Z is for Zinnia

Zinnia is a genus of 20 species of annual and perennial plants of the family Asteraceae. They are native to scrub and dry grassland in an area stretching from the Southwestern United States to South America, with a centre of diversity in Mexico. Wikipedia

Zinnia can be annuals, perennials or sub-shrubs, with branching stems bearing opposite leaves and solitary terminal flower-heads in summer. They can be grown in City/Courtyard Gardens, Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower borders and beds, Garden Edging or Patio/Container Plants.

z - zinnia 3

They neeed to be planted in an open space as they can suffer from mildew, and they love sun and heat. Don’t let them dry out though. There’s no better late-summer plant, with a brilliant range of colours and flowers that look as though they’ve been cut from velvet-coated cardboard.

Z

 

And so we come to the end of the April A to Z Challenge. I hope that you have enjoyed looking at a variety of flowers and plants during this month and that you have found something that you might like to grow in your garden that you haven’t tried before. I thank you for accompanying me on this journey and for all your likes and comments. It has been great to meet new bloggers and I have enjoyed visiting many different blogs this month.

It’s difficult for me to pick a favourite as I just love flowers and each and every one has a special place, including those I have had to leave out. But for those of you who have joined me on this challenge I really would like to know which was YOUR favourite from the ones I posted.

I hope new and old friends will continue to drop in and see what’s happening on here. New gardens to visit and old favourites to feature. And, as always, your comments are what makes it all worthwhile 🙂

Y is for Yarrow

Achillea millefolium, known commonly as yarrow or common yarrow, is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and North America.  Wikipedia

Y = Yarrow

Achilleas are traditional border flowers valued for their feathery foliage and striking flat, circular heads of flowers throughout the main summer season. They team well with other perennial flowers and are a vital ingredient of a traditional herbaceous border. They are also at home in island beds, cottage gardens and other perennial planting schemes. The variety ‘Coronation Gold’ has silvery foliage and flowers of gleaming golden yellow that are attractive to bees and butterflies.

achillea

 

 

Y

X is for Xanthosoma roseum

Xanthosoma is a genus of flowering plants in the arum family, Araceae. The genus contains about 50 species that are native to tropical regions. Several are grown for their starchy corms. X. roseum is usually grown as an ornamental plant and popularly known as elephant’s ear.

X

 

W is for Witch Hazel

 

Witch Hazel otherwise known as Hamamelis virginiana is a truly wonderful winter-flowering  plant. In addition to its healing powers, witch hazel has the ability to add colour and fragrance to this season of gloom. They display curious, and beautiful, spidery flowers that exude a sublime, somewhat spicy fragrance. Their colours range from pale yellow through orange and strong reds, and even purple.

W = witch hazel

Although they can grow into small trees it is easy to maintain as a much smaller size by pruning each year after flowering, once the plant is established. The smell alone is worth growing one of these little beauties in your garden.

W

 

V is for Viola

Violas are smaller versions of pansies and both are grown for their summer and winter flowering habit. They look good in borders or containers and are often found in public parks and gardens.

Their cheery colours and bright faces add brightness to a dull winter’s day but plant the paler colours: sky-blue, white, pale pink and primrose as these will stand out the most.

Plant plain colours en masse and bi-coloured in containers where you can appreciate the delicacy of their pretty patterns. Dead-head often and they will continue to flower for months. Mix with dwarf tulips and narcissus or grape hyacinths for instant spring colour, and remember that they will follow the sun or light on a dull day, so position carefully.

V = viola hanging basket

Wikipedia tells us that “the pansy is a group of large-flowered hybrid plants cultivated as garden flowers. Pansies are derived from viola species Viola tricolor, hybridized with other viola species. These hybrids are referred to as Viola. The common words “pansy” and “viola” are often used interchangeably.”

V

 

U is for Urn Plant

Aechmea fasciata, the urn plant bromeliad, comes from the South American rainforests. It is an epiphyte, commonly called an air plant, and in the wild it grows on other plants where it receives moisture from heavy rains and nutrients from decaying debris around its roots.  A plant must be at least three years old before it produces a flower stem. Urn plants need good light and plenty of it for bract production and bloom only once before they die.

 

U

T is for Tulips

I first posted this in May 2013, but you can never have enough tulips in my opinion, so for those of you who may have seen this before and those of you who have arrived here for the first time – enjoy these beautiful blooms!

This has to be my favourite flower, though I do find it difficult to actually choose one. I would rather have a bunch of these cheery blooms than a bunch of roses, though I love roses too. But tulips along with daffodils, are so welcoming at the end of a long winter and valued for their range of colour and shapes.

T

S is for Succulents

The common linking characteristic of cacti and succulents is the ability to store water in the leaves or stems enabling them to survive in arid habitats. All cacti are succulents, yet cacti are defined by the presence of areoles (specialised sites where spines form) whereas succulents have none.

The majority of cacti and succulents grow in desert and savannah situations with low moisture, dry air, bright sunshine, good drainage and high temperatures. However there are succulents such as Schlumbergera and Epiphyllum which grow as epiphytes in rainforests. These require semi-shade and humid conditions.

Aeonium:

 

S

R is for Rose

The Rose is the national flower of England. And anyone living here will know that the House of Lancaster has a red rose as its symbol whereas the House of York has the white rose. So never buy a Yorkshire lass a bunch of red roses!

There are over 100 species. They form a group of plants that can be erect shrubs, climbing or trailing with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles. Flowers vary in size and shape and are usually large and showy, in colours ranging from white through yellows and reds. My favourites are the Old English or Gallica varieties which have the old-fashioned scents of rose, musk, citrus, clove and honey.

I posted a whole month of roses last year, during July so I thought that I would experiment with a few artistic effects today just to shake things up a bit. If you want to see photographs of roses in their natural form then please click on the rose/rosa category above.

Floribunda:

(Latin for “many-flowering”) Smaller flowers, but many of them and they will flower in clusters.

roses

Hybrid Tea:

Hybrid teas generally produce only one blossom at the end of the stem, rather than clusters of flowers.

rose copy

Watercolour

Shrub:

Shrub roses take the best of the hardiest rose species, and combine those traits with modern repeat blooming and diverse flower forms, colours and fragrances. Some shrub roses may grow tall, with vigorous, far-reaching canes; others stay compact

nur mahal

Nur Mahal

Patio:

The best roses for growing in containers are the patio and miniature types, which can be grown in fairly small but deep pots

Patio Rose - Stardust

Patio Rose – Stardust

Old English:

English Roses are renowned for the strength and diversity of their fragrances.

Graham Thomas

Graham Thomas

Climbers:

form a most useful group of plants, the stronger growing varieties are often seen covering walls, fences, arches and pergolas, whilst shorter varieties can be trained around poles and tripods to form ‘pillars’. They all require support and it is essential they are well tied to their structures.

climbing roses at Polesdon Lacy

Climbing Roses at Polesden Lacy

Ramblers:

These are more pliable in growth than Climbers and generally flower only once. The individual blooms tend to be smaller and come in large trusses, but for sheer quantity of bloom they are unsurpassed.

Roses - Strode House

Roses around the round window

Species or Wild:

Most are single flowered and are valued for the wonderful diversity of scents, foliage, hips and Autumn colouration. 

Rose Complicata watercolour

Rosa Complicata – watercolour

R

Q is for Quince

Quince, Cydonia oblonga, is the sole member of the genus Cydonia in the family Rosaceae. The quince, is a small deciduous tree that bears a pome fruit, similar in appearance to a pear, and bright golden-yellow when mature. Wikipedia

Throughout history the cooked fruit has been used as food, but the tree is also grown for its attractive pale pink blossom and other ornamental qualities. Unfortunately I haven’t got a photo of the blossom, so hope that the fruit will do.

In the famous children’s poem, The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear (1871),

“they dined on mince and slices of quince
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon…”

Q