Melissa Martin

Melissa Martin, Ph.D.

The flower garden is back in vogue—due to COVID-19 mandates to stay home. People are discovering or rediscovering a plant paradise on their own piece of the planet. And that includes me.

A Heuchera hullabaloo. The spikes of tall, bell-shaped blooms give the coral bell flowers their name. And the foliage is gorgeous. Who knew that coral bells, a perennial, came in so many colors, shapes, and sizes? With modern horticulture and agriculture come new cultivars. My top favorites: ‘Forever Purple’, ‘Midnight Rose’, ‘Berry Smoothie’, ‘Fire Alarm Red’, and ‘Caramel’. I planted these charmers in the shade with dappled sunshine.

A Hydrangea hubbub. The flower heads are simply stunning. Hydrangeas are so showy—they ought to walk the Red Carpet in Hollywood. I planted several of the compact plants instead of the giant cultivars. But I won’t get to see the dazzling drama of the billowy blooms until next year. The roots are settling into their new home.

A Hibiscus hoedown. Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. The tropical look of these exotic sun-loving flowers belongs at a Hawaiian luau. Invite grandma over for hula with a Hibiscus.

Because garden centers usually only carry basic plants, I purchased my flowers online. Yes, the plants arrived via the mail. Emails alerted me when the box would arrive so I could provide water and welcome.

More bees, butterflies, and beneficial bugs are visiting my yard and enjoying the blooming bash. A monarch butterfly flew in for some nectar. Bumbles are gathering around the Bee Balm. Birds are hunting for seeds and berries. It’s a summer shindig.

Flower Tidbits

According to the Gardening Channel, the largest flower in the world is the titan arums, which produce flowers 10 feet high and 3 feet wide. The flowers smell of decaying flesh and are also known as corpse flowers. Ugh! I won’t be planting these in my backyard—the neighbors would complain.

Sunflowers adore the sun, and their heads change direction to point toward the sun as it moves from east to west each day. How cool is that?

Moon flowers bloom only at night, closing during the day. How cool is that?

Scientists surmise there are over 270,000 species of flowers that have been documented. Shazam!

“Flowers are the music of the ground. From earth’s lips spoken without sound.” – Edwin Curran

Ohio Flower Tidbits

According to Ohio History Central, Ohio's State Flower is the Red Carnation—adopted in 1904. The state legislature chose the red carnation to honor President William McKinley, an Ohioan, who was assassinated in 1901. McKinley liked to wear red carnations stuck in his buttonhole on the lapel of his jacket.

Ohioans, get your garden on! And party with the plants.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in southern Ohio.

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