensis

And here it is again, peeking through Passiflora foliage and a string of Ipomoea quamoclit (aka Red Cypress Vine.)

T. capensis and I. quamoclit on the vine wall

Now this next plant is one I really hate!! Lantana camara is too common and rough-leafed for my taste, but it came with the house and photographs well:

Lantana camara

I have strong feelings in the opposite direction for Primrosewillow: love every variety including Ludwegia peruviana, a Category 1 invasive. In my yard it appears only singly/randomly, so I’m not too worried about it…yet. This morning it looked particularly cheery.

Ludwegia peruviana

I’m thrilled to see a flower forming on the Cattleya hybrid (aka Potinara Elaine TayIor) purchased in February 2013.  Like most orchids, it was in bud when I brought it home, but lain dormant ever since!

Potinara Elaine Taylor in bud

Cast your eye to the left in the image above. What looks like the trunk of a young tree, is actually a Cosmos stem! (Now you know why I’ve dubbed them “Super!!”) I think there may be wierd, GMO/Monsanto sh*t going on here! ;)

Until next time…

:) :) :)

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Schefflera arboricola Flowers/Berries

Although more common as a houseplant, Schefflera arboricola (aka Dwarf Schefflera) has many qualities that make it a good foundation shrub in Florida Zone 9/10. It is salt tolerant, pest resistant, and with a maximum height of 10ft, easily shaped into hedges/topiaries.  Unfortunately, shaping requires pruning, and pruning robs the plant of it’s greatest feature: beautiful drupes of autumn berries.  This year I let nature take its course, with excellent results:

Schefflera arboricola growing wild in the landscape

Left untrimmed, these shrubs produce flowering umbels from July to October—>tiny, white-to-green and inconspicuous, but still worth a look:

S. arboricola flower close-up

When the flowers become berries, the plant’s true ornamental nature is revealed:

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Dwarf Schefflera is a native of Taiwan and member of the Aralia family. Like most exotics, it grows best in bright light, humid air, and well draining sandy/loamy soil.  Propagation of outdoor growers is best done from woody stem cuttings; use air layering if your S. arbicola is growing indoors.

S. arboricola full view

Until next time…..

:) :) :)

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs

This week’s photo challenge asks us to share images of signs, and since taking pictures of unexpected/oddball signage is one of my oldest habits (seriously!!) I have plenty to share. :)

The three “gallery” photos are from Chiswick, Paris and Brighton, respectively; the fourth/bottom shot was taken today on the access road to Tracking Station Beach. (Note: Hover your mouse on the individual pics to see their captions)

Ordinarily I hate misspellings, but there was something serendipitous about two Estas driving behind this guy!  Gave us quite a chuckle on our way to the beach:

Until next time…

:) :) :)

signlondon

 

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Brighton and Hove, Part 1

After leaving Paris, we took the train to Brighton and Hove to meet up with Maggie’s boyfriend who’d arrived from Dublin.

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What a FUN place…much larger than we’d all expected!  First we explored the side streets, and with Seamus on hand we posed for a proper, non-selfie photo. :)

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Uphill we found the Wheel perfectly framed:

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Then we walked over to Regency Square:

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At the foot of the street we found a restaurant for our first ever “fish and chips”  :)

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Nary a morsel left on the plate when we were done!

We strolled back along the waterfront…and later learned the locals call it “promenading” (thank you, Claire!)  The beach was rocky but wide enough for all sorts of amusements

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…and sculptures

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and many activities for kids and families:

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I mean seriously…could we have ordered a better day for this little excursion?  So bright and beautiful!

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Normal people might have stretched this amount of activity over an entire, relaxing day but not us…we crammed it into 3 hrs so we could hit the Royal Pavilion Gardens by early afternoon. :) More on that in Brighton and Hove, Part 2.

Until next time…

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