Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Stuff you didn't know you didn't know! 

If a statue in the park of a person on a horse
Has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle.
If the horse has one front leg in the air,
The person died because of wounds received in battle.
If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died
Of natural causes

Only two people
Signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, John Hancock
And Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, But
The last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.

Q. Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of what?
A. Their birthplace

Q.Most boat owners
Name their boats. What is the most popular boat name
A. Obsession

Q.. If you were to
Spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you
Would find the letter 'A'?
A. One thousand

Q. What do Bulletproof vests, fire escapes,
windshield wipers and laser Printers have in common?
A. All were invented
By women.

Q. What is the only
Food that doesn't spoil?
A. Honey 


Planning and Designing your Rose Garden

As the garden design chosen will impact on the health of your roses, the choice of position should be guided not only by aesthetical reflections but also by practical considerations.

It is certainly a good idea to visit rose gardens in your area to get some inspiration and general idea of the various ways roses can be presented and combined to form a harmonious entity.

Air circulation and full sunshine are important for growing healthy roses. Roses should be planted where air circulation is not hampered by screens, walls, fences, buildings, hedges or other plantings.
They should receive a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight per day. Choose an area of your garden where the roses receive sunlight in the morning (bright afternoon sun may affect the color of the flowers and burn the leaves of some roses).

Roses are also particularly allergic to draught and the dripping of water on their leaves. Choose a part of your garden not overhung by trees, shrubs or other plants that can lead to rain drip.  

If you have a larger garden, you may want to group your roses in one area of your garden so as to form a separate rose garden. There are many advantages to creating a separate (enclosed) rose garden. When separated from the rest of the garden the design of the rose parterre can be adapted to the cultural needs of your roses and a separate, rose-friendly watering system can be reserved for that area. Indeed, roses should not be watered from the top as this tends to encourage the growth of leaf fungus and the appearance of pests. The garden hose, soaker or a drip watering system should be placed in the bed with the water running slowly. Also, remember that monocultural rose gardens can look very dull in Winter, so either reserve them to an area that is not visible from the house or mix them with evergreen, grey-leaved plants that will give that area a colored touch during the Winter months.

Friday, August 16, 2013


“Some people are so much sunshine to the square inch.” 
― Walt Whitman

“A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.” 
― Max Muller

Amazing Physiology
                                              Can sunlight actually improve health?
Like plants, human beings also need sunlight for optimal health. Although many believe that any exposure to sunlight is harmful, it is actually an overexposure to direct sunlight that should be avoided.

In fact, in moderation, sunlight can …
  • ease tension,
  • increase immunity,
  • prevent diseases,
  • improve sleep,
  • increase mental performance,
  • heighten metabolism,
  • relieve arthritic pains,
  • and boost energy levels. 
Many of sunlight’s benefits are connected to vitamin D. Our bodies must have the UVB radiation found in sunlight to make this essential, health-promoting vitamin.

When exposed to sunlight, our skin begins to protect itself from overexposure by producing melanin, a chemical that darkens skin, and vitamin D precursors. Increased melanin and vitamin D allow increased exposure to the sun without burning.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


That’s right. One of history’s ironies is that the native of the Americas returned, changed and its properties heightened by Russian intervention. Perhaps if Stalin had known this he might have demanded their return to the motherland a century later when the two nations threatened to annihilate each other. It is thought that Russian immigrants to the US and Canada took seeds with them and by the 1880s companies were offering the ‘Mammoth Russian’ in their catalogues - a variety that was sold until the nineteen seventies.

It took a while for the Americans to take advantage of the sunflower as a cash crop and it is first recorded as silage feed for chickens. Then in 1926 the Missouri Sunflower Growers Association started processing sunflower seed in to oil. The secret was finally out and nothing would be the same for the sunflower ever again. The Canadians got the same idea about the same time and the government there started its breeding programme in 1930. In both countries the breeding material (the seeds) came from members of the Russian Mennonite community.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Although many people would not know from where the sunflower originated it is not really a mistake for which they could be blamed. It would not take long for Europeans, after the discovery of the New World as they called it, to see the benefits of transporting seeds across the Atlantic and beyond. It is thought that the plant arrived in the Old World (to Spain) around the beginning of the sixteenth century but because of its wonderful size and beauty (it was considered very exotic) the sunflower was first used mostly as an ornamental plant. There is a record of a patent for squeezing the oil out of the sunflower much later – in England in 1716.

  It was  not until the eighteenth century that the sunflower gained huge popularity as a cultivated plant and the person we have to thank for that is perhaps not the first who might spring to mind. Peter the Great of Russia went on one of his many trips    and landed up in Holland. There, he became so enamored of the giant flower that he took seeds back to Russia where the people were no doubt nonplussed by it – at least to begin with. During Lent, the Russian Orthodox Church forbad its adherents from consuming oil. However, the oil of the sunflower was not on the prohibited list and the Russian people jumped on Peter’s bandwagon wholeheartedly. By the third decade of the nineteenth century sunflower oil was manufactured in Russia on a large and highly
lucrative commercial scale.
Russia was awash with the giant flowers, growing over two million acres a year. They identified two types, one for oil production and one for their own consumption. The government even invested money in to what we now call research projects and one scientist, VS Pustovoit was the originator of the most successful breeding project. Even today scientific awards for the study of the sunflower are awarded in his name. So, by 1830 the time was ripe for the sunflower (as it had become in Russia) to make a triumphant return to the Americas.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Sunflowers originate from North America but would travel to the Old World and back – and back again - in their centuries old journey to become the plant we know today. They were probably one of the first crops to be grown in the Americas. Before this they were picked by hunter gatherers as a natural source of fat. The seeds could be ground up and mixed with flour to make bread much like the pita variety we eat today. Around five thousand years ago people began to farm them in the south-western parts of North America in what is now Mexico. As they were cultivated over the generations the plants were encouraged to produce ever bigger seeds – and many more of them as well. So, the sunflower we have now bears no resemblance to how it started out as the human race has interfered with its characteristics for all these thousands of years.
It has been suggested that the sunflower was even domesticated before corn. It was during this time that the Cherokee and other Native Americans also began to farm sunflowers. They became an important part of the diet of these peoples as a good source of fat – which hunter gatherer societies needed to supplement the lean meat they would eat. Down south in Mexico the Aztecs were also cultivating the plant but also they also worshipped it. In their temples to the sun, the priestesses would wear headdresses made of sunflowers to give themselves the air of the divine. The past of the sunflower, then, already reveals some ‘secrets’.

Yet no one would have guessed what the future of the sunflower held – and the travels it would endure.

As today, the sunflower seed was cracked and snacked on - something you can eat between meals without ruining your appetite - albeit a much healthier snack than many we eat today. There are early records of the oil being squeezed and used to make bread too. However, the sunflower was not only a food source. It was used to create a dye of a purple color which was used then to enhance clothing, paint bodies and decorate objects. Other parts of the plant were used to make medicinal remedies for snake bites and ointments. The seed oil was used to lubricate hair and skin. As ancient societies could not afford to waste anything the stalks were dried and then used as a building material.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


                                  FIGI HONEYMOON

 Fiji would have to be the ideal location for a romantic getaway.
  • secluded resorts including couples/honeymoon resorts
  • beautiful unspoilt nature including diving
  • all year exotic weather
  • scrumptious fresh food
  • the friendliest people
It's paradise.
However the one drawback would be that Fiji, price-wise, generally is a mid-range upwards location. You can do it on the cheap but generally speaking the majority of options are mid-range and above.
Top-end options are truly world class. If you can do a luxury honeymoon, don't hesitate. You won't be disappointed.
Fiji is well renown for it's stunning beaches, fantastic diving, unspoilt nature, and year round warm weather. That's not even the best part. It is how friendly Fijians are, it's unmatched anywhere in the world.
There would not be too many places around the that could do an exotic, secluded honeymoon better than Fiji. Certain resorts target the couples market, and therefore, have adults-only resorts to ensure privacy. If you have money to burn, and let's face it, your honeymoon is the definition of a once-in-a-lifetime experience, then Fiji does luxury honeymoons exceptionally well.
Within these couples-only resorts, there's romantic activities to die for. One of the favourites would have to be the trip to a deserted atoll or beach for a champagne picnic for the day. That memory would last lifetime. Dinner on the beach, or next to a waterfall, or dinner on a pontoon on the ocean are all examples that some resorts offer. And by the way, food in Fiji is absolutely amazing. The reviews will tell you that.
The recommendation, for your honeymoon in Fiji, is to get to a couples-only resort, which means your 'bure' often right on the beach, will ensure absolutely privacy and seclusion. That by itself, is hard to beat.