July 2011

Botox gets rid of more than laugh lines


I saw an ad for Botox last week.  The girl in it was young and blonde and had her arms up in the air.  The copy for the ad was something like “I never thought that I would get Botox!” I was grossed out.  I’d heard of people getting Botox young to preserve themselves for later, but this was ridiculous.  As I walked close, I saw that she had gotten Botox for underarm sweating.  Turns out that Botox is used for a lot more than tweaking up those unsightly “feeling” lines on older women’s faces. Here are some other disorders or cosmetic issues that Botox, or botulism toxin, is used to treat.

Zinnias are Kind of Creepy

Have you ever really looked at a zinnia before? Don’t they look like a big, bloodshot Cyclops eye? It’s like Cyclops went out and partied and came home a little stoned, and when he opened his eye, a zinnia was there. Of course, with the pokey yellow tipped stamens sticking out of the flower, it’s more like a few creepy crawlie bugs set up residence in his pupil while he was at the giant’s bong all night…

Tidy Tips for Your Garden

When I first heard of tidy tips, I couldn’t help but picture Tidy Cat litter for cat litter boxes. Fortunately, these are not the same things. Tidy tips are lovely bright yellow flowers that, when grown in abundance (as they often are), can create an entire sunny corner in one’s garden. They naturally grow in sunny California, though they can be grown in any region. The flowers do take best to western soil for those interested in growing them.

Smiling Shastas

When I was little, if I heard the word Shasta I’d probably conjure images of a soda pop rather than a garden flower. But Shasta daisies are one of my aunt’s favorite flowers, so I know them well. We have many of the hardy plants in our yard due to her careful planting, and my daughter loves to pick them up (with all her might; they hold strong in the soil!) and bring them in to enjoy at the table.

Sweet William

Okay, so every time I hear the phrase “Sweet William,” I can’t help but think of William Thatcher (aka Heath Ledger) in the film A Knight’s Tale. I would so call that man Sweet William if I had the chance, and I know many other people would, too! The flowers themselves, of course, are almost as gorgeous, creating flowing rows of reds and pinks that would work really well as beautiful border plants in any garden.

The Texas Bluebonnet

If you love purple hyacinth flowers with their drooping, bell-like looks, you also might enjoy wild Texas bluebonnet flowers. The bluebonnet, which is also the state flower of Texas, is a lot more unkempt than the hyacinth, of course, and almost has a grassy quality, much like the lily; however, it’s just as lovely, and even hardier. People should have no trouble growing the bluebonnet on their property if they want a little bit of Texas, or a bit of baby blue, in their garden.

Blood Sage

Though many people may be very familiar with the cooking herb sage, they may not know that a plant known as blood sage, or scarlet sage, exists. This beautiful plant consists of a hardy central stalk covered with lovely, vivid red flowers that alternate all the way up the stem. The herbaceous flower can be found all across the United States as well as in Mexico. When growing this gorgeous plant, the soil used for its cultivation should be kept well-drained.

Sexy Scarlet Flax

When you see a vibrant scarlet flax flower against a drab landscape, it really brings to mind everything that flowers in fairytales bring up—from the sexy sorceresses of legend like Morgan le Fay to the blood dripping from Snow White’s mother’s hand. The remake of Little Red Riding Hood, starring Amanda Seyfried, would have been well served to feature these gorgeous, dark blossoms within its background. Native to Europe and Africa, it is also known as crimson flax.

Rose Mallow

Rose Mallow is a lovely flower that brings to mind an exotic evening under the moonlight, with its round white petals circling a mysterious purple center. Petals can, of course, also be in red or pink. The leaves of the rose mallow plant are also arranged in attractive spiral patterns. These flowers have been used as a food source by some people and insects as well. Though the flowers are native to Asia, they can also be found throughout the United States.

Rocky Mountain Penstemon

Though the Rocky Mountain Penstemon is native to the Rocky Mountain region, the whispery plant is considered to be very adaptable and can be grown all across North America. They rise out of the ground like tall but attractive weeds in wide, bunchy bush-like structures. The Rocky Moutnain Penstemon is herbaceous and spiky, and is a favorite ornamental plant grown by people living in dry areas. It is most widely distributed in wide open areas and forests.

Rocky Mountain Bee Plant

What a kooky, crazy little flower! The Rocky Mountain Bee Plant is a spiky, hairy clover covered in unique, small flowers. The flowers are typically pink, purple, or white, and the plant’s leaves are arranged in a very interesting spiral pattern. The flowers usually feature six dark stamens in their centers. Though you can find the plants all over North America, they tend to grow best in the Rockies and Great Plains area. The medicinal plants can also be eaten.

Common Larkspur

I’m not familiar with larkspur in the least, so when I first saw one I was sort of blown away by the strange but pretty flower. It’s almost like a sloping yet angular sculpture, petals twisted into dancers upon one another in a leaning, tilted display. Seeing as it’s found all across North America, I don’t know how I’ve never seen it in person—but now that I have, I’d love to have some in our yard.

Queen Anne’s Lace is Fit for the Faery Queen

Though I know it’s not the case, I think that Queen Anne’s Lace should have been named as such because it really does look like a lacy piece of clothing fit for a tiny fairy queen. Sure, it looks like a little green crown topped with tiny white jewels, but it also looks like a little fairy dress just waiting for a sprite wedding or ceremony. Does it not remind you of the dancing flowers in Disney’s Fantasia?

The Purple Prairie Violet

If you’ve traveled down any roads in the Midwest lately, you’ve likely run across some purple prairie violet along the side of the road. This simple little violet almost seems shy in its posture, yet its pretty little pop of purple really does brighten the landscape. It also grows regularly in untreated lawns as a wildflower, and if people will allow it to remain along with the clover and dandelions, it can really look lovely rather than weedy.

Oxeye Daisies

When you see a plain, friendly daisy in a film or in a piece of artwork, it’s often an Oxeye Daisy. This type of flower is also known as the Moon Daisy, and has the trademark yellow center surrounded by a flock of thin, white petals. Typically found in fields and meadows, these are like the flowers we love to see Tom Hanks give Meg Ryan in the Hollywood remake of The Shop Around the Corner with a technological twist, You’ve Got Mail.

The Oriental Poppy

Oriental poppies are wide, round flowers with overlapping petals in varying shades of orange and red. The flowers have striking central patterns consisting of a circular center bordered by a dark purple “x.” Though they sound like China’s answer to The Wizard of Oz, they are actually native to the Middle Eastern regions of Turkey and Iran. The Oriental poppy can, of course, be found in the United States in many different areas, particularly in exotic gardens.