It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane … No, It’s an Orchid !

Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana major ) 

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The scientific name for this unique Australian flower is Caleana, but is more commonly known as The Duck Orchid. The two petals in the back make this flower appear like a bird in flight which makes the labellum, the lips appear larger than they really are.

This orchid is only found in the wildlife of Australia where it originates so you might be disappointed if you try to grow your own Duck Orchid. It’s height is about 50 centimeters and almost becomes invisible in the wild due to it’s deep purple and red coloring.

Flickr
Flickr

Isn’t Mother Nature Amazing ?? 🙂

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Maryland Must See: 600 Acres of Sunflowers

During my visit in Baltimore, MD last weekend my sisters and I took a drive to Jarrettsville, MD to take photos in a field of Sunflowers. The Sunflowers were starting to die off but the best time to go is during their full bloom season between the dates of September.8-22.

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The best location to view the sunflowers are between routes 23 and 165.

The Rose Family, owners of Clear Meadow Farm planted over 600 acres of sunflowers which took about 3 months to bloom and now take over numerous fields for the world to view.

http://www.clearmeadowfarm.com/aboutus.html

Sunflowers are Native to North America but planted all around the world and were cultivated as a valuable food source. The petals of the Sunflower resemble the rays of the sun, hence the name. This flower is bright, warm and cheerful and sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. The flower was a common crop used by American Indian tribes and it’s petals were used for paintings. The seeds of the flower were used for foods such as breads, cakes or eaten as a snack. This North American plant was first taken to Europe by  Spanish farmers then by the 19th century Russian farmers began growing them. In the late 19th century the Sunflower made it’s way back to the U.S. after routing through Europe for it’s high demand in sunflower oil.

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According to Ms. Rose, “This is a farmer’s crop, not something people can cut down, I wouldn’t go into your yard and pick flowers.” 

So, if you are ever in Maryland take a drive up to Baldwin, MD and head up to the sunflower fields to lift your spirits, take photos and smile turning your heads up to the sun ! 

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Photo by: Ashley Gough

Newly Crowned Miss. America and 110 Cm. Roses

The results are in !! The top 5 Contestants in the Miss. America 2014 Pageant and 1 to be crowned the title. Congratulations everyone !

Fourth runner-up: Miss Minnesota

Third runner-up: Miss Florida

Second runner-up: Miss Oklahoma

First runner-up: Miss California

WINNER: Miss New York Nina Davuluri – The First Miss. America of Indian-American Descent.

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Bill Schaffer, Kristine Kratt and Deborah De La Flor were the master designers behind the florals for the Miss. America Pageant 2014. Beautiful work everyone !

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Flowers by Passion Growers. The official Rose of the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 Miss. America Pageants. Simply gorgeous !

http://www.passiongrowers.com/web/home.asp

For those in Baltimore, MD or nation wide looking for a pageant coach look no further. Contact Victory Mohamed of Be Victorious Pageant Prep and Image Consulting for all your pageant needs 🙂

http://www.bevictoriousprep.blogspot.com

Trade Out Your Pledge for Plants

How clean is clean ? Did you know the INSIDE of your house may be filled with more toxins than the OUTSIDE ?

There are hundreds of cleaning products on the market today all of which make us think they will do the job of cleaning furniture, kitchen counters, the bathrooms, floors and more. But really what we are doing is just spraying and spreading toxins throughout the house. Yes, I’m guilty for using pledge polish occasionally and Toilet Bowl cleaner but every day I strive to lead a greener lifestyle and it all starts with one PLANT at a time.

One way to reduce indoor toxins is to quit spreading chemicals and start spreading plants throughout the house. PLUS it makes everything look more appealing 😉

Here are my Top 5 Indoor Plants that are easy to take care of and will improve your indoor air quality.

1.) Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) or Mother in Law’s Tounge.

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– Easy to maintain, requires irregular watering and little to no light. Perfect plant for the bedroom or bathroom.

2.) Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) 

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– This fast growing vine tackles formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and benzene. Perfect placement of this plant is by an entry way, garage or mudroom door as most fumes tend to be heavier there. Plant it in a hanging basket or pot and have it climb up a trellis.

* According to NASA the Spider Plant and Golden Pothos were the most effective in removing formaldehyde molecules when placed in sealed plexiglass chambers injected with chemicals.

http://www.zone10.com/nasa-study-house-plants-clean-air.html

3.) Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum cochlearispathum)

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In my opinion, every homeowner should have at least 1 Peace Lily somewhere in their house. The Peace Lily, a plant many send as a thoughtful gift for one who has passed away is one of the top natural air purifiers out there! All that is needed with this plant is a little tender loving care; water at least once a week and place in indirect sunlight. Peace Lily blooms will bloom in the Spring and last for about 2 months. Repot your plant every year or two and if you notice the roots are packed together or the plant is completely dry after watering within a week.

4.) Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)images-1

A perfect plant to put in the kitchen or by a fireplace and requires indirect, bright light and lots of watering while growing. These decorate, beautiful plants are effective at fighting off toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.

5.) Aloe Plant (Aloe barbadensis) or “Burn Plant”

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I remember using this plant as a little girl whenever I got a scrape or had an open wound on my body. From the inside to the outside of the plant, the gel soothes skin and purifies the air. This succulent requires direct sunlight, well drained soil and would prefer to be planted in a ceramic pot. It also helps clear the air of toxins from byproducts in household cleaners such as benzene that is found in detergents.

http://www.mnn.com/eco-glossary/benzene

All 5 of the plants mentioned above can be found at your local nursery or Home and Garden Center so be sure to pick one up today!