Friday, May 22, 2020

Gardenia - the Elegant White Bloom with Exotic Fragrance


Gardenia is a native flower of tropical and subtropical regions. The scientific name of this white flower is Gardenia jasminoides, the name after Scottish botanist Dr Alexander Garden.

Surprisingly, Gardenia is in family of Rubiceae, so this flower is also the same family as coffee.

In Southeast Asia countries, this flower is called “the broken plate”. The folks had an image that the petals were similar to pieces of their broken plates, then they named it based on its appearance.

In the past, they used the porcelain for their table wares or kitchen wares, commonly white porcelain with flowers paints, including their plates.

Therefore, when they saw this flower, it reminded them to their broken plates. I compared between the pieces of broken plate and the petals, and this name makes sense for me.

Gardenia jasminoides 'August Beauty”

Now, over 200 varieties of Gardenia with wide range of variations of flower, height, tree, leaf, or time of blooms.

They have beautiful names of each variety, such as Aimee, August Beauty, Chuck Hayes, Golden Magic, Pin Wheels, Radicans, Shooting Star, Kleim's Hardy, and Thunbergia. 

Pieces of broken plate (from iStock)

They are garden treasures in Louisiana. Gardenias grow fantastically around my neighborhood, dominantly Gardenia jasminoides 'August Beauty' and 'Radican'.

The petals look like pieces of the broken white plate.

These trees are very common in the yards because they are easy to plant and they do not need a good care.

I just let the bushes grow in the corner my back yard with less of care. These perennial and evergreen trees are still exist even the bad winter hit them.

The last blooms for this year.

The scent of flowers is very sweet, pleasant, and lovely. I like to cut one or two and keep them in my car, meanwhile my Laotian friend, Souk, loves to spice up her hair bun by sliding this flower.

Unfortunately, my Gardenias only bloom once a year-round, in late Spring. Now, all of blooms are fading, and there are no more budding. So, I will wait for the late spring next year to see the elegant white blooms with exotic fragrance.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Brain Health and Against Alzheimer's Disease. - Alzheimer's 26

Salmon, fatty fish is rich of omega-3 fatty acids.

As we know that polyunsaturated fats are superior fats. The most important source of this kind of fat is fatty fish which contain omega-3 for brain health.

Omega-3 acids are incorporated into membrane cells, and the membrane that rich with omega-3 acids play role in signaling cell, membrane protein function, and gene expression.

Some studies show that individual suffer with neurogenerative and Alzheimer's disease lack of omega-3 fatty acids. Then, we know that omega-3 acids are essentials part of neuronal membranes. That also play important role in development of intelligence, nervous system, and vision.

Omega‐3 fatty acid consumption has been associated with reduced risk of several neurological diseases, and these fatty acids are essential for maintaining the structure and fluidity of neural membranes (Salvati and friends, 2006). 

Spinach is also source of omega-3

In the rat brain microvascular endothelial cells, Wang et al (2018) found thatt omega-3 fatty acids reduced lipid peroxidation in those cells, and reduced the amount of apoptosis cell. This result show that omega-3 fatty acid are protective against Alzheimer's Disease.

Since our body does not have machinery to synthesize these acids, so we can only obtain these essential fats from our diet.

The diet rich with omega‐3 fatty acids primarily from the ocean, coldwater fish and marine animals.

The omega-3 in the fish is related to the fat content in the species of fish. The darker colored flesh of fish, such as herring, salmon, tuna, and mackerel, the higher total fat content than lighter ones, such as cod, pollock, plounder, and grouper.

Eating just one meal of fish a week cause reducing the risk of Alzheimer's Disease something around 40 to 60 percent.

Beside fishes, egg and poultry are also contain omega-3 with lesser quantity than fishes.

For vegetarian, these essentials fats can be found from plant-based diets, such as walnut, flax seeds, chia seeds, seaweeds, spinach, and edamame.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Lantana for Summer Project in My Backyard

Bright color of Lantana

I just visited one of nurseries in my city, Baton Rouge. One flower called Lantana has been attracted me.

Lantana is a scientific genus with 150 species spread to many part in the world include here in the USA.

This flowers grow well in the southern states of USA, because warmer temperature, and Lantana produce flowers during hot summers.

In Louisiana, we have several types of Lantana, some of them are:
- Lantana camara
- Lantana montevidensis,
- Lantana urticoides
- Lantana Involucrata
- Lantana horrida

Another type of Lantana

It is said that Lantana may reach to 6 feet (2 meter) tall. Interestingly, the flowers are diseases and insect free.

Butterflies and hummingbirds love to visit Lantana, because flowers have attractive colors and sources of foods.

Pink color of Lantana

Many pollinators found nectar and pollen in the Lantana flowers, hence our backyard to be friendly garden for pollinators.

I am planning to grow Lantana in my backyard as my summer project.

Do you have specific project in this summer season?

Saturday, May 9, 2020

At Home with “The Dutch House”

Cover of novel

We are still Stay at Home Order until May 15th. Nothing to complaint and trying hard to enjoy home activities during this difficult time.

To date, the Louisiana Health Department reported 30.855 positive cases of Covid-19 and 2,154 people in this state have died, an increase of 19 from yesterday.

Reading is one of my favorite activities. Even I prefer to read news, articles, and nonfiction, I love to read novels.

I read “The Dutch House” by Ann Patchett.

This novel is about the magnificent mansion and the strong bond between two sibling that grown in this mansion.

The mansion is known as the Dutch House. It was build by the Netherlands-born vanHoebeeks, then this mansion was bought by Cyril Conroy to his wife, Elna, before their children were born. 

Ann Patchett, the author of The Dutch House
(Credit: Ann Patchett).

Cyril Conroy bought the house with all furniture, including the paintings of the previous owners, and the Conrays never take down those paintings.

The two siblings are their children, Maeve and Danny. Their mother, Elna, disappeared (escaped to India) and she left them. They were grown in this house.

The story begin when, Maeve and Danny' father bring a woman, Andrea, to their home, then Andrea become their evil stepmother. Andrea also brought her two daughters in to the house.

How the stepsisters talk and treat to Maeve remind me to my favorite fairy tales. Then they are exiled from the house by their stepmother.

The story set in suburb Philadelphia after Wold War II.

The good one from this book is, exactly like I want, well ending :)

The most interesting, in case you do not have time to read this book, let the award-winning actor Tom Hanks read it for you.

The audiobook of the Dutch House is available, so we still can enjoy this story while keep doing our activities. 

Why do Birds Sing in my Backyard in the Morning?

Fig 01- A bird, photo taken from my neighborhood. I just wonder birds sing loudly in my backyard every morning. They keep singing their son...