Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Widow's Endorphins: Peonies for a Summer Evening

Widow's Endorphins: Peonies for a Summer Evening: The Summer Solstice begins shortly after Midnight, ushering in the longest day of the year.  The official beginning of Summer is 12:24a...

Peonies for a Summer Evening



The Summer Solstice begins shortly after Midnight, ushering in the longest day of the year.  The official beginning of Summer is 12:24am Eastern Daylight Time, Wednesday, June 21st.  This year, I'm welcominig Summer with a celebration of peonies.  For those in the Southern Hemisphere, where Winter is just beginning, think of these as giant snowballs!


White peonies always remind me of a garden performance of the Swan Lake ballet, with ballerinas in feathery white tutus. Peonies are the Divas of the garden.  They love the spotlight (the sun), and need to stand out (don't plant them next to a big tree that will compete with them for nourishment).


Peonies are one of the most beautiful flowers in the garden.  The word, "breathtaking" is often used to describe them. These voluptuous, complex flowers are also fragrant.  Their rose-like scent will perfume a room.  In the garden, peonies are most fragrant in the early morning.  Their oils evaporate in the heat of the day.


Before clicking my camera, I gave each blossom a quick tap with my hand, to scatter any ants...and there are always ants sheltered in the petals.  Ants are a good thing.  They eat the bugs that chew on the young buds, and for that good deed, they dine on the flower's nectar.  When cutting blossoms to bring indoors, turn the blossoms upside down, and give them a light shake.


Welcome Summer!

Photographs Copyright of:  Ruth Adams, Widow's Endorphins Photographic Images Incorporated.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Widow's Endorphins: Rainbows and Irises

Widow's Endorphins: Rainbows and Irises: Iris was the Greek goddess of rainbows, connecting heaven and earth.  The tall, colourful flower which bears her name, seems to reac...

Rainbows and Irises


Iris was the Greek goddess of rainbows, connecting heaven and earth.  The tall, colourful flower which bears her name, seems to reach for the sky, its petals forming a rainbow like arch.  There are 325 species of Iris, and 50-thousand registered varieties, in almost every colour of the rainbow.  

Just steps from my home, there are irises in shades of blue, purple, yellow, brown, maroon, black and white.
  

Whether five feet tall, or an eight inch dwarf, all irises have six petals.  The three large outer petals are called falls, and the three inner, upright petals are called standards.  The Fleur-de-Lys, the symbol of France and of Quebec, is an iris.  The flower is depicted with two of the three falls on either side of a standard.

In the barbershop world of flowers, irises are bearded or unbearded.  The smaller Japanese and Siberian irises are unbearded.  To state the obvious, the beard is the soft hair at the centre of each of the three falls.  


Most irises have bright yellow or orange "Viking" beards.  Some though, have purple or black beards, like these...


Irises are gregarious plants.  Not only do they come back to visit year after year, they bring more Irises with them!  Irises will spread.  Every two to five years, gardeners divide the bulbs, and plant them in other parts of the garden.

Plant them in full sun, and they will thrive.  They need at least six to eight hours of full sun, or they won't bloom.  Like all rainbows, a little rain is the magic ingredient.  


The brightly coloured flower attracts brightly coloured hummingbirds.  The hummingbirds are attracted to the colour alone, since irises are not known for their nectar.  Ironically, the Greek goddess for whom the flower is named, is often depicted holding a pitcher of nectar.  


Irises may be named for a mythological figure, and emblazoned on flags and royal crests, they are also an old-fashioned, homespun flower.  Many people say the flower looks like the kind of frilly aprons our Great Grandmothers wore while preparing the Sunday dinner.


Iris, the Greek goddess, is not only associated with rainbows, she is always carrying a message from the Olympian gods. This week, with the flowers at their peak, send a rainbow bouquet of irises with a message of love!



Photographs Copyright of:  Ruth Adams, Widow's Endorphins Photographic Images Incorporated.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Widow's Endorphins: Wisteria

Widow's Endorphins: Wisteria: In the language of flowers, wisteria means obsessive passion.  Once you've discovered their beauty, you too, may be obsessively pa...

Wisteria


In the language of flowers, wisteria means obsessive passion.  Once you've discovered their beauty, you too, may be obsessively passionate about wisterias!

Wisteria is a climbing tree, native to China, and Japan.  Wisterias grow tall, and wide. Many will grow to 10 metres (30 feet) high, and 20 metres (60 feet) wide.  The world's largest wisteria is an acre in size!  You'll find wisterias growing along the walls of houses, reaching over arched doorways. They're often found on trellises, or pergolas, sturdy enough to support their weight.

For all their strength and grandeur, wisterias appear softly feminine, ethereal and cloud-like.        


Although wisteria trees provide welcome shade, they love full sunlight.  They grow beautifully in a South facing garden, or in an open park, away from shade trees.  

Wisteria intertwines as it grows, forming braided wood tree trunks and branches.  Chinese wisteria grows counter clockwise, while Japanese wisteria grows clockwise.  
    

Another way to tell the difference between Chinese and Japanese wisteria, is to study the timing of the blooms and leaves. Japanese wisteria leaves appear on the tree before the blossoms.  With Chinese wisteria, the blossoms appear, then the leaves begin to grow later.


Cultivating wisteria takes patience...years of patience!  It can take twenty years to grow a wisteria tree from seed, and wait for it to bloom.  Or, you can take a cutting, and wait about four years before it blooms.  Most people buy a mature wisteria tree from a nursery, take it home, and plant it in a sunny spot.  Once wisteria takes hold, stand back, and watch it grow, and grow and grow!


In celebration of the awesome strength and ethereal beauty of wisteria, and women, I've created a line of dresses and draped kimonos, that will move gently with the Summer breeze. Lovely for a bridal kimono party, or a cruise.



All dresses and draped kimonos are available online in my Art of Where shop.



Photographs Copyright of:   Ruth Adams, Widow's Endorphins Photographic Images Incorporated.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Widow's Endorphins: Lilacs...Ah, the Memories!

Widow's Endorphins: Lilacs...Ah, the Memories!: It's the fragrance that we remember.  The unforgettable scent of lilacs, carried on a warm breeze, evokes memories of happy childh...