Real World Gardener Ranunculus in Talking Flowers

October 12th, 2019



Family:Ranunculaceae also includes anemones, clematis, delphiniums, nigella and hellebores. 

Grow from claw-like tuber or corms but now referred to as thickened

Growing tips:

These plants are very hardy and will grow in a wide range of conditions.

If you missed planting them out in autumn for a spring show, treat yourself with a bunch of ranunculus from your favourite florist.

Mercedes Tips:

  • Cut the stems straight across before placing them in a vase.
  • Place them in water that has been filtered or standing for 4 hours so that all the chlorine has evaporated off.
  • Throw in a few ice cubes to perk up your ranunculus flowers
  • Flowers have a vase life of 8 - 10 days.


As they prefer to have their roots kept cool and moist, plant Ranunculus species in a sunny or partly shaded position with moist well-drained soil.

Don’t like clay soils.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini florist, and floral therapist.

Real World Gardener Wattles or Acacia in Talking Flowers

September 6th, 2019


Wattles:Acacia species.

Family: Mimosaceae, 1, 000 species out of 1350 worldwide originate originate in Australia.

Australia's Acacias have a huge range of flower and leaf shape. Some have fern like foliage, others have leaves like they should belong on a gum tree. 

Flower colour is mainly yellow, followed by cream, but one outstanding cultivar has red flowers.

Acacia leprosa "Scarlet Blaze." Acacia_leprosa_%2527Scarlet_Blaze%2527_f

Most of the species flower during the end of winter or the beginning of spring. The most common Acacia, the Golden Wattle (Arcacias pycnantha) is found in the South Eastern parts of Australia, and the hotter and drier climates.

Acacia pycnantha or Golden Wattle tree, is a shrub of about 4-8 metres. 

Vase life:4-6 days.

I'm talking with Floral therapist Mercedes Sarmini of

Real World Gardener Wind Flowers or Anemones in Talking Flowers

August 8th, 2019


Anemone coronaria: Wind Flower, Anemone.        

This flower is a member of the Ranunculaceae family and is native to the Mediterranean region.


  • The name Anemone comes from Greek and roughly means wind flower, which signifies that the wind that blows the petal open will also, eventually, blow the dead petals away.
  • Coronaria means used for garlands.

Tubers, corns or bulbs?

  • Bulbs have a tunic, corms have a basal plate, tubers have multiple growing points or eyes.
  • Anemone tubers are usually planted in early autumn, March until May.
  • Before planting, the tubers are recommended to be dipped in lukewarm water for 2-4 hours or overnight.
  • Planting Depth: Plant Anemones with the pointy end facing down at a depth of 3 to 5cm. Soak well each week until shoots appear.

anemone-.jpg This windflower is an upright perennial that grows from rhizomatous tubers. 

Leaves are medium green, with basal leaves being biternate and involucral (a whorl or rosette of bracts surrounding an inflorescence (especially a capitulum) or at the base of an umbel..) Leaves are deeply divided.

Flowering time: late winter, spring.

I'm talking with floral therapist, Mercedes Sarmini.

Real World Gardener Sweet Violets in Talking Flowers

July 25th, 2019


Sweet Violet: Viola odorata and Viola banksia (syn Viola hederacea)

Family: Violaceae

Also known as wood violet sweet violet, English violet, common violet, florist's violet, or garden violet.

Leaves are edible, good for salads.viola%2Bodorata.jpg

  • ·         In temperate climates, sweet violets (Viola odorata, ht 8cm) begin flowering in winter and continue into early spring.
  • ·         They are rhizomatous perennials which originated in Western and Southern Europe. 

They spread  via seed and runners to form a green groundcover of heart-shaped leaves, often coming up in unexpected places in the garden. 

Violets flower best in part-sun, but will grow in full sun or full shade and prefer moist soil.

Bunches of violets great winter posies.

Cut them in the morning or evening; dipping the bunch of flowers head down into a large bowl of water to soak for a while will extend their vase life, as will spraying a fine mist of water over the flowers when they are in their vase.

  • Sugared Violets
  • The flowers can also be turned into sugared violets for cake decorations, by painting the petals with egg white and dipping them into caster sugar!

Native violets, Viola banksia, have no scent, but flower in a similar fashion.

Flowers are edible.

Grows and spreads by rhizomes. Full sun or part shade.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini, floral therapist

Real World Gardener Winter Roses in Talking Flowers

July 4th, 2019


Winter Roses: Helleborus orientalis, Helleborus niger, Helleborus x hybridus

Family: Ranunculaceae along with buttercups and ranunculus.

Hellebore_purple.jpegThe common name is winter rose or Lenten rose because if flowers in winter. Looks rose-like don't you think?

Floral meaning: Floral Meaning: said to provide protection and a vase of hellebore, brought into 

a room will drive away an unpleasant atmosphere and replace it with tranquility.

  • ·         Hellebores grow best in part shade, with moist but well-drained soils. They will, however, tolerate most soils as long as not waterlogged.
  • ·         Slow to get established, and can be left alone for years.
  • ·         Don’t like being disturbed as this sets them back.
  • ·         If you do want to divide, or need to transplant, autumn is best. 
  • ·         Dig the whole plant, wash off soil, then divide with a sharp knife between growth buds.  Leave at least 3 buds on each division.  
  • Mercedes' Tip: · Make excellent cut flowers, that last up to 5 days. To extend their shelf life, plunging the stems, up to their necks in boiling water, before placing them in a vase.

I'm speaking with Mercedes Sarmini, floral therapist of

Real World Gardener Heliconias in Talking Flowers

June 20th, 2019



Common Names: Imposter bird of paradise, false bird of paradise, wild plantains and lobster claws.

  • Heliconia flower is not actually a flower but highly modified leaves and bracts.
  • A bract is a leaf structure at the base of a flower.heliconia-bihai.jpg

The trick about growing Heliconias outdoors is that the climate must be tropical.

  1. The far north of Australia is perfect because it's hotter and the more north, the hotter it gets. 
  • They are also really thirsty; give them roughly 120 ml of water a day. ;
  • Mulch is really important.: cut the leaves off and put them under the plant to help with water retention.". 

 Some of the commonly grown Heliconia species include 

Heliconia lennartiana; 

Heliconia Augusta, 

Heliconia bihai, (pictured right)

Heliconia brasiliensis, 

Heliconia caribaea, 

Heliconia latispatha, 

Heliconia pendula, 

Heliconia psittacorum, 

Heliconia rostrata, 

Heliconia schiediana, and Heliconia wagneriana. 

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of

Real World Gardener Bells of Ireland in Talking Flowers

June 6th, 2019


Bells of Ireland: Molucella laevis:

Native to Syria and Turkey and not as Carol Linnaeus thought, native to the Molucca Islands of Indonesia.

  • Is it grown for the foliage or the flowers?

Not actually a flower, but instead are amplified calyxes that grow into a flowering plant. Calyxes (or bells) are leaves or sepals that develop into a protective house for the quite small and slightly fragrant, white or pink flowers.

The prominent part is actually the calyx.

Best grown in light sandy soil, the molucella plant also requires a good, openly sunny spot. Flower right through spring, summer and into autumn, Bells of Ireland offer interest.

Can grow to 1 metre tall.


  • Mercedes says that "slip on the heels" if you want to use the stems in a flower arrangement. That means of course that you need to cut the bottom of the stem on a diagonal.
  • Easily grown from seed but cold stratification will help with germination.

How to cold stratify

You can expose them to cold by sowing them outdoors in the Autumn, or by refrigerating them for a week before starting them indoors.

  • Don't just place the seed packet in the refrigerator.
  • Sandwich seeds between moist coffee filters or paper towels in the refrigerator, followed by planting in soil. 
  • Experts say this moist stratification results in a higher germination rate than simply exposing dry seeds to cold temperatures.

I'm talking with floral therapist, Mercedes Sarmini, of

Real World Gardener Glorious Marigolds in Talking Flowers

May 20th, 2019


Marigolds: Tagetes erect: Tagetes patula

Native to North and South America

  • Sowing: They take off easily from seed, either grown indoors during the winter months or sown directly into the soil when it’s warmer out.
  • Good companion plant because they attract pollinators and improve soil quality.
  •  Be mindful not to water marigolds from the top. If their blooms get too wet, they will often turn into a mushy brown mess.

Did you know that one variety of the flower is even fed to chickens so that egg yolks have a more perfect yellow colour?

Myth or Fact?

Legend has it that Mother Mary of the Christian tradition was robbed by bandits, but when they cut open her purse all that fell out were yellow flowers, something that would one day by named “marigold” (Mary’s gold) in her honour.

Or was it because early Christians placed flowers instead of coins on Mary’s altar as offerings?

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of

Real World Gardener Lovely Anthuriums in Talking Flowers

April 4th, 2019


Anthurium andreanumAnthuriums

Common names:Anthurium Flamingo Flower, Boy Flower, Painted Tongue and Painter's Palette

The anthurium flower derives its name from two Greek words: oura, meaning tail and anthos, meaning flower. Translated the phrase means tail flower.

Anthuriums are evergreen subtropical plants with heart shaped leaves. Similar flowers to the Madonna or Peace lily.

Botanical Bite:


These flowers are really modified bracts, called spathes.

The actual flower of the anthurium plant are tiny blooms that line the fleshy inner spike called a spadix.

In their natural environment, Anthuriums grow on rocks or trees and in the home or garden need perfect drainage around their roots.

An ideal mix is equal parts of premium potting mix and decomposed sugarcane and plants in a terracotta pot.

 Too much water in winter suffocates the roots and causes them to rot, so let plants go dry in between each drink.

Flower vase life is up to 8 weeks if you look after them properly!

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of

Real World Gardener Gorgeous Geraniums in Talking Flowers

March 28th, 2019


Geraniums: Pelargonium hybrids


Common geraniums belong to the genus Pelargonium(280 spp), while true geraniums belong to the genus Geranium. (422 species).

Family Geraniaceae.

The name geranium comes from a Greek work geranos, which basically means crane.

True Geraniums are called Cranesbills because of the shape of the fruit capsule?

Most geraniums are native to southern Africa, but some species originated in Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East


While both genera were originally classified as geraniums, in 1789 the two genus were separated.


Confused? The common name geranium is used to describe Pelargoniums and Geraniums.

Geranium flowers have five very similar petals, and are thus radially symmetrical (actinomorphic), whereas Pelargonium flowers have two upper petals which are different from the three lower petals, so the flowers have a single plane of symmetry.


These types of Geraniums are really Pelargoniums

When we think of Geraniums, window boxes, and potted gardens comes first to mind.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini from

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