Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Squash and Pumpkins

When fall rolls around every year I always have high hopes of capturing some images that reflect the colors of the season. I can never seem to get it right. Someday I know I will take a nice picture of some fall foliage. This picture was taken at a roadside garden center. I neglected to take the name down for the squash or the pumpkins. I couldn’t find them when I searched the web so they will remain nameless. I am not even sure the orange ones are pumpkins as this place had some very unusual gourds, squash and pumpkins. Whatever they are the color was beautiful and I thought it contrasted nicely with the hay and green squash. Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Levant Cotton

Levant Cotton
Gossypium herbaceum nigra ‘Black Cotton’
(gos-SIP-ee-um) (her-buh-KEE-um)

Well I finally found a plant that pretty much stumped Google. There really wasn’t much information on it. I took some pictures of this plant at Pound Ridge Nurseries in Westchester County. It is a fun place as they carry a lot of different unusual plants. I was immediately drawn to the color of this plant. It was sitting on a ‘sold’ cart with some yellow and pink mums. It was hugely effective against the colors. This was the first time I had seen this plant and the little information I could find stated the flowers and cotton bolls (seedpods) are very nice. Come to think of it there were a few unopened seedpods on these plants. They were wonderfully weird. I didn’t see any cotton though. The foliage alone is worth growing this plant. Since this is a tender perennial that thrives in full sun and humidity I am sure we will be seeing a lot more of it.

I was going through my camera bag and found an old memory card with pictures from February. We packed up the cameras, computers and dogs and spent the whole month on Cudjoe Key, which is about 28 miles from Key West. I have some other pictures on the Florida Keys section of Digital Flower Pictures.com. Here is the best photo of the bunch that was on the card. It is a night shot from the historic Harbor walk. It was a 30 second exposure at F13. It was hard to take long exposures in the Keys because of the wind. It is always blowing. I used the D70s kit lens (Nikkor DX AF-S 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED) at a focal length of 28 mm. It is a pretty good lens but I don’t use it that often.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hardy Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum 'Sheffield'

In a way this maybe the most beautiful flower I saw growing this fall. This photo doesn’t really do it justice. You don’t see Sheffield Mums as often as you should. They are not like the showy cultivars that are available these days, it is a much more dignified and refined plant. Maybe it is because the price is high. They wanted about $20 for a 6-inch pot at the nursery this picture was taken. I saw them for $17.99 at another nursery for a decent sized plant. In my infinite wisdom I thought I could get them cheaper and I should have just bought the larger ones. When I went back to buy them they were gone.

I decided to look up a little information on Chrysanthemums. I have been planting them for years and really didn’t have much knowledge about the plant itself. According to Wikipedia the flower has been grown in China since the 15th century BC and it was exported to Japan in the 8th century. The plant made it to the West in the 17th century. I tried to look up some info on Sheffield Mums and found a lot of confusion. The nomenclature of the Chrysanthemums seems to be in a bit of a flux and what I learned seems no longer to be true so I won’t go into that here. What is important is this is a beautiful hardy perennial that will bring years of enjoyment and brighten up your fall garden for years to come.

(syn.: Dendranthema ‘Hillside Pink Sheffield’)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone! The weather is terrible out today so I am catching up on some paperwork and correspondence. I have been planning a road trip to California for this winter and there are a lot of decisions to make. I don’t even want to venture out tomorrow as the flooding rains and high winds surely raised some havoc in the gardens. I guess we can say goodbye to the fall foliage around here. Whatever didn’t fall has been shredded.

Hopefully the big planting job we did in Westchester County is okay but I would rather have any problems come up now. There are much easier to fix now. Everything maybe fine I won’t know until I get there on Monday. I have been doing a lot of gardening work in Westchester and it is a great place to work. It does seem subject to some wild weather though.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Magnolia Seeds

This Magnolia fruit was at Wave Hill. I never knew that Magnolia had what is considered to be primitive flowers. I guess you could call them classic. I am already pining for the first spring flowers. I know they are still months away. Magnolias always remind me of spring although they often bloom sporadically during the summer. They have a couple nice seasons actually, with good yellow fall color and a distinct winter branching pattern. The buds are nice during the winter, also. I am not sure what type of Magnolia this is but I haven’t seen it in Connecticut. So I am thinking that it would not be hardy here.

I am happy it is Friday although tomorrow is supposed to be crummy around here. 1 to 2 inches of rain are expected and winds up to 50 miles per hour. Sounds like a good day to get caught up around the office.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Himalayan Ivy Vine

Himalayan Ivy Vine
Hedera nepalensis var sinensis ‘Marble Dragon’
(HED-er-uh) (nap-ahl-EN-sis)

I am glad this picture came out with kind of a soft focus because that is exactly the effect this ivy had. It was climbing up the side of the Alpine House (that is what I call it anyway) at Wave Hill Garden in the Bronx. When I Googled this plant there wasn’t too much information. The older leaves had various green markings and tones to them but it was the gold new growth that attracted me. The vines had crawled up the side of the wall and spilled onto the top of a window sill.

I have almost all my plants in the ground but I haven’t been able to locate a Bush Clover (Lespedeza thunbergii) locally. I guess I am going to have to mail order for it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Southern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris)

Southern Maidenhair Fern
Adiantum capillus-veneris
(ad-ee-AN-tum) (KAP-il-iss VEN-er-iss)

I saw this dainty beauty in the greenhouse at the Bartlett Arboretum on Sunday. I have been growing a little patch of Northern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum) and that plant looks almost coarse compared to the Southern Maidenhair. A. pedatum isn’t really coarse, it is a beautiful groundcover plant that is easy to grow. I think the Southern type is hardy to USDA Zone 7 so that is why it was growing indoors in Stamford. I love the soft green foliage contrasted with the wiry black stems. This plant has been used medicinally since ancient times. I am going to keep my eye out for this plant if I head down South this winter.

(Synonyms: Venus-hair fern, True Maidenhair, Capillaire commun, Capillaire de Montpellier. Hair of Venus)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis triplinervis)

Pearly Everlasting
Anaphalis triplinervis
(a-NAF-uh-lus) (trip-lee-ner-viss)

This was a cute little plant that I saw at Wave Hill. It was intermingling with several other plants out in front of the Conservatory. It looked like it would be fun for the fall border. It has a strange crossover branching pattern. The foliage is a nice color gray. Since it is native to the Himalayas it is hardy to USDA Zone 3.

The gardens at Wave Hill were full of a lot of great botanical surprises. It is always nice to visit there. It was really windy but I managed a few snaps in between giant gusts. Yesterday, I planted most of the large trees in my new project. Only 2 more to go but they are probably the worst, they are two huge 5 foot across Globe Blue Spruce. They really look a lot bigger now that they are next to the front door then they did at the nursery. I am sure they will draw some blood when we are planting them. After that it is all container stuff, which should be easy. I will try and post a picture of the garden when I am finished.

In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil. And at no season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb color effects as from August to November.
Rose G. Kingsley, The Autumn Garden, 1905

Monday, October 23, 2006

Autumn Snakeroot (Actaea simplex 'Hillside Black Beauty' )

Autumn Snakeroot
Actaea simplex 'Hillside Black Beauty' (Atropurpurea Group)
(ak-TEE-uh) (SIM-plecks)

This plant is just stunning in bloom. I have been trying to get a good picture of it for weeks but I really missed the full bloom stage of my little patch. I was happy to see it at the Bartlett Arboretum on Sunday and it was just starting to bloom. The conditions for flower photography kind of stunk as there was a stiff breeze and even though it was one o’clock in the afternoon it was drearily dark out. I tried a couple of settings and ended up using the auto mode of the camera by accident. I have been manually focusing 90% of my macros and I decided to use the auto-focus. It came out fairly well considering I didn’t know what I was doing. The fragrance of the flowers, it was a stand of about 8 plants, was very pleasing. So was the color of the flowers and buds. The foliage, which a lot of people rave about, was a little ratty, just like mine at home. I guess if it gets too much sun or dries out the foliage isn’t great. They always seem to flower nicely though. It is sometimes a little slow to emerge in the spring but it has the rest of the season to develop. Just a little warning this is an expensive, hard to find and slow to develop plant. It is worth taking the time for.

(Synonyms: Black Cohosh, Bugbane, Cimicifuga racemosa 'Purpurea')

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Mountain Fleece Flower (Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Firetail')

Mountain Fleece Flower
Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Firetail'
(per-sih-KAR-ee-uh) (am-pleks-ih-KAW-liss)

This is an interesting perennial that you don’t see very often. Developed by Blooms of Bressingham this hardy plant is a slow spreader. I wouldn’t recommend it for the small garden but a nice patch in the larger garden or border is nice. My experience has been that it grows to about 3 feet and my 6 plants have become about 6 feet across after several years. The flower color is gorgeous, a really nice Crimson Red. It can tolerate part shade but looks better in sun. I have had a little problem with some rusty fungus on the leaves but it only seems to develop when the conditions are just right. There is a new cultivar out called ‘Taurus’ (Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Taurus'), which looks even better.

I had a few appointments this morning and then snuck off to the Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford. I am working down the street and will probably try to go at least one more time. The gardens were nice. A lot of fall colors and quite a few flowers were out. I meant to stay about a half an hour but actually was there for 2 hours.

(Synonyms: Polygonum amplexicaule, Bistorta amplexicaulis)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Winter Gold Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata 'Winter Gold')

Winter Gold Winterberry Holly
Ilex verticillata 'Winter Gold'
(EYE-lecks) (ver-ti-si-LAH-tuh)

I bought his plant as ‘Winter Gold’ although my friend swears it is sub-species of Winterberry that I have forgotten the name of. Whatever it is a great plant and adds a little zip to the Winterberry collection at one of the large gardens I take of. This plant is easy to grow and will tolerate moist to wet conditions. Most people’s first guess would not be holly because it is deciduous and spineless. I have been keeping ‘Winter Gold’ at about 6 feet though it seems to want to get a little taller. There is always a good crop of berries and the foliage remains clean throughout the season. I took pictures of some of the other Winterberry Holly that I will be posting next week.

I have to go out and see what last night’s high winds did to the gardens. Hopefully not too much but 50 miles per hour with a leaf load may have been too much. I am not sure why some of the color washes out on Blogger but these berries are a darker shade of orange!

(Synonyms: Black Alder, Michigan holly, Common Winterberry)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Curly Leaf Kale (Brassica oleracea 'Chidori White')

Curly Leaf Kale
Brassica oleracea 'Chidori White'

I was impressed by the amount of different varieties of Ornamental Cabbage and Kale I saw at the farm markets I visited. Each place had 5 or 6 types. Peacock, Emperor and Dynasty were a few of the ones I saw. They also had a nice selection of odd pumpkins and gourds. I guess everything is going to towards having the newest and latest types of plants. This particular Ornamental Kale was nice and compact with distinct areas of white and green.

Just a short post as I agonize over the late bulb order I have to place tomorrow. You have to pick out substitutions on almost everything because there are people that are much better organized that have already ordered.

I took this picture with my back up, back up camera a Nikon 5400. It is a nice little point and shoot. I like carrying a point and shoot and just firing away on Aperture priority mode. Most people don’t even know you are taking pictures.

Synonyms: (Flowering Cabbage, Ornamental Kale, Collard, Cole)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Japanese Anemone

The Japanese Anemones continue blooming very strong. I was at a garden today and several plants I had put in August were in flower. It was about the last plant that was really out in the border. Most everything including the Purple Dome Aster had a few stray flowers and really bad foliage. So these are a very nice touch to the fall garden. Sometimes the foliage has a little fungus this time of year but the flowers are held up high enough that the foliage is really not that prominent. Somebody told me that they love bud pictures and earlier this year I shot some pictures for her. I was pretty hooked, as the buds can be more beautiful then the flowers sometimes. Anyway it opened a whole new angle of flower photography for me. I haven’t been concentrating on it but I will stop and take a look if I pass a patch of flowers that are only in bud.

“I saw old Autumn in the misty morn stand shadowless like silence, listening to silence.”
Thomas Hood

Here is another bud picture I took earlier this year:

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Coralberry (Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii 'Amethyst')

Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii 'Amethyst'
(sim-for-ee-KAR-poss) (door-en-BOH-see-eye)

The color of the berries made me take a look at this plant at the nursery. This one isn’t quite ripe as the color deepens a bit. The pastel color is very effective and the plant looked much better than the Coralberry I have been growing which is actually a different species (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus). This hybrid is supposed to be much better branching and fruiting than some of its more scruffy cousins. It was developed for the floral industry in Germany. I have to rate this one for the more advanced gardeners or people with a large woodland garden. It does seem to have some deer resistance. My Coralberry was planted in sun and now is shaded by the Tupelo Tree (Nyssa sylvatica) I planted years ago. It has finally turned into a nice specimen. The fellow I bought it from said “it’s the nicest one I have seen”, and I thought ‘yeah, sure’. I must say after taking several years to really get going the tree does have the most fabulous fall color.

It looks like peak foliage color around here this weekend. The leaves have not been their usual brilliant selves. This rain we are getting is sure going to knock a lot of the leaves down.

Synonyms: 'Kordes', Snowberry

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Double Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum 'Summer Snowball')

Double Shasta Daisy
Leucanthemum x superbum 'Summer Snowball'
(lew-KANTH-ih-mum) (soo-PER-bum)

I have seen some interesting variations of the Shasta Daisy. This one is one of the strangest, but not in a bad way. I really had no idea what it was from a distance. The flower is a little smaller than a tennis ball and really has the appearance of a garden mum or even a dahlia. Daisies are fun. I used to think them as a bit pedestrian but they are far from that. I am using Shasta Daisy in the garden I am installing this week. When I drove in the driveway to look at the job the first thing I thought of was daises. I usually go with that kind of hunch. I ended up getting ‘Becky’ which was selected as Perennial of the Year in 2003 by The Perennial Plant Association. It is a little taller than I would have liked but there was one blooming in the nursery block and the flower looked quite large. The plants are three-gallon containers that look like they could be divided before planting. The plants looked healthy and ready for next year, which is why I got them. I haven’t grown ‘Summer Snowball’ but would give it a try. If they hadn’t been so expensive I would have got a couple on Sunday. The pure white double flowers are worth having if only for the novelty of it.

(Synonym: Chrysanthemum x superbum, Chrysanthemum maximum)

Monday, October 16, 2006

English Rose (Rosa 'Crown Princess Margareta')

English Rose
Rosa 'Crown Princess Margareta'

The color of this rose is superb. The way the petals are formed is very interesting. Of all the David Austin Roses I have seen I think I like this one the best. Named after the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden, was an avid and accomplished gardener. Since it was late in the season the plant didn’t look the greatest but it was a bushy shrub type about 5 feet tall. The color really matches the season.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


We just couldn’t let the season go without having at least one mum here at the house. I don’t have much of garden here. I don’t really have time as I am taking care of other people’s gardens. My wife picked out this striking one, that’s my girl. I haven’t seen one like this before and she said it was the only one they had. I actually had a few mums come up from last year. I was happy to see them blooming last week. I remembered to pinch them a couple of times so they didn't bloom in July. I was out shopping some of the retail nurseries fall sales and picked up some bargains that are needed for the planting job next week. I got a few things that were on the list and a couple of things that weren’t. I was able to find a couple of flowers to take pictures of and will post them this week. We have another cold night ahead as it may dip down to 29 degrees F. Karen broke one of my cameras and I am going to have to pack it up and send to Nikon. She forced the flash card in the wrong way. It isn’t really her fault, as the card seems to go in upside down and backwards. It is a Coolpix 8400, which is a very nice point and shoot. I have a Coolpix 5600 and that camera really feels tiny compared to the 8400. Oh well I can get by, the 5400 is actually a very good camera.

Too bad I don’t know what this mums name is. There was only a generic tag in the pot that said “Grown in Canada”. I hope it is a sign of things to come in mum varieties.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Variegated Blue Holly (Ilex x meserveae 'Honey Maid')

Variegated Blue Holly
Ilex x meserveae 'Honey Maid'
(EYE-lecks) (MESS-erv-ay)

This is a very unique and beautiful variegated form of the Blue Holly. I have been growing a Holly collection in one garden for years and this has been one of the nicest additions to it in a long time. It has been frustrating to cultivate the Variegated English Holly (I. aquifolium) in Connecticut. It does well for several mild winters then disaster strikes when we have a bad year and the winter winds and sun burn off most of the foliage. The English Holly seems to be on the edge of its hardiness range here and can look bad after a harsh winter. It appears to be stem and root hardy so if I use it is usually in a remote place that gives it time to recover. ‘Honey Maid’ on the other hand seems to have made through last winter okay, no damage. It was planted when dormant in late November and performed well all season. I have it in two different gardens and it continues to flourish in both places. I haven’t seen any berries yet but they are reported to be a nice red. Another nice thing about this plant is that it is generally smaller than most of the other Blue Hollies. I have been using a lot of dwarf ‘Blue Angel’ hollies in foundation and terrace plantings and that is also a winner. It grows very slowly but still has the charm of the bigger blues.
I would recommend ‘Honey Maid’ as an unusual accent plant.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Willow-leaved Sunflower (Helianthus salicifolius)

Willow-leaved Sunflower
Helianthus salicifolius
(hee-lee-AN-thus) (sal-iss-ih-FOH-lee-us)

I am not a 100% sure of the ID on this plant. It has been a great addition to the late season garden. It has been slowly spreading out from its original plants and since it is tall it kind of blooms above everything else. It doesn’t need staking which is a plus. It has come back every year for the last ten years and I have been moving a little bit here and there for a touch of October color. This is just coming into to flower now and is probably one the latest blooming perennials in the garden. It can tolerate a few light frosts. The foliage is a nice grayish color and is quite narrow bladed. I will be visiting my clump for a few more pictures as this flower is just opening.

I love shooting garden pictures this time of year. The colors are nice, of course, but the way the sunlight slants down seems better. We are in for a real cold snap and they have issued the first frost/freeze warning for Friday night. I am blowing out all the irrigation systems tomorrow. Just in time.

(Synonym: Helianthus filiformis, Helianthus orgyalis, Narrow-leaved Sunflower)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Yellow Daylily

Here is another picture from my exhibit. I got skunked this time, as I didn’t sell a single piece. Oh well, I saw someone stole the business card holder and business cards I left. Geez, the thing was like $1.99 at Staples. I glad some more people got see my pictures.

This picture was taken in Burlingame, California. They have a nice walk along San Francisco Bay and it is well landscaped. It seems to go on forever and there are some interesting views of the Bay and the airplanes landing at SFO. I like stopping for lunch at the Elephant Bar. This Daylily was in a planting of about 1,000, a virtual sea of yellow.

I am finally finished with the masonry work and boy is that a relief. Maybe I am getting old but it wasn’t as easy as it used to be. Now on to the planting job! I am definitely going out for some pictures this weekend. I was happy to see it rain here last night. I think we got about 2 inches. It came down a little heavy but it is still better than nothing.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Cardinal Flower
Lobelia cardinalis
(low-BEE-lee-uh) (kar-dih-NAL-iss)

What are you going to say about the Cardinal Flower? The only bad thing I can think of is it gets a little too tall. The good things are numerous, starting out with the brilliant flower color. The flower supposedly got its name for its resemblance to the hat color of the Roman Catholic Cardinals. It is native to North America but found it way into European gardens in the early 1600’s. This one seeded from some ‘Queen Victoria’ I planted years ago alongside a pond. Every year a couple come back and the foliage is not as dark as the cultivar it isn’t green either. The hummingbirds love this flower and really seem to be attracted to it. I have seen the white flowered form and personally don’t like it as much. The Dwarf White Pine (Pinus strobus ‘Blue Shag’) provided the nice green background. I was just happy to get a nice picture of a red flower. Those are always a personal stumbling block.

I had a look around the garden at the house I’m working on right now. I have been there a couple of weeks and haven’t really had time to look around. I have been working on the driveway and entranceway and the garden is isolated in a cozy way. I found a lot of stuff blooming including Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra), Moonbeam Coreopsis, Salvia and a couple of stray Coneflowers. I didn’t have my camera so I can’t show any pictures. I took the Cardinal Flower last week. The Doublefile Viburnum on the corner of the house, I am guessing it is a ‘Shasta’, was an amazing shade of red and purple. It is getting too big again and I have decided I will not use Doublefile in a foundation planting again. I didn’t put the one I saw today in but I have used it before and it is just too large. There were several other things that looked good including the ‘Rosey Glow’ Barberry. The color was stunning. I am excited as today I get to go to the nursery.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace'

Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace'
(sam-BYOO-kus) (NY-gruh)

I first saw this plant last year when I had a private tour of the gardens at Highgrove. I was instantly attracted to it as it stood out among the greenery of the stumpery. It has a much darker color than Diablo Ninebark. My experience in Sambucus culture has been mixed, as they seem to be kind of a weak growing plant. I have taken to cutting a few of the major canes back to the ground and that has seemed to help. This plant seems to be a little stronger growing and has a couple of seasons of interest. I am going to have to try a couple next year. The foliage color is the obvious main attraction but the pictures of the flowers I have seen are also attractive. The flowers are followed by black-red berries. I think one of the best traits about this plant is that it holds it color throughout the summer. It is being marketed as an alternative to Japanese Maples for northern gardeners (it is hardy to USDA Zone 4).

I got the job that I posted the plant list for last week. I am excited, as it is a nice way to finish the planting season. It will probably take about two weeks to finish. The beds a completely bare now so it will be hard to mess it up. I will planting some interesting plants as well as adding a couple of boulders. I love doing planting jobs, it is probably the most satisfying part of my job.

(Synonyms: ‘Eva’)

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Green Frog (Rana clamitans)

Green Frog
Rana clamitans

This is one from the archives. I took this picture last year as the frog sat on top of a waterfall. I was out playing with the band last night and boy I am I starting the week off tired. There is so much that needs to be done this week. I will probably just skate by today and try and pick up the pace tomorrow. The temperatures sure have been dipping down at night around here and I think the rest of the tropicals better come in.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Golden Larch (Pseudolarix kaempferi)

Golden Larch
Pseudolarix kaempferi
(soo-doh-LAR-iks) (KAMP-fer-ee)

The name of this tree can be a little misleading. First, it isn’t a true Larch and second it is green during the summer and turn gold during fall. It is a handsome tree for the large garden. It is more closely related to a Fir tree than a larch. It is a deciduous conifer, which makes it kind of an oddball. I am sure there are others but Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum), Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) and the Larches (Larix sp.) are a few deciduous conifers that I have grown. This tree is easy to grow and has a wonderful soft appearance during the season. The real show is the fall color. It doesn’t seem to last too long but is glorious when it is happening. This specimen is growing near the shore of a pond but about six feet above the water line. That hasn’t seemed to slow it down, as it is getting fairly large. The spot of red is a group of Sourwood trees (Oxydendrum arboreum). They are a great late summer flowering tree with superb fall color. I have been told that you should always buy Sourwood Trees when they are in color too make sure you get a good one. It certainly worked with this group.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Dragon's Eye Japanese Red Pine (Pinus densiflora 'Oculus - Draconis')

Dragon's Eye Japanese Red Pine
Pinus densiflora 'Oculus - Draconis'
(PY-nus) (den-see-FLOR-uh)

I love this Pine tree. It seems to have several variations of habit and needle color. They are all quite striking and add a touch of class to the garden. This particular specimen had very white looking needles and was quite nice. I have seen needle color all the way to dark yellow. I usually use as an accent plant because it is slow growing to its final height of 25 to 35 feet. It can be maintained much lower if you want. Sometimes on a real bad winter the needles ‘muddy up’ to an unattractive brown color. These off color needles are shed when the new growth comes out, I don’t really understand why this happens as this tree is hardy to USDA zone 3 (which is really cold). I take care of several of these trees and find that pinching the candles really keeps them bushy. As an added bonus it cones quite frequently.

A short post today as my body is wracked with pain from all the masonry work I have been doing. It feels good in one way but in others it would be easier not to do it. I have to work all weekend because I am placing a Belgian block apron across someone’s driveway and they are out of town for a few days. I don’t mind doing it for these people because they are really nice and good people that work hard themselves. It is 14 blocks wide by 10 blocks deep and I hope to get it done in 2 days.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Variegated Japanese Pieris (Pieris japonica 'Flaming Silver')


Variegated Japanese Pieris
Pieris japonica 'Flaming Silver'
(pie-ER-iss) (juh-PON-ih-kuh)

We have been using a lot of Pieris in our landscapes for a couple of different reasons. The deer resistance is probably the number one reason, followed by the fact that they are a broadleaf evergreen. This variegated form sure is bright. I think it has a wonderful appearance but could see that it may not appeal to everyone. This is a picture of the new growth that I captured at the nursery. I have never noticed the flowers on my specimens, so I can’t comment on them. One garden I take care of has a collection of over 60 cultivars and species of Pieris and this one stand out. The worse thing about growing Pieris is the lacefly problems. They can be persistent and if you cure them on the Pieris they often head over to an alternate host like Azalea or Cotoneaster. I have found Merit to be exceptionally good battling this particular pest. Don’t let that stop you from cultivating this shrub in your garden. Since it is such an early bloomer it really stands out when the garden is barely coming to life.

(Synonyms: Andromeda, Lily of the Valley Shrub)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Red Cypress Vine (Ipomoea quamoclit)

Red Cypress Vine
Ipomoea quamoclit
(ip-oh-MEE-uh) (KWAM-oh-klit)

This was taken at the garden party on Sunday but I have grown this one before. It seems if you grow it once you are going to have it again and again as it self-seeds. In some areas it is considered invasive. It hasn’t been a problem and it has kept itself to one little area. The blooms are small but brightly covered and the lacy foliage is easy on the eyes. I didn’t know that this plant was in the same genus as Morning Glory but it kind of makes sense. This year I had one growing with my Heavenly Blue Morning Glory. I enjoyed the contrasts between the two plants. Lets just say they were both vigorous.

(Synonyms: Hummingbird Vine, Cardinal Creeper (actually a different plant)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Japanese Anemone
Anemone x hybrid 'Honorine Jobert'

This is an old very hardy cultivar of Japanese Anemone. My clump has slowly spread under a large crabapple in a part sun area. I love this plant because not much seems to affect the foliage during the season and it blooms just when you need it the most. The plants are a bit on the tall side but don’t need staking. They look nice mixed with some dwarf Asters. The bed is finally working out with some Daylilies, Astilbe and Azalea for earlier and the Aster and Anemone for later.

This is a wonderful perennial that doesn’t require a lot of care. The foliage is nice looking and flowers are wonderful and plentiful. There are several other cultivars available.

I have been continuing the installation of the Belgian Block curbing and a large entranceway made out of big random granite slabs. This masonry work has been kicking my butt. I am tired before heading off to work. One nice thing is that you have created some nice when you are done. It’s hard to remember that when you are moving the 300 pound pieces of granite around.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Scarlet Maple (Acer rubrum)

Scarlet Maple
Acer rubrum
(AY-ser) (ROO-brum)

This isn’t actually a photograph but a botanical scan. I picked up the branch at the school across the street and after scanning modified it in Photoshop. The tree has been cut down now to make room for more parking so I am glad I saved a little piece of it. I can’t tell what cultivar it is but I am guessing ‘Red Sunset’ as they seem very popular and were all the rage for a while. Scanning leaves and branches can be a little tricky and I have not figured out a way to scan flowers.

Scarlet Maple is called that because of the fall color. The leaves are green during the season. It is an easy to cultivate tree that can grow in very moist conditions. It is one of the first trees to go in to color around here. I once managed a property that we selected all the best color Scarlet Maples (color varies because of the seed) and thinned out the weak ones. It is quite a nice show in the fall. There are many cultivars and I think that ‘October Glory’ is my favorite. I have a couple of ‘Armstrong’ Red Maples, which are strongly columnar, but the fall color is a little disappointing. This is one of the most abundant trees in the eastern North American forest. Its wood can be used for commercial purposes and it can even be tapped for syrup production.

(Synonyms: red swamp maple, swamp maple, soft maple, Carolina red maple, Drummond red maple, and water maple)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Reed Orchid (Epidendrum)

Reed Orchid

Well I ended up going to the garden party and had a nice time. The weather cleared and it turned into a nice day. The garden was tremendous and the people we met were equally as exciting. They really had a tremendous collection of tropicals and I didn’t envy their job of removing all the plants from the ground in the next couple of weeks. Many were planted directly in the ground. The garden also had a nice collection of conifers, both dwarf and full size. I asked the owner if I could visit his garden again in the next couple of weeks and see it without all the people and tents and he agreed. That is something I will look forward too.

This picture is one I found as I was cleaning up my hard drive. It is from the New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid show this spring. That was quite a show as they were hundreds of thousands of orchid flowers. I don’t know enough about orchids. I do have a lot of respect for the flowers and the people that grow them. As I remember this was tagged ‘Reed Orchids’ but I failed to write down the species. These orchids are recommended and easy to care for (according to my research). It just brings back that welcome feeling I had in the spring when I walked into the Conservatory and saw and smelled all those flowers.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Threadleaf Coreopsis
Coreopsis verticillata 'Creme Brulee'
(kor-ee-OP-sis) (ver-ti-si-LAH-tuh)

I came across this nice new Coreopsis at the nursery. Its flower is larger and darker colored than ‘Moonbeam’. The foliage is very similar. Coreopsis or Tickseed culture is easy and rewarding. While I haven’t had experience growing this one, Moonbeam and Zagreb has been great editions to the borders.

Coreopsis needs full sun and generally benefits from a light shearing in August. This keeps the plants tidy and encourages another wave of bloom. I will have to try this one out.

I am suppose to go to a big garden party in Greenwich today. The weather couldn't be any more awful. The wind is really blowing and 1 to 2 inches of rain are expected. I hope there is a rain date as I was really looking forward to it.

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns,
 or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
Abraham Lincoln