Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bog Rosemary

Bog Rosemary
Andromeda polifolia var. glaucophyllaBreton Blue

This is probably one of the most frustrating plants to grow in the garden (for me at least). If the conditions are the least bit not to their liking they are not going to grow. They like peat bog conditions and those are to come by in Connecticut. This particular cultivar was discovered on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia and was named by Summer Hill Nursery of Madison, Connecticut.

It is a beautiful groundcover that flowers in May. This type has really blue foliage and pink bell like flowers. It only grows to 8 inches tall and is very, very hardy. Maybe I should just treat it like a biennial. That would ease the pain a little when the plants die out for no apparent reason.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Showy Townsend Daisy

Showy Townsend Daisy
Townsendia florifer

This is one of the Townsend Daises. They are wildflowers native mostly to the Western United States. This one was for sale as an alpine plant. It grows to about 6 inches and often only lasts a couple of years in the garden. It can seed it itself to keep a patch going.

After weeks of cold weather we have had a bit of a heat wave. Hopefully things will go back to ‘normal’. Normal for New England that is.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Magic Bells Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe 'Magic Bells'

These are the buds of 'Magic Bells'

There didn’t seem to be too much information on this plant, unless you speak Dutch. It is a strange plant but attractive and certainly has a novelty aspect to it. The people at the nursery said that it is an easy plant to grow and the flowers last a long time. Don’t over water was the one cultural tip that was offered.

Here is a Begonia flower that I saw recently.

For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers . It starts at 18:00 GMT on Sunday.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Three Pansies

Three Pansies

The Pansies have been the only thing keeping the spring going here. The weather has been a little rough on them but they have kept their heads up and look good. A little weird thing was that virtually all of the Pansies we planted last fall survived the winter and look amazing. Usually just a couple here and there make it through the winter. It must have been the snow cover because the winter was pretty harsh.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Autumn Cherry

Autumn Cherry
Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis'
(PROO-nus) (sub-HIR-tel-uh)

This tree was blooming at work and for once the sun was out and there was some blue sky. The Cherry has turned into quite a handsome specimen. The people planted a tree for each of their children and the Cherry was for the first born. He has to be about fifteen now. We were all standing there looking at the tree saying that we hadn’t seen it have a more beautiful year.

Autumn Cherry can grow to 35 feet tall and have an equal spread. It is hardy to Zone 4, which makes it the most cold hardy of the Cherry Trees. It is also considered to be the most stress tolerant and heat resistant Cherry. It does flower sporadically during the fall, which is where it gets its name.

Happy Skywatching.
To see hundreds of other sky photos from around the world check
Skywatch Friday Main Page

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hosta 'Cathedral Windows'

Hosta 'Cathedral Windows'

They had some wonderful Variegated Hosta at the nursery. They were in 5 gallon pots (huge!) and while expensive the quality was super. This cultivar caught my eye and had me racking my brains to think of a place to use it. It is according to the PDN catalog “intentional tetraploid mutation” of ‘Stained Glass’. It is from the famous Hosta breeder Hans Hansen. It has 40 inch flower stalks and the flowers are fragrant.

They had ‘Stained Glass’ at the nursery. It looked nice, too. This Hosta is ‘Sea Thunder’. It was developed by the “Queen of the Hostas”, Mildred Seaver. The green and gold variegated Hosta are some of my personal favorites.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bull's Eye Bud

Bull's Eye
Euryops chrysanthemoides
(yoor-RY-ops) (kris-anth-eh-MOY-deez)
Synonyms: Daisy Bush, African Bush-daisy, Paris Daisy, Golden Daisy Bush, Gamolepis chrysanthemoides

Monday, April 20, 2009

Garden Stock

Garden Stock
Matthiola incana 'Vintage Mix
(ma-the-OH-luh) (in-KAN-nuh)
Synonyms: Ten-week Stock, Gillyflower

For the first time in a long time we planted some Stocks this year. I hadn’t seen them in awhile and we decided to try 6 plants in with one of our Pansies pots. So far they have been nice. They seemed to be able to take some pretty cold nights. The mix has produced dark pink, white, peach and lavender colored flowers.

Stocks are a wonderfully fragrant cool season annual. ‘Vintage Mix’ grows to about 18 inches tall. They are easy to grow from seeds although mine were bought in 4 inch pots. It is an excellent cut flower.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Today’s Flower – Half a Dozen Orchids

Today’s Flower – Half a Dozen Orchids
For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers . It starts at 18:00 GMT on Sunday.

Wilsonara Tiger BrewPacific Holiday
Parentage: Oda. Memoria Rudolf Pabst x Odcdm. Tiger Hambuhr

This Orchid had incredibly vivid colors. The shape of the flower was pleasant too. This picture came out as more of an abstract of the flower but at least you get to the color.

Beallara MarfitchHoward’s Dream
Parentage: Miltassia Charles M. Fitch x Odontioda Fremar
Pretty big flowers in a really good spray. The colors are a bit muted but it was still charming.

Burrageara Stefan Isler 'Dos Pinhos'
Vuylstekeara Edna x Oncidium leucochilum

Very nice shade of orangey-red. Easy to grow.

Pretty sure this is Colmanara Wildcat 'Green Valley'

Dendrobium x delicatum

Quite a strange spike of flowers. Most of the flowers were only partially open and that is maybe why it looked odd. This Orchid was once it’s own species but now is considered to be a wild hybrid. It lives on cliffs and rocks and occasionally trees. Native to Australia it grows up to altitudes of 3,000 feet.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Boat Orchid

Boat Orchid
CymbidiumCrescent Tears
Orchidaceae (or-kid-AY-see-ee)

This Orchid was introduced in 1997. It is a cross between Cym. ‘Lady Mini’ and Cym. ‘Lucky Flower’. The color was an interesting yellow and the red on the tongue added just the right amount of punch to the color scheme.

Here is a Wikipedia link to more about Cymbidium

I found the Orchid picture as I was cleaning off some memory cards. This next picture was one of 68 photos shot with the Coolpix 8400 while we were in California. I had completely forgot about that camera. This was taken up the coast a little at Solana Beach.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Star Magnolia - Skywatch Friday

Star Magnolia
Magnolia stellata
(mag-NO-lee-uh) (stell-AY-tuh)
Skywatch Friday

The sky sure was gorgeous yesterday and there were a few minutes to snap a some pictures of the Star Magnolia. There also was time enough to take a few deep breaths of the scent. This Star has been planted for about 12 years and it has grown fairly slowly to a nice shrubby specimen. A detailed look at some of the flowers revealed that a frost had nipped at the buds. There was a little discoloration on some the now open petals. It must have been that night in the 20’s a couple of nights ago. Most Magnolias can be hit by frost around here in Connecticut. It is rare and hasn’t happened in recent memory.

Growing this Japanese native is easy. It likes moist sun but can grow in part shade also. I like to site them in a warmer area of the garden just to be safe even though they are hardy to USDA Zone 4. They are really showy in flower and look good during the summer with handsome foliage.

There are a few cultivars of Star Magnolia. I have seen 'Centennial' which was introduced to celebrate the Arnold Arboretum’s 100th Anniversary in 1972. There is also a variety called 'Royal Star' which has pink buds. I saw one of those blooming on the street we have been working on in Greenwich. It was quite beautiful but much taller than the advertised height of 10 feet.

To see other skies from around the world:
Skywatch Friday Main Page

Korean Abelialeaf

Korean Abelialeaf
Abeliophyllum distichum
(al-bee-lee-oh-FY-lum) (DIS-tik-um)
Synonym: White Forsythia

This plant was featured on this blog March 11, 2007. I am standing by what was posted then. This actually from the same plant, it is a reliable early bloomer.

Here is a link to an article written by Gerald Klingaman of the University of Arkansas about White Forsythia. From it I learned this “White Flower Farm of Litchfield, Conn., introduced the white forsythia to American gardeners in 1955”. They have a great garden at the farm. The article describes the founding of the business, which is an interesting story. I do shop there sometimes but generally only the sales. Last year we bought a bunch of Lilies there and I am anticipating a good show from them this spring.

This picture is just the buds and in my mind very late (this year) in coming out. See the previous post or the linked article to see the flower actually blooming.

We are on our extended hours at work. I hope to keep up this site. There certainly some flowers coming out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Giant Bird of Paradise

Giant Bird of Paradise
Strelitzia nicolai
(stre-LITZ-ee-uh) (NIK-oh-ly)
Synonyms: White Bird of Paradise, Natal Strelitzia, Wild Strelitzia

It is nice to have a flower that hasn’t been featured here before. This is, of course, a tropical plant. Well technically it is a sub-tropical. It is a species of Bird of Paradise and is much larger and more course than the more common orange flowered Bird of Paradise or Crane Flower (Strelitzia reginae). From a distance this tree looks like a Travelers Tree (Ravenala madagascariensis) but that tree’s flowers lack the blue tongue of the Strelitza. There are some other differences too, but that is the first thing that came to my mind.

The foliage gets huge and is subject to tearing in open areas. The tree itself gets to 20 to 30 feet tall but generally stays smaller in cultivation. It likes full sun or partial shade. It is recommended for USDA Zone 9B through 11. Bird of Paradise can take up to five years to reach its full flowering potential.

Here is a picture that I took at the next building over from the Bird of Paradise. Both were in Pacific Beach. This shot could have had better composition but I liked these poppies. You don’t see that shade of orange too much. This picture was cropped but lucky it was taken with D700. It still ended up larger than a D70 file.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter – Tulip

Happy Easter – Tulip

After seeing literally thousands upon thousands of potted Tulips in the last couple of weeks this turned out to be my favorite. The color was nice and the sunlight was coming down just right. Happy Easter to everyone celebrating out there. We are going to have a quiet dinner with some family and friends.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Striped Double Impatiens

Striped Double Impatiens
Impatiens cv.

This flower caught my eye when at the nursery yesterday. I needed some pictures of the Tuberous Begonia colors since we are going to be doing a large planting of them this year. The customer is a little fussy about colors and I wanted to show her the available ones. As far as colors go I am not fussy, I like them all.

Double Impatiens are getting more popular and we have had good success with them in both bedding and container situations. This flower was just so bright and cheerful that it was hard to ignore. Hopefully they will have a few flats of these available when it comes time to plant annuals.

We also picked up some more Ranunculus and Pansies. Now the temperature is forecast to drop to 30 degrees (F) on Sunday night. That is at work, our home temperature is supposed to be 24 degrees! That stinks and I have a feeling that we will be replacing some flowers if it drops that cold. This has been one of the coldest March-Aprils I can remember. There is a 60 degree day forecast for the end of next week but I will believe that when I see it.

Not sure what flower this is but it was sitting on the bench next to the Bi-colored Impatiens. Some sort of Aster is my guess.

April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.
T.S. Eliot 1888-1965

Friday, April 10, 2009

Nice Early Spring Daffodil

Nice Early Spring Daffodil

Yesterday was finally a nice spring day and these Daffodils were certainly adding to the flavor of it. This is one of the earliest blooming Daffodils at the Estate. It has really multiplied. I can’t remember the name of this cultivar but am pretty sure it is ‘Ice Follies’ or some variation of it. That would explain the different cup colors as this Daffodil’s cup fades from yellow to white.

While searching for the name I came across this page by Debra Teachout-Teashon:

She says “in 1953 plant breeders Konynenburg & Mark introduced the early season, large-cupped daffodil Narcissus ‘Ice Follies’. The flowers are funnel-shaped and the cup is one-third the size less then the petals. I grew these for many years and they are one of my favorite daffodils to grow, especially because they naturalize freely and come back for years in the garden.” She has some nice pictures of ‘Ice Follies’. My patch is more ragged and unkempt then hers. The Rainy Side Gardeners site is interesting. I have bookmarked it and want to check it out more.

These were shot using the D70s. The repair to the shutter seems to be great. It is nice to have a camera body just to throw in the truck and not worry about. That camera is built like a tank. I decided to step back a little on each shot of these series. The 60mm lens really didn’t have chance of taking a picture of the whole clump without standing in the pond. You would need a much wider lens. It was quite a nice sight seeing the big patch with the sun shining on it.

Turns out my test were good. Nothing much to worry about. I need to lose some weight :lol:

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Gerber Daisy

Gerber Daisy
Gerbera jamesonii
(GER-ber-uh) (jay-mess-OWN-ee-eye)
Synonyms: Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy

Another shot of this South African flower. This one was blooming at a local wholesale nursery. They had a selection of the most amazing Gerber colors. I was there to size up what they have for this spring. The place was quite loaded and the greenhouse was full of Easter flowers. The lilies sure smelled nice. The perennials were starting to arrive and it looked like a pretty good selection. The salesperson told me that the annual/perennial part of the nursery sales were the same as last year. That was encouraging news. I have a feeling that demand is going to outstrip supply this year.

On Tuesday while at the doctor’s office to get my tick bite examined I had an atrial fibrillation. After awhile and some testing I felt better and drove home. They really wanted me to go in the ambulance but I was feeling better. Soon after getting home the symptoms returned and Karen took me to the ER. It was amazing that I didn’t have to wait and I probably cut about 25 people in line. After much testing my rhythm again calmed down. It was real lucky all this happened at the doctor’s office. I have an appointment with a cardiologist today.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Pink English Daisy

Pink English Daisy
Bellis perennis 'Polar Pink'
(BEL-liss) (per-EN-is)
Synonyms: Lawn Daisy, Bruisewort

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Monday, April 06, 2009

Montego Dwarf Snapdragon

Dwarf Snapdragon
Antirrhinum majus 'Montego Orange Bicolor'
(an-TEE-ry-num) (MAY-jus)

There was another post on the Montego Series of Snapdragons here on January 19th. In it I said I would like to try and grow some snaps this year. These were so pretty I am not sure why that I just didn’t buy them. It is sometimes easy for me to be wracked with indecision on nursery runs. Other times everything works perfectly but I should probably go to the nursery with more of a list.

This wordpress site had some good information on Snapdragons and this site had a bit more technical information.

Sneaking in another Ranunculus portrait here. It is an easy flower to take pictures of. This one is ‘Bloomingdale Special Mix’ and the color mixture on the six plants I purchased has been superb.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Florist's Cineraria - Today's Flower

Florist's Cineraria
Pericallis cruenta
(per-ee-KAL-liss) (kroo-EN-tuh)
Today’s Flower

This plant’s colors continue to amaze me. They are so vibrant and since it comes with a simple Daisy shaped flower that makes them even more special. This is the darkest colored one I have seen. I really love the blues that the Cineraria comes in but this wine colored one was really nice. I don’t have any experience in growing these but would like to try it sometime. Next time they are at the nursery I am taking a few home.

Cineraria is a tender perennial that likes shady areas. Apparently the slugs like them too so you need to take precautions against them. They seem to be easily grown from seed and there are several mixes available. They can reseed in warmer climates.

I read an interesting article on Reuters the other day. It was called:

Thirsty plants can Twitter for Water with New Device

By Robert Muir

Washington (Reuters) -
"Chances are you've never had a conversation with your house plants but if they could talk, what would they say? "Water me."

Researchers at New York University's interactive telecommunications program have come up with a device that allows plants to tell owners when they need water or if they've had too much via the social network blogging service Twitter.

"Obviously plants can't talk or Twitter directly, so we have to help them along with that," said Rob Faludi, co-creator of the device called Botanicalls."

The rest of the article is here

Definitely falls into “they have thought of everything category”. Like most electronic items the price is going to have to come down before I buy it.

Since it is Sunday and that means it is Today’s Flower day I thought I would share this unusual flower that was blooming at work. These pictures aren’t the greatest and please humor me as a proud parent. This vine has been at work for two years now. It grows in the container garden in the summer and in the conservatory in the winter.

Bat-leaf Passion Flower
Passiflora coriacea
(pass-iff-FLOR-uh) (kor-ee-uh-KEE-uh)

I remember reading after buying this plant that it doesn’t flower much and being a little disappointed with that (it turns out that is wrong after further reading). Although the foliage alone makes it worth cultivating, it really does look like a bat. It hasn’t flowered previously and it was surprising to see it blooming this week. The flowers are really small maybe the size of the center of a regular passionflower and the small purple fruit is ornamental. Even though there were only two or three flowers on the whole vine I do hope a fruit grows.

Passiflora coriacea is native to Central and South America. There seems to be some question about how hardy this plant is. It grows at high elevations in its native habitat so it must have some cold tolerance but I don’t believe the 15 deg. F I saw on one site. That is still not as cold as it gets here in Connecticut so it will continue to spend winters inside.

Wow, was it windy here yesterday. The peak gust was 49 mph. It just doesn’t feel like spring out there. More like some kind of weird limbo. This is one of the Pansies we are growing this year.

For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers . It starts at 18:00 GMT on Sunday. We are working all day but I hope to check out some of the postings.