The World around Us

Now that some of you are house bound, either out of necessity or choice, take some time to look at the world directly around you. We are inundated with world news yet wonders abound in the microcosm of our home and garden. 

Spring is peeping above the ground and poised to spring so to speak even here in Ontario. Snowdrops are in full bloom and other bulbs are poking out of the ground. My houseplants are blooming with the lengthening of the days and hopefully the warmth will arrive soon and dampen the spread of Covid 19. We will get through this and life will go back to normal 🙂 In the meantime, slow down and savour the time spent in a smaller space with loved ones.

heart of phalenopsis

As designers, we generally look at the big picture, plants as masses and blocks of colour, form and texture. Plants are even more fascinating close up as we peer into their hearts and view their reproductive stamens and pistils that are their raison d’etre and the whole reason why we have flowers.

ball shaped pistil of a yellow primrose

Quick botany lesson here! The pistil is the female part of the flower and comprises of the stigma (the end bit), the style (stem) and the ovaries (where the seeds form). The stamen is the male part and comprises of the anther (where the sticky pollen dusts insects and us!) and the filament (stem) that bobs the anther about so as not to miss any visiting insect. 

stamens of a clivia surrounding the star shaped pistil

Stamens and pistils come in a myriad of shapes and sizes designed to attract either a variety of insects or one particular insect (sometimes bird or bat or even a mammal!) that the flower evolved with.

feathery stamens and central pistil of an easter cactus
white phalenopsis

The vanilla bean comes from an orchid that is pollinated by only one bee and some hummingbirds and was impossible to grow domestically until one young boy discovered their secret! Now they are hand pollinated.


As the busy bee or humming bird probe into the heart of the flowers for nectar, they get dusted with pollen and some plants like the amaryllis and lily are very generous with their pollen! Then when they visit the next flower they brush against the pistil that sticks out and transfer some of that pollen to fertilize the next generation. As any of you know who have brushed up against a lily, pollen is notoriously sticky and persistent but enough of it gets around LOL!

the spidery petals of Hamamelis Jelena

I often wonder how the early bloomers get pollinated, snowdrops and hazels bloom even before the snow is gone. There must be some hardy bees out there!

last year’s seed capsule of Hamamelis Arnold’s Promise
fiery blossoms of an easter cactus
new life

Mother Nature is a hard task master but life goes on. In the meantime, do that online course you’ve been wanting to do in flower arranging, painting, learn a new language for when you can travel again, clean out that cupboard or your whole house, I certainly need to!! or any of those things you’ve been putting off due to life getting in the way. We may not have another time like this for a while (hopefully). Of course, if you are ill, rest, do not panic but do not ignore your symptoms, if they become worse, contact your health provider and follow their instructions.

Take care everyone 🙂

One thought on “The World around Us

  1. It is amazing how flowers do what the must to passively attract pollinators; and it is amusing that some have enslaved humans, and gotten us to cultivate and breed them so extensively, while believing that it is for our benefit alone.


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