Author Archives: Chris Armstrong

Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera Daisies are commonly grown for their bright and  flowers.  They originate from South Africa. Most are hybrids of Gerbera jamesonii and Gerbera viridifolia.  Gerbera daisies (Gerbera jamesonii) are tender perennials and will grow year-round in USDA Zones 8-11, but you can enjoy them in the spring and summer in any climate.  They come in various sizes and colors including pink, yellow, salmon, orange and white. Flower size is anywhere from 2 to 5 inches across and a height from 8 to 24 inches.  They are bred for their color and flower shape.  They can be grown both indoors and outdoors and are commonly used as cut flowers.  Plants thrive in full sun and sandy soil but tolerate light shade.  Choose a site with six to eight hours of sun.  Crown rot is a common problem with gerbera daisies. The crown should be visible above the soil and allowed to dry out between each watering. Plants can be mulched.

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Candy Corn Plant

The common name of this pretty perennial is candy corn plant.  It’s scientific name is  cuphea micropetala. It is native to Mexico. The family includes over 250 perennials and shrubs that are found in tropical and temperate regions.  It is a small semi-woody, shrubby plant that can reach heights of up to 3-4 feet tall with a 2 foot spread at maturity. The plant has an arching and clumping habit and is rounded in shape. The plant has narrow leaves on upright red stems and enjoys a long bloom season, flowering in summer through to fall. The flowers are bright orange and yellow. The bi-colored flowers look like the favorite Halloween candy treat.  The flowers are tubular and 1 to 3 inches long. Continue reading

Catalpa Tree and Its Caterpillars


I have seen a lot of catalpa trees and there are some on Bellevue University campus along the sidewalk as you walk into the library.  The catalpa is sometimes called the Indian bean tree for its production of a distinctive fruit that resembles long, thin bean pods that can grow up to two feet long.  A catalpa does make a statement with its big, bold leaves, masses of fragrant bell-shaped flowers and a grandiose habitat.

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Health Journal

Health is a journal focusing on women’s health. Topics cover: beauty, mind and body, food, and life.

Every issue includes the following sections: “From the Editor,” “The Share,” “Health Advisory Board,” and “What I Know Now.”

Even though it is geared toward women, there are articles for everyone. Some feature articles include Simone Biles talking about what it takes to win Olympic gold, power plate, information on hiking, and recipes for salmon.

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The iris is named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow. It is tall and many different types and colors are available.  It is rugged, reliable, and easy to grow. There are over 300 species in the genus Iris. Irises come in different sizes from six inches to four feet.  The most common colors are in shades of lavender, purple, white and yellow.  Most popular is the tall bearded iris which can be 2 to 3 feet in height.

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Clematis is a perennial vine and called the “queen of climbers”.  Clematis varieties are classified into three groups according to blooming time and characteristics: Group 1 (spring bloomers), Group 2 (repeat bloomers), and Group 3 (summer or fall bloomers).  Check out this website to find out what group each clematis species belongs to:  What Group Is My Clematis? Continue reading


Although okra is technically a fruit, it is usually treated as a vegetable. It is a warm-season plant, growing best in hot and humid climates. It is native to Ethiopia. It has a beautiful flower but it does not last long. Continue reading


The perennial columbine (genus Aquilegia) blooms from mid-spring to early summer and is easy to grow. It is also known as crowfoot or Granny’s Bonnet because of the bell-shaped, spurred flowers. It is native to the northeast regions of the United States and Canada. The name of the genus is derived from the Latin word for eagle, Aquila. The long spurs that extended behind the flower petals resemble the claws of an eagle. They are a favorite of hummingbirds, bees, moths and butterflies. The columbine is also well suited for cut-flower arrangements.

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