Flower Power

Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow.”

According to a behavioral research conducted at a State University in New Jersey, one way of improving the emotional state of a person – is by sending flowers. It is believed that the presence of flowers can stimulate happy feelings, and brings about positive effects on one’s social behavior and emotional being.

Here are some of my favorite flower photographs. Seeing them doesn’t require a study to convince me that they can alleviate one’s mood. These flowers are indeed nature’s way of laughing and providing laughter to people around them.

TULIPS: These flowers are often associated with Holland/ Netherlands. But do you know that they actually originated from Turkey? This quintessential spring flower, is colorful, cheerful, and a sign that warm weather is finally coming. One of the largest groups of tulip varieties, the Triumph tulip, is a classic. It is sturdy and great for cutting but also creates beautiful borders and clumps in spring flower beds and comes in a wide range of colors.

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Tulips at Emirgan Park in Istanbul, Turkey during the annual tulip festival.

ROSES. The National Flower of Morocco. Roses are considered the floral symbol of Morocco since there is a rose festival in the country every year. Roses are not just decorative flowers, but they actually have a number of health benefits too. Here are some interesting facts about the rose.

  • There are about 100 rose species and they have different colors, shapes and grow in different climates.
  • The most common species of roses is Tea Rose.
  • Roses were of great importance to Romans and Egyptians.
  • In ancient Rome, roses were grown in order to ensure that there was a yearlong supply of ingredients for cooking, ornaments and medicinal extracts.
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These are roses for drying which in turn are the source for rose oil and rose water. This was captured during a visit to Marrakech in Morocco.

SWEET ALISON. aka sweet alyssum or Lobularia maritima — a mat-forming annual or short-lived perennial native to the Mediterranean, and the Iberian peninsula (specially the Canary Islands and Azores), where it grows along the coast in rocky, sunny areas. Some says that the flowers and leaves are edible and can be added to salads, and the plant has been used medicinally in the past but people with sensitive skin may develop a rash when handling the plant, so it is probably best not ingested. This herbaceous plant in the mustard family is commonly used as a bedding plant, and is widely available in market packs at nurseries and garden centers in the spring.

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I think this variety is called “Carpet of Snow’ — a short, compact white-flowering form I got to photograph during a visit at a beach in Lisbon, Portugal.

PURPLE FOXGLOVE. From among the flowers I opted to feature in this post, this one is the closest to my heart as I have studied about this flower since my Pharmacy years at the university. My love for Pharmacognosy as a subject is due to interesting plants like the foxglove. The common foxglove, (Digitalis purpurea), is a biennial or short-lived herbaceous perennial from the figwort (some says, its plantain) family). This pretty plant is such a wonder as it is the source of various cardiac (heart) stimulants like digitoxin or digoxin, digitalin, and digitonin (collectively called cardiac glycosides) that are now used in modern medicine in the preparation of the drug digitalis.

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The purple foxglove. While it is of European origin, we actually have this in the Philippines. This one was captured at Norther Blossom Flower farm in Atok, Benguet.

Enjoy these lovely visual therapy! Take it easy everyone.

Flower Dome @ Gardens by the Bay (Singapore)

Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844

I am a plant paramour. Not that I am secretly in love with a married plant, but my fascination towards various flora is not something most people know about me. As a child, I grew up learning how to appreciate flowers and trees through my grandma’s endearing love for various vegetation. During my pharmacy years, I have always valued attending my Botany, Pharmacognosy, and Phytochemistry classes.

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When I had the opportunity to go to Singapore, I looked forward to visiting Gardens by the Bay’s Flower Dome. I have heard and read so many good things about this famed glass greenhouse. I was even more thrilled to know that the annual Tulipmania was being exhibited.

Here are some quick facts about Singapore’s Flower Dome:
It is regarded as the largest glass greenhouse in the world as listed in the 2015 Guinness World Records. It features a changing display of flowers and plants from various regions of the world, notable are those from the Mediterranean and semi-arid regions. It is an indoor event space that spans 1,300 m² that can accommodate up to 1,000 people. (Imagine, it is about as big as 2.2 football fields put together). The indoor temperature range is at 23°C – 25°C, replicating the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions like South Africa, California and parts of Spain and Italy. And to cover the dome, 3,332 glass panels of 42 different shapes and sizes were used for the entire area.

The dome is divided into the following sections:
BAOBABS AND BOTTLE TREES
This features some of the largest trees in the flower dome that includes the African Baobab, Drunken trees, and Ghost Tree. They have some of the most interesting flowers and amazing trunks.

SUCCULENT GARDEN
This garden boasts a variety of beautiful prickly plants known to thrive in deserts. Succulents belong to families such as Cacti, Aloes, and Crassulas. These spine-filled beauties are such a delight to see. I personally adore the wooly cactus and some agave species.

AUSTRALIAN GARDEN
The Australian garden displays some native flowers in full bloom. Some of the most unique flowers and trees I’ve seen within the dome are those from this area. I was personally fascinated with the Queensland Bottle Tree and the Grass Tree.

SOUTH AFRICAN GARDEN
Another diverse section within the dome is the African garden. A variety of shrubs, succulents, bulbs and flowers are featured in this African landscape. I’m surprised to know that the “Birds of Paradise” is actually a plant of African origin.

SOUTH AMERICAN GARDEN
Most plants in this garden are from Chile like the Monkey Puzzle Tree, the Puya and Chilean Wine Palm. The Wine Palm per se is eye-catching because of its immense height and girth while the monkey-tree feature spines in its trunk.

CALIFORNIAN GARDEN
This area of the dome features shrubs and some trees known for their aroma and furry greenery that discourage herbivores from feeding on them. I was so happy to have seen an Arctostaphylos plant at this section. I have only seen such plant in my Pharmacognosy books then.

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MEDITERRANEAN GARDEN and OLIVE GROVES
Perhaps, one of my favorites inside the dome! It is my first time to see an olive tree and date palms. Wayback college and review days, I have always talked about olives. It is also one of my palates’ beloved fruit. I am also a date fan. I just love it when my friends from the Middle East send me some of these sweets. Fig and pomegranate trees are also found. Just lovely!

And of course, the main reason why I came to see the Flower Dome – the star of the greenhouse – Tulips!!! I have never been to the Netherlands (not yet) but I have always desired of seeing tulips. While it is true that Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay isn’t the same as the Netherlands’ Keukenhof gardens — it is perhaps the closest one can get to being bounded by stunning tulips in full bloom, sans flying to Europe.

The Tulipmania features a wide selection of tulips, with about 30 varieties in countless colors and shapes. It definitely brought out the flower enthusiast in me. I was overjoyed and charmed by each kind of tulips I saw. It was crazy! My camera was thrilled to have captured such beauty. Allow my photographs to speak for these flowers’ magnificence.
By the time this write-up gets published in my WordPress, the annual Tulipmania has ended. For those of you who wish to see them, watch out for next year’s schedule. (It usually happens between March and May).

Flower Dome Opening Hours:
• Open daily:
9.00am – 9.00pm
Last ticket sale: 8.00pm
Last admission: 8.30pm

ADMISSION
• Local Resident Rate – One Conservatory
Adults: $12
Senior Citizens (>60 years old): $8
Children (3-12 years old): $8
• Local Resident Rate – Two Conservatories
Adults: $20
Senior Citizens (>60 years old): $15
Children (3-12 years old): $12
• Standard Rate – Two Conservatories
Adults: $28
Children (3-12 years old): $15

My flower dome experience made me appreciate more of plants diversity and beauty. It was such a beautiful experience that made my soul really happy.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan.