Thursday, July 31, 2008

Daylily 'Mary Todd'

Hemerocallis 'Mary Todd'

The Daylilies are still blooming and I thought I would share two that have had really good seasons. This first one is a nice yellow with large flowers (mine are about 5 inches across). It grows to a height of about 2 feet. Not sure if it is a rebloomer but if it isn’t does seem to have a very long flowering cycle. It is quite hardy, also. “Mary Todd’ has been around a long time as it was hybridized in 1967.

This second photo is ‘Woodside Royalty’, I think, and it is not the best picture I have ever taken but you can see it has a beautiful ruffled edge and nice color. The dark band around the edges is what really makes it for me, though.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hardy Water Lily - Colorado

Wordless Wednesday
Hardy Water Lily
Nymphaea 'Colorado'

Ruby Tuesday scroll down to the next post

Ruby Volcano Phlox

Ruby Volcano Phlox
Phlox paniculataBarthirtyfive

Ruby Tuesday again! This is a totally new family of Garden Phlox that is supposed to put all previous varieties to shame. The Volcano type is shorter (24 inches), more colorful (available in 6 colors now with more on the way) and above all it is more resistant to Powdery Mildew. I took these pictures at the wholesale nursery I frequent in Greenwich, Connecticut. I must admit the 100 or so plants that they had were eye catching, actually eye dazzling. If they have truly bred a disease resistant Phlox then my hat goes off to them.

These new varieties actually owe their existence to the end of the Cold War. Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, members of the Dutch hybridizing firm Bartels Stek trekked the newly-opened countries of Eastern Europe looking for exceptional plant material. Their most exciting find was a group of old varieties of Eastern European phlox that were unknown in the West. While the old varieties weren’t fragrant or very floriferous, they were very disease-tolerant. Cross-breeding resulted in the exciting new Volcano® series of fragrant, abundantly-flowering, compact phlox with high natural disease-tolerance.

From Volcano Phlox/

Here is the new pup. She is unbelievably cute and cuddly. She is on the right in this picture. That is her brother, on the left, who we transported to CT for a couple from Massachusetts. It was sad when they picked him up on Sunday. We have decided to call her Juno . Her middle name is Grace.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Easter Lily Cactus

Echinopsis sp.

This Cactus was tagged Echinopsis at Planting Fields. They forgot to include which of 128 species it is. Echinopsis is a genus of Cactus that is native to South America. They range in size from tree-like to small thimble sized types. It is also known as the ‘Sea Urchin’ or 'Easter Lily' Cactus.

This is a Japanese Iris that I shot on July 1st.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tropical Combination

Persian Shield
Strobilanthes dyerianus

Fancy-leafed Caladium
Caladium bicolor 'Carolyn Wharton'
Synonyms: Angel Wings, Heart of Jesus

Brazilian Plume
Justicia carnea
Synonyms: Flamingo Flower, Jacobinia, Pine-Bur Begonia

I have been working on taking group photos of plants a little bit this summer. The way plants combine in plantings has been a subject of fascination to me. Taking pictures of those combinations of not just flowers but foliage and textures has become a challenge. This was one of the results. It is a lot different than taking a macro shot and trying to isolate the subject. This group was in the Main Greenhouse at Planting Fields Arboretum and it really worked when viewed in person. It was difficult to compose this with none of the plant identification signs in view but I finally figured it out.

This one is from Planting Fields, too. It has a different Caladium and Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa. I think).

The ‘Puppy Express’ trip to North Carolina went well. We brought back two pups and the people are coming to pick up their dog from Massachusetts today. It will be a shame to break the two of them up since they are just crazy about playing with each other. More on the new dog later this week.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dwarf Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia speciosa 'Viette's Little Suzy'
(rud-BEK-ee-a) (spee-see-OH-suh)

A couple of flowers before we leave for North Carolina. This is dwarf and hardy form of the Black eyed Susan. It grows to 12 to 18 inches tall and is nice for the front of the border. This was quite a patch of flowers as this picture only shows half of them.

This is another shot of the flower I posted on Wednesday. I couldn’t say anything about it because it was Wordless Wednesday. It is a cultivar of False Sunflower named ‘Venus’. I found them to be very photogenic. There are nice to have in the garden since they are fairly tall but don’t need staking and they are drought tolerant. The large 3 to 5 flowers are considered semi-double.

False Sunflower
Heliopsis helianthoides 'Venus'
(hee-lee-OP-sis) (hee-lee-an-THOY-dees)
Synonyms: Rough Heliopsis, Orange Sunflower, Ox-Eye

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rose Mallow

Rose Mallow
Lavatera trimestris
Synonyms: Annual Mallow
(lav-uh-TEER-uh) (try-MES-tris)

I actually posted this flower in the first couple of weeks this blog was around, I didn’t know it at the time but it is Lavatera trimestris. This one was growing up in Maine in a garden outside Governor’s Restaurant in Presque Isle. It is a very elegant annual that grows to about 2 feet high. As much as I love Hollyhocks I would rather have these. This spring I kept my eyes open for them but not a single nursery had them for sale. Of course we shop mainly at the large wholesale places and sometimes they are not the most creative stock wise. I have read they grow easily from seed so maybe that is the way to go. This was one of the first flower pictures I took with the 24mm lens.

This tractor picture is from Maine. We are busy puppy proofing our house. The little girl gets picked up Saturday at noon in Kernersville, North Carolina.

Thanks to everyone who visited and commented over the last couple of days.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dahlia ‘Hollyhill Joker’s Wild’

DahliaHollyhill Joker’s Wild

This Dahlia was quite unusual as there several different flowers on each plant. Some were all red, some were almost all white and there were a couple like this one with a few white petals. What will they think of next!

Dahlia enthusiasts take the naming and classification of the plants very seriously. With over 40,000 different cultivars trying to keep them straight must be a big job. The stakes at the garden had tags with the names, size, form and color classifications on them.

The tag for ‘Joker’s Wild’ read like this:


BB is the size of the flower. It stands for Small, 4 to 6 inches across. The top grade is AA, which stands for Giant, 10 inches plus.

ID stands for Informal Decorative, which is one of the 19 forms recognized as classes.

Bi R/W is the color. Bi-colored Red and White. There are 15 different colors and combinations that are recognized by the American Dahlia Society.

Happy Ruby Tuesday. To see some other red things check out the Ruby Tuesday HQ at the teach’s blog .

Black Daylily

Hemerocallis 'Kathryn’s Black

On Saturday while wondering around Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, New York I almost groaned at the sight of the Daylily Garden. I have been taking so many daylily pictures that I really didn’t want to take anymore. Having thought that I said to myself, well maybe, if they have something extraordinary I’ll take a couple of pictures. Of course they had many stunning cultivars. Here are three, the only one that is named is the deep red almost black one and I am not sure if that is right. The only reference on the net was on a cultivar list but no other matches came up. It is rare that plant stumps Google.

The first picture of ‘Kathryn’s Black’ is with the 24/1.8 Sigma lens and the second is the with the 60mm Nikon micro lens. The close up doesn’t do the color justice. The far shot shows how dark it looked from a few feet away. I am happy with these pics as the weather was not cooperating. It was in the high 90’s F with humidity and a hot, dry and dusty wind. The problem with taking pictures with those conditions is some of the flowers and plants don’t look their freshest. The Daylilies didn’t seem to mind.

This yellow one had huge flowers!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Two Black and White Dahlias

Two Black and White Dahlias

This first flower is Dahlia 'Aitara Majesty’ which is a large yellow flowered cultivar from Australia. The flowers can reach up to 12 inches across on a 5-foot tall bush and is considered a semi-cactus form.

This second flower is Dahlia ‘Camano Pet’. It is considered a stellar type of Dahlia. To see how Dahlia flowers are classified check out this page from the Connecticut Dahlia Society .

Both of these pictures were taken out on Long Island yesterday. I visited both the Bayard Cutting Arboretum and Planting Fields. Both gardens have large Dahlia gardens. It was a little too hot to hang out and take a lot of pictures, the heat index was around 100F. Both places were virtually deserted which was fine with me. I will have to visit both gardens again when they are peaking in late August and September. As usual for my black and white flower pictures these are shot with the Nikon Coolpix 8400 on the monochrome setting. They are not color photograph conversions.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Black Elephant Ear

Elephant Ear
Colocasia esculenta 'Black Magic'
(kol-oh-KAY-see-uh) (es-kew-LEN-tuh)
Synonyms: Taro, ‘Jet Black Wonder

This is actually the underside of the leaf with the sun shining through it. I have been trying a few foliage macros and these two were the best from yesterday. That is what I wanted to do with this blog from the start, take the picture the day before and then post it. That is only practical during the season and even then it is difficult.

The Elephant Ear is a great plant to have in the garden. I used several in containers this year and it is working out nicely. They are a little smaller than if they were growing in the ground but that is okay, they still have that gorgeous black color.

Lucky the sprinklers had just gone off before I tried to take a picture of this Hosta leaf providing the water drops. I don’t remember the variety off hand but it is a beauty. Large puckered leaves and bluish green color.

I will post a flower picture here just to keep us true to the name Digital Flower Pictures. This was one of the Daylilies at the big farm. They have a fairly large collection. The garden is doing beautifully over there. I worked almost the entire day in the rose garden just stopping to prune a few Viburnums and Lilacs. A lot of the roses needed to be deadheaded and cut back. The deadheading isn’t so bad because at least that way I knew there were a lot of flowers. The three best roses right now are ‘Showbiz’, ‘Strike it Rich’ and ‘Tropicana’. They were still blooming heavily while the other varieties have started to slow down.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Red Hot Poker Plant

Red Hot Poker
Kniphofia 'Alcazar'
Synonyms: Torch Flower, Torch Lily

The Torch Lilies have been catching my eye more and more. This picture is from the NYBG. There was a beautiful little yellow flowering one at the small farm this year. That was surprising, as that garden is a wind swept icebox in the winter. I have always shied away from trying to grow these because I thought they were not reliably hardy. Not so sure now, but if I try them it will be one of the warmer places in the garden in a well drained spot. Maybe trying some of the new cultivars is way to go. I have seen some nifty ones.

Since this is mainly an African plant here is a link to Plant Za Africa for more information on Kniphofias. It is a nice website. They have an archive if South African garden magazines that is fascinating to me.

Both of these pictures were shot with the same lens, a Sigma 24mm/1.8. I am enjoying the macro feature and then standing back to take a nice group shot. It seems with the 60mm I would have been several more feet away from the group of flowers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - July 2008

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day
July 2008

If you are here for Ruby Tuesday or Wordless Wednesday please scroll down to the next post. As always thanks for visiting.

There was quite a bit blooming in the garden yesterday when I took these pictures. At first I was only going to use the 24mm lens but I chickened out and used the 60mm for some of the shots. There were enough things flowering that I could continue this post tomorrow. There will probably be a lot of people posting Daylilies. Seems we are right about in the mid-season for them here in Connecticut. The early varieties have gone by and some of the later ones are still in bud. This one is unusual since it is all by itself out in the deer infested part of the garden. I don’t remember planting it but it is too nice and too far away to be a seedling.

The Coneflowers have been terrific this year and they will have to have their own post coming up soon. This is a seed grown variety. It seems to have petals that reflex down more and a lighter color than the more showy cultivars. I have a little experiment going. I am only taking the seed from the flowers that have the most downward pointing petals and using that. It isn’t scientific or anything just seeing if I can keep that trait going. There has to be a few thousand seed grown Coneflowers at the big garden now. I have been spreading the seed in rough areas and along the roads for several years now. It is fun to see the different variations.

The Hydrangea macrophylla have been very good this year. This hedge had a lot of blooms but the rain knocked them to the ground. I sprinkled the chemical to turn blue sporadically down the hedge and I like all the color variations it produced.

This next plant is Small Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro). I know some can’t get over planting a Thistle but it is nice to have in the garden. It grows in crummy soil and doesn’t need too much water. I like mixing in with other plants because the basal leaves sometimes don’t look great when it gets to flowering time. I saw a huge planting of these with Coneflower, which was quite striking. There is also a white version that I am growing for the first time this year. It seems a little smaller and more compact. It has done well and is on the ‘plant again’ list.

Looking forward to seeing all the cool things everybody else has. Visit Carol for other Bloom Day Posts

'Prairie Sun' Gloriosa Daisy

Wordless Wednesday
Gloriosa Daisy
Rudbeckia hirta 'Prairie Sun'
Half Hardy Annual

Monday, July 14, 2008

Red Caladium Leaf and Daylily

Red Caladium Leaf and Daylily

Ruby Tuesday

This Caladium came in the mixture I brought this spring. It is the best out of the 5 plants with the others just being the same kind of stock varieties that you normally see. This one really stays red with just a hint of green and white around the edges. Caladiums have been in cultivation for a long time and there over a thousand varieties to chose from.

Here in Connecticut and Westchester County they can get a couple hours of sun or be planted in full shade. They do like water but I have noticed that once they get settled in an area of the garden they grow pretty well with slightly less than ideal conditions (not hot and dry). I often cut them off after the first frost and bring them indoors for the winter but you can also lift and store them for the following year.

Since it Ruby Tuesday I wanted to post this picture of the darkest red Daylily in the garden. It is called ‘Ed Murray’.

Well it is Tuesday and that means it is Ruby Tuesday and it is the 15th of the month so that means it is Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and since I like to post my Wordless Wednesday entry on Tuesday it is getting a little confusing. Kind of like my own little blogging Triple Witching Hour . I am glad to be participating in Ruby Tuesday as it has challenged me to take pictures of red flowers something I normally shy away from doing.

Silverleaf Ponysfoot

Silverleaf Ponysfoot
Dichondra sericea
(dy-KON-druh) (ser-IK-ee-uh)

This plant was marked Dichondra sericea at Wave Hill. There wasn’t much information on that particular species. I have been growing a plant similar to this but it has smaller leaves and more of a trailing habit. That might be Dichondra argentea but I am not really sure (maybe some one can help me out here). Either way having a silver plant with the trailing habit has been a real treat in the garden. This one was growing in a container and I think I will try that next year. It really looked nice against the terra cotta colored pot.

This second plant is HostaPeidmont Gold’. It is a striking large leaf Hosta that was planted in partial sun. I loved the color and the texture of the leaves. I am not a big fan of Hosta flowers and much prefer them for their foliage.

As promised here are a couple of pictures of the new dog. These photographs are property of Susan Boyd and Morningstar It is going to be a long two weeks until we get her.

If you are looking for a great Siberian Husky puppy contact them. The dogs from Morningstar have a nice temperament and they are beautiful. This maybe the first time that I have posted a photograph on this blog that someone else took.

I finally got around to visiting some of my favorite gardening blogs yesterday. Problem with not visiting for awhile is it takes that much longer to catch up. Everyone is growing and posting such wonderful stuff.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pink Justicia

Pink Justicia
Dianthera nodosa
(dy-ANTH-er-uh) (nod-OH-suh)

This tropical plant was blooming at Wave Hill yesterday. It is a relative of the Shrimp plant and hails from Eastern Brazil. From all accounts it is easy to grow and very free flowering. I liked the way it was blooming all the way down the stem.

This was a tiny leaved plant that was growing in pot with a Taro (which is where the shadows came from). Not sure what it was but it looked very nice.

Tune in tomorrow fro a couple of pictures of the new pup. We pick her up two weeks from last Friday.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hummingbird Sage

Hummingbird Sage
Salvia coccineaCherry Blossom
Synonyms: Texas Sage, Scarlet Sage, 'Coral Nymph'

This plant looked familiar to me and when I found out it is the same plant as ‘Coral Nymph’ I knew why. Under either name this plant is a beauty that gives an unusual color with an upright but dwarf habit. It grows to 15 inches tall and is an annual in Connecticut’s climate. I grew some last year and didn’t get any seedlings but it does supposedly reseed itself, maybe that is just in warm climates where it is a tender perennial.

The delicate color makes a nice contrast with darker colored plants but it can also stand by itself in a mass. I have found it grows well in containers, too. Sometimes when the real heat starts it needs the tops sheared off to get it started blooming again.

At The New York Botanical Garden the Salvia coccineaCherry Blossom’ was planted with Hare's Tail Grass (Lagurus ovatusBunny Tails’). It is a cute little annual grass that I hadn’t seen before. Reading up it appears to be easy to grow from seed and in the garden. I will have to try some next year.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mexican Aster (Cosmos bipinnatus)

Mexican Aster
Cosmos bipinnatus
(KOS-mus) (by-pin-NAY-tus)

There was some seed left over from last year that I found in March and just mixed up some Celosia, Marigolds and Cosmos and spread it over the Bearded Iris area. The Cosmos is the only one that really took although there are a few Marigolds coming along now. It is one of the driest parts of the garden and there is no irrigation in that area. The couple of different Alliums and Lychnis have been happily seeding themselves in that bed for years now and sometimes it is difficult to find the Iris.

Cosmos has 20 to 25 species (depending on who you listen to) that are mostly native to Mexico. It was another of the plants that was found to be fashionable in Victorian times. Breeding has taken a lot of the initial problems out of the plant and it is now available in all sorts of heights and colors. They attract butterflies and make an excellent cut flower. I like the shorter growing varieties as they seem to be much more manageable but find most all Cosmos to be beautiful. Pinching seems to help with the height issue and I often cut the plants back after their first wave of blooms. The lack of water seems to have stunted these a bit as this flower was about 10 inches tall. That was ok with me.