April 2021

Fun Gardening and Flower Facts

A sunflower is not just one flower. Both the fuzzy brown center and the classic yellow petals are actually 1,000 – 2,000 individual flowers, held together on a single stalk.

Plants really do respond to sound. Talking to plants to help them grow is a well-known old gardeners tale, but studies have shown vibration (like music, or perhaps even the sweet sound of your voice) can affect plant growth. Plus, the Myth Busters (in an admittedly not-so-scientific study), compared a silent greenhouse to one where they piped in a voice soundtrack, and found that plants in the latter grew more.

Butterflies might be more attracted to your weeds than your flowers. Colorful blooms aren't the chief reason these insects love your garden – it's more about the fragrance and nectar. According to the Smithsonian Institute, new cultivars of popular flowers have been bred for enhanced color and size, but have often lost their fragrance in the process. So everyday weeds, like dandelions and clovers, might actually be the most appealing things in your yard to butterflies (they hate pesticides, too). Taking care to choose heirloom flower seeds can get them to also fly your way.

The world's tallest-growing tree is the coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens),which grows along the Pacific Coast of the United States, mainly in California. Interestingly enough, it's not the world's oldest-growing tree; that award goes to a bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata).

What flower was once more valuable than gold? During the 1600s, tulips were so valuable in Holland that their bulbs were worth more than gold. The craze was called tulip mania, or tulipomania, and caused the crash of the Dutch economy. Tulips can continue to grow as much as an inch per day after being cut. Does this mean money really does grow on trees/bulbs?

What do Vanilla and Corn have in common? Vanilla flavoring comes from the pod of an orchid, Vanilla planifolia. Though the pods are called vanilla beans, they're more closely related to corn than green beans.

Did you know... From a botanical standpoint, avocados and pumpkins are fruits, not vegetables, because they bear the plants' seeds. Rhubarb, on the other hand, is a vegetable.

Where did Poinsettias originate? Well they were natives of Mexico, were brought to the United States in 1825 by the first U.S. minister to Mexico, Joel Poinsett, for whom the plant is named.

Why to cranberries float? Small pockets of air inside cranberries cause them to bounce and float in water.

What is the largest flower in the world (and the stinkiest)? The flower of the titan arum (Amorphophallus titanium) is the largest unbranched flower in the world and can reach up to 15 feet tall. The bloom produces a smell like that of rotting meat, giving it the common name of corpse flower. A similar smell comes from Rafflesia, another plant that hails from the rainforests of Sumatra. Both plants developed their scent so they could be pollinated by flies; they don't compete with other blooms for butterflies and hummingbirds.

What is the difference between nectarines and peaches? The difference between nectarines and peaches is that nectarines don't have fuzzy skins. You can graft peach branches onto a nectarine tree or nectarine branches onto a peach tree so you have both types of fruits.

What fruit has seeds on the outside? The average strawberry has 200 seeds. It's the only fruit that bears its seeds on the outside.

Why do we cry when cutting onions? Sulfuric compounds are to blame for cut onions bringing tears to your eyes. According to the National Onion Association, chilling the onion and cutting the root end last reduces the problem.

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