Beautiful Flowers Are Not Forever

84Although it is said that ‘Diamonds are forever’ the same cannot be said for flowers. In fact their beauty lies in the fact that they do not last forever but are caught in a brief moment of time at their best. This makes them symbolic of a certain kind of beauty that is transient. As W. B. Yeats put it: ‘All that’s beautiful fades away, like the waters.’

The climax in a plant’s life is its flower. Each annual plant has put its whole life into the production of its flower. In the case of perennials the flowering stage is the culmination of the year’s growth and endeavour. In the English language this is conveyed metaphorically when people refer to a person being, ‘in the bloom of life’.

Quickly enough beauty fades away. The flower is fertilized; its petals droop and drop off or turn into hard shells that protect the seed until it is dispersed. The practical business of regeneration gets underway after the brief flirtation with eternal beauty at the time of flowering.

Each bloom represents what beauty is. The petals with their delicate petals are arranged symmetrically to lead the eye (or the hungry insect) to a centre. The structure unfolds effortlessly into perfect symmetry, unlike a diamond which has to be cut and polished. The bloom has its own facets, honed into perfect shape by evolution.

Like fluttering eyelashes and slanting eyes, flowers too have their gentle ways of encouraging interesting visitors. Foxgloves lay a little pathway of pebble like dots on their petals leading bees and insects into their interiors. Lilies curl back their long petals invitingly with their stamen erect and ovaries waiting for fertilization. The amazing diversity of patterns, colours, textures and shapes in flowering plants is a great part of the charm of life on earth.

Flowers are well aware of the power of perfume. They even go so far as to exude the scent of rotting flesh when flies are their main carriers if pollen, but most prefer scents that remind bees of irresistible sweetness. The fragrance of roses has made them a favourite for human beings too and it is sad that breeders seem intent on eliminating the fragrance of tunnel bred roses.

The beauty of flowers is fragile and transient but their symbolism is powerful. The wreath or posy or red roses that mark human events convey unspoken emotions of joy, or sadness or commiseration or simply love. Somehow a floral gift is an expression of finer feelings. It is a mark of civilized behaviour. A bunch of flowers in a building makes a very strong statement about the people who put it there.

Online facilities facilitate gifts of flowers. They can be sent on the spur of the moment with the touch of a few buttons to mark an occasion or simply express an emotion. Gifts may be sent from any corner to any corner of the world. Thought the flowers themselves may quickly fade the unspoken emotions and thoughts behind them may last forever.

Flower Gardening

83The secrets to a beautiful flower garden are knowing what flowers you are planting and when and where you are planting them. If you are new to planting, it is best to start small to guarantee success.

When you select your plants (20 to 30 to start), choose mostly annuals (flowers that are planted every year) and a few perennials (plants that will keep coming back). Make sure you know how much sun you need and choose a site with good soil. You can purchase a soil testing kit. Don’t plant near trees, as they compete for water.

Dig down into the ground at least eight inches and remove all rocks and debris. Level the ground with a rake and fertilize with compost or manure. These can be purchased at any gardening shop or greenhouse. Add peat moss or grass cuttings to increase water capacity and lime is the soil has too much acid. Using a rake, level the bed.

Plant seeds or plants according to directions, smaller plants in the front, and larger plants in the rear of the garden. Water the area thoroughly, and watch your garden grow. There are a great number of garden supply stores both online and in your neighborhood, as gardening is an age-old tradition that is not going away. These stores usually have everything you need. But mix and match your sources for plants, since you will probably want your garden to be unique. Make your garden a thing of your own imagination, and consider it an art form.

Paving Stones and Flowers to Create Nostalgic Garden Ideas

82Many of those flowers you remember from the days of yore are back, and they still smell as amazing as it did all those years ago. Walking through your garden this summer may bring back so many memories. Your childhood in grandma’s backyard, her flower beds you had to stay away from and those beautiful ornaments.

You can create a new twist on your grandma’s garden design. You can do this by creating a nostalgic garden from scratch in your own backyard. Native plants are usually defined as those plants that were growing naturally in an area and it include all types of landscape plants, trees shrubs, vines, ferns, flowers and grasses. You can find all these plants and more at your local nursery or garden centre.

Plant a range of flowers like petunias, oriental lilies, eucalyptus near a paving stone pathway or under a window so you can take full advantage of the soothing smell drifting on the breeze. The most practical way for gardeners to create a nostalgic garden is to keep your garden as natural as possible with more traditional plants. With a heritage of common styles and era ornaments your garden will have a retro feel. One idea is to plant geometric flower beds with cobblestones in between them. Other ideas would be to plant colourful flowers in an old fashion styled bicycle, or place a sundial in the middle of the garden to create a nostalgic ambience.

Consider using trees and shrubs that have beautiful leaves and winter interest such as colourful berries and funky evergreens. Place paving tiles around big trees for an area where you can place a bench. That will definitely remind you of your childhood days playing hide and seek with other siblings. Birds and pollinators will be part of the environment too.

You can also plant some vegetables in your garden. A vegetable patch is becoming popular again with the cost of living increasing. In the olden days, vegetable patches were common and our great grandparents enjoyed using fresh vegetables from their own gardens.

Many gardeners and homeowners have realized that they don’t want gardens of the future with strange plants. They want grandma’s garden, created with love and that is native in appearance. Ask your local nursery for the best trees and shrubs that are available in your area and appropriate for the conditions at your home. Expand your palette by including plants that are colourful, fragrant, significant and, most of all, fun.

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Top Gardens to Explore When Visiting London

81When staying in London, you find yourself in a busy capital city with skyscrapers and bumper to bumper traffic. Sometimes, whether visiting for pleasure or business, you just want to escape, find that outdoor space where you can breathe in the fresh air and allow yourself a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle.

The great thing you will find when visiting London is how many fantastic gardens there are that you can visit and enjoy. Soak up the beauty and tranquillity they provide while absorbing the beautiful flower beds and mixture of colours. All the gardens in London are well-maintained and due to the busy nature of the city; they are very popular with both tourists and locals alike.

Royal Botanical Gardens

The Royal Botanical Gardens are an impressive three hundred acres or one hundred and twenty-one hectares of relaxation and beauty. Here you will find more than thirty thousand types of plants. The gardens date back more than two hundred and fifty years and are located in the South West of London. These gardens are more than a relaxing place to just soak in the fresh air and abundance of beauty, they are also a World Heritage site and definitely worth the visit when staying in London.

Kensington Palace Gardens

Kensington Palace Gardens are nineteenth-century gardens that are guaranteed to make an impact. If you are looking for a place where you can enjoy a leisurely walk, then these may be the gardens for you. The Kensington Palace Gardens comprise of a variety of different landscapes, including the famous Italian gardens. It provides you with an opportunity to explore different landscapes and designs, giving you some perfect picture moments in the heart of London.

Hampton Court Palace Gardens

The Hampton Court Palace Gardens date back to Henry VIII, who created the gardens to showcase an opulent display centuries ago. Today this sixty-acre garden is home to the annual flower show, but also provides visitors with a stunning selection of landscapes and flower beds. It is a place where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll in the sunshine or simply relax under a tree and soak up the beauty and magnificence of this beautiful garden setting.

Kyoto Japanese Gardens

The Kyoto Japanese Gardens are exceptionally relaxing and a must to visit if you love exploring new parks and gardens when visiting London. These gardens were created in the famous Holland Park in 1991 and have become a leading tourist attraction. The gardens oriental style combined with relaxation and being beautifully maintained make them a very special place to visit when in London.

Buckingham Palace Gardens

Buckingham Palace Gardens is a very popular choice which spans over fifteen hectares in the heart of London. Those who visit the palace for the full guided tour will also enjoy taking the garden tour and seeing this open public space and all it has to offer. One of the most beautiful landscapes in the gardens in the famous Rose Garden, which must not be missed.

Syon House and Gardens

Syon House is always worth a visit, but it’s the beautiful gardens that are the leading attraction here. These sixteen hectares are so well-maintained and provide you with a relaxing and spectacular setting whether you want to have a relaxed walk on a sunny afternoon or just sit back and relax for a few hours. The Great Conservatory is definitely not to be missed during your visit.

Embrace Your Soul With Flowers

80Be nice to yourself and indulge in one of nature’s awesome creations. It’s true we don’t actually NEED flowers in our daily schedules BUT since when did humans stick to what they needed!

Giving a gift of flowers is always a thoughtful, if not provocative, experience and is a gift that is definitely not about money. A large bouquet from the local florist will no doubt be beautiful and well worth the cash it costs. And equally, the small bouquet of wildflowers lovingly collected by an adored one will bring joy into your life.

Sprays of dried flowers and grasses can make beautiful displays in your home over holiday seasons, or why not everyday?

Flowers are pressed into scrapbooks and journals. They are also pressed for their scent and many perfumes are flower-based. Oils are extracted for natural remedies and cosmetic applications.

Flower preparations can be time-consuming to produce and therefore often expensive to the consumer. The absolute best way round this is to go directly to the source and Grow your own!

It doesn’t matter what month it is or what the weather’s playing at. You can still plan your flower garden. The choice of flowers, plants and herbs available is so extraordinary, you may as well start planning straight away!

Your flower garden can include all kinds of practical plants as well as looking gorgeous…

Herbs attract the nice guys in the bug world which in turn helps rid your flower bed of the pests! Thyme flowers are so delicate and beautiful they really shouldn’t be allowed!

Edible flowers include marigolds, nasturtiums and even some roses. NB: double check on edible -ility before you pop a plant in your mouth!

Decide on themes, colours, scents and set about choosing your favourite blooms.

A beautiful flower display takes a lot of careful planning – or alternatively you could buy a wildflower mix and scatter the seed randomly. Nature is often it’s own favourite artist!

If you’re still not convinced, browse through a few gardening catalogues. Wake up and smell the flowers – you won’t remember how you lived without them!