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Entries Tagged as 'Hobbies & Games'

Ideas for Landscaping a Hill

Ideas for Landscaping a Hill

Landscaping a hill could be a hobby for some and a passion for others. There are some who find hill landscaping an obsession. While, for some it could be a profession. Hill landscape experts spend hours to ensure their landscape is the best in the neighborhood. Landscaping a hill adds visual beauty to one’s garden and also makes the steep hills easy to navigate. Living on top of a hill or near a hill is picturesque. However, landscaping a hill could be at times very challenging. You need to take into consideration many factors before sketching out an idea for landscaping a hill.

Ideas for Landscaping a Hill - A Few Suggestions

First and the foremost thing that a hill landscape architect has to consider is the steepness of the hill. He has to develop the idea for landscaping the hill based on incline of the hill. Landscaping ideas for a gentle incline and a steep slope would be entirely different.

Take into consideration the type of soil of the hill and the possibilities of erosion. Erosion could destroy the garden of the hill landscape. If the hill has a steep incline, there is always a possibility of landslides. This point has to be considered before designing a landscape garden for a hill.

If you are landscaping a steep hill, it would be a good idea to plant trees that develop deep root networks. This would prevent erosion and landslides and at the same time help to maintain water level in ground. This idea for landscaping a hill helps to make the soil stable and also provides shade. Instead of trees, shrubs that have good root network system, which would help in preventing erosion, could also be planted.

It would be good landscaping idea to convert a gentle hill into a beautiful garden that has colorful flowering plants. Another idea for landscaping a hill is to cut the gentle slope to make terrace gardens.

When you are landscaping a hill, make sure to install a retaining wall and a few steps on the hill. A retaining wall would prevent landslides and also ensures the soil is not eroded. This is an idea to maintain water level in the plants. The plants grown on a landscaped hill have to be watered regularly. Carving out steps on a hill helps to deal not only with erosion but also gives a unique beauty to the hill landscape.

Another idea for landscaping a hill is to create a rock garden. A rock garden could be constructed to hold the shape of a hill. A rock garden would help to redirect the water coming down the slopes of the hill landscape to a sump to be recycled later or to the vegetation on level ground below the hill.

Landscaping designs exhibit the creative and imaginative ability and skills of a professional. A professional has to strike a balance between the appearance of the garden and the functionality. It is the responsibility of a landscaping architecture to ensure the prevention of landslides and soil erosion.

Make Your Own Birthday Cards

Make Your Own Birthday Cards

Birthdays are occasions for looking forward to the making of plans, for dreaming dreams, and hoping they will come true.

Birthday celebrations are never complete without a birthday card. Although there exist several diverse types of birthday cards that are available in the gift shops, making a birthday card for someone is a very sweet gesture. If you think making your own birthday cards is too complicated, let me tell you that it’s not and there are several ways in which you can make a homemade card look as classy and attractive as the ones in the stores. Here are some ideas for you if you want to create your own birthday cards:

Photo Birthday Cards

If you have some wonderful photographs that remind you of all the fond memories of times spent together, then creating birthday cards using these photographs is a wonderful idea. For people who have a computer, you can create a soft copy of the birthday card using a good card-making application and get it printed! To give the card that lustrous look, you can take a printout on a glossy photo-paper, which is generally used to print the photographs. In case you don’t have a computer or not very keen on using it, you can simply stick the hard copies of photographs onto paper while creating a birthday card. Photo birthday cards can also be preserved in photo frames to cherish the fond memories over the years.

Do-It-Yourself Birthday Cards

Sometimes we need a bit of help while taking up a particular task. If you need a little bit of help to get started on birthday card designs and layouts, then the do-it-yourself (DIY) birthday card kits will help you. The DIY birthday card kits provide you blank cards and some basic decorative accessories like paper flowers, beads and stick-on decorations, which help you to make a birthday card on your own.

Creative Birthday Cards

If you are confident about your drawing, painting or craft skills, then it is always better to create a birthday card that is a unique piece of art in itself. All you need to do is start with your empty canvas and create a painting that you think will be appropriate for a birthday card. Even if you are good at crafts like origami or any other similar arts, then you can create a birthday card using those skills. If you create an innovative card on your own you are not just presenting a birthday card but a memento, which can be cherished for a long time.

E-cards/Online Birthday Cards

Most of us are Internet-savvy and hence e-cards are an obvious choice for people who are short of time and want to send a birthday card with the click of a mouse. In case you are planning to send an electronic birthday card, there are options that allow you to customize the e-cards as well. In case you want to check out the customized e-cards, you can have a look at our collection of ecards.

Shade Garden Plants

Shade Garden Plants

The term “shade” has many variations in gardening. A shade in gardening could possibly mean a dimly lit area beneath tall trees, a bright but a non-sunny spot or an area that gets sunlight for a few hours in the morning and shade for the remaining day.

There is a wide variety of plants that have been categorized as shade garden plants. A well-landscaped shade garden or a shaded garden has a charm of its own. Choose the flowering plants that grow well in the shade. The bloom color of the plants should complement each other to harmonize the appearance of the garden. The shade garden provides a cooling and soothing effect to one’s eyes in summer. Landscaping plays a prominent role while developing a shaded garden.

A few things that you need to take into account before planning a shaded garden are the type of shade and soil texture. There are two types of shades - partial shade and total shade. This is an important criterion to choose the plants according to degree of the shade.

The soil-texture of the area should also be considered. The soil-texture could be either damp or dry. You need to prepare the soil before planting. You can mix mulch with the soil to create a perfect soil texture.

Like the plants that grow in sunlight, the shade garden plants also require regular watering. If you are planning for a shade garden under the tall trees, remember, the trees would guzzle moisture leaving very little for the shade plants. Hence, it is wise to water the plant regularly or depending on the basis of the soil-texture.

A Few Shaded Plants

You need to understand the degree of shade of the site you have chosen for a shade garden. Remember, the shades vary from dense shade to partial shade. Choose your shade garden plants accordingly. It is always better to choose the plants that match the conditions of a proposed site, instead of changing the pre-existing conditions. Here are the examples of some of the shade garden plants.

Monkshood - This plant is ideal for partial or dapple shade. The blooms of the monkshood would last for a couple of months. This plant is pest and disease resistant.

Fern - Fern is one the plants that is widely used in shade gardening. It has a unique appearance and grows well in all degrees of shades.

Golden Dead Nettle - This plant is one of the plants that would make a wonderful ground cover. It would make an ideal border plant for the garden. Golden Dead nettle is one of the preferred plants for container gardening.

Japanese Yew - There is a wide variety of colors in Japanese yew. It is mostly used as a foundation plant and would also make an excellent border hedge. This plant is commonly used in rock gardens.

Turk’s Cap Hibiscus - This plant blooms in summer and autumn. It is a perennial plant and would make an ideal plant for shade gardens. The bright colored flowers attract butterflies and small birds such as hummingbirds.

Wood Anemones - This is one of the perennial plants that grow well in shady areas. The blooms are star-shaped and are known as sepals. There are two types of blooms - white-colored and blue-colored.

Shade gardening is one of the many types of gardening techniques that is in vogue. Some of the plants that are preferred by gardeners for shade gardening are lily of the valley, bunchberry, shooting star, forget-me-not and many more.

Tips on Growing Sweet Corn

Tips on Growing Sweet Corn

Very often, we found out that sweet corn bought from market didn’t taste up to our expectations. They don’t taste sweet as much as we expect. The fact behind this is that as soon as corns are picked up, the sugar from the corn flesh starts converting into starch. If you really long to test garden fresh, juicy sweet corn, you can give a try and plant sweet corn in your garden!

Tips on Growing Sweet Corn

Planting sweet corn and managing them are quite easy. The most important things in growing sweet corn are proper planting, healthy soil and picking at the right time. Let’s see some of the important tips on growing sweet corn, which will assist you in successful maintaining and harvesting of sweet corn.

Preparation of Soil

Fertile soil with humus and enough moisture is a must for growing sweet corn plants. There should be proper drainage, as sweet corn plants can’t tolerate waterlogged soil. Preparation of soil is usually done at least one month prior to sowing corn. Soil should be plowed deeply and should be left for drying. This is done to prevent spreading of soil-borne pathogens from any of the previous crops planted at that particular site. This will also prevent nematodes if present. If given an option, prefer sites where crop rotation has been followed, as these sites have less chances of disease occurrence. Also, if possible, plant leguminous plants such as peas and beans prior to planting corns to have more nitrogen in the soil (leguminous plants enrich the soil with nitrogen with the help of their legumes).

Sowing and Plantation of Sweet Corn

For a sweet corn plant to be healthy and have a good harvest, it is necessary to grow healthy and disease-free corn seedlings. So, care should be taken right from the sowing phase. The soil that is utilized for sowing sweet corn should be rich in nutrients, otherwise supplement it with farmyard manure and multi-purpose compost. First thing to be taken care is sowing the right variety of corn, since for each corn type, the requirements are different, for example, “sugar-enhanced” and “super-sweet” corn can’t tolerate cold temperatures, so they should be planted only after frost when temperature is around 17ºC, whereas normal “sweet corn” can be grown early even when the atmospheric temperature is around 10ºC. Also make sure that the corn seeds are fungicide-treated and are of resistant variety.

Sowing can be done outdoors or in a greenhouse. But sowing in greenhouse is advantageous as it is easy to maintain the optimum plant requirements. Sowing should be done preferably in late April. Sow corn seeds at about 3-4 cm deep and cover them with soil. Watering should be done thoroughly once after sowing. When the seedlings reach a height of about 2 cm, choose the healthy seedlings for transplantation. Before planting in the exact site, acclimatize the seedlings in outdoors by keeping in shade. Now the acclimatized seedlings can be transplanted in garden soil.

Growing sweet corn can also be achieved by planting the seeds directly into the soil. Planting by seeds or seedlings should be done about 20-30 cm apart and 50-60 cm between rows. Since corn is wind-pollinated, there should be at least 100 plants per block to enhance the fertilization process. Less corn plants per block hampers the pollination and results in short cornstalks and fewer cobs. Watering should be done regularly. Too less or too excess watering always leads to disease problems.

Taking Care of Sweet Corn

Sweet corn need less maintenance as compared to other crops. However, it is important to take care of certain things such as keeping the soil moist and removing weeds regularly. If soil is dry, you will notice curling of leaves. These should be taken care of by watering at regular intervals. When the corn plants reach a height of 50 cm, watering frequency should be once in a week. Also, this is the time to apply external nutrients in order to have a good harvest. Usually chemical fertilizers are not preferred since they have side effects in the long run. Therefore, instead of using chemical fertilizers to your garden sweet corn, you can add eco-friendly organic fertilizers by composting kitchen garbage and food leftovers. Depending upon the cultivars, ear (female inflorescence) and tassel (male inflorescence) will develop at a certain time and pollination will take place. Gentle shaking of the plants will increase the chances of fertilization and help in uniform development of the kernel.

Harvesting of Sweet Corn

Allow the corncobs to grow for about 20 days after the first silk strands appear. When the cob attains a certain length, you can check whether the corncobs are ready for harvesting or not. If the kernels produce a white milky juice when being punctured, it is confirmed that the corncobs are ripe. Harvest the ripe cobs until it becomes too late. Normally corncobs are harvested within 70-100 days of plantation time, depending upon the variety and the weather conditions.

Diseases and Pests of Sweet Corn

As long as there is a practice of crop rotation, nutrient balance and proper watering, sweet corn are rarely damaged by diseases and pests. However, diseases affect the sweet corn when any of the practices has been disturbed. Let’s see some of the commonly occurring sweet corn diseases.

Important fungal diseases of sweet corn include rust, smut, leaf blight, root and stalk rot, seed rot and seedling diseases. Rust is one of the common diseases developed due to less moisture and cold temperature, whereas smut disease is developed due to excess water and high temperature. Corn leaf blight disease is developed mostly due to monoculture of corn for subsequent years. Overcrowding and poor drainage may result into root and stalk rot disease. Seed rot and seedling disease spread through poor quality seeds. In addition, there are nematode diseases, viral diseases and bacterial diseases whose exact causes are not known. The common sweet corn pests are wireworm and white grub. Other pests include flea and sap beetles, cutworms, corn borer and corn earworm.

Diseases and pests of sweet corn can be controlled by following cultural practices such as planting improved and suitable varieties of the particular area, regular removal of weeds and affected plant parts, proper irrigation and avoiding monoculture as far as possible.

In fact, it is worth to face hurdles while growing sweet corn because the real taste of garden fresh corn is amazing. Experience of picking up ripe corn right from our garden is really satisfying. Also, one can try on many of the mouth-watering corn recipes with the freshly picked sweet corn. Let me mention some of the corn recipes, which you can try and explore: cornbread salad, corn cobbler, corn patties, corn casserole, corn salsa, corn salad, scalloped corn, corn fritters, corn pudding… and what about popping corn????

Characteristics of Horoscope Signs

Characteristics of Horoscope Signs

It is a fact, each and every person has heard about the zodiac signs - the moon signs and sun signs. There are 12 sun signs and the Sun’s movement in each sign lasts for thirty days. The zodiac sign cycle or the chart of the zodiac signs starts with “Aries”.

A ‘horoscope‘ is a diagrammatic representation of the positions of the planets, moon and the sun at the time of birth of a person. The term horoscope is derived from the Greek word “horoskopos” meaning “a look at the hours”. An astrologer interprets and writes the horoscope based on the date of birth and the time of birth. A few common names for horoscope are “Astro-chart”, “Star-chart” and “Cosmogram”. Horoscope is an integral part of astrology - Western or Asian.

Personality of Zodiac Signs

The characteristics and the traits of each and every zodiac sign are different. If you know the zodiac signs of the people with whom you are closely associated with, it would be easy to establish an amicable relationship (in personal and professional life). Here we look at the characteristics of the twelve zodiac signs.

Aries (21 March - 20 April): Fire is the element of this zodiac sign. Aries is ruled by the planet Mars. The lucky colors of this horoscope sign are shades of red including scarlet and carmine. Shades of color green help to promote social harmony and romance. The best day of the week for an Arian is Tuesday; the numbers 1, 2, 4 are the lucky numbers. The animal symbol of this horoscope sign is “Ram”. Diamond, Ruby and Amethyst are the lucky stones. An Arian by nature is active, straightforward and energetic. The other qualities of this star include honesty, independence, impetuousness and aggressiveness. An Arian is said to be incompatible with Capricorn, Libra and Cancer. This sun sign is compatible with Leo and Sagittarius.

Taurus (21 April - 21 May): Taurus is ruled by the planet Venus and controlled by the element Earth. The shades of green, cream, yellow and orange are the colors, which bring luck. Romance and social harmony could be balanced by using the shades of red and violet. Numbers 4, 6, 7 and 8 are the lucky numbers; while the best day of the week for a Taurean is Friday. Emerald, Coral and Jade are the gems that bring luck. The animal symbol of Taurus is “Bull”. One of the major characteristics of Taurus is reliability and loyalty. People belonging to this star are stable and possessive about their relationships. The other qualities of this star are affection, endurance and lack of flexibility. The compatible sun signs with Taurus are Capricorn and Virgo, while they are incompatible with Aquarius, Leo and Scorpio.

Gemini (22 May - 21 June): The element of Gemini is Air and the planet is Mercury. The lucky colors are shades of yellow, blue, white and black. The shades of blue promote social harmony and romance. The lucky numbers are 3, 5 and 8. Wednesday is the lucky day of the week. Gems such as Agate, Aquamarine and Tiger’s eye are the lucky stones for a Geminian. “Monkey” is the animal sign of this star. A person who is born under this star is agile, quick learner and has great communication skills (verbal and non-verbal). The other characteristics of Gemini are optimism, intellectual and flexibility. A Gemini is most compatible with Libra and Aquarius and least compatible with Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces.

Cancer (22 June - 22 July): Water is the element and the ruling planet is the Moon of the sun sign Cancer. The shades of pastels, blue and silver are the lucky colors while the colors indigo and black help in promoting love affairs and establishes social harmony. The numbers 2, 3, 5, and 9 are the lucky numbers. Monday is the best day of the week for a Cancerian. “Crab” is the animal sign of this star. One of the virtues of this star is perfectionism and nurturing. The other qualities include secretiveness, emotional and over-sensitiveness. Scorpio and Pisces are the most compatible sun signs while Libra, Aries and Capricorn are least compatible with Cancer zodiac sign.

Leo (23 July - 22 August): Fire is the element and the ruling planet of Leo is Sun. The lucky colors are shades of orange, red and gold. The colors indigo, black and shades of blue helps to establish harmony and promote love. The lucky numbers are 1,3, and 9. Sunday is the luckiest day. Gems such as Yellow Diamond, Amber and Chrysolite are the lucky stones. Qualities such as leadership and confidence are associated with the sign Leo. They are generous and caring people. However, they could also be arrogant and self-centered. A Leo is compatible with Aries and Sagittarius. They are not compatible with Taurus, Scorpio and Aquarius. The animal symbol is “Lion”.

Virgo (23 August - 21 September): Mercury is the ruling planet and the element is Earth. The shades of green, yellow, orange and brown are the colors that bring luck, while the shades of blue promote romance and harmony. Numbers 1, 3, 4, 6 and 8 are the lucky numbers. Wednesday is the best day of the week for a Virgo. The animal symbol is “Magpie”. Agate and Hyacinth are the lucky stones. A person born under this sign has an active and analytical mind. They are very observant and organized by nature. Virgo is compatible with Taurus and Capricorn. However, they are least compatible with Gemini, Pisces and Sagittarius.

Libra (22 September - 22 October): Air is the element and Venus is the ruling planet of Libra. Colors such as pale and jade green and shades of pink and blue are the lucky colors. The shades of the color red such as carmine and scarlet help to promote love and romance. Libra is sensitive to the problems of others. They are well-balanced in their personal and official life. They are diplomatic, charming and graceful by nature. A “Dove” is the animal sign for Libra. The numbers 1, 7, 8 and 9 are the lucky numbers, while Friday is the luckiest day. Coral, Jade, Emerald and Quartz are the gems for this sun sign. Libra is compatible with Gemini and Aquarius and incompatible with Aries, Capricorn and Cancer.

Scorpio (23 October - 21 November): Pluto is the ruling planet and Water is the element of this sun sign. The shades of red, brown and violet are the lucky colors; green is the color for love and harmony. The numbers 2, 5 and 7 are the lucky numbers, while Tuesday is the luckiest day of the week. Bloodstone, Jasper and Topaz are the lucky gems for Scorpio. The animal symbol of Scorpio is “Scorpion”. By nature, a Scorpio is jealous, possessive, courageous and determinant. They are also loyal to their loved ones. They are best compatible with Cancer and Pisces, and least compatible with Leo, Aquarius and Taurus.

Sagittarius (22 November - 21 December): Jupiter is the ruling planet while Fire is the element. The shade of purple, blue, red and orange are the lucky colors. The colors that promote harmony and love are yellow and orange. The numbers 1, 3, 5 and 9 are the lucky numbers. Thursday is the luckiest day of the week. The lucky stones are Amethyst, Turquoise and Carbuncle. “Horse” is the animal symbol. The strongest virtues of Sagittarius are innovativeness, optimism and generosity. They make good administrators. The other qualities of this sun sign are self-reliance, practicality and straightforwardness. Aries and Leo are the most compatible signs. Gemini, Pisces and Virgo are incompatible with Sagittarius.

Capricorn (22 December - 20 January): Earth is the element and Saturn is the ruling planet. The lucky colors are brown, black and indigo. The colors that promote love and establish harmony are the shades of silver, brown and purple. The lucky numbers are 1, 2 and 8. Saturday is the best day of the week and the animal is “Goat”. Lucky gems are Black Onyx and Jet. A Capricorn by nature is introvert, reserved and patient. The other virtues of this horoscope sign include conservativeness, sense of humor and spontaneity. Taurus and Virgo are the most compatible sun signs, while Aries, Cancer and Libra are the incompatible signs.

Aquarius (21 January - 19 February): Uranus is the ruling planet and the element is Air. The shades of blue, gray and pink are the lucky colors. A shade of orange promotes love and romance. The numbers 1, 2 and 4 are the lucky numbers and the best day of the week is Saturday. Opal, Garnet, Sapphire and Black Pearl are the lucky stones. “Fox” is the animal symbol of this sign. One of the virtues of an Aquarian is the critical thinking ability. They are independent and emotional by nature. The characteristics that an Aquarian should avoid include fixed ideas, inflexibility and rebelliousness. An Aquarian is most compatible with Gemini and Libra and least with Taurus, Leo and Scorpio.

Pisces (20 February - 20 March): Water is the element and Neptune is the ruling planet of Pisces. All shades of aqua green, blue and gray are considered as the lucky colors. Earth tones, yellow and orange are the colors that promote love, harmony and romance of people born under this star. The numbers that are lucky are 2, 4, 5 and 6. “Fish” is animal symbol and the lucky day of Pisces is Thursday. The gems associated with Pisces are Diamond and Camelian. Pisceans are creative, emotional and intuitive in nature. They are sensitive to the needs of others. Pisces are compatible with Scorpio and Cancer. Gemini, Sagittarius and Virgo are the least compatible sun signs.

Symbolism of the Lily

Symbolism of the Lily

Beautiful flowers can pep up any dull or boring day! A flower garden full of fresh blooms can relax even the most tired minds! Flowers always had a symbolic meaning since the olden days. The various flower meanings differed terms of history and folklore. In the ancient days, particular flowers even had a specific kind of symbolism associated with it. Even today, flowers are used to express beautiful thoughts and emotions! The lily is one such beautiful flower that has played a very important role in ancient mythology. Lily is a common name given to Liliaceae, which is found all over earth. Lilies particularly grow in temperate areas and tropical regions.

So, what is the secret language of the lilies? Is there a particular symbolism of the lily? Here, we shall discover many such interesting facts about the symbolism of the lily flower.

Symbolism of the Lily:
During the Middle Ages, the picture of the lily was used as a part of religious art. The forms were found in the depictions of Jesus. In the ancient days, there have been images of Mother Mary holding the lily flower imprinted on coins. The lily thus denotes spirituality.

In ancient Greece, people regarded lily flower as a symbol of sexuality. The lily flower also had an important role to play in the old folktales. As per the tradition, it is said one always approached an expectant mother with a lily and a rose flower. (The lily would symbolize a boy and the rose would represent a girl.) Thus, if the mother picks the rose, it would be a baby girl or if she would pick the lily, it would be a baby boy!

White lilies as per tradition, symbolize chastity as well as virtue. This was the symbol of Virgin Mary’s purity. The white color is what represents the purity of thought and action as well as sheer innocence. In ancient Egypt, the lily was associated with fertility.

In the ancient days, the lilies were particularly offered to God. They were supposed to denote a pure life. The lily was also used as a lucky charm especially in China. The flower in itself was used as a part of medicine. In Feng Shui, the lily flower is used to symbolize abundance.

Amongst the various types of lilies, Peruvian lilies represent friendship and devotion. The Pink Stargazer lily represents immense wealth and prosperity where as the White Stargazer lily represents peace and purity.

A stylized form of the lily is used in many modern contexts. For example, such an image is the main emblem for scouting organizations. In ‘The Da Vinci Code’, a bestseller by Dan Brown, the symbol has been featured prominently. The stylized versions of the flower were also used in ornamentation purposes or as royal emblems in various cultures. A peek into history reveals these symbols were found adorning the helmets of the Scythian Kings.

Thus, we see the interesting theories and references in history that reveal about the symbolism of the lily. A beautiful flower to behold, the lily will always hold a special place in the lives of many.

Different Kinds of Plants

Different Kinds of Plants

There are many different kinds of plants. These can be found in almost every type of habitat and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Plants are an important source of nutrition for mankind and many of the herbs can be used as medicine. A few examples of different plant types are given below.

Angiosperms

Angiosperms belong to the family of vascular plants. They represent the most advanced condition among terrestrial plants. They have the ability to flower. They have tubes, which carry nutrients and water throughout the body of the plant. This kind of transportation is called the vascular system. The main function of the flower is to protect the plants seeds. Flowers form a part of the reproductive elements of angiosperms. The stamen produces the pollen, which is used to fertilize the egg in the carpel to produce more seeds.

Angiosperms can have one of two types of seeds, dicots or monocots. Dicots possess flowers with four or five petals and complex leaves with veins. Dicots include sunflowers, catiapple trees, cherry trees and roses. Monocots have a single package of food. Their leaves are made of long strands, and petals in groups of three. Monocots include corn, lilies grass and palm trees. Monocots that are grown in large quantities to feed people and animals are pumpkins, potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers. The grass family of monocots includes wheat, barley, rye, sorghum, oats, millet and sugar.

Annual, Perennial and Biennial plants

Annual plants have a one-year life cycle while biennial plants have a two-year life cycle. Annual plants are divided into two categories – winter annuals and summer annuals. A plant can behave as an annual or a perennial according to local climatic and geographic growing conditions. Annual plants that naturally complete their life cycle in less than a year are called true annuals. Examples of true annuals are watermelon, pea and lettuce. Examples of biennials are parsley, carrot and celery. Perennial plant’s life cycle is more than two years. Sweet potato and tomato are examples of perennials.

Epiphytic Plants

They depend on other plants for support growing on trunks and branches. They are also dubbed ‘air plants’. Mosses and orchids are instances of epiphytic plants. Though they are not parasitic, they can be deleterious to their hosts. They have an advantage over plants growing on the ground as they have a relatively better access to sunlight. They obtain nutrients from the air or water around them. They use photosynthesis for the process of nutrition.

Pitcher Plants

They are carnivorous plants. Pitcher plant is also called a meat eater. They normally grow in marshlands, bogs and areas of waterlogged, acidic and nitrogen poor soil. They get their nitrogen intake by eating insects. They usually bear a single, large and nodding flower. The insect traps of a pitcher plant can be quite large and attractive. The inside of the tubular shaped leaf is lined with downward pointing hairs, which block an insect from climbing up the tube and escaping. The fluid in the bottom of the tube contains digestive juices that will ingest the insect prey. They will also consume small frogs and occasionally mice and small birds. They can also absorb nutrients through their root systems.

Desert Plants

These plants are adapted to the arid and hostile environment of a desert. These plants have the capability to store water. They also have the ability to use water efficiently. They usually have few or no leaves, which greatly reduces transpiration. Desert perennial species survive by being dormant during dry periods of the year. They spring to life when water becomes available. Plant species like cacti and succulents, have dense flesh which is capable of storing large amounts of water. Several plants have developed the typical spikes and spines to prevent them from being eaten by animals.

Types of Flowers: Different Kinds of Flowers

Different Kinds of Flowers

There are different types of flowers, which are used for various purposes. Some flowers are used for decorations during the weddings, birthdays or other special occasions. Flowers as also bundled into attractive bouquets, which can be used as means for decoration as well as gifts. Flowers bring joy with their beautiful colors and their mesmerizing fragrance and a source of joy for everyone.

Different Kinds of Flowers

Scientifically speaking, a flower is nothing but a reproductive structure of the plant. The flower contains the male pollen and/or the female ovule in addition to the accessory parts, which are the petals, sepals, and the nectar glands. In terms of botanical studies, flowers can be classified into different types and categories based on several similarities and differences between the different kinds of flowers.

Parts of Plants: Basis for Classification of Different Types of Flowers

The pistil is the female part of the plant, which is shaped like a bowling pin. The pistil is an entire assembly of several parts, which include the stigma, style, and the ovary of the flower. The stigma is located at the top of the flower and it is connected to the ovary by means of the style, which is a long slender tube like structure. The ovary of the flower contains which have to be fertilized in order to develop into a seed. The stamen is the male reproductive part of the flower, which consists of a pollen sac and a long supporting filament. Sepals are green, leaf like structures that are present on the base of the flower. The sepals protect the flower bud, and are collectively referred to as the calyx. The petals are the colorful portion of the flower, which often contain perfume as well as nectar glands. The petals are collectively are called the corolla.

Perfect Flowers

Bisexual flowers are also called as perfect flowers and have both male as well as female reproductive parts. Flowers that contain the androecium as well as the gynoecium are androgynous flowers or hermaphroditic flowers. Examples of bisexual flowers include the lily, rose, and many others. The bisexual flowers do not need to have any features for promoting pollination, since the reproductive process can be taken care of in the same plant with both male and female parts being close to each other.

Imperfect Flowers

Flowers that contain only one type of reproductive organ either male or female, are called imperfect flowers. The ones that contain the androecium or the stamens alone are called male flowers whereas the ones that contain the gynoecium alone are called the female flowers. The imperfect flowers need specialized characteristics that will attract pollinating agents or facilitate pollination in some or the other way. Brightly colored petals or enhanced lengths of styles and stamens are some of the characteristics that certain flowers need to develop in order to facilitate pollination.

Thus, these are the types of flowers according to the botanical definitions. In addition to this, the flowers are also differentiated into more specialized groups and types by studying their anatomies and referring to the scientific nomenclature and classification systems.

Ideas for Painting Pumpkin Faces

Ideas for Painting Pumpkin Faces

With Halloween around the corner, many families will be busy planning various ideas for parties. Halloween and pumpkins go hand-in-hand! Kids love painting pumpkin faces and carving pumpkins, which turns out to be a real enjoyable activity! Painting pumpkin faces is not just meant for the young! It’s a fun activity for all ages. You can think of a variety of pumpkin painting ideas to decorate your party. Besides, a pumpkin that is painted at home would look even more appealing! Here, we shall take a look at some ideas for painting pumpkin faces.

Ideas for Painting Pumpkin Faces:
When you paint pumpkin face patterns, you can pick colors that blend well with the décor of the house. The kind of colors you choose can be as per your imagination, so, use your creativity to the fullest!

The kind of pumpkin you choose to paint should be done carefully. Choose a pumpkin that has a nice shape with a smooth surface. This will help you when you begin painting the pumpkin. An uneven surface can be used creatively if you have the knack. An odd bump on the surface can be used for a nose.

You can get very creative with the pumpkin face ideas. However, not many may have control over the brush. You can then make paper stencils for the particular shape. Tape these stencils over the pumpkin and then use your brush to paint over it. Peel off the stencil. You can cut circles for eyes and then gradually move on to create intricate patterns.

Acrylic paints are best used to paint faces on pumpkins. Apart from acrylic paints, you can use spray-painting methods. Spray paints can also give an interesting effect especially when used with stencils. Permanent markers or inks are useful for those who don’t wish to try something too elaborate.

Here’s one idea that caught my eye amongst the various pumpkin painting ideas. The pumpkins can be painted in a variety of shiny deep tones. These create a beautiful effect when paired with the rest of the décor. Although simple, the effect was truly eye-catching due to the shine and the shimmer.

Here’s another idea for faces to paint on pumpkins. You would need to tape a paper that is cut in any shape as per your desire. Then, use a felt pen to trace around the shape. Use color to fill inside this shape. This will help you to paint the shapes with ease.

Henna is a great idea to paint pumpkin faces or creating intricate designs. Use henna in a cone to maneuver over the pumpkin with ease. With this, you can create many designs as per the themes. Remember to keep the pumpkins untouched for a while to avoid smudging the designs.

If you wish to paint faces on the pumpkins, you can even try innovative methods. Cut pieces of vegetable and affix them on the pumpkins as eyes or nose for the pumpkin face.

Use these ideas for painting pumpkin faces to add a dash of creativity to your decorations this Halloween. Have fun!

Turning Strips of Paper into Art by Quilling

Turning Strips of Paper into Art by Quilling

Have you ever thought of a tiny strip of paper as being a medium for a work of art? If not, then you are probably not alone. Yet an ancient art form is just that. I am referring to the delicate art of paper quilling. It is not known with accuracy exactly where or when this art form got is start, but some feel that it can be traced back as far as the culture of Ancient Egypt. Some of their tombs were found to be decorated with thin metal filigree shapes that remind one of the shapes found in modern quilling.

This art form has definitely weathered the test of time. In the earlier stages of its development, quilling was done with tiny metal wires rather than paper. In later periods it is believed to have been done with guilded paper strips to give the appearance of metal work. During the renaissance era, nuns and monks learned this art form in order to embellish books and other religious items. In fact, it is believed that the term quilling comes from this era. The consensus is that the nuns and monks probably used feather quills as a form to roll the paper on. Trickling down the years to more modern times, quilling spread in popularity throughout Europe, and eventually the Americas. Thus quilling became popular with the “Ladies of Leisure,” since those considered to be part of the “working class” were not likely to be involved with it. It’s interesting to note that listed among the subjects to be taught at some boarding schools in the American Colonies was “Quill Work.” This art form has had it ups and downs in popularity. It has graced religious pieces and has been prominently displayed in some of the finest homes. It has adorned furniture, tea caddies, and frames. Among its designs have been coats-of-arms, panels, and so on.

Thankfully, for those of us who love art in all its different forms, quilling has made a comeback. As early as the Nineteenth Century, information and kits were available to encourage the crafter/artist to learn this skill and keep it alive. More and more pieces of quilling from the past are surfacing, giving us more of a glimpse into this ancient art form. With the addition of modern technology, it’s hard to imagine the next generation of art pieces that will be created in the near future. The next evolution of quilling promises to be exciting while keeping true to its roots.

So if you get excited learning new art forms or crafts, perhaps this is the next one you should tackle. The internet has a wealth of information to get you started. You may want to begin by just looking at some photos of some of the antique pieces that have been done, just for inspiration. Next, why not check out some of the suppliers to get an idea of what you may need to get started. Then maybe you would enjoy a visit to a local museum that has a display of this delicate art. I think you’ll be pleasingly surprised at some of the gorgeous items that have been done just by rolling a little paper into shapes.