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GLEANINGS FROM THE WEB—4
Compiled by Wayne Handlos
Google has a feature which allows you to be notified of websites that use certain keywords that you
designate. The following selections are from the “Alerts”, which have arrived over the past year. The
links take you to the sites, serious, frivolous occasionally almost scandalous and frequently irrelevant.
CCGS does not endorse any product mentioned here.
Study of phytoremediation benefits of 86 indoor plants published
SUWON, KOREA—Formaldehyde is a major contaminant of indoor air,
originating from particle board, carpet, window coverings, paper products, tobacco
smoke, and other sources. Indoor volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde
can contribute to allergies, asthma, headaches, and a condition known as
''sick building syndrome". The concern is widespread; a 2002 report from the World
Health Organization estimated that undesirable indoor volatiles represent a serious
health problem that is responsible for more than 1.6 million deaths per year and
2.7% of the global burden of disease.
Scientists have long known the benefits of using plants to absorb and metabolize
gaseous formaldehyde. Phytoremediation—the use of green plants to remove
pollutants or render them harmless—is seen as a potentially viable and environmentally
significant means of improving the indoor air quality in homes and offices.
A team of scientists from Korean's Rural Development Administration and the
Department of Horticulture at the University of Georgia tested the efficiency of
volatile formaldehyde removal in 86 species of plants representing five general
classes (ferns, woody foliage plants, herbaceous foliage plants, Korean native plants,
and herbs). The results of the extensive research were published inHortScience.
Phytoremediation potential was assessed by exposing the plants to gaseous
formaldehyde in airtight chambers constructed of inert materials and measuring the
rate of removal.Osmunda japonica (Japanese royal fern), Selaginella tamariscina
(Spikemoss),Davallia mariesii (Hare's-foot fern), Polypodium formosanum,
Psidium guajava(Guava), Lavandula (Sweet Lavender), Pteris dispar, Pteris multifida
(Spider fern), andPelargonium (Geranium) were the most effective species
tested. Ferns had the highest formaldehyde removal efficiency of the five classes of
plants tested, withOsmunda japonica determined to be most effective of all 86 species,
coming in at 50 times more effective than the least (D. deremensis) efficient
While this site does not have any pictures of seeds of Pelargonium it does have
some of Geranium species and wild plants like the one shown on the left. Unfortunately
their links to other sites do not work.
One of the sites that provides lots of information about Pelargonium species is
this one from South Africa.
From the Wall Street Journal:
“In 2009, Atlanta-based Home Depot began promoting what it calls the Big Red
Geranium as part of its private-label VIVA! flower line.
“But Swiss plant breeder Syngenta says the flower is identical to the Calliope
Hybrid Geranium, which it developed over 14 years by crossing species of ivy
geraniums used in hanging baskets with zonal geraniums in pots.
‘Calliope Dark Red’“The Calliope, which featured an unusually intense velvety red color, wasn't sold
exclusively to any retailer. "We tread lightly because you can alienate the others,"
says Gary Falkenstein, the global supply-chain head in charge of flower
cuttings for Syngenta.
“Home Depot bought the flower's cuttings from Syngenta, just as Wal-Mart and
Lowe's did, but it rebranded them. A spokeswoman for Home Depot says the
Big Red Geraniums were "exclusive in name."
“Lowe's and Home Depot decline to disclose their sales of plants. But in the first
year that the Calliope Hybrid Geranium, was on the market, six million of the
plants were sold, says Mr. Falkenstein.”
If I do live again I would like to be as a flower – no soul but perfectly beautiful.
Perhaps for my sins I shall be made a red geranium!”- Oscar Wilde, author
From the following site: http://www.gardenandgreen.co.uk we can learn about
bumblebees (far left). According to them our favorite plants do not fare well.
However, honeybees (near left).in my garden and greenhouse have not got this
message. Honeybees are not a species native to North America. They were
introduced from Europe.
The Bumbleebee Conservation Trust is creating a buzz in the wildlife world with its work in protecting
Bumblebees, vitally important insects, that are a barometer for a healthy natural environment.
If you wish to have happy bees, most annual bedding plants are best avoided: for examplePelargonium,
Begonia, busy lizzies, pansies, petunias, lobelias and the like have been subjected to extreme artificial selection
by plant breeders to produce larger, more spectacular blooms in a huge variety of colours, but in the
process the flowers have often lost the vital nectar that attracts bees, or the shape of the flower has become
so deformed that insects can no longer reach the nectar or pollen. In extreme cases the flowers are sterile
and produce no pollen at all. Double varieties with extra sets of petals are often impossible for insects to get
into: this is very obvious with some types of rose.
Old-fashioned cottage garden flowers such as aquilegia, geraniums, globe thistles and borage are generally
far better. There are countless useful culinary herbs too: for example lavender, chives, marjoram, sage and
rosemary are all loved by bees. Herbs and other cottage garden flowers are often very similar to the wild
flowers from which they originated, and so have not lost their natural link with their pollinators. They are
also pretty robust, easy to grow, and most are perennials so that you do not have to plant them every year.
Most grow well in a traditional herbaceous border, while if you have only a small space they will grow well
in pots on a patio or even in a window box
From the Hereford Times (England)- “Hereford pensioner Dilys Price has watched
her geranium leap to an amazing eight feet tall after feeding it Tetley Extra Strong Tea
each morning. The plant, named Appleblossom, has now became so high it has almost
outgrown Dilys’s South Wye home. “I have had it about two or three years and I feed it
a drop of tea each morning,” she said. “I’ve never seen it so tall. Everyone wants a cutting
Instructions for producing geranium tree can be found on the following site:
The following recipes come from the following site: http://www.greenprophet.com/ and the author
is Miriam Kresh.
“For an alcohol-free, soothing cold drink, I’ll brew rose geranium leaves as tea. Children especially
like this mildly candy-flavored tea. Just pour boiling water over 5 or 6 large rinsed and chopped
leaves, cover, and let it steep about 10 minutes. Sweeten as desired, remove the chopped leaves, and drink
hot or cold. ...
“And it’s simple to make geranium-infused cream for those summer fruits. In a small pan, heat 2
rose geranium leaves with 1 cup of whipping cream and 4 tablespoons of sugar. Don’t let it simmer or boil,
just let it get hot over low heat. This should take only 5 minutes if the cream was at room temperature.
“Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of cream cheese. Cover. When it’s all cool, put it away in
the refrigerator overnight.
“In the morning, the cream will be thick and fragrant. Transfer it to a bowl and set a bowl full of
sliced fruit next to it for dipping. Or pour the cream over sliced fruit in individual bowls. Surprisingly, watermelon
matches this delicate cream perfectly.”
The painting is titled “Red Geranium Basket” and is by an artist named Amy Hautman.
You can find out more about her at www.amyhautman.blogspot.com
The photograph is entitled “A Pelargonium Corner in Cordoba” and was
posted at www.flickr.com by bestfor / richard.
Found on a website best left unidentified! “Pelargonium thyroid – a hybrid species
of pelargonium with thin drooping shoots (up to one meter in length). This feature
allows you to kind of grow pelargoniums like the thyroid ampelnoe plant. The leaves
have plyuschevidnuyu form, very juicy and have a bright green color. There are plants
with leaves bordered with a beautiful white border. The flowers are both double, and not
double, painted in bright colors range from white and salmon, pale – pink – to bright
purple. … Pelargonium plyuschelistnaya owes its name to the leaves, like the ivy
leaves. As pelargonium garden, this variety has semi-double and double, simple flowers.
Very often on the leaf surface is formed a dark area, which is typical for this species.
Pelargoniums plyuschevidnuyu often used as a flower – ornaments for balconies, terraces
or in hanging lawns.