Sunday, September 30, 2007

2007 Festival of Roses ~ Grand Opening

2008 All-American Rose Selection Grandiflora rose 'Dream Come True'

2007 Festival of Roses ~ Grand Opening
Digital Flower

To officially kick off our Festival of Roses I have decided to feature the two All-American Rose Selections for 2008. I am sure it appears I am fascinated with the AARS winners and with my project to photograph all the winners since 1938 maybe I am. These two winners of the Class of 2008 represent a trend in rose growing to the almost over the top color blends. In the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden there is an area where they plant the AARS winners for the following year and I was looking for the 2008 winners and found ‘Dream Come True’ and 'Mardi Gras’. I kept my eyes open for more winners but later found out only two roses were selected. So I got both of them.

‘Dream Come True’ is a nice blend of yellow and red. It was hybridized by Dr. John Pottschmidt of Cinncinati, Ohio and introduced by Weeks Roses. Dr. Pottschmidt is only the third amateur rose breeder to win the AARS award. It is an eye-catching rose and I like the layers that the flower has. It seemed to grow on a fairly compact bush and the group had a lot of flowers.

Photo showing the complex color blending on 'Dream Come True'

Some specifics on ‘Dream Come True’:
Type: Grandiflora
Petal Count: 26-40
Parentage: Touch of Class x Unknown Seedling
Fragrance: Mild
Synonyms: Wekdocpot

The other AARS winner I photographed on Saturday was ‘Mardi Gras’. Again the plot of this rose was thriving and producing a lot of flowers. They seem a bit more variable than than ‘Dream Come True’. It has a beautiful blend of colors and also grows on compact plants.

Floribunda rose 'Mardi Gras'

Type: Floribunda
Petal Count: 17-35
Parentage: Arofres × Singin' in the Rain
Fragrance: Mild
Synonyms: Jacfrain
Breeder: Dr. Keith Zary, United States
Introduction: Jackson and Perkins

'Mardi Gras' reaches 3 feet in height making it good for planting in mixed perennial borders.

The following information is from the AARS website,

AARS operates the world’s most rigorous plant trial program via a network of more than 20 official test gardens throughout the country and representing all climate zones. This sophisticated evaluation process results in a new crop of AARS winning roses each year, guaranteeing that only the best make it into your garden. AARS strives to identify roses that are easy to grow, and evaluates plants on more than 15 qualities, including disease resistance, vigor and fragrance.

The 15 qualities of evaluation are:

1. Vigor
2. Fragrance
3. Disease resistance
4. Foliage
5. Flower production
6. Growth habit
7. Bud and flower form
8. Opening and finishing color
9. Stem
10. Overall value

The roses receive the care that they would normally get in a home garden.

AARS is a nonprofit association of rose growers and introducers dedicated to bringing exceptional, easy-to-grow roses to gardeners across the county. AARS operates the world’s most rigorous plant trial program via a network of more than 20 official test gardens throughout the country and representing all climate zones.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Festival of Roses

Hybrid Tea Rose 'Folklore'

Digital Flower's 2007 Festival of Roses

Today I went to the Bronx and visited the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden. The garden was so loaded with flowers as I walked down the stairs I thought it looked like a Rose Festival. That is when the idea came to me to have a Rose Festival on this blog. For the next seven days each post will feature one to several roses.

Since my friend Ki at plants and is pretty much posting all the flowers that bloom now in the North Temperate Zone from his great garden I figured it was a good time to just concentrate on roses. I got a lot of good pictures in New York even though I was battling bright sun and a 20 mile per hour gusty wind and I still have some pictures from the Rose Gardens I am tending and the FDR and Vanderbilt gardens, so that should be enough pictures to cover it. Some of the flowers may have already been covered by this blog, however, these will be all new photos taken within the last two weeks.

So without further fanfare or fanfaronade here is a sneak peak at the Official Digital Flower 2007 Festival of Roses.

This is this rose that I went to photograph. The last time I was at the NYBG this rose really captivated me. Unfortunately the pictures I took of ‘Folklore’ didn’t come out very well. That made it the first on my list this time. My heart sank a little when I first looked at the patch of ‘Folklore’ and then I saw this flower kind of inside the taller growth and spent blooms. I wish I had used a tiny bit more Depth of Field but this is what I came up with. I am a sucker for roses of this color.

I did manage to find this single flower of ‘Folklore’ on the edge of all the plants. I like the compact shape of the flower even after it opens. It really is a classic rose in all respects, shape, smell, color and size. This rose seems to get very tall, up to 8 feet, so plant it in the rear of the garden.

Here are some quick facts on Folklore:

Type: Hybrid Tea
Petal Count: 50Fragrance: Yes, Strong
Parentage: Fragrant Cloud x Seedling
Origin: Germany/W. Kordes & Sons
Color: Orange/Orange Blend
Synonyms: KORlore, Selbar 01105
ARS Rating; 8.5

More info on the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden here:
click here

Friday, September 28, 2007

'White Bomb' Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum weyrichii 'White Bomb'
(kris-AN-the-mum) (wey-RIK-ee-eye)
Synonyms: Dendranthema weyrichii, Leucanthemum weyrichii

In the category of you learn something new every I thought I discovered a new (new to me) plant called Dendrathema. After a little a research I found out that it is a botanical synonym for Chrysanthemum. These were two named cultivars I saw at the Vanderbilt Estate. I decided to try and find out about botanical synonyms and without getting too scientific found that it is a term used when plants have more than one Botanical name. The study of taxonomy can get a little complicated but generally the basionym is the first name ever given to a plant and all others are considered botanical synonyms. The basionym will accompany the plant even if it is reclassified in a new genus. Apparently the Dendrathemas started out as Chrysanthemums and were moved to the new name and back again, so now officially they are Chrysanthemums.

Chrysanthemum weyrichii 'White Bomb' is a perennial Chrysanthemum that is a little different than the Hardy Mums you buy at the grocery store. More like the Sheffield and Korean types of Chrysanthemum. It is hardy to Zone 4 and has a more refined daisy like flower than the other type of mums. ‘White Bomb’ is dwarf variety that only gets up to 10-12 inches. I found that it made a beautiful little clump that looked good along the edge of the perennial area.

Chrysanthemum x rubellum 'Clara Curtis'

This second photo is Chrysanthemum x rubellum 'Clara Curtis'. I read that it will tolerate a little more shade than most Chrysanthemums. It was almost double the height of ‘White Bomb’ and very free flowering. The color was beautiful and the plants were almost acting like a groundcover. This plant apparently needs pinching back or shearing a couple of times during the year to keep it from being floppy.

Both of these would be worth having in the border. Add in a few Asters and Japanese Anemones and you will have a good display for this time of year.

I have wanted to do a post on the houses I saw in Hyde Park last weekend. I just haven’t found the time to put it together yet. If you want information on the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site click here .

The Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, New York. View from the South Lawn.

There is a good history of the family on the history link.

Column detail from the West Portico.

Yesterday was my 400th post and I didn't even realize it, though I am not big on that sort of thing. Sure has been a great experience.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Half a Dozen Roses

Hybrid Tea Rose 'Brigadoon'

Half a Dozen Roses

The rose garden at the farm is coming along nicely and I decided to take some pictures over there. I was joking with my co-workers that I was the ‘Head Rose Grower’ at the farm. I reality I guess I am but I am also the only rose grower. I inherited all of the varieties in the garden. In a way that was helpful as I am growing a lot of roses I would have never chosen due to my own prejudices and previous bad experiences with some varieties and types. I probably would also have been worried a lot about colors. Instead I have this huge mix of varieties and colors that I wouldn’t have dreamed up on my own. I think there is a little lesson in there for me. Since there is room for about 35 more roses I will have to keep this mind when picking out the new roses.

Starting out with one of my favorites, and that is always subject to change, a beautiful pink blend (really hard to describe how beautiful the color is) Hybrid Tea Rose. Bred by William Warriner in 1991 and introduced by Jackson and Perkins in 1992. This rose has a petal count of 30-40 petals and a nice fragrance. It was an All-American Rose Selection in 1992.

Parentage: Seedling x Pristine
Height: 3 feet
Synonyms: JACpal

Moving on, there are several white roses in the garden. White Lighting and Moondance have both been good performers. This one, Pascali, is a small flowered Hybrid Tea. I don’t know if my bush is producing small flowers or that is the way the rose truly is. The Lens family bred this rose in Belgium in 1963. It was a 1969 All-American Rose Selection.

Hybrid Tea Rose 'Pascali'

Fragrance: None
Parentage: Queen Elizabeth × White Butterfly
Height: 30 inches
Synonyms: Blanche Pasca, LENip

Here is another white one, although it is technically a white blend. ‘White Delight’ is also a Hybrid Tea rose and another one bred by William Warriner. I couldn’t find a lot of information on this rose other than the temperature has a lot to do with the color of the flowers.

Hybrid Tea Roae 'White Delight'

Fragrance: Mild
Parentage: White Masterpiece × Futura
Synonyms: JACglow

I posted a rose named ‘Molly Mc Greedy’ a little while back that looked very similar to this rose. I think the color is a little darker and the buds are more pointed on this one, but the color scheme is close. How could you not love a rose named ‘Love’? This is another William Warriner and Jackson and Perkins introduction (am I sensing an unintentional theme here with the Warriner roses?). It is a very beautiful disease resistant and heavy blooming rose. It won the AARS award in 1980 and also won a Gold Metal at the Portland Rose Trials that same year.

Grandiflora Rose 'Love'

Type: Grandiflora
Fragrance: Strong
Parentage: Seedling × Redgold
Petal Count: 30-35
Synonyms: JACtwin, 71-5324

In the large flowered category we have the apricot blend Floribunda ‘Honey Perfume’. This rose was also an All-American Rose Selection (2004). It is (in my garden) a tall plant that’s has had continuous blooms in large clusters. It has a very strong pleasant fragrance and the flowers are a beautiful color. It has shown good disease resistance so far. Although also introduced by J&P, it was bred by Dr. Keith Zary.

Floribunda Rose ‘Honey Perfume’

Parentage: Seedling × Amber Queen
Petal Count: 25-40
Height: 42 inches
Synonyms: JACarque

Finally, I feel a bit like I am running a marathon here, is a rose that I said I didn’t really care for previously. However, upon further review I think, 'Scentimental' is unique and beautiful. It has a bit of whimsy and that isn’t a bad thing in the garden (in moderation). It is a Floribunda and considered a red blend, striped rose. It has a strong fragrance and fairly large flowers. Each of the flowers has a different pattern so that is kind of fun. This was the first striped rose to win the AARS award (1997). Bred by Tom Carruth for Weeks roses it was introduced in the United States in 1997. For more information on Mr. Carruth there is an article in this post:
click here. There is a link to more information about the AARS awards if you are not familiar with them.

Floribunda Rose 'Scentimental'

Parentage: Playboy × Peppermint Twist
Petal Count: 25-36
Height: 48 inches
Synonyms: Scentimental Sunflor, WEKplapep

That’s all I have time for right now. If anybody has been growing any of these roses please post a comment. I would be happy to hear of your experiences.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Japanese Anemone ~ ABC Wednesday

Japanese Anemone ~ ABC Wednesday
Anemone X hybrida
Synonyms: Japanese Windflower, Japanese Thimbleflower

If you are hear for WW skip down to the post below. Please consider joining us for ABC Wednesday, it is open to all.

This plant is always a treat in this time of year. It is an easy to cultivate perennial that tolerates partial shade. I have read reports that this plant can spread too much but that hasn’t been the case with mine. Sure it widens out but it is easily managed. I also read with some surprise that it likes alkaline soil. It has seemed to grow in just about any soil that I have planted it in. They do like a bit of moisture and so far have been free of insects and diseases. They are hardy to USDA Zone 4. I like to plant mine in the back of the border or by themselves because they can get quite tall. There are a number of different cultivars to choose from. Unfortunately this one wasn’t marked when I photographed it at the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, New York.

I am happy to post my ‘J’ as Japanese. It is such a big part of American Gardening. While I have been to several Japanese Gardens I actually prefer the kind of American hybrid that has some Japanese elements in it but a broader mix of plants. Someday I would like to visit Japan. We have so many of their garden elements and plant species that I am sure I would recognize a few things.

A couple more ‘J’s. The first one is the Floribunda rose ‘Jasper’. I have never heard of this one before seeing it. I would have sworn that it was an ‘old’ rose. However upon looking it up I found that it is from 1996. It has a long list of synonyms:
Berleburg Berleburg Castle Bewitched (floribunda, Poulsen, 1996) Cuyahoga Herzlichen Glückwunsch Memory Lane POUlbella

It is a double rose with a petal count of 18 to 25 and a nice strong fragrance. I think I am posting far too many pink roses lately. As I said before they are starting grow on me. I guess they are somewhat fitting, as pink roses usually are a symbol of friendship, appreciation and gratitude. So I extend this pink rose to all the people that come here and read this humble space. Your visits and comments mean a lot to me and I hope in a small way I have helped learn something about flowers and shared some of the awe that I still feel when I am out growing or photographing flowers. I have been able to share some of my favorite plants and flowers and some of the unusual things I have seen in my gardens and others I have discovered in the great gardens I have visited. It has been a tremendous learning experience for me. The botanical world is so big I don’t think I will ever stop being a student of it. I hope that all made sense. To sum it up in a word, thanks.

Now ‘J’ is for joke, also, and I couldn’t resist taking this picture of our mentor, ABC inventor and guru’s restaurant in Hyde Park. That is Hyde Park in Dutchess County New York not in London. How she has time to be a teacher, gardener and someone who entertains us, makes us sad, lifts us up and thrills us with her photographic tours of England from the back of a motorbike and run a transatlantic restaurant I will never know.

Just like her blog Mrs. Nesbitt’s Fireside Café serves up hearty fare at a reasonable price. The food is satisfying and there is enough to make you feel good without walking away bloated. There are a good variety of offerings for everyone to find something they like. I guess the ‘joke’ was that I would post a picture of this café and compare it to Denise’s blog. The other stuff I wrote is true and written with the utmost respect, hat’s off to you, Mrs. Nesbitt and I will have another Ham and Brie Sandwich with chips (oops, I mean crisps) and a sparkling water.

Here are some of the other blogs that are participating in ABC Wednesday. If you want to join let me know and I will add your link.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wordless Wednesday~ Sunset Captain in Key West, Florida

Wordless Wednesday
Sunset Captain Key West, Florida
More Florida Keys Photos

New York Aster (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii)

New York Aster
Symphyotrichum novi-belgii
(sim-fy-oh-TRY-kum) (NO-vee BEL-jee-eye)

I saw this Aster at the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park. It was marked ‘Professor Kippenburg’, however, after a little research I found out that is a blue cultivar and not a deep pink one. So I don’t know the name of this one but it was a colorful little plant that was full of bees. If you ever want to take a couple of photographs of bees just hang around some Asters for a few seconds.

I will always have a sweet spot for Asters. They come on strong in a time of year when just about everything else looks tired. They are easy to grow with the key cultivation factor of watching for Powdery Mildew and other fungus during the year. Good air circulation is a must. I usually pinch all my Asters a couple of times during the season, even the dwarf ones. That allows for a bushy and compact plant, which beats a floppy, stringy plant any day. Asters in general are reliable blasts of color right when you need them. They can tolerate almost wet soil and also grow well in dry soil. They are quite hardy and can take some light frost. Division is an easy way to get new plants and keep the existing clumps healthy. One thing I found out is they are considered a good cut flower.

Symphyotrichum seems to be the ‘new’ genus name for Aster. There are also quite a few botanical synonyms.

My first experiment with the Blogger time stamp was a miserable failure when the post published right away. Sorry about that. For those of you that tuned in to see my Wordless Wednesday post you will have to come back tonight to see it.

This is a weird abstract photo of the Aster. It was a little bit of an accident. I would like to take some more pictures like this that were just a little but clearer. That is something to work on.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Floribunda Rose ‘Betty Prior’

Floribunda Rose ‘Betty Prior

Another one from the FDR Rose Garden in Hyde Park, NY. I must admit I have seen this rose before and didn’t think much of it. However is really struck me as a pretty rose on Saturday. It was one of the most prolific blooming roses in the garden, it was also one of the tallest. It’s funny I have been posting so many pink roses. I thought that they were my least favorite but I guess I have been enjoying them while growing them, photographing and posting them. Also the fact that this rose has only 5 petals and a solid color is something I normally would say is ‘plain’. Those attributes are becoming more attractive to me. Beauty in simplicity. The first picture benefited from a quick rain shower.

“Betty Prior’ was bred in the UK by D. Prior & Son in 1935. Jackson and Perkins introduced the rose to the United States in 1938. So it is a rose of FDR’s era. It was considered, at one time, to be one of the most popular roses in the United States and judging from the amount of times I have seen it, ‘Betty Prior’ is still very popular. Among its good traits are a nice fragrance and hardiness to USDA Zone 4.

Parentage: Kirsten Poulsen x Seedling
Petal Count: 5, true single rose
Height: 4 feet

Also available as a Tree Rose and a Climber. The climbing version was developed in 1995 by Donell Cooper in 1995 and is a sport of the original ‘Betty Prior’. In case you don’t know what a botanical ‘sport’ is the definition is:
An abrupt, naturally occurring genetic change resulting in a branch that differs in appearance from the rest of the plant, or, a plant derived by propagation from such a genetically changed branch.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hybrid Tea Rose ‘Sweet Surrender’

Hybrid Tea Rose ‘Sweet Surrender

This site seems to be loading real slowly over the last couple of days. My apologies for that. I took off some of the widgets and don’t know if I found the problem. I see quite a few people signed up for subscriptions to this blog through feedburner and for that thanks. Yesterday was the first day I figured out how to get it working. I am not sure if anybody else is like me in the fact that some areas of technology I can master easily but other areas less so. I tend to avoid those areas but when I tried feedburner again it seemed easy to set up, maybe since I am using Firefox now.

Yesterday after a few work appointments I decided to drive up to Hyde Park, New York. I have been working one day a week up there at a large horse farm. It really is a beautiful area and not too far from my house. I had seen a couple of pictures that I wanted to take on the way to work and also seen the signs for the FDR Presidential Library. After a little research I found there were a couple of other big Estates in the area and decided to visit the FDR house and the Vanderbilt Mansion. I got quite a few good pictures even though the light was difficult. I plan on making a couple of posts over the next few days on the trip. I don’t want to post too many pictures at once until I am sure the site loading problem is fixed.

Bud and Bloom of Hybrid Tea Rose 'Sweet Surrender'

One of the highlights of the trip was the Rose Garden at the FDR house. I didn’t pay to go into the house, which looked a little run down to me. The grounds were in good condition and the Rose Garden was exceptional. Not that big but plenty of varieties and flowers. It is the late president’s and Eleanor’s final resting place. There is a nice flower border and the grave is flanked by a large row of Peonies. It seemed like a nice, peaceful resting place. By all accounts the President loved the area and the house.

Here are few notes on today’s rose. It is a very fragrant Hybrid Tea that has large flowers. It won the AARS award in 1983 (for more information on the awards click here ).

In case you feel like stopping to smell the roses I found this tidbit on the AARS website: “The best time to smell roses is midmorning when the sun has just reached the garden. The fragrance will be most intense when the bloom is 1/4 to 2/3 open.

Bred by: Weeks Roses, US, 1983
Petal Count: 40-45
Parentage: Seedling × Tiffany (hybrid tea, Lindquist, 1954)

Black and White 'Peace' rose from the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Rose Garden in Hyde Park, New York

This black and white portrait of the ‘Peace’ rose seems fitting for a post about FDR. Although we all know that peace is seldom a black and white issue. My wife was laughing at me saying I should call this site Digital Rose I told her I don’t discriminate all flowers are welcome here!

These two quotes are from the speech FDR was to give on April 13, 1945 at the Jefferson Day Dinner, he died the day before.

"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be
our doubts of today, so let us move forward with strong
and active faith."

"If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science
of human relationships--the ability of all people of all kinds,
to live together and work together in the same world, at peace."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Peacock Flower (Dietes bicolor)

Peacock Flower
Dietes bicolor
(dy-AY-teez) (BY-kul-ur)
Synonyms: Bicolor Iris, Yellow Wild Iris, Evergreen Iris, Spanish Iris, African Iris, Moraea bicolor,

This is a very beautiful member of the Iris family (Iridaceae). This South African native is hardy to USDA Zone 8 and I have seen it cultivated around here in pots. It is funny that it’s common name is Peacock Flower because so are several other plants. I guess that is where confusion sets in when speaking of plants with their common names. This is strikingly beautiful plant and if you want more information here is a link to an article written by Marc Stern of Witwatersrand National Botanical Garden.
Click Here

I went over to ‘my’ rose garden yesterday and worked for a couple of hours. Good news is I had to deadhead several hundred old flowers and there was at least 150 flowers blooming. I hadn’t been over there in about 8 days, which is slightly longer than I had wanted to be away. Things were okay and the cooler weather and fertilizer I applied has really made the roses start to flourish. Most of the roses are named and have their tags. This one wasn’t of course. I thought it was a nice deep pink. I shot this with my Sigma 17-70mm macro lens. It is a more traditional picture in some ways than my usual rose photos.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Black Leaf Millet (Pennisetum glaucum 'Purple Majesty')

Black Leaf Millet
Pennisetum glaucum 'Purple Majesty'
(pen-ih-SEE-tum) (GLAW-kum)
Synonyms: Ornamental Millet, Pearl Millet

This is an interesting accent plant that I am seeing more of. I have grown it before from seed and purchased it in small pots in the spring. This year I cheated and bought some in August for planting with my mums. One thing I liked about getting it later in the season, the plants were a lot shorter. It grows to about 4 to 5 feet in the garden. As I said it is an interesting accent both for it’s color and vertical shape. I never knew the scientific name until I went to write this post. I see it is actually a grass and related to couple of my favorite Ornamental Grasses, Fountain Grass. I especially love Purple Fountain Grass even though it is closer to red. Since this plant is hardy to USDA Zone 8 I grow this as an annual. It last pretty late into the season.

I just planted mine in the garden without looking up the cultural requirements and had good luck. For best results this plant likes a sunny spot (which intensifies the leaf color) and good drainage. It doesn’t need a lot of water, which doesn’t really matter to me, but I know is a concern and a good trait for some gardeners. It can tolerate heat. This plant won the All-America Selections Gold Medal Flower award, which is rarely awarded and only to plants that represent a breeding breakthrough. They have been testing new varieties of flowers and vegetables since 1933. Here is a link to more history on the awards.
All-America Selections/History

In the outtake department this plant was my backup ‘I’ subject for ABC Wednesday. I am not sure what species (I wish I had written it down) of Ironweed this is. Ironweed (Vernonia) is a large perennial that some people consider a little weedy. I like it for its height, purple blooms and ability to grow in moist areas; it also blooms pretty late in the season. It is fine for the back of a mixed border or woodland garden. There are some medicinal uses and supposedly you can use the stems to build a kite.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Large-leaf Princess Flower (Tibouchina grandiflora)

Large-leaf Princess Flower
Tibouchina grandiflora
Synonyms: Glory Flower

The color of this flower immediately caught my attention. It is striking and not quite faithfully reproduced by my trusty camera. There is just something, to me, about rich purple flowers. I have grown the Princess Flower (Tibouchina urvilleana) before and seen it growing outdoors in warmer areas but I hadn’t seen this one before. I would characterize it was a smaller more intense Princess Flower. I don’t understand the scientific name of this plant. Grandiflora would indicate large flowers but they are actually smaller than most Tibouchina. That may need looking into and I did find a website that said this plant maybe a form of T. heteromalla. I guess it doesn’t matter because the flower and velvety dark green foliage are beautiful and that is what matters.

This plant is hardy to USDA Zone 9 and can get up to 12 feet tall. This particular specimen was growing in a greenhouse and looked very healthy but my attempts to over winter the Princess Flower in the Conservatory at work ended miserably. That was probably my fault if anyone knows any tricks let me know. I would love to start with a large plant in the spring as opposed to getting a new smaller one each spring.

I have been posting a lot of Black and White photography and people have been kind in their assessment of it. I am pretty happy with some of the photos but want to get better at it. Maybe a few black and white flowers. They would have be the right ones in order for that to work. This picture is of the Whitney Museum in Manhattan. It is right across the street from Grand Central Terminal (which a corner of is reflected in the window if you look real hard). When I saw it I knew it would be a good picture but no matter what I tried I couldn’t get the perspective distortion out of it. I shot this with the Coolpix 8400 with the lens at a 24mm equivalent. I took some pictures then went over to GCT to get a cup of coffee and head into the Subway when I accidentally deleted them so it was back across the street for a reshoot. That never seems to work out well for me.

After 3 days of super intensive gardening work my body feels a little beat up. It doesn’t bounce back quite the way it used to. Oh well, I got a lot done and it was exciting. It is back into the trenches today as I tackle a half acre of Purple Joe Pye Weed, it has got to go!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Japanese Iris for ABC Wednesday

Japanese Iris for ABC Wednesday
Iris ensata
(EYE-ris) (en-SA-tuh)

If you are here for Wordless Wednesday scroll down to the next post.

I originally planned to have Impatiens as my ‘ABC’ photo but I was foiled as when I got to work on Tuesday I found I had forgotten my memory card. Duh! I usually keep extras in the truck but since I have been out shooting a lot they are filled up. The one that I had ‘cleaned’ was sitting on my desk. I might invest in a couple of larger cards so they don’t fill up all the time. Since I do shoot a lot of pictures (shush, I should be working during some of that time) I have to periodically go through my hard drive and get rid of the pictures I am not going to use. That is what happened when I came across this Iris picture. I figure if I haven’t used a picture several months after I shot it then it is toast.

My workflow starts with Adobe® Bridge, which now that I have gotten used to it I love it, and I remove any clunkers from the card. I often pick out the picture I am going to use that day and open it right in Photoshop and then resize it and save it to my hard drive. I have always wanted this blog to be of pictures and plants I shoot in the days before the post, which doesn’t always happen but enough to keep true to the original philosophy. I then download the remaining pictures with Nikon View. That is a pretty worthless program for anything other than a camera/computer interface. Even though I have 3 hard drives in my machine, totaling 344 GB’s I am still sensitive to storage concerns. I don’t want a lot of extra pictures so I try and clean house every so often. I write DVD back ups every two to three weeks.

After I choose a picture I use Photoshop CS2 for any contrast, level and cropping adjustment. I wrote an action that automatically resizes the photo and puts the text watermark on. That saves a lot of time. I save the picture and then upload it through Blogger. It is not as complicated as it sounds once you get used to it. I do try and tweak the process but this way seems about the best for me.

So after all that boring technical stuff let’s get to today’s flower, the Japanese Iris. The Estate I work on has a large collection of these Iris. It is quite a sight when they are all blooming at the end of June and beginning of July. That is a month after the Bearded Iris have bloomed. There are probably 30 or 40 different cultivars. Most are not named or I have forgotten them. I did buy 25 kinds for 25 bucks once and none of them had names but quite a few were very special. If Tall Bearded Iris is the King of Irises I would have to say that the Japanese Iris is the Queen. The colors and size of the flowers are more appealing to me. Some of them are larger than your hand (largest flowers of the Iris family) and I like the way that they are a little flatter that the other Iris. They are easy to grow and withstand normal to very wet conditions. A lot of mine are growing on the edge of the ponds and if you want to remove them for the winter you can grow them in shallow water.

I am going to post this picture of a Rosebud or Double Impatient. It just didn’t come out as well as I had hoped and I had planned to reshoot it yesterday. Impatiens are another flower that I love to grow. The new varieties and types that come out each tear are astounding to me. This one has variegated foliage so it really lights up a shady corner.

Here are some of the other blogs that are participating in ABC Wednesday. If you want to join let me know and I will add your link.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Wordless Wednesday-Taos Pueblo Cemetery

Floribunda Rose ‘Molly McGredy’

Floribunda Rose ‘Molly McGredy
Synonyms: MACmo

Since I got reviewed in the award-winning San Diego Rose Society’s newsletter ‘Rose Ramblings’ I thought I would post a rose photograph. Plus, Misti, a cool blogger from Florida asked me to keep posting some roses here we go. This is possibly the most interesting rose I saw all summer. There were about 40 plants in various stages of blooming and I found them all amazing. More than a novelty, the colors were gorgeous and fit tighter perfectly. The bush itself was stubby and compact.

Bred: 1968 by Samuel Darragh McGredy IV
Introduced: New Zealand by McGredy Roses International
Fragrance: Mild
Height: 36 inches
Parentage: Paddy McGredy x (Mme Leon Cuny x Columbine)

My idea for roses in my lifetime is that the gardener may order any colour he wants in any form -- as a bush rose, as a climber, or as a miniature. I would do away with the terms 'hybrid tea' and 'floribunda'. Instead I would classify roses according to use -- for house decoration, for garden display, for exhibition, for climbing or rambling, for ground cover, for greenhouses..."
A Family of Roses, by Sam McGredy and Sean Jennett

Wouldn’t that be great if we could order roses like that.

These are from the Garden Party in Greenwich I attended on the weekend. The lion planter was made of cement and had the nice kind of bronzy grass planted in his head.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Round Leaf Beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Rotundifolia')

Round Leaf Beech
Fagus sylvatica 'Rotundifolia'
(FAG-us) (sil-VAT-ee-kuh)
Fagaceae (fag-AY-see-ay)

I saw this tree earlier this year at the New York Botanical Garden. I probably would have kept on walking right by it if hadn’t been for the way the light was playing through the leaves. That is when I noticed the leaves were round and upon closer examination the tree was a bit more compact (but still huge) and had a nice ascending branch structure. I have always thought of Beech Trees as kind of a grandfather of trees. They get so big and have such a large spread that I figured they must be long lived. The life span is about 200 years, which is a long time but not as long as I had thought. Some specimens can live up to 300 years. They don’t start to flower until they are around 50 years of age (some earlier, some later).

I have planted dozens of Beeches over the years including one, at the Estate, which is about 65 feet tall now. So I guess they grow pretty fast even though that tree was fairly large when we planted it (6 inch caliper, 16 feet tall if I remember correctly). I love to use the narrow growing types, as they are a great vertical accent. I have never planted a Round leaf before but it looks like a very attractive tree for a large area. One thing I don’t like about Beech trees is trying to get anything to grow underneath them. That isn’t easy and turf grass isn’t even an option.

Karen and I went to the Garden Party yesterday. It was a nice time but a little chilly. The garden was in fine shape. I had visited earlier in the year and the owner had finished all the work that was in progress. It is a real nice mix of art and plants. Here are a few photos.

I am going to post some more tomorrow after I have a chance to go through them.