Friday, February 29, 2008

Red and White Tulip Buds

Red and White Tulip Buds

I have a busy day planned so here is another archive shot of some red and white Tulips. I am not sure where or when I shot this. Tulips are always a special flower to me. You really can’t plant them here in Connecticut unless you have a fenced in area because of the deer. They seem to really relish the foliage and buds.

Thanks to all the people that have been visiting lately. I hope to go to the Orchid Show at the NYBG on Sunday so starting next week there should be some fresh flower shots here. It gets to be a little tough this time of year to keep with the general idea of this blog, which was to be posting pictures I shot with in a week of two of the post. I can’t wait to get back to doing that.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pheasant’s Eye Narcissus

Pheasant’s Eye Narcissus

I am posting this as a sign of hope for this spring. It was taken April 24th, 2004 with my 4MP Nikon 4300. This is one of my favorite Daffodils and in the scope of the Estate’s Daffodil collection blooms fairly late. I am going to try and shoot a few more daffodil pictures this spring as I noticed I don't have that many in the library. Each spring there are about 10,000 Daffs at work.

We got another dusting of snow last night, which was something I could have done without. There is 2 to 4 inches predicted for Friday night now. There is a glimmer of hope for next week with some milder temperatures.

Someone asked about Molly in the comments section yesterday. She has had a little setback as a large section of skin lost blood flow during the operation and has turned a disgusting shade of purple. It is oozing a little fluid also. I am taking her back to the vet to get her stitches out and have the doctor look at the skin patch. It is confirmed that she has cancer and a very bad type. We took her to a specialist this week but there is nothing they can do until her side heals. There are several treatments available but we won’t which is best until her side gets better.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

ABC Wednesday F is For Fern

ABC Wednesday F is For Fern
Tasmanian Tree Fern
Dicksonia Antarctica

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

Tree Fern is one of my favorite plants. They are graceful, easy to cultivate and beautiful. I took this photo with a 5 MP Nikon Coolpix 5400. This photo underwent a little photoshop work to help bring out the color.

This is a ‘f’ace sculpture I took down in Florida. I don’t think I would have one in my garden but it looked good in the tropical setting. I do know not to underestimate what a little bit of whimsy can bring to the garden. It is sometimes just what is needed. This piece was actually very intricate and well put together.

Here is my ABC Blogroll. If you want to be included please leave a comment to that effect. This project has grown exponentially and it is tough to keep up.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Worm Sculpture

Giant Earthworm Sculpture from the cafeteria at the Eden Project

Squash Blossom

Squash Blossom

While archiving the photos of my trip to the Queens Botanical garden this fall I came across a few photos that I am posting today. I was at the garden on September 8th, which I guess you could call late summer. It will be fun to see if the construction is done when I return this year. It is an great garden and if you are interested you can read my previous post on the trip and my impressions.

This sign was out in front of the Senior Garden and when I saw it I couldn’t help but think that is a way a lot of gardeners feel about their garden.

Since it has come to my attention, through the web statistics, that a lot of people are visiting because I mentioned that there was a wedding at the garden the day that I went. Here is a picture for those people. The wedding area is closed off from the rest of the garden and looked beautiful from over the fence. I guess this was a little voyeuristic of me to shoot a couple of pictures but the bride was beautiful, radiant really, and the violin player and crowd was something that that begged a few snaps.

Here is a link to the wedding page of the Queens Botanical Garden for those interested:
click here
You can easily navigate to the garden’s home page from there.

I am posting late since I had to take Molly to the doctor. She is coming back well from the surgery but the diagnosis of her tumor was bad. We are investigating some treatment options for her now but it doesn’t look good.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Two Water Lilies

Two Water Lilies

Continuing yesterday’s theme these are two Waterlily picture from the summer. Again I am not sure of the cultivars or even if they tropical or hardy. Both were shot with the Nikkor-Micro 60mm lens and my D70s.

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.
John Lubbock
(English Biologist and Politician, 1834-1913)

Since a people have been contacting me about buying prints I have opened up a storefront at Printroom Pro. I even made this clickable banner. Which is probably easy for most people.

Digital Flower Pictures Printroom Pro

You can get prints and other things like calendars, mugs, etc. They also have downloads so you print the photos at your local printer. I hope this is a better system then the old one, which was a lot of emailing back and forth and not being able to use credit cards. I have been loading up the galleries but if you want something that isn’t uploaded I can get there in a matter of minutes. I have been using the sites uploading software and it is fast and easy.

If anyone has anytime please let me know what you think of the site.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lotus Flowers

Here are two Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) flowers from this August. My archiving has reached late summer. Use this Wikipedia link to learn more about the Lotus ( click here). It is a flower I would really like to try and grow someday. There have been a few other Lotus posts on this blog and if you click the label you can find them.

Short post as I need to get back to digging out from the storm we had. Final total was about 10 inches of snow and a nice crust of ice in between. I shoveled everything once yesterday but it was a little too early and several inches of snow fell after. It is spitting a little snow today and I hope it doesn’t add up to much.

I keep quietly repeating to myself, spring is not that far away.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Chinese Scholar Garden

Chinese Scholar Garden
Staten Island, New York

This is really Part Two for pictures of my trip to the Staten Island Botanical Garden. The first post is here with some more black and white photos and some information on the garden.

These pictures were all shoot with my compact (point and shoot camera) Nikon 8400 camera. The black and whites were from a series of doorway and hall photos I tried at the garden. I think I had limited success on the doors but there were a lot of photo opportunities at the garden. The grounds outside of the walled off Chinese Garden are full of interesting plants and it is a well tended garden. The pictures were shot on the monochrome setting and are not conversions.

My visit was in September and that feels so far away from now as it is snowing like heck outside now. They say 10 inches but at these rates we are looking at a foot or more. Significant ice is also expected and then a turn back to snow. I was hoping to get back to work full time next week but I really should have known better. I am not complaining about the snow itself as we have had hardly any this year.

Here are two quotes that kind of sum up how I am feeling.

"Why, what's the matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?"

William Shakespeare
Much Ado About Nothing

"Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle,
a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl.
And the anticipation nurtures our dream."

Barbara Winkler

This a building I took a snapshot of on the way from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal to the Subway in Lower Manhattan.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Clematis Center

Clematis Center
Clematis sp.

I think that almost every botanical photographer sooner or later turn their lens’s eye towards the center of a Clematis. I find them a very photogenic group of plants. I am not sure of the cultivar of this Clematis but it was blooming on August 24th of last year. There are two things I always consider when growing these vines. One is ‘hot top, cool bottom”, which means I try and get the root area in at least a semi-shady location. The other thing is to figure out if your type of Clematis blooms on old wood or new wood. Once you know that then you can prune it properly, not cutting off the potential flowers. I have always found that a Clematis is either very happy where it is growing or they really struggle. There doesn’t seem to be too much in between. I have been enjoying growing different cultivars using various shrubs and dwarf trees as there support. It is a lot of fun.

I have a lot of work to do today, finalizing some orders and writing a proposal (first of the year!). I also have to make some phone calls. We are hoping to resume full operations next week but that maybe a little optimistic. I am really hoping for either an early or normal spring.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

ABC Wednesday - Dahlia 'Edinburgh'

Formal Decorative Dahlia
Dahlia 'Edinburgh'(DAHL-ya)

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

This Dahlia was a good performer last year often blooming in great flushes. The flowers seemed to be slightly variable between the different plants but all were very handsome. It was first propagated in the UK in 1950, so I guess it is a ‘classic’ by now. There are over 40,000 Dahlia cultivars to choose from and I usually grow about 10-15 different ones each year.

Dahlias are grouped into 10 classes, which you can see by clicking here . There are also 13 color classifications.

This one is a film scan from a trip to England I took a couple of years ago. I am pretty sure that was the last black and white film I have shot. So for an extra E here is the London Eye.

Here is my ABC Blogroll. If you want to be included please leave a comment to that effect. This project has grown exponentially and it is tough to keep up. For a complete list go to mrsnesbitt's place blog.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Forest Lily

Forest Lily
Veltheimia bracteata
(velt-HIME-ee-uh) (brak-tee-AY-tuh)
Synonyms: Sand Onion (sandui), Winter Red Hot Poker

Here is a USDA Zone 9b plant that I wasn’t familiar with till I saw it at Planting Fields Arboretum. It is actually a bulb that does well in pots on a windowsill, shady patio or in the greenhouse. It likes bright light without direct sun. Outside it likes a shady or semi-shady location with rich soil. It can tolerate light frost and is often semi-evergreen. Once planted the bulbs should not be disturbed.

There are two different species in Veltheimia after a consolidation of three species into Veltheimia bracteata. The other species is the closely related V. capensis, which also had a couple of species added to it. There is a cultivar available called 'Lemon Flame'. The flowers are a light green-yellow color.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tree Nymph Butterfly

Tree Nymph Butterfly
Idea leuconoe
Synonyms: Rice Paper Butterfly, Paper Kite Butterfly

This picture is from last winter at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory . It is an interesting and fun attraction located at 1316 Duval Street in Key West. While I thought the $10 US entrance fee was a little high on the way in soon I was happily snapping pictures of both the abundant butterflies and tropical flowers. I miss not going to Florida this year and have been strolling down memory lane through some of my pictures.

For more pictures of the Fabulous Florida Keys click here

We are still babysitting our dog, which had surgery a couple of days ago. She seems better but has moments when she seems to be relapsing. Molly has been eating and drinking and even stepping outside all of which are good signs. We have just been trying to make her comfortable.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

My second Skywatch Friday. It might be a little dark for some but that is what I was going for. This was taken near Oyster Bay, New York.

Here are the particulars:

Nikon D70s
60mm/2.8 Micro-Nikkor lens
1/1000 @ F16
ISO 200
-1.3 EV Exp Comp.
3:46 pm.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine’s Day Roses

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

This one is 'Julia Child'

I found some old rose photos that I hadn’t gone through before, mainly since they were not marked with names. So for Valentine’s Day I mustered up half a dozen digital rose pictures. There was a rose festival on this blog that started on September 30, 2007 and continued for several days in October if you would like to see some named roses.

Molly is home and doing as well as expected. I have my hands full with helping her so I won’t be saying much here over the next couple of days. There is a long road of recovery ahead and we are certainly not out of the woods yet. It has been worth it so far to have a few more days with a trusted and faithful friend. Thanks for the emails and comments of support, that really meant a lot to me.

This probably adds up to a couple of dozen roses. I think this is 'Eureka'

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

ABC Wednesday - Dolphin

ABC Wednesday – D is for Dolphin

If you are here for Wordless Wednesday scroll down one post, please.

Short post toady. These are some Dolphin photos I took in Las Vegas in 2006. Here is a link to the best photo of the bunch. I swear this particular Dolphin knew I had a camera.

D is also for dog. Last night one of my dogs had to have her spleen removed since there was bleeding tumor on it. Of course last night was one of the worst weather nights we have had around here all winter. After deciding on doing the surgery we needed to have some blood for a transfusion and couldn’t get any. Lucky Molly’s sister is a healthy 70 pound Border Collie and was able to give enough blood to have the operation. They aren’t really sisters but do lover each other deeply so it was nice to see Ruby helping her out. The surgery went well but there is still a good chance she may die. We had to transfer her to the emergency vet (so there someone watching her all night) for observation at 10 o’clock last night in the blowing snow and freezing rain. I have to bring back to the regular vet today at 8 am and we will have a better idea of what is going on. I am on my way now, of course it is raining cats and dogs. I hoping for the best but have steeled myself for the worse also.

Sorry if this slightly incoherent. Molly is awake and doing okay for now! I am going to try and visit at least a few ABCer's today but probably won't get to everybody.

ABC Blogroll

Monday, February 11, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Winter Train Station

Fish Geranium

Zonal Geranium
Pelargonium x hortorum 'Venus'
(pe-lar-GO-nee-um) (hor-TOR-um)
Synonyms: Fish Geranium, Horseshoe Geranium

This was a pretty Geranium that I grew last year. Actually it is still going since I dug it up and potted it for the house. I did cut it way back and it is starting to flourish again. Zonal Geraniums are available in a host of named cultivars and colors. I always grow a few Geraniums just for old time sake and the last couple of years I have been very impressed with my kind of random cultivar selections (whatever the nursery had when I was there). Geraniums like loamy, well-drained soil that isn’t allowed to get too dry. They benefit from fertilization and dead-heading the spent blossoms.

This is just what I call a Wild Aster. I am not sure of the species name. In some ways this plant is a pest and others it is one of the most beautiful plants on the Estate. I think I learned to immediately remove it from areas I don’t want it. It seeds heavily and grows rapidly so I don’t even let it get a toehold in beds I don’t want it. On the other hand it fills in large gaps of uncultivated ground and there I gently encourage it. It is wonderful to have a carpet of white in the fall.

The idea was right when I snapped this Heliconia bract. I just didn’t use a enough Depth of Field.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Solanum quitoense
(so-LAN-num) (kee-toh-EN-see)
Synonyms: Lulo, Quito Orange, Golden Fruit of the Andes, Bed of Nails, Solanum angulatum

Having never seen this plant before my trip to the Bartlett Arboretum before I had to look it up. Since it was planted amongst the tropical plant display I figured it was tender and that was correct (Zone 10). I didn’t know they produced an edible tropical fruit known as the Naranjilla or the ‘little orange’, which refers to the color of the fruit when ripe; not the citrus type of orange. This member of the Nightshade family is mostly a South American native comes in two different types. the spiny wild version and the smooth cultivated type. Cultivation has spread around the Caribbean, Central America and to Hawaii and Florida.

It wasn’t fruiting when I took these pictures in October. I read that it is very difficult to get it to fruit in the temperate latitudes. You can grow it indoors and enjoy the purple hairs the new foliage gets. The leaves are attractive when they mature also.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Variegated Tapioca

Variegated Tapioca
Manihot esculenta 'Variegata'
(MAN-ee-hot) (es-kew-LEN-tuh)

A double header from this years archives as I continue to copy and back up the original files. I haven’t grown either of these plants personally so there won’t be a lot of cultivation advice. This first plant I saw growing in a friend’s garden and even though a few of the leaves are going by (it was fall) you can see how nice this plant looked. It is a very tender perennial (USDA Zone 10) that can grow to 4 to 6 feet although in this Westchester County garden it got to about 3 feet. It is a relative to the plant that we get the Tapioca for pudding from. It looks like it would make a nice container plant. Variegated Tapioca was picked as a Texas Superstar and here is a link to more information on the plant:

Variegated Tapioca, Texas Superstar

Redflower False Yucca
Hesperaloe parviflora
(hes-per-AL-oh) (par-VEE-flor-uh)
Synonym: Red Yucca

This second plant I saw growing at Wave Hill and thought that it must only be hardy to Zone 7 but learned that it is hardy to USDA Zone 5. Although if I was planting it in Zones 5 or 6 I would definitely try and pick a warm spot in the garden. Not for everyone or every garden I found that it added kind of a nice tropical flair to the Wild Garden. The flower racemes, which I was experimenting with a shallow depth of field on, were colorful and airy. This slow growing native of the Chihuahuan desert is considered an evergreen perennial. It can form clumps 3 feet wide and gets about 3 feet tall. It does like a little water during long dry periods. I will have try some at the Estate.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Pot Marigold

Pot Marigold
Calendula officinalis 'Kablouna Mix'
(ka-LEN-dew-luh) (oh-fiss-ih-NAH-liss)
Synonym: English Marigold

This beautiful flower came from a packet of seed I sowed last spring. I just prepared the ground and put the seed out and it produced an interesting mix of colors. Calendula is actually an edible flower that the petals can also be used for skin ointments. Medicinal uses for this Mediterranean native date back to the 12th century. It is a cool season annual that benefits from being cut back in hot weather.

I have been going through old pictures on my hard drive in preparation for making some back up disks and have been copying the files on to another external hard disk. All you photographers please don’t put his off too long! I actually lost the original files from all the pictures I took in 2004 and 2005 because my external HD failed and when I went to use my back up DVDs they were blank. Since then I have put a new system in place for backups. Over the next couple of days I will backing up all the photos I took last year (most are done) and will be featuring some of the extra flowers that I find.

This white Clematis is trained to grow up a Japanese Maple seedling that I got at the Bartlett Arboretum plant sale a few years ago. I find that small trees and shrubs can offer a good support for the vines to grow. I like how the flowers stand out against the green Maple foliage. It seems to keep the deer from eating the Clematis, also. Plus you will probably be the only one on your block with a 'Flowering' Japanese Maple

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Golden Nellie R. Stevens Holly

Hybrid Holly
Ilex x cv. 'Gold Nellie R. Stevens'

One of things I enjoyed at Planting Fields was their huge Ilex collection. Both in the scope and size of the plants. This cultivar is one type I had never seen before, and realize that it is not for everyone. The regular or normal Nellie Stevens Holly is a beautiful shrub or tree but it doesn’t grow well in my part of Connecticut. I would say about 6 out of 10 winters it is severely leaf burned and it sustains some damage 8 out of 10 years. Even though mine are planted in a sheltered location the constant winter defoliation has been taking its toll. It doesn’t actually kill the tree but makes more of a semi-evergreen, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a Holly. It seems these problems also effect the berry production as I have only had a few scattered berries in the 18 years I have been growing mine even though there are plenty of males around.

Now on Long Island they seem to thrive and are not as affected by the winter. They can attain a height of 15 to 25 feet (or more) and get a large spread. It can be quite vigorous and adaptable, growing several feet in one season. Although many books list it being hardy in USDA Zone 6 I would have to add that it is root hardy but does much better in Zone 7. It is a hybrid between I. cornuta x I. aquifolium and I couldn’t find any references to the gold cultivar.

Yellow berries on American Holly Tree (Ilex opaca f. xanthocarpa)

I have been trying to get a picture of the yellow berried form of the American Holly Tree for a long time. Mine don’t seem to get a great crop of berries and are located in a dark corner of the garden, hence difficult to shoot pictures of. I didn’t do much better at Planting Fields with this picture but they had a lot of different specimens that were loaded with yellow berries. So, I am posting this picture of Ilex opaca f. xanthocarpa to get it out of my system. This will hopefully allow me move on and get that picture of Lily of the Valley flowers I have been trying to take forever.

There several yellow berried cultivars of American and other Hollies. I think they add a little spice to a Holly collection.