Wednesday, December 31, 2008

World Financial Center Winter Garden


World Financial Center Winter Garden
Manhattan, NY

The World Financial Center is located right across from Ground Zero. I hadn’t been there in many years and decided to make it the first stop on my trip to Manhattan. I rode the #4 train downtown to Fulton Street and then walked the few blocks to the WFC. My Ipod was on shuffle and ‘Amazing Grace’ started to play as I was walking across the footbridge on the end of the old World Trade Center site. It seemed poignant and my heart was a little heavy when I arrived inside.

The Winter Garden is a huge, no mega, atrium whose main feature is the grove of 45 foot tall Palm trees. They looked amazing decked out for Christmas. The atrium is made of a huge quantity of marble and granite and it is all highly polished. The doors in the back lead out to a plaza and kind of river walk along New York Harbor and Hudson River. You could see Lady Liberty off in the foggy haze. That is where the boat picture was taken. I used the new 70-300mm lens and it seemed to do ok.

There are a lot of stores and restaurants in the WFC as well as a stage and some nice seating areas. I think I would like to go back when the sky is a little friendlier to photography (not the flat gray, white of Sunday). There were no hassles with taking pictures and I noticed a few other serious photographs out as well.

This site is getting updated later in the day now. My routine is totally shattered as I am not going to work. Today’s snow event (3-6 inches) will probably pit more of a damper on that. It is about time to go on vacation. Karen and I have rented a house in San Diego for the month of February. We are going to pack up the family (Juno and Ruby) and drive out. Gas prices have fallen just in time. I hope to be blogging from San Diego but don’t know what the Internet situation will be out there.


The pictures in the post feature converging verticals. I like to have fun with them when doing architecture type shots. It is not really a good photography technique. To minimize them keep the camera level.


That is the outside of the atrium. I added some tint to the sky in Photoshop on this one.

World Financial Center Winter Garden

Monday, December 29, 2008

Elephant Staghorn Fern



Elephant Staghorn Fern
Platycerium elephantotis
(plat-ee-SIR-ee-um) (el-eh-fun-TOH-tis)
Synonyms: Cabbage Fern, Elephant Ear Fern, Platycerium angolense

This fern, which was really pretty unusual looking, was growing at
The Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in Manhattan.

Several months ago after reading about the greenhouse at Rusk I decided yesterday was the day to go. It is quite a nice little greenhouse and there is an outdoor garden there as well. Certainly not a botanical destination for people it is more of a quick visit type of place. There was good collection of plants, birds and Koi. The greenhouse is open to the public from 1-5pm every day. You can see the place is cared for with a lot of love.

One of the weirder things they had was Cotton (Gossypium). I had never seen it up close before. This one looked like a little figure hanging of the plant and at first it didn't look real.


It was an interesting day in NYC. Warm, real windy and very crowded. I covered several areas of the city and will probably be posting some more pictures over the next couple of days. I was interested in testing a few lenses with the new camera.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dead Man's Fingers


Dead Man's Fingers
Decaisnea fargesii
(de-KANE-ee-uh) (far-GHEE-zee-eye)
Synonyms: Blue Bean, Blue Sausage Fruit

This native of the Sichuan province in China is not too popular as a landscape plant. Its pods are probably the best part of growing it. That color blue is just not found in too many plants. The seedpods are edible, I have been told, but from the looks and feel of the seeds you wouldn’t catch me putting it in my mouth. I can forego eating anything called Dead Man’s Fingers.

Decaisnea grows to about 10-12 feet tall as a multi-trunk shrubby tree. Its flowers aren’t anything special and the pinnate foliage is nice when mixed with other plants like some of the bigger Viburnums.

Here is another plant that gets nicely colored berries, Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia aquifolium). The berries in this picture are not quite ripe but still have some of the bluish green color. This plant blooms in very early spring with fragrant yellow flowers and makes the berries soon after (this picture was taken last June). Mahonia is going to need its own post.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cinnamon Star Poinsettia


Novelty Poinsettia
Euphorbia pulcherrima 'Cinnamon Star'
(yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (pul-KAIR-ih-muh)

This is another of the Pixie Poinsettias we have at the house. There are a couple of Orchids blooming here too but that is it for anything colorful. The first picture was shot with the light on my desk and the 60mm/2.8 Micro-Nikkor and the second was the 105mm/2.8 using natural light. The 105 seems to have some interesting prospects as far as shadows go. I was instantly comfortable when I put the 60mm on the D700 and I think that will again be the main lens I use.


'Cinnamon Star' is a really nice Poinsettia. The color of the plant is actually more orangey-pink pastel. It has more color than the 'Visions of Grandeur' that was posted here a couple of weeks ago.

Last night we had some friends over to celebrate a late Christmas. I took these two shots of Karen's goddaughter and her boyfriend. Again using the 60mm lens. They are a cute pair aren't they? One thing I find amazing is the D700 low light capability. This was shot without a lot of light and no flash. I hope to try some portraits this New Year.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Mediterranean Christmas Tree


Skywatch Friday
Mediterranean Christmas Tree

This first photo is a close up from a sculpture at the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens in Purchase, New York. The grounds, all 168 acres of them, feature 45 sculptures from artist like Calder, Moore, Segal, Rodin and Miro. They are set among the gardens, which feature a large amount of different plants. It is really a nice place to spend a few hours. It is free, too.

These next pictures are from Longwood Gardens. This was another of the living Christmas trees and decorations made out of plants. This Mediterranean Christmas Tree had Cyclamen, Bush Daisies, Lobelia and some other plants I am not sure of. It really looked nice and was great idea.


While I like Christmas I am not sorry to see it go. Everything gets so stressful at this time of year. The best present we received was Juno’s health as she is once again a happy and growing puppy. The second best was all the new photography gear. I have been itching to go out and do some shooting. Since the weather is supposed to be good we are going to try and go to Manhattan this weekend.

For more skies from around the world go to
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

White Glitter Poinsettia


White Glitter Poinsettia
Euphorbia pulcherrima 'Sonora White Glitter'
(yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (pul-KAIR-ih-muh)


This is one of the 10 or 12 varieties of Pixie Poinsettias we bought this year. The pixie part only refers to its size (3 inch pot). 'White Glitter’ looks a lot like ‘Jingle Bells’ and is considered a novelty Poinsettia. This one is nice since it has all red leaves, all white and the speckled ones, too. We are going to use the pixie Poinsettias as a Christmas table centerpiece and all the different types look good together.

This picture is from the new camera and the 105mm macro lens. Wow, this camera shoots huge pictures! They are roughly 9 by 14 inches right out of the camera. That is sure going to allow a lot of cropping and still end up with a nice size file for enlargements. It is going to take a bit of learning to nail down the D700. I think that new lenses often have a bit of learning curve to them also. There hasn’t been a lot of time to play around with it but so far I am very impressed by the cameras interface and ease of use.

Very deepest wishes for a wonderful Christmas to all. We are going to be getting together tonight with a lot of the family and tomorrow looks quiet (thank heavens).

Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart...filled it, too, with melody that would last forever."

Bess Streeter Aldrich (1881-1954), American author

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wolf Eyes Chinese Dogwood


Variegated Chinese Dogwood
Cornus kousa 'Wolf Eyes'
(KOR-nus) (KOO-suh)

This tree was featured on this site on September 18, 2006.

The previous post spotlights the real reason to grow this tree; the beautiful foliage. Today’s tree is from a different planting of ‘Wolf Eyes’ than the first post. Both plantings are located in the same garden and there seems to be some variation between the two. These trees get more sun and are growing in a much wetter area. They have been planted for about 7 or 8 years and last year was, by far, the heaviest flowering. The flowers are unusual when presented en masse. They are like a lime green and they persisted for weeks. Quite a nice show. The trees located in the shadier spot have never bloomed in 10 years.

I still love this tree and highly recommend it with a couple of hours of shade per day. There were a lot of the reddish-orange fruits this year. They looked quite nice up against the variegated foliage. I noticed them one day and didn’t have my camera and when I returned three days later to take a picture the birds had eaten all of them.

This is the same flower from a few steps back. The foliage is nicely ruffled.

These pictures were taken June 10th at 3:30 pm. Having all this new gear and no flowers hasn't been easy! It has been bitterly cold out with strong gusty winds. Our over night temperature was -1 F. It is warming up nicely today.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Double Peach Daylily


Double Daylily
Hemerocallis 'Peach Magnolia'
(hem-er-oh-KAL-iss)

There were so many beautiful Daylilies this season that it was almost a little overwhelming. Of all the cultivars I saw this Double flowered peach colored one had to be in the top fifteen. Its color is one that we are constantly looking for to compliment customer’s taste in colors. It really was stunningly beautiful and the flowers were huge.

‘Peach Magnolia’ was hybridized by Joiner Gardens of Savannah, Georgia in 1986. Take a look at their website they have brought so many beautiful Daylilies to the market. They have been breeding Daylilies since 1962. This peach colored one is a rebloomer and it proved it this year with a good second flush. Among the awards this Daylily has won are the Ida Munson Award in 2002 for the best double flowered and the desirable Award of Merit in 1999.

There seems to be something wrong with the feed for this blog. I turned it back on to full feed to see if that helps.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Black Eyed Susan and Daisy


Black Eyed Susan and Daisy

You’ll notice both of these flower pictures are shot off center. It is something that I plan on working on next year. My photography teacher would love to hear that. Exposure is the other photography issue I plan on tackling in 2009. Since a lot of my pictures tend to be centered and underexposed it is going to be a little difficult to break out of that style but if you don’t try new things life can quickly become a little stale, for me anyways.


With composition it sometimes can be just taking an extra second before you click the shutter to make sure that the picture is framed in a pleasing way. Exposure is more of a technical issue and therefore a little more complicated issue to resolve. The challenge of doing something that is a little different is what keeps me taking pictures. That and being outside and studying the details of flowers and nature.

That was quite a storm that blew through here yesterday. About 12 inches of snow came down fairly fast and this morning some freezing drizzle is icing the snow pack. I am glad the snow blower is in good condition and I should have probably used it when the snow was a little fluffier. There are so many things that need to be done today that I am going to venture out even though the roads look a mess. Good thing we have a couple of Jeeps and a couple of 4WD trucks. The old Jeep is perfect for days like this, as it really doesn’t matter what happens to it.

I am sure most people know that today’s flowers are a Black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum). Two of my favorite perennials due to their dependability as far as hardiness and flowering go.

"Wasn't that a mighty storm
Wasn't that a mighty storm in the morning, well
Wasn't that a mighty storm, that blew all the people all away"

Friday, December 19, 2008

White Flame Phlox


White Flame Phlox
Phlox paniculata 'Bartwentynine'
(floks) (pan-ick-yoo-LAY-tuh)

This is one of two dwarf white Phlox we tried this year. When the Phlox are advertised as ‘mildew resistant’ you have to take that with a grain of salt. This cultivar actually didn’t get the powdery mildew until very late in the season. By that time it was ready to be cut back anyway so it did make it through most of the season looking good. That was with one general fungicide spray on the leaves before the flowers came out in June.

One thing about ‘White Flame’ that was nice was the plant stayed compact. The leaves were closer to together and that gave the plant a more of a bushy (that's a real technical term, eh) appearance. They didn’t need to be staked which was a big bonus in their cultivation; final height was about 15 inches.

Bartels Stek developed the ‘Flame’ series of Phlox in the Netherlands. They have been breeding plants since the 1930’s and it shows with this series of Phlox.

Today is the day! The new camera is supposed to arrive. UPS tried to deliver it yesterday even though that was a day earlier than the two-day shipping. I hope I don’t have to drive around the neighborhood to track the driver down in the huge snowstorm that is going to hit today.

After much agonizing and research I decided to get the Nikon D700. The full frame sensor really tipped the scales towards the D700. This is a replacement for my D70s, which has been a great camera and is still usable but is now several generations behind. I’ll keep the D70s as a back up but don’t see it getting a whole lot of use.

Since the D700 is a full frame camera the 1.5 crop factor on the lenses is gone. I am lucky in the fact most of my lenses are FX (full frame) as opposed to DX (cropped sensor). I did order two new lenses with the new camera. I got the AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor105mm f/2.8G IF-ED. Which is kind of legendary as far as macro lenses go. This is the updated version with the Vibration Reduction system. The second lens I ordered was the AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED telephoto lens. I wanted the 70-200mm 2.8 lens but just couldn’t bite off the price. The zoom lens is a little slow but hopefully the VR will help with the low light performance. I am not particularly fond of Zooms but felt like having a 300mm lens would be fun.

So for lenses that will be full frame on the new camera I will be using the:

Sigma EX 24mm/1.8
Nikon 50mm/1.8
Nikon Micro-Nikkor 60mm/2.8D macro
Nikon Micro-Nikkor 105mm/2.8G macro VR
Sigma DL 28-200mm/3.5-5.6 Hyper zoom Macro
Nikon 70-300mm 4.5-5.6G VR

If you can’t get the shot with all that you might as well hang it up. :lol: Since Karen and I both wanted a true pocket camera we also ordered the Nikon Coolpix P6000. So actually two new cameras are arriving today (truly a happy day). The P6000 was one of the few compact cameras that had fully manual controls. It also shoots a huge 13.5 megapixel files. This camera didn’t have everything I wanted but it is a bit of a trade off for its size.

Since both of these cameras take much larger files some new memory cards were in order. They sure are a lot cheaper these days. I got a two pack of 4GB Secure Digital cards for $19.90 and two new 8GB Compact Flash cards for 19.95 each.

Image courtesy of Nikon USA

Isn’t she a beauty. I will be reviewing the performance after a couple of weeks.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Poinsettia and the Rarest Cycad in the World

A Poinsettia and the Rarest Cycad in the World
‘Nutcracker Red’ Poinsettia
Euphorbia pulcherrima
(yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (pul-KAIR-ih-muh)

These are a few more pictures from Longwood Gardens. ‘Nutcracker Red’ Poinsettia was the main red Poinsettia used in the Conservatory displays this year. It was a handsome and bright Poinsettia that seemed to setting off the white flowers it was mixed with including Snapdragons, Cyclamens, and Paperwhites.

Wood’s Cycad
Encephalartos woodii
(en-sef-uh-LAR-tos) (WOOD-ee-eye)


This was a very special plant blooming in the Conservatory. One that Wikipedia said, “It is one of the rarest plants in the world”. I couldn’t really get a good picture of it since it was set in the planting bed 8 to 10 feet deep and a waterfall was on the other side. It was one of the first things I noticed in the Conservatory and I was immediately drawn to the huge yellow cones protruding from its center.

The only known specimen in the wild of this South African native was first discovered 1895 and died around 1912. It is now considered extinct in the wild and all existing plants are from that one original tree. For more information on its interesting story and history try these links:
Wikipedia
PlantZAfrica.com

It truly was a sight to behold and I think even non-gardeners would have had to stop and remark on this plant.


I ordered my new camera and a couple of lenses yesterday, more on that tomorrow. We are supposed to have a big snowstorm on Friday and there are a couple of things that have to be done before than. They are forecasting 12 plus inches (30.5 cm) of snow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Raspberry Trailing Verbena


Trailing Verbena
Verbena 'Tukana Raspberry'
(ver-BEE-nuh)


This Verbena was introduced in 2008 and we just happened to plant some not knowing it was new. It passed our little trial with flying colors as it bloomed profusely and had a nice habit. It grew well in the big container garden and several 4.5 inch pots turned into a carpet of color trailing down the sides of the pots.

This red Verbena, which I think is from the same series, mixed well with the white Marigolds and a flaming red Mandevilla vine. All in all the combination worked out well after a bit of a rough start.


Temperatures are due to be near sixty degrees (F) today, which means back to work. It is nice break from the cold weather we had over the weekend. So far it is shaping up to be a typical New England winter.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Korean Chrysanthemum ‘Shell Pink’

Korean Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum NYBG Series ‘Shell Pink’
(kris-AN-the-mum)
Today’s Flower

Today’s Flower is an easy meme for this site to participate in. We are usually posting flower pictures anyway. This mum was taken at the New York Botanical Garden this fall. The slightly twisted petals and soft color made it a real treat. There have been several other mums in the NYBG series featured on this site before. It is an amazing strain with each named variety having a nice color and habit.

Here is a link to some information on Korean Chrysanthemums:
www.chrysanthemums.info
There is a lot of information on mums at that site and I bookmarked it for some further reading and reference later on.


To me the Koreans are always nice to have in the garden. They are much more of a border or garden plant than the hardy mums. They can be a lot more difficult to get and of course are more expensive. Recently I was gardening in a little neighborhood in White Plains, New York when I noticed a beautiful yellow flower blooming a couple of houses down. Upon further investigation I found it was a Korean Chrysanthemum. It still was looking good a couple of weeks later than any other perennials.

Today’s Flower is a collection of Flower Pictures from around the world posted every Sunday starting at 7:00pm - GMT.
Today’s Flowers Main Page

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Crown Jewel Kousa Dogwood


Crown Jewel Kousa Dogwood
Cornus kousaMadison
(KOR-nus) (KOO-sa)

This Kousa Dogwood was an eye catcher. The gold color looked really nice against the Weeping Alaskan Cedar that was growing behind it. It was mixing well with the dark purple Viburnums next to it, too. The gold coloration only occurs on the summer growth and is kind of a combination of new summer growth and the fall color. During the spring the tree is green and has white flowers. It gets the traditional fruit of the Chinese Dogwood (nice one).

Tim Broztman of Madison, Ohio developed and introduced this tree. Here is a link to his nursery . It is wholesale only. If you click on the Variety Introductions link you can see that they have developed some very nice plants. Here is a link to the page with more information about ‘Madison’.


The big garden has a collection of different Kousa Dogwoods and this would definitely be a nice addition. Cornus kousa ‘Temple Jewel’ has been growing in the garden for several years and it is a great little tree. I was initially confused because I didn’t realize there was a ‘Crown Jewel’ cultivar out there also.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Chrysanthemum ‘Colina Orange’

Hardy Mum
ChrysanthemumColina Orange

Out of all of the mums that we planted this year ‘Colina Orange’ was the best. There are several factors that go into that assessment and remember that it is just a local observation. These mums bloomed the longest and best of any of the about 20 cultivars that we used. They went on for many weeks in both containers and in the ground. The color was a nice shade of orange and that seemed to fit the season well. One plant that I had at home was mixed with a ‘Colina Red’ Chrysanthemum and that was just perfect.

‘Colina Orange’ is a mid-season blooming Belgian type of mum. That is to say it started blooming in mid-season and lasted almost as long as the late-season ones. The flowers didn’t look bad after they faded. My only complaint would be that the flowers were a little small but that is minor (can’t have everything, you know). This year for the first time in a long time I decided to try save some of the mums. ‘Colina Orange ’ was one of the cultivars selected for the over wintering test. The mums were removed from their containers and planted around the second week of November. We used wood chips and leaves to almost completely cover the plant. They will have to be removed in the spring. ‘Blizzard’ was another one I tried to save. Let’s see if they are really ‘Hardy Mums’. As a gardener I have to optimistic or I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning but there is a tinge of pessimism creeping in here with regards to the mums.

This picture was taken in late fall and kind of represents the depth of field I would like to get on more of my flower pictures. The flower is Willow leafed Sunflower (Helianthus salicifolius 'First Light'). It did really well in the garden and ‘First Light’ is a nice cultivar that was developed by Dr. Keith Hammett of New Zealand. It stays more compact and shorter than the species.


What a crazy weather day we had yesterday. If anyone is reading this from the eastern United States you know what I mean. There were several inches of rain and the temperature was hovering at 34 degrees. We dodged a real bullet because about 20 miles north of here there was a pretty big ice storm that knocked out the power and caused a lot of tree limbs to fall. After a cold weekend it is going to be in the 50’s next week, which will be perfect as a couple of customers have called with a few items that we forgot to take care of for the winter. We are on a very limited part-time schedule now.

Today I have to deliver the last of the holiday plants we give out as presents to the people whose gardens we take care of. Just two 12-inch Poinsettias (a ‘Burgundy’ and a ‘Vision of Grandeur’) and an Orchid. The Poinsettias are huge and really full. We bought them at Chadds Ford Greenhouses in Pennsylvania. It was a very cool place (they don’t have a website or I would link to it) that had a really nice assortment of Poinsettia cultivars and other seasonal plants. I wish they were closer I would definitely buy plants from them.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Quick Trip to Longwood Gardens

Quick Trip to Longwood Gardens

On Tuesday Karen and I hustled down to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania for a one-night tour of the Christmas displays. Here is a link to the gardens:
Home Page

For those who don’t have time to click the link and don’t know about Longwood Gardens all I can say is it's a true American treasure. The gardens are amazing and worth visiting anytime of year. Each year at Christmas they put out over half a million lights and the huge Conservatory is decked out in a holiday theme. The Conservatory is probably the greatest I have been in. It is 4.5 acres and has 20 different garden areas including an indoor rose garden. It is monumental but not overwhelming.

There were several living wreaths and Christmas trees this year. This wreath was made of Begonias and was great. There were several Poinsettia wreaths and even an Orchid wreath.


Speaking of Orchids, Longwood has a great collection of them and all that were on display were beautiful. The Cattleya Orchids were particularly striking and their fragrance was washing over me as I took their pictures. Some of the flowers were not named but that didn’t diminish my joy or interest in them.


Some of my pictures ended up as corrupt files and I am not sure if that was a camera or a memory card issue (that new camera can’t get here fast enough). I hope to share a few more snaps over the next couple of days.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

Hybrid Tea Rose – 'Perfect Moment'

Hybrid Tea Rose – Perfect Moment
Synonyms: Jack Dayson, KORwilma

This is another of the roses from Sonoma County. This one was a beauty with nice blending of colors and a stout plant. It was great to be able and walk down the street and take flower pictures from the sidewalk. People were even waving and seemed happy that their flowers were being ogled.

‘Perfect Moment’ is another in a long line of Kordes roses that I like. There are several other of the families roses featured on this site. This was one of those times that I forgot to smell the rose while taking its picture. It does have a mild fruity fragrance according to my research. Here are some more facts about ‘Perfect Moment’:

Bred by: Wilhelm Kordes III, 1989, Germany
US Introduction by: Jackson & Perkins
Petal Count: 30 to 40
Parentage: New Day × Mercedes
Height: 4 to 5 feet
Hardiness: USDA Zone 7
Awards: All-America Rose Selection, 1991

This next rose has been shown on Digital Flower Pictures.com before. It is a Hybrid Tea called ‘Sunset Celebration’. It is a very nice rose that has performed well in the big rose garden that we take care of. One thing I love about this rose is that it has huge flowers. What was remarkable about this particular rose was the entire garden in front of the house in Sonoma had been planted in this color. There were probably two dozen ‘Sunset Celebration’ roses and some other annuals and they matched the house color perfectly. I don’t think I had ever seen that before. It was working really well and the garden looked a bit enchanted.


‘Sunset Celebration’
Type: Hybrid Tea
Fragrance: Mild
Parentage: Pollen: Seedling × Cheshire Life. Seed: Pot o Gold
Petal Count: 35
Breeder: Gareth Fryer. 1994
US Introduction: Weeks Wholesale Roses for the 100-year anniversary of Sunset Magazine
Awards: All-America Rose Selection, 1998

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The First Floribunda Rose - Gruss an Aachen

Floribunda Rose
Rosa 'Gruss an Aachen'
Synonyms: Salut d'Aix la Chapelle, White Willow Glen #1

This rose was photographed at the All-America Selections Garden at Eisenhower Park on Long Island (East Meadow). The garden is right next to the Dahlia Society’s Trial Garden. Here is a link to the history of the AAS. They have a noble mission that started in 1932.
History of the All-America Selection Organization

The Cornell Cooperative Extension Service of Nassau County maintains the garden in East Meadow and it certainly meets the criteria of a AAS garden, which is “a AAS Display Garden provides the public an opportunity to view the new AAS winners in an attractive well-maintained setting.

Now about the rose. 'Gruss an Aachen' is considered to be the first ever of the Floribunda class of roses. This was the first time I had seen it and it was blooming profusely. It had a wonderful fragrance and the color undertones and shading was really beautiful. It supposedly changes flower color with the outdoor temperature. This must be its hot color as it was blazing on the day I was taking its picture (90+ deg. F). Any rose that was bred in 1909 and can still compete with all the modern cultivars must be special.

David Austin actually categorizes this as an English Rose because it has a lot a lot of the traits of what he thinks of as the ideal English Rose. Other people classify it as a China type and still others as a Floribunda. It is also known as a Polyantha and Hybrid Tea. I am going to leave the classification to the experts and just enjoy the rose.

It certainly could grow in my garden anytime. It is hardy to USDA Zone 6 and has the added benefit of being able to grow in part shade conditions.

Parentage: Frau Karl Druschki × Franz Deegen
Breeder: Philipp Geduldig, Germany, 1909
Average Diameter of the flower: 4 inches
Petal Count: 40 to 50

Friday, December 05, 2008

South of the Border- Skywatch


South of the Border- Skywatch

This is a Skywatch photo that was taken last February. Anyone who has driven down Route I-95 near the border of North and South Carolina is familiar with the hundred miles of billboards that advertise this theme park/motel. After having driven by the signs half dozen times on the way to Florida we decided to stop in. The place was filled with hundreds of photo opportunities as they have some really whacky stuff, most of which is giant or at least oversized. Here is a link to Wikipedia about South of the Border . There are a lot of shots of the billboards on that page also. Although February is way off-season we were able to get a feel for the place. It has to be on the Top Ten list of Tourist Traps in the US. This picture was taken with my Sigma 17-70mm lens.

A little while back I was taking the ferry to Long Island and had some time to kill. If you miss the boat there generally is another in 90 minutes. So I drove through Bridgeport’s Seaside Park and found this end of the season picture. The park has 370 acres and was designed by two of America’s premier landscape architects, Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted. The team worked together for seven years and Central Park and Prospect Park in New York City were among collaborations.


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