Orchid flower arrangements, bouquets, garlands, posies and gifts

When we wish to convey our condolences, thanks, congratulations, love or apology to a person close to us – a personally prepared flower arrangement is the best way to do this.

Declare your love to someone by delivering flowers or buying a beautiful bunch of flowers at a flower shop.  Almost everyone, man or woman, appreciates a lovely bunch of flowers.

Orchids in Pot

A flower arrangement can also be a great way to decorate the house on a celebratory occasion such as a birthday, wedding, at Christmas or any other happy holiday or even in some cultures funerals.

Never forget that flower arrangements are especially romantic and add to the mood of a room for a romantic setting – As you will know, flowers say more than can be said in words.

Orchid flower bouquets
Orchid flower bouquets

Flower arranging is a must in order to keep your flowers beautiful, but before you start you need to learn how to keep them alive, how to care for plants, how to make flower arrangements like a floral art and how to give your arrangement the longest and healthiest life.

If you want to destroy the bacteria on plants you need to scrub the plastic buckets and trim the stems, also add one full cap of mild bleach per one gallon of water

Flower arranging always brings on a smile and brightens up our day.

By studying the art of flower arranging, you will learn how to use this knowledge and use flowers to express yourself on special occasions , using flowers for parties, flowers as house decorations and for weddings –  you could, for instance, arrange flowers for wedding flowers or bridal bouquets or  wedding bouquets.

Orchid medicinal properties

Orchid medicinal properties – Here’s a sunflower and orchid drink you can make

Although Vanilla is the most well known orchid used in cooking, dried crushed orchid has a distinctive flavour all of its own, and medicinal properties.

  • Take 1-2 tablespoons of sunflower and dried crushed orchid.
  • Mill them in a coffee grinder.
  • Add them to a cup of boiling water.
  • Sweeten up this mixture with strawberries, honey or blackberries.

Drink this recipe both morning and night time to help with constipation

Add sunflower and ground orchid to salad dressing, and why not throw in a few sesame seeds whilst you are at it. Use these milled seeds and experiment – find out how you like preparing and eating them.

Advice about growing your own orchids

Advice about growing your own orchids from seed, indoors or outdoors, and starting an Orchid gardening

When starting your own orchid garden or a botanic garden, there are a few things that you have to do, it is recommended to visit your local nursery and speak to a gardening expert who will give you the best gardening advise and he will want to know what kind of soil or compost pile that you have in your garden and whether the sunlight is constant or just for certain periods of time during the day.

You will be able to find at the local nursery, pots, clay pots and plastic pots and various types of fertiliser.

If you have a big area on your land and you are very serious about growing flowers then you should build a greenhouse which enables you to variegate your plants and your flowers will grow larger.

If you are into nature and are interested in growing vegetables and fruit then take into considering that the healthiest way is to grow them by organic gardening where the plants receive only natural substances instead of chemicals and artificial fertilisers.

Arranging flowers for any event Helpful tips for the care of your flower arrangement.

Caring for your Orchid

Cymbidium Orchid

Cymbidium Orchid

Caring for your Orchid to ensure perfect flowers all year round, and to cure orchid problems

It is highly recommended to purchase your seeds from a reputable nursery or flower shop and make sure that the packets of seeds that you purchase have a flower picture on them so as to be easy recognisable.

Most landscape plants are grown from seeds, however there are so many different plants it is much easier to expand them from cuttings rather than grow from seeds. Nevertheless some plants that cannot grow from cuttings should be grown only from seeds. This includes many ornamental trees because if they are grown from cuttings they will have very weak root systems.

It is very important that plants produced from seeds have strong and stable root systems, these root systems can be used as rootstock for your desired variety.

Another name for this is ‘Grating’. If you want to grow landscape plants from seed, it will be a little more complex than growing vegetables for instance, as the seeds which are produced from most landscape plants won’t germinate until they have undergone certain conditions.

Yellow Phalaenopsis Orchids
Yellow Phalaenopsis Orchids

Did you know that as a gardener you can control when the seeds that you are growing will germinate. As funny as that sounds, you can fool some seeds to germinate quicker. But how? By creating the necessary environmental conditions for the best growth.

When you’re ready to start choosing your seeds here’s an important point to keep in mind. You can greatly increase your odds for having a great gardening year by buying from a seed company that’s involved in continuous trial programs.

In other words, they are always on the lookout for better and better seeds. Remember, whether its grass seeds, tomato seeds or flax seed, the plant will only be as good as the original seed.

Musaefolia Peruviana, genetic volcano

Musaefolia Peruviana

It has long been asserted by the Royal Horticultural Society that C. ‘Musaefolia’ does not flower in the United Kingdom. This caused us some consternation, as two of the three types in our collection do give flowers very late in the season and also give seed. However, the largest and most majestic, which we now know is C. ‘Musaefolia Peruviana’ Année, had never flowered for us. It is obviously that variety of the Musaefolia’s that the RHS were referring to when they passed that comment.

Well, the combination of the RHS assertion, our own observations and a quest for adventure and danger was enough to stir us into accepting the challenge, plus the extra electric bills over the whole winter! So, three years ago we kept the plant growing over the winter and in May and June of the following year it flowered for us outdoors.

The flowers were a revelation, being orange instead of the red colour we had been led to expect, and they also provided us with some interesting sights. Unfortunately, being May, there were no other Canna flowers to try and pollinate, and although self-pollinating, we had no seed from the flowers.

But most amazing was the genetic volcano that was revealed. Two of the three flowers had an extra staminode, see top photo, and one of them also had two anthers, one on either side of the stamen so that they did not interfere with each other. The photograph right shows another flower with two separate stamens, each equipped with a single anther. The photograph was taken using flashlight, so the colour on that photograph has been corrupted.

To summarise, we enjoyed the following variations:

  • Four staminodes, one labellum, one stamen, one anther, one style.
  • Three staminodes, one labellum, one stamen, two anthers, one style.
  • Three staminodes, one labellum, two stamens, each with its own anther, one style.

Contrast that to the normal canna cultivar, where we have 3 staminodes, 1 labellum, 1 stamen, 1 anther and 1 style. As the style is connected via the tube to the ovaries it unlikely that we would ever see two styles, but I suppose that even that variation might be possible.
The variations are of significance to hybridisers, as it would be interesting to cross this Foliage Group cultivar with our modern day Crozy Group cultivars and attempt to introduce extra staminodes into our current garden varieties.

Chemicals can be dangerous

Chemicals can be dangerous

The rain was pouring down, but as a true Germanic I knew my duty. My knees were sodden as I knelt down and planted out the collection into this suddenly wet garden, while the rain poured down. After I finished planting out, having added a handful of bonemeal underneath each plant, as a final solution, I went around with pellets of Growmore and scattered them around on the surface.

Chemicals can be dangerous
Chemicals can be dangerous

Next day I went to visit this wet setting and about 10 plants, out of the 150 I had planted, were in a desparate state, having leaves that were bent and which had given up. All tne others had survived the continous rain. So why had the others had their foliage destroyed at the stem?

It took a while to work it out, and all sorts of explanations provided red herrings before the solution. When I threw the Growmore capsules around, some had lodged in the joint between the stem and the leaf. Careless distribution, because Growmore has to be on the ground to have the effect it is used for.

As soon as the 20 hours of continous rain arrived the Growmore pellets lodged between the stem and the leaf began to dissolve. The volume that dissolved was too much for the stem, and it rapidly disintegrated.

So, when applying pellets to your young cannas, please be careful. Keep them on the ground and ensure that none lodge on the joint between the stem and the leaves, otherwise, when the rains arrive they will dissolve the concentrated feriliser and overwhelm the leaf joint.

Crazy about Crozy

Madame Crozy
Madame Crozy

Monsieur Crozy’s goal was to turn Cannas from being primarily a foliage plant, with pretty but insignificant flowers, into a floriferous plant that could compete alongside any other genera in the flower beauty stakes. How well he succeeded can be judged by the fact that by the time of his death in 1903 the Canna was the most popular garden flower in both his native France and in the USA, where it even outsold roses.

Canna ‘Bonnetti’ has staminodes that are 45 mm. length and 13 mm. breadth, and by the time of his demise new cultivars were being introduced where the size had been increased to 66 by 35 mm, and this was achieved purely by selective breeding. The different colours and colour patterns in bloom and foliage were introduced by crossing his hybrids with other species, such as C. iridiflora. Basically, Crozy raided the species to supply him with any new feature he required.

The most famous of the cultivars introduced by Crozy was Canna ‘Madame Crozy’ (see the print), and this was later used by both Luther Burbank in California and Carl Sprenger in Italy to cross with the species C. flaccida to produce the first of the Italian Group Cannas.

Monsieur Crozy has been referred to as both Antoine and Antonin, the latter being a common nickname for persons called Antoine. He was also called Crozy aîné, which is the French for “elder”, however, it is reasonable to assume that he was not called by that nickname until late in life. Incidentally, there are canna cultivars called C. ‘Papa Crozy’, and C. ‘Antonin Crozy’, sometime refrred to as C. ‘Antoine Crozy’. The third of his christian names is the French version of Mary, which was a name commonly given to both genders in those days.

Antoine Crozy was succeeded by his son, Michel Crozy, who died only five years later at the tender age of 37 years, thus ending one of the most important and dynamic periods in the history off Canna.

Canna Crozy
Canna Crozy

It can be seen from this posting, how important the species are to us. The species collectively have provided everything currently found in our cultivars. There does seem to be an opportunity to introduce some new blood. Also, interesting seedlings can be obtained by using some of the early Foliage Group cultivars, produced nearly 150 years ago as the pollen parent, most are self-pollinating and would need to be emasculated if they were used as seed parents.

The Tiger Wins The Stripe Award

There were also a large number of very similar cultivars, many were obviously identical and just synonyms. But synonyms of what?

In 2005, at Claines Canna, we decided to grow as many of these plants as we could obtain alongside each other, to establish once and for all if they were different. We obtained specimens of:

  • Canna ‘African Yellow’ from Holland
  • Canna ‘Bengal Tiger’ from Philippines
  • Canna ‘Pallida Variegata’ from Holland
  • Canna ‘Panaché’ from France
  • Canna ‘Pretoria’ from UK
  • Canna ‘Pretoria Dwarf’ from USA
  • Canna ‘Striata’ from RHS, Wisley
  • Canna ‘Striped Wonder’ from USA
  • Canna ‘Tropicanna Gold’TM from UK
Bengal Tiger
Bengal Tiger

All of the participants in the trial were grown in identical conditions in 20 litre pots filled with Murphy’s peat based, general purpose compost. They were grown alongside each other but moved around regularly to allow direct comparisons with each other, and they were all on the same automatic watering system. None enjoyed any growing advantage over the others.

It was noted that all of the individual specimens had variations in colours, both foliage and blooms. Not normally noticed, but when closely examined they became obvious. The colours in the foliage varied, and the size of the stripes was also variable. The flower colours varied considerably, having a base of bright orange, and some with orange-red blush or even markings and many had a yellow rim or even a widish border.

What was also noted was that the variations were not only across different specimens, but on the same plant! The size of the staminodes was also variable, even on the same stem!

Although claims for C. ‘Tropicanna Gold’TM are for a large amount of golden yellow around the edges of the blooms, we never noticed enough yellow to justify the claim that it was different from the others, but C. ‘African Yellow’ was impressive on that score, and had a a yellow rim on all the flowers it produced. Canna ‘Pretoria Dwarf’ was the same height as all of the other trial participants, and that name seems to be misleading.

Our conclusion was that they were all the same plant, just many different names and a propensity to be variable, as are so many of the Italian Group, where the introduction of the wild species C. flaccida created a volatile mix. As this is reputed to be a mutation of C. ‘Wyoming’, it is not surprising that it is a little unstable. The other possibility was that it may be vulnerable to the quantity and quality of sunlight and water when the foliage and flowers were being formed.

Next, we examined Canna history to establish what was the correct name for this cultural wonder. Investigation revealed the cultivar originated as C. ‘Bengal Tiger’ at the Agri Horticultural Society of India, Bengal in the 1950s, probably as a result of the Radiation experiments that took place at that time.

Canna 'Bengal Tiger'
Canna ‘Bengal Tiger’

It was later transported to the African continent, by Sydney Percy-Lancaster, the Secretary of the Society, when he retired to Rhodesia, taking with him the Alipore Canna collection, originally founded by his father in 1890. Hence the synonym of C. ‘Pretoria’ when it was later discovered by US plant collectors in the late 1960’s growing in that continent; in spite of having already been imported directly to the USA from Bengal, India in 1963 by Glasshouse Works, again as C. ‘Bengal Tiger’.

Under the synonym of C. ‘Striata’ it was awarded the ‘Award of Garden Merit’ (AGM) in the 2002 Canna trials held at RHS Wisley, but that name belongs to an early Foliage Group cultivar dating from 1868, and still being grown under that name in Europe.

The list of synonyms (probably incomplete) that we have discovered for for this cultivar are:

  • Canna ‘African Yellow’ – confined to Europe
  • Canna ‘americanallis var. variegata’ – confined to USA
  • Canna ‘aureo-striata’
  • Canna ‘Damascus Road’ – confined to Southern USA
  • Canna ‘Imperialis’
  • Canna ‘Kapit’
  • Canna ‘malawiensis variegata’
  • Canna ‘Pallida Variegata’ – confined to Europe
  • Canna ‘Panach’
  • Canna ‘Panaché’ – confined to France.
  • Canna ‘Pretoria’
  • Canna ‘Pretoria Dwarf’
  • Canna ‘Striped Wonder’
  • Canna ‘Tropicanna Gold”?
  • Canna ‘Zebra Summer’
  • Canna ‘Zebra Sunset’

Summer Splits

Firstly, although we treat Cannas as perennials, in reality they do not need rest and in their native environment they grow for 52 weeks of the year, only slowing down if temperatures go too high. In temperate climates we know that they will be destroyed by freezing temperatures and so we store them in a safe environment over the winter and early spring, until the threat of frosts is past. The risk of too high temperatures is not a problem.

Cannas do not have a true state of dormancy, they simply have an ability to survive bad weather and growing conditions in the wild, things such as fires and drought. The large store of starch in the rhizomes means they have the energy to start over again. Anyway, after subjecting them to intense distress over the winter months, we then split them and start them into growth. In the process we always have a high number of casualties, not surprising when you think that they have been in a state of extreme stress for six months, then we aggravate that by splitting them and expect them all to grow a new root system as well as top growth for us to admire.

The garden trade knows that if they don’t sell the rhizomes in the spring, then they won’t sell many later. So, it makes sense that the trade cleans, splits and packages over the winter for a spring sale. The trade normally sells them in packs of three, so the customer has a high chance of getting something to grow, even if the rhizomes have been subject to bad storage and display conditions.

Beautiful Canna
Beautiful Canna

For gardeners with an established collection of rhizomes, it may be better to plant the established, semi-dormant clumps back in the ground and then, when they are flourishing again, with a proper root system, to split them. What make me start thinking about this? For the last few years I have been trading plants with another enthusiast in July/August, and I have been splitting the rhizomes for exchange the week before his arrival. Within weeks, my own plants have recovered and thrown lots of new, fresh growth and my gardening friend has lost none of his newly potted plants.

It is noticeable that the splitting has added new zest to the plants, but it is probably just the fresh food in the new potting compost or the bone meal that I add first before replanting in the ground, and the handful of fertiliser afterwards which creates that effect, and makes them appear to outperform their companions.

Anyway, I have determined to give it a try next year, and instead of working in the cold and damp of the winter in a poly tunnel, I will leave our collection alone and just replant them in May, and then do the splitting during the summer, when I can enjoy the exercise and weather. For those not convinced, why not try splitting just one of your plants this summer and try it for yourself?

Seed production

Seed Canna
Seed Canna

I have been asked to explain in as simple a way as possible, how Cannas produce seed. Let’s start by identifying the parts of the flower that are involved.

In the picture left, the central upright petal is the style, the female part of the flower. At the tip of the style is the stigma. The stigma is slightly sticky, and it is where the pollen must end up if it to fertilise the female ovaries, which are located below the style and out of the picture. The stickiness is caused by a sugar-type solution, which serves to both secure the pollen and also provide it with the energy to grow a pollen tube down to the ovaries.

To the left of the style is another petal called the stamen, and attached to the stamen is the anther, the sack where the pollen grows, becoming fertile at the same time as the flower opens.

The pollen in the picture has already been squeezed out of the anther, the pressures involved with the flower opening have the effect of squeezing the pollen onto the style. The cultivar in the picture is now waiting for a pollinator to arrive, it may be a bee, or a hummingbird, whichever, it is attracted to the flower by the prospect of drinking nectar, a sugary solution, produced in the base area where the petals all join together in a twirl, called the tube. But remember, there is not such a thing as a free meal! In return, the Canna expects to be pollinated.

The pollinator pushes its head down into the folds of the petals and drinks from the nectar, in the process it will attach the pollen you see in the picture to its body or bill, and then transfer it onto the stigma as it backs out again, a self-fertilisation. Alternatively, if it had visited another Canna prior to this one, it will have pollen attached to it from that one, and on its way down to the nectar that might be transferred onto the style, so performing a cross fertilisation.

In wild species, the anther is situated a little higher than the one in the picture and the pollen is automatically squeezed onto the stigma, that is what we mean when we say a species is self-pollinating.

Finally, at the bottom of the picture you can see the only real petal in the picture, although this article has referred to petals elsewhere, they are really staminodia, but more on that another time.

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