China Doll Plant

Delicate and attractive, this exotic and seemingly vulnerable plant is aptly named. High maintenance? How then, has it come to be called a “warrior” by those who know it well?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChina Doll thrives on rich soil if kept moist — but too moist and pests will invade. It likes plenty of light — but that light must be indirect.  Frost, high heat, wind, repotting — all can shock its leaves to drop faster than the value of bad stocks. Simply stated, this plant does not welcome change. Often described as “lovely but finicky,” it nevertheless remains a popular choice for indoor pots. Perhaps because, like certain individuals, it holds a particular fascination for us. There are few plants that inspire more contradictory claims than the beguiling China Doll.   read more

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Shamrock

Trifolium repens

Ubiquitous yet modest, this diminutive clover came to symbolize the spirit of a nation amid centuries of resistance against misrule. Like the central point at the convergence of its trefoil, Eíre’s Shamrock (from the Gaelic seamróg, meaning “little clover”) stands at the focus of everything that is Irish.

First, the obvious. “Drowning the Shamrock,” the practice connecting March 17th with pots of whiskey, is certainly a time-honored . . . read further

Alstroemeria

The flower of Alstroemeria cultivar

With an exotic landing strip to highlight this showy flower, Alstroemeria displays nectar guides that constantly invite traffic. The range of color combinations worn by this South American native makes it easy to see why it’s so popular.

Alstroemeria is a peculiar flower. In some places it thrives in winter (e.g., Chile); in others it’s a summer grower (Brazil). No matter where this exotic gem appears, though, it is  read more

Solidago (Goldenrod)

Solidago is so loaded with sunny good fortune, it can even overcome the rap for hay fever (usually caused by nearby Ragweed). Like gold itself, the pollen of Goldenrod is heavy and dense, not easily carried off in a mere breeze as is the weightless pollen of its companion.

Goldenrod

Lore has it that Goldenrod’s good fortune is as sticky as its pollen. Indeed, some say that when Goldenrod appears where it wasn’t planted, good luck surrounds the home near which it stands. This good fortune apparently extends to those who wear, or even carry, Goldenrod.

Solidago, the genus name for this flower, means to make whole. During the Middle Ages, Goldenrod was already in use to   read more

Bamboo

In China, Bamboo was held aloft as the model for a gentleman. Like each tall stalk, whose diameter remains constant from the start, a noble man is upright with integrity.

Bambusspross, bamboo shoot, Guangxi, China

Bamboo spreads by underground rhizomes, and like any other grass, it is tenacious. In similar fashion, the noble man perseveres. Bamboo is hollow in the core; likewise the noble man is open-hearted, eschewing arrogance and prejudice.

Unlike a strong forest oak with its solid trunk, Bamboo is thin and flexible, composed of repeating sections. Just so, a gentleman need not be physically strong, but mentally disciplined, gaining potency through
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Statice

Not many leaves decorate the sky this time of year in northern reaches, but the joy of pressed flowers and the sun they captured keeps our spirits warmed.

Salem, Limonium sinuatum, Statice 's flowers ....

A persistently blooming summer flower that dries beautifully, Statice conveys that bright cheer into any season. Because it’s so frequently used in floral arrangements, Statice may appear inconsequential to some. But this humble blossom, clustered among its fellows without distinction, carries a secret treasure. read more