Monday, August 31, 2009

Decorative Dahlia 'Vancouver'

Decorative Dahlia
Dahlia 'Vancouver'

Yesterday turned out to be pretty nice weather wise and this Dahlia presented it itself for a picture. For some reason I felt like shooting some black and whites and was switching the camera from monochrome to color depending on the flower. ‘Vancouver’ does seem to have some color variations among the flowers. It is a completely huge Dahlia that was actually flopping over. The flower had to be picked up and held to see the top. So this was shot one handed. The color seems to be purple-pink and the white tips add a lot to the attractiveness.


This is the plant in the second B&W picture:
Ox-eye Chamomile
Anthemis tinctoria 'Sauce Hollandaise'
(AN-them-is) (tink-TOR-ee-uh)


I am always fascinated by botanical photographers that take little bits of gone by or outright dead flowers and turn them into beautiful images. This is my little try on a dead Daisy. This photo probably wouldn’t have worked in color.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Gerber Daisies

Gerber Daisy
Gerbera jamesonii
(GER-ber-uh) (jay-mess-OWN-ee-eye)
Today's Flowers

For the fourth time this year Gerber Daisies are appearing on this site. They are a very photogenic flower. There are over 300 varieties of these Daisies grown for the florist trade now. The species originates in South Africa and is named after the 18th century German naturalist Dr. Traugott Gerber.


These photos were taken inside a greenhouse. I have only seen these Daisies used as potted plants but they must look nice as a bedding plant. We plant a small cutting garden at one house and I think that a few Gerber’s would look nice in there. They will certainly produce some camera fodder. Is it too early to start thinking about next spring?


For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers . The links open at 1400 GMT.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Luna Blush Hardy Hibiscus


Hardy Hibiscus
Hibiscus moscheutos 'Luna Blush'
(hi-BIS-kus) (mos-KEW-tos)
Synonyms: Swamp Mallow, Rose Mallow

These flowers always have a lot of punch in the garden. ‘Luna Blush’ has been blooming for about a week now and still has awhile to go. This year we planted ‘Copper King’, ‘Luna Blush’, ‘Plum Crazy’ and two types of the ‘Pinot’ series. Out of those ‘Copper King’ has been the best with ‘Luna Blush’ coming in a close second. It just doesn’t have the scale of the larger ‘Copper King’. The main test will be if they return next year though. That will go a long way in determining which is truly best to me.

These flowers are easy to grow and are perennial in northern gardens. Don’t jump gun on thinking they died over the winter as the new spring growth emerges very late. The Hardy Hibiscus is heat and somewhat drought tolerant when established. ‘Luna Blush’ is nice because it has a semi-compact habit with 6 to 8 inch flowers.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Harvest Moon Coneflower and Bees



Hybrid Coneflower
Echinacea ‘Harvest Moon’
(ek-in-AY-shee-a)
Synonym: 'Matthew Saul'

This ‘Harvest Moon’ looks a little darker than usual. It is a great color but as I have said before it doesn’t seem too hardy in Connecticut. It keeps chugging along in the garden with a few flowers but it has never seemed to look as good as when it was purchased. I realize it could fully be my fault for not providing the correct conditions.

This flower was posted here on August 17, 2006. It is funny how excited I was to see it. The Coneflower test garden never happened and it would have been a flop if it had, as most of the cultivars are not that strong growing. The test garden probably would have cost a lot of money and been a little frustrating.

Bees are easy to photograph around Coneflower. Just wait a minute and your subject will be at hand. The best time is in the morning when it is cool out. The bees seem a little less active and more willing to sit still for a couple of pics. These were shot with my trusty backup and probably all time favorite photography duo of the Nikon D70s and the 60mm Micro-Nikkor lens.

We have an eye to the southeast on tropical storm Danny. It looks like it is going to, thankfully, stay off shore. The forecast went from 2-4 inches of rain with up to 50 mile per hour winds to 1 to 2 inches of rain and 20 to 40 mph winds for Saturday.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Two Orange Flowers

Two Orange Flowers

In the garden orange flowers are always a delicate subject. When I ask a customer what color they like in the garden there seems to be a 65 percent chance they will say anything but orange. For me orange flowers are not my favorite but often are striking and fun to have. This Hibiscus, which is a double flowered type, has been blooming like crazy since the slugs have left it alone. The pet and kid safe slug bait with Iron phosphate seems to be working great.

Having a couple of Hibiscus around adds a bit of a tropical flair to the gardens here. They can over winter in the house but they often get infested with different insects. If you can keep them pest free they will keep putting on a show in the house.

There are a lot of orange roses out there and some are better than others. 'Vavoom' is a Floribunda rose that was introduced in 2007. World renowned hybridizer Tom Carruth and Weeks Roses brought it to the market. So far it has done well and other than the flowers being a little small it seems like a good disease resistant and free flowering rose.


Here are a few facts about ‘Vavoom’:

Registration name: WEKjutono
Moderate fragrance
Petal count of up to 35
Parentage: Julie Newmar x Top Notch
Dark red new growth

This flower isn’t as pretty as some of the ones on this bush during the season. I just happened to have my camera and the time to get a shot.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Peppermint Twist Garden Phlox


Garden Phlox
Phlox paniculata 'Peppermint Twist'
(floks) (pan-ick-yoo-LAY-tuh)

This Phlox was introduced in 2007, which is probably why I hadn’t seen it before. The flowers are certainly eye candy and the striping is colorful and well proportioned. The couple of plants that were blooming seemed like they were similar but the references I looked up said that some variations and reversion to all pink flowers is possible. The plants themselves looked a little weak and not as tall as most Garden Phlox. That could have been because they were growing in a pot. If they become available wholesale I will definitely have to try a few.

Since this is going to be my Ruby Tuesday post here is an orange/red Daylily. I am not sure if it is reblooming here or just a late cultivar (picture was taken Saturday). It was aptly named ‘Fire King’. It really did look like it was on fire. If they wanted half of the $20 price tag I would have picked up some.


See more Ruby Tuesday at Work of the Poet. It actually starts later today or tomorrow. It is a nice bunch of bloggers.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Today's Flowers: Three Different Coneflowers


Eastern Purple Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea cvs.
(ek-in-AY-shee-a) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)


It wouldn’t be summer around here if there wasn’t a lot of Coneflowers being posted on this blog. I ‘discovered’ a few more varieties yesterday while looking at some plants for an upcoming job. The introductions are making it to the nurseries in what seems like waves. Watching the evolution of the Coneflower has been fascinating with a range of emotions from “wow, that flower is drop dead gorgeous”, to “what was that person thinking”. Today’s Cones are:

‘Green Jewel’
‘Pink Poodle’
‘Mac and Cheese’

‘Green Jewel’ is a pretty Coneflower that doesn’t get too tall (24 inches). The green cones are nice but personally I prefer the yellow/orange ones. This flower is less green and doesn’t have the unusual petals of ‘Green Envy’ so it is a little less of a novelty. Overall it seems like it would fit in the garden fairly easily.

‘Pink Poodle’ is a different story. While the color is nice the flowers are too inconsistent looking for me. I think the emerging flowers are the nicest looking. This probably a “what was that person thinking” type of introduction.



‘Mac and Cheese’ is the best yellow Coneflower I have seen yet. ‘Harvest Moon’ (another yellow) is great although it does seem to have some problems returning each year. ‘Mac and Cheese’ is a much darker yellow and it looked like it was growing on a sturdy plant.


For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers . The links open at 1400 GMT.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dwarf Asiatic Lily


Dwarf Asiatic Lily
Lilium 'Buff Pixie'

This picture is from June 1st when this Lily was blooming in Connecticut. I bought it last fall with a lot of other different Lilies without knowing anything about it other than it was short. The idea of having an Asiatic Lily that didn’t need staking and had a compact habit was very appealing and the color matched the customer’s range of tones.

One bummer was the flowers do not have a fragrance. On the upside was that the flowers are upward facing and normal sized. You don’t have to deal with an ugly looking tall stalk after they bloom. The ‘Pixie’ series was originally bred for container growing but they work well in the garden. Mine were planted in the perennial border, close to the front and that worked out well.

Yesterday a huge line of thundershowers moved through this area. We had about three quarters of an inch of rain in 10 minutes. I am surprised there wasn’t more damage but I did notice a lot of flash type flooding. I have to go and check a few gardens to see if anything happened. Hopefully the rain got absorbed without out too much runoff.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Variegated Lacecap Hydrangea


Lacecap Hydrangea
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Mariesii Variegata'
(hy-DRAIN-juh) (mak-roh-FIL-uh)

This is a nice Hydrangea with a white margin around the leaves. It gets from 4 to 6 feet tall and is hardy to USDA Zone 6. The flower buds seem to be a little more tender but if the winter isn’t too bad than you get a beautiful show. I have noticed that this plant can revert to all green so you have to keep an eye on it.


If I were getting one or two types of Hydrangeas this probably wouldn’t be one of them. However it does have place in a larger Hydrangea collection for its unusual foliage and flowers.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Daylily Petals

Daylily Petals
Hemerocallis cv.
(hem-er-oh-KAL-iss)

There are still some Daylily pictures to sift through from this season and while going over a few I noticed a lot of petal pictures. One was posted last Sunday and here are three more. The first one is supposed to be ‘Christmas Star Bright’ but the color doesn’t match up with the hybridizer’s website:
Marietta Gardens/New Introductions

So I guess that this flower is still a bit of a mystery. If you click on the link you can see some of the beautiful cultivars they have introduced. This flower had the unusual shape of ‘Christmas Star Bright’ but it was a little more purple.

This next Daylily petal is from one of the deepest red Daylily I have seen. This cultivar is called ‘Study in Scarlet’, which is perfect for it. It is a 1985 introduction by David Kirchhoff of Daylily World .


This last Daylily is ‘Magic Minstrel’ although half the references I saw had it spelled ‘Magic Minstral’. The color was nice and deep and even though you can’t see it this flower had a green throat.


I am so glad the heat wave is over. To be official there has to be three days in a row of over 90 deg. F. There was 5 or 6 days all together over 90 but it wasn’t that bad.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Virgin White Coneflower

White Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea 'Virgin'
(ek-in-AY-shee-a) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)

This coneflower reminded me of a taller (but not real tall) version of ‘Kim’s Knee High’. It is a stout plant that was blooming heavily. The flowers are smaller than many of the newer Coneflowers and they appeared a little stiff looking to me. Overall not the best or my most favorite Cone but it looked like it would fit in under certain circumstances in the garden.


I would like to thank everyone that has been leaving comments. It is easy for me to fall behind acknowledging them sometimes. I do read them and appreciate that you took the time to say something.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Today's Flowers: Hybrid Daylilies

Hybrid Daylily
Hemerocallis 'Camden Crystal Lace'
(hem-er-oh-KAL-iss)

The Daylily season is just about over here. There are a few rebloomers out and a couple of late flowering varieties. The Daylilies didn’t disappoint me this year even with all the crummy weather. This yellow flowered variety was nice with its clear color and wrinkled edges. The 105mm Nikon lens delivers another good background for this flower picture. It often creates great shadows that get rid of distractions.

This second shot is what happens when you have photographed hundreds of Daylilies and you try to get a new slant on the view. This particular cultivar has a soft blend of colors. It is called ‘Raining Violets’. It performed well in the garden.


I am posting an extra picture since it is Sunday and that means Today’s Flowers. This Daylily had large flowers and a very deep color. ‘ Golden Scroll’ is a little shorter than most Daylilies. It was introduced in 1983.


Yesterday Karen wanted to go to the Farmer’s Market and I reluctantly agreed to go. It was at our local County Cooperative Extension Service.

When we arrived they were just setting up the annual Gardener’s Fair. They had a huge selection of gardening and plant books for 1 to 4 dollars. We picked out about 8 and got some really nice reference and table books. Here are a couple that I have had time to look at.

The American Horticultural Society’s Great Plant Guide
It is a small pocket sized book with over 3,000 plants listed. There are tons of great plant pictures inside.

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Gardening with Color by Lance Hattatt
Another small book but again packed with a lot of information and pictures. Mr. Hattatt is a prolific author with several gardening books published.

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The New York Botanical Garden
This book is an amazing look at the. Edited by Gregory Long and Anne Skillion with the principal photography done by Robert Benson, Mick Hales, Sara Cedar Miller, and John Peden the 280 photographs show the garden in all seasons. I haven’t had time to read it yet but there are several essays done by the staff.

All in all it was a great haul of new botanical material.

For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers .

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Merritt's Supreme Bigleaf Hydrangea


Bigleaf Hydrangea
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Merritt's Supreme'
Synonyms: Mophead Hydrangea, French Hydrangea

This came from the florist last year and after it flowered we planted it in the garden. It didn’t get a lot bigger but it was nice to have three or four flowers this year. The color is refreshing in the sea of blue and white Hydrangeas. This particular garden has about 50 Hydrangeas of about 7 or 8 different kinds so this plant fit right in.

This Hydrangea can be turned blue by adjusting the soil pH. I am glad that it stayed pink in the ground. It forms a compact shrub about 4 feet tall and is hardy to USDA Zone 6.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Striped Purple Petunias and Skywatch

Striped Purple Petunias
Petunia 'Ultra Blue Star'
(peh-TEWN-ya)

These striped Petunias really stood out across the garden I visited yesterday. Purple has been a difficult color for me to capture with the camera lately. This shot is getting a little better and at least the purple didn’t turn into a mushy blue. My plan was to underexpose a little and bring up the levels in Photoshop. One thing here was I didn’t account for the whites being so bright. Hopefully some purple flowers will present themselves this weekend so I can further test my ‘purple’ system.

The ‘Ultra’ series of Petunias has been around awhile. I love the colors that they come in (18 different). They are graceful and perform well enough to survive the onslaught of new breeding and introductions. They belong to the Grandiflora group of Petunias, which is the group with the largest flowers. I am not sure why 'Ultra Blue Star’ is actually purple.

Since it is Friday here is a Skywatch picture. Like several of this week’s photos it was taken at the Huntington Library in California.

Mexican Blue Palm
Brahea armata
(BRAH-yuh) (arm-AH-tuh)
Synonyms: Blue Hesper Palm, Gray Goddess


This was one cool looking palm tree. The variations of silver and gray on the leaves were interesting. It is a native of Baja California.

Visit Sky Watch Friday for more skies around the world.
SkyWatch Friday Home Page

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sweet Michelia Tree

Sweet Michelia
Magnolia doltsopa
(mag-NO-lee-uh) (dolt-SOH-puh)
Synonyms: Chinese Magnolia, Michelia doltsopa (my-KEE-lee-uh)

The fragrance of this tree still lingers in my mind. It smelled heavenly. The size, structure and flowers of the tree were impressive, also. It was my first time seeing a Sweet Michelia and it was great on every level except the flowers were very dirty, which I think was a local problem particular to this tree. It didn’t make for a pretty close up that is for sure.

Magnolia doltsopa is a native of the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. It grows to about 30 feet tall and can tolerate full sun or part shade. It likes moist soil and a sheltered location. If I lived in Zone 9 there would be one in my garden.

All the pictures in today’s post and the black and white from yesterday are from my visit to The Huntington in San Marino, California in February. It is an amazing place.

This is from the Chinese Garden. Shot with the Sigma 24mm / 1.8 lens. I have to break out that lens this weekend. Lately I have been using the 60mm and 105mm exclusively.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Coral Sunset Geranium


Coral Sunset Geranium
Pelargonium x domesticumCoral Sunset
(pe-lar-GO-nee-um) (doh-MESS-tik-um)
Synonyms: Regal Pelargonium, Martha Washington Geranium

We went to Stonecrop Gardens yesterday and one of the highlights (for me) was the Geranium collection. It is an amazing garden and I would highly recommend it for touring. To me it wasn’t like a fancy botanical garden more like the sign says a “plant enthusiast garden”. The amount of different and strange plants they had was huge and they were for the most part set up informally.

While I am not trying to make excuses the light was really bad yesterday. It was pretty much dark out (like a murky twilight) and spitting rain on and off. Even with all that I did manage to get a few good flower pictures, which will be posted later in the week. This picture of the Sumac berries was taken with Ruby Tuesday in mind. I like certain types of Sumac in the garden. They aren’t all bad.


Here is a Zinnia I saw a few weeks ago and keep neglecting to post. It goes with Ruby Tuesday so here it is. The big patch of this Zinnia must have been grown from seed as there were some nice variations in the flowers.


Zinnia 'Swizzle Cherry and Ivory'
(ZIN-ya)

See more Ruby Tuesday at Work of the Poet.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Three Black and Whites

Three Black and Whites
Today’s Flowers

It is turning out to be quite garden touring weekend for me. Yesterday I visited both Bailey Arboretum and Planting Fields Arboretum in Long Island, New York. Today we are going to the Garden Conservancy’s Open Day at Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring, NY. The Long Island gardens were in great shape. All the rain and cool temperatures had everything looking lush and a shade of green that the usual hot and dry summers out there have failed to produce the last few years.

These pictures were all shot with the D700 and the 105mm VR lens on the Monochrome setting. That seems to work out better for me than converting color shots. I feel that I am finally really getting the hang of the D700’s dynamic 51-point auto focus system. Using the other controls (and there are a lot of them) is starting to come more naturally, also. I still love my D70s camera but the D700 is ending up out of the camera bag more and more.

The first shot is a Garden Phlox from Planting Fields. The Dahlia Garden there was really just starting to come into its own and the Daylily collection was just past peak bloom but still had a lot of flowers. The Main Greenhouse provided a blast of color and looked really healthy.

This picture is from Bailey Arboretum. Everything is a bit overgrown there but there are few nice display gardens and a lot of nice old specimens of trees. I kept finding huge dwarf evergreens tucked into the garden here and there and that is always a delight for me. The woods and paths at this park are pretty amazing and if you go don’t be afraid to do a little bushwhacking.

Here is a little contrast between the Black and white Daylily flower and the color shot. Both are the same flower. It was in the Planting Field’s Daylily collection (which is small but mighty) and it didn’t, unfortunately, have a sign.



For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers . The links open at 1400 GMT.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Variegated Double Impatiens


Variegated Double Impatiens
Impatiens walleriana 'Fiesta Ole Peppermint'
(im-PAY-shuns) (wall-er-ee-AH-nuh)
Synonyms: 'Balolepep'

This was part of the huge Impatiens planting we put in the front of someone’s house this year. It was kind of a rush job that was left to the last minute. Luckily I was able to score 30 dozen plants and put them in on time. The only type available was double flowered Impatiens so we mixed ‘Stardust Pink’, ‘Appleblossom’ and ‘Peppermint’. Unknown to me at the time was ‘Peppermint’s compact habit. We used the 5 dozen ‘Peppermint’ for two large semicircles surrounded by the other varieties so everything turned out nice. The planting has since has become a true carpet of color.

‘Peppermint’ is part of the Fiesta Ole series and grows 8 to 10 inches tall and has beautiful creamy white and green foliage. The flowers are shaped a little bit like roses and the plants themselves don’t seem to require any pinching, clean up or pruning.

Here is another flower that was blooming at work yesterday. Slugs had ravaged this Hibiscus this season (you can see the foliage). The Iron Phosphate slug repellent has worked and the plant is once again producing a lot of flowers. I am posting this tropical beauty since Karen and I just got a couple of tickets to visit my sister on Maui. October can’t come soon enough.