Saturday, April 30, 2011


Viola x wittrockiana ‘Primrose Yellow’
(vy-OH-la) (wit-rok-ee-AH-nuh)

We planted a lot more Pansies than usual this spring. It was probably due to us wanting to push up spring a little after the harsh winter. We used a mix of different shades but these yellow ones stood above the rest as far as flowering. When I went to the nursery to pick up the Pansies there was a whole block of these and they were literally glowing. It made a strange light on the outside of the house. The smell was beautiful too. Driving back to the job I had to open the windows on the Jeep since the odor, while pleasant, was getting a little overwhelming.

Last night I went and saw my friend’s band playing at a local sports bar. I hadn’t seen them in over a year and they were much better. It really sounded good. Tonight we have our monthly gig at Molten Javas Coffee House in the next town over. I am looking forward to jamming out.

Here is the guitarist and singer from last night. Both are really talented. I had the D700 and 60mm/2.8 lens. As soon as I got there I knew I should have brought the 50mm/1.8 because the lighting was so bad. I can’t understand the place had about a million dollars worth of TVs (including one that was about 10 feet wide) but couldn’t afford any stage lighting.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Purple Leaf Plum

Purple Leaf Plum
Prunus cerasifera 'Thundercloud'
(PROO-nus) (ke-ra-SEE-fer-uh)

I love this tree despite the fact it has proved tricky in the past for me to grow. The tree these flowers are on has proved to be a good one. Totally loaded with flowers (as most of the flowering trees seem to be this year) and growing with a good straight trunk. It is really pretty this year with the emerging coppery foliage mixed in with the flowers. Later in the season the leaves turn a deep purple, which makes for a nice accent.

Earlier this week we went down to New York City to care for a couple of nice courtyard gardens. You would have laughed at me pushing my wheelbarrow up the cobblestone paved street of the historical area near the Financial District. I had my rake, shovel and pruners too. Everything went quite smoothly and the problems I had conjured up in my head never materialized. Here is a picture of the street we were working on. One problem was deciding where to eat lunch out (a rare treat). Just on the one block there were 5 or 6 good places. The smell was delicious and a tad overwhelming when it got near lunchtime.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Triandrus Narcissus

Triandrus Narcissus
Narcissus 'Thalia'
Synonyms: Angel's Tears

The Estate has a large Daffodil collection. It is planted in kind of loose groups not big masses. Of all the varieties this one is one of my favorites. The color is really a pure white and the flowers seem to bloom in groups. A very showy cultivar that I wished I had at least tried a shot in monochrome. There were a lot of flowers out in the garden but not too much time to concentrate on trying to get good pictures of them.

Double Flowered PJM Rhododendron Hybrid
Rhododendron ‘Weston’s Pink Diamond’

This plant has been discussed on this blog before. It seemed that this year it is more loaded with flowers than ever before. It is really just an explosion of pink. I shot this with a shallow depth of field to blur the background and it worked.

Tomorrow a little bit about our foray into the NYC gardening market.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gerber Daisy

Gerber Daisy
Gerbera jamesonii ‘Mega Revolution Mix’
(GER-ber-a) (jay-mess-OWN-ee-eye)
Synonyms: Barberton Daisy, Transvaal Daisy, African Daisy,

Monday, April 25, 2011

Large-Cupped Daffodil

Large-Cupped Daffodil

Since over the years I have 100's or even 1000’s of Daffodil shots I was trying to do something creative here. The trumpet picture of this yellow and orange daff is what I ended up with. The flower had been beaten over by the rain and was hanging completely upside down. In hindsight I probably would have included a little more of the subject in a more centered composition. It was really windy when this picture was taken and it was quickly snapped between the monster gusts.

Here is a picture of some Hyacinth bulbs we saw blooming in a container outside of Grand Central Terminal. I liked them because they combined two of my favorite flower colors purple and blue.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dutchman's Breeches

Dutchman's Breeches
Dicentra cucullaria
(dy-SEN-truh) (kuk-yoo-LAIR-ee-uh)

It had been a long time since I had seen this little wildflower blooming. At first it looked like some kind of modified Bleeding Heart until I remembered its name. That initial impression wasn’t far off as I had the genus right but not the species. The foliage is luxuriant and has a nice detail to it. The little flowers are also nice looking with their hint of yellow. This flower has a lot of interesting things associated with it including being spread by ants ( Myrmecochory ) and being used to treat various medical problems over the years. It was fun to see blooming in the garden on Friday.

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

Here is a bonus picture since it is Sunday. Happy Easter to all that are celebrating today. This is a picture of an amazing Tiffany Stained Glass panel called Hibiscus and Parrots from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Karen and I visited last Sunday and it was her first time (I have been there at least 10 times before). She was amazed at all the old master paintings and antiquities we saw. They also have a very cool guitar exhibit right now, which was interesting to me.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dutch Hyacinth

Dutch Hyacinth
Hyacinthus orientalis
(hy-uh-SIN-thus) (or-ee-en-TAY-liss)

Despite the weather, which again today is rainy and cold, the Hyacinths have started to bloom. Over the last two years I have done two fairly large plantings of these bulbs. I learned something from the way I did it. For the first year I ordered a collection of 6 of ten different varieties and planted them in groups of three along a perennial border next to the driveway and it has looked good for the last two years.

Last fall the owner of one of the gardens I was working came out and said, “I ordered these” and handed my 75 Hyacinth bulbs of the same variety (forget what it was). On one hand it was disappointing to me that they were all the same on the other I was happy to have them for the garden. The garden is a bit, um, cramped but very charming and it was struggle to find some place to put them. I planted some groups of 10 and a few 5’s around some semicircular edging in the rose/herb garden and forgot about them. This spring I noticed what kind of looked like a miniature volcano of dirt lifting where I planted the bulbs. That was a first fr me. All of the dirt around the bulbs and on top was lifting up like sod. This should be interesting I thought. When I went back several days later (after a lot of rain) the bulbs were up and starting to bloom. The soil had sifted back down to the ground and everything was fine. I couldn’t believe how nice my little pink forest looked and smelled.

So I think the all of one variety, heavily planted groups were better than stretching out the different varieties. The picture is of a lone bulb that is probably from a long ago planting. The color is much hotter than most.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Flowering Quince

Flowering Quince

This Quince was blooming at a garden I only visit in the spring. The flowers were kind enough to sit still for a second in the tremendous winds we were having yesterday. Wind can make it difficult to take flower pictures, it seems every time you have the camera set up right a gust comes along and blows the subject completely out of the frame. It can be a little frustrating.

This Quince was tall (about 6 feet) and had made several babies elsewhere in the garden. They can be a little difficult to grow as they seem to be very weak but the flower colors are beautiful. The salmon color of this one was very nice and not seen on many other shrubs or trees.

There was frost warning here last night but it didn’t get as cold as they said it would, thankfully. It was just nature’s way of telling me to put the brakes on a little and not get too carried away with the season.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Little Gem Stripes Orchid

Doritaenopsis Little Gem Stripes
Parentage: (Doritaenopsis Taisuco Stripe X Phalaenopsis Taisuco Gem)

Since I have a ton of work related email to make up and send here is a little orchid for today. Keeping up with all the different classifications these days is tough and something that needs to be researched (for me anyways).

Spring doesn’t really seem to want to show up here as each day seems to be kind of cold and nasty. It is coming very slowly and that is a little bit frustrating. I don’t need it to be perfect out everyday but it would be nice if the season could put a couple of nice days together in a row.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gardenia Flower

Gardenia jasminoides
(gar-DEEN-ya) (jaz-min-OY-deez)
Synonyms: Cape Jasmine, Gandharaj, Gardenia florida

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cape Daisy

Cape Daisy
Osteospermum 'Soprano Light Purple’
Synonyms: African Daisy, 'Osjammlipur'

This is another in the ‘Soprano’ series of Osteospermum and it was truly the only plant ready now for the landscape at the huge annual farm (acres and acres of flowers). Very soft color that looks a little white along with the purple shadings. This hybrid is a little shorter than most at 8-14 inches tall. It would make a nice carpet of soft color.

Today it’s back to work. I’ll be looking for some more ‘finished’ annuals but have a feeling no one really has anything yet. We were down in Manhattan yesterday and it is amazing how stuff is out in bloom compared to our more northern region. The plantings will just have to wait.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blue Mystique Orchid

Blue Mystique Orchid
Phalaenopsis 'Blue Mystique'

Normally I don’t buy into a trend like this but we saw Blue Mystique for sale at three different places on Friday. Billed as the first blue Phalaenopsis orchid they are hard to ignore. The color stands out from far away and is also interesting close up. At first I thought they must be painted but a little research showed that the plant is “infused with a special medium” when growing to get the color (whatever that means). While all the buds on a blue spray will have the deep color subsequent blooms on the plant will be white or a light blue color. Here is a website about this orchid. It is from Homestead Gardens (all the orchids that I saw had a ‘Homestead Gardens’ tag on them).


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

Here is the Sunday bonus flower. One nursery had benches full of Hydrangea in full bloom. They were mostly ‘First White’ but there were also a couple of oddballs. This one, unfortunately, didn’t have a tag. It is probably one of the more unusual Hydrangeas I have seen but trying to look up what cultivar it is proved too difficult.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

English Daisy

English Daisy
Bellis perennis 'Tasso Strawberries and Cream'
(BEL-liss) (per-EN-is)
Synonyms: Lawn Daisy, Bruisewort

Yesterday I was out doing one of my favorite activities, shopping for plants. I had to buy several shrubs to replace ones that had been busted up by snow falling off the roof during the winter. We were also kind of looking to see what the suppliers had for annual color for the upcoming season. We are kind of in a bind since we have a lot of containers to plant (with annuals) in Manhattan where the weather is okay now for planting but none of our more northern suppliers have anything that is even close to being ready. Patience is one of the hardest virtues of being a good gardener to stick to. We will just have to wait for the proper time.

This English Daisy was blooming at the big annual nursery. It is a little different then most as it sells both wholesale and retail. I love the classiness of the English Daisies but treat them like a total annual. They never seem to come back for me. This probably due to incorrect placement/care by us and not the plant’s fault. These flowers are rated for extreme winter temperatures but the key is having good drainage.

Something that this picture doesn’t show about this cultivar is the unique pink center that the flower develops as it ages. It is really striking and unusual. They are just starting to develop their 'blush'.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Slender Deutzia

Slender Deutzia
Deutzia gracilis
(DOOT-zee-uh) (GRASS-il-is)

Since we use a lot of Deutzia it is always fun when it blooms near the end of May. It can be used as low-mounded shrub or as a flowering ground cover (it only takes light shearing to keep it really low). There are several types and cultivars available but I think this is my favorite. It is a tough, problem solving plant. A real classic!

This is the new gold foliage version of Slender Deutzia called ‘Chardonnay Pearls®’. I really want to try some.

I am not sure what these buds are from I just liked the star shape at the end of them. This picture should have a larger Depth of Field.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pink Tropical Waterlily

Pink Tropical Waterlily

This pink waterlily was sticking out of a sea of green. The color was a little unusual but then again I am not used to tropical water lilies. The ones that grow around here are mostly white or some other drab color. One fact that I learned between hardy and tropical water lilies is that tropicals will bloom anytime of the day or night where the hardy types are only diurnal (day blooming).

Today marks the beginning of the mulching season for us. The weather has just not been cooperating. Mulch is a great equalizer in the garden. It’s uniform appearance and fresh smell kind of tie everything together.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pink Shell Ginger Buds

Pink Shell Ginger Buds
Alpinia zerumbet
(al-PIN-ee-uh) (ZER-um-bet)

Another pic from the tropical archive on my hard drive. This plant is a little coarse looking when growing but when the necklace shaped flowers emerge it is beautiful. These are just the funnel shaped buds. The flower actually opens to a beautiful almost orchid like shape with yellow, red and orange markings. The flowers are fragrant and very detailed.

The plant is actually considered a rhizomatous perennial even though it can get to heights of 8 to 10 feet tall. It should be divided every couple of years and is drought resistant after establishment.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tropical Hibiscus

Tropical Hibiscus
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Heidi’
(hi-BIS-kus) (RO-sa-sy-NEN-sis)
Synonyms: Queen of the Tropics

This is another flower from Foster’s Botanical Gardens in Honolulu. Does it have a bit more swagger since it is a true tropical hibiscus? I am not sure but it was delicate and proper looking. This plant is a little famous as when I googled it there several pictures of it on the net.

Hibiscus are always nice to have in the garden but we have had trouble over wintering them in the conservatory. This year they look pretty good and hopefully will start to flower earlier in the summer for us.

Since it is Sunday and that means Todays Flowers here is a bonus picture. Today’s Flowers for flower pictures from around the world.

I am happy to announce our little company’s foray into urban gardening after getting a nice job in Manhattan. It will be a challenge that we will look forward to and there will probably be some reports here during the summer.

This is the view off the rooftop of the building where we will be planting 17 pots of flowers. That is the Brooklyn Bridge if you are unfamiliar with it. Now that the negotiations are done we start next week. It is still a little early to plant the annuals (both for the season and supply) so that will have to wait another 10 to 14 days.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Reed Stem Orchid

Reed Stem Orchid
Epidendrum cv.
Synonyms: Star Orchid, Crucifix Orchid

This orchid picture was taken at the Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu last year. It is one of my favorite places on the island of Oahu. Located right in the city it was laid out a long time ago and has a lot of mature plantings. The garden is always one of my first stops when visiting. They had an interesting collection of Orchids in bloom on our last visit. I used to kind of look down on Reed Stem Orchids because the flowers are small and not as showy as some of their relatives. The flowers have kind of won me over with their colors, detailed clusters of blooms and ease of cultivation. This cultivar seemed particularly bright and happy. It reminded me of the candy corn that you see on Halloween.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Pink Asian Corsage Orchid

Cymbidium Happy Face ‘Amaranth'

Here is another pink Asian Corsage Orchid. The Cymbidiums were really the star of the New York Orchid Show. I have pictures of several more that will be showing up here over the next several weeks. It is just a photogenic orchid.

Things outside are definitely starting to pick up, as there were Helleborus, Daffs, Witch Hazel, and some other minor bulbs blooming. The Dawn Viburnums were not fully out but showing a lot of color. There was a frost last night but in general the weather is going to be more spring like next week, which, of course will be welcomed. Yesterday I went and got some Pansies, Primrose and Ranunculus from the nursery (good thing because the supply is getting picked over). We are only making some pots up, as I do not really like Pansies as a bedding flower. The smell in the truck on the way back to the house was amazing and heady. It sure smelled like spring.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Long Island Aquarium

Long Island Aquarium
Riverhead, New York

These pictures have been hanging around on my desktop for a couple of months. In the very beginning of winter Erika’s Mom went on a cruise and Erika wanted to go on a boat too so we bundled her up and took her on the ferry to Long Island. Since we couldn’t do our usual plant hunting or wine tasting we decided on the Aquarium.

Feeding Time!

To say I was impressed would be an understatement. The facility had tons of interesting exhibits and is clean as a whistle. The place is small but jam packed with cool stuff. There seemed to be a large expansion project going on. Of all the environments to take pictures I find aquariums to be one of the hardest (like concerts). We really enjoyed our visit and would like to go back in the summer.

World record Mako shark caught off Long Island

Atlantis Marine World

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Monday, April 04, 2011

Mealy Cup Sage

Mealy Cup Sage
Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue'
(SAL-vee-uh) (far-ih-NAH-kee-uh)

This is an annual in our area and it is not one of my favorites. The nurseries seem to be always pushing it and while the flower color looks nice I would much rather grow the perennial types of Saliva or ‘Black and Blue’. Sometimes when a plant under performs for me it will give it a couple more chances but ‘Victoria Blue’ just hasn’t come through for me. Most times I write this off as being my fault especially with a plant as popular as this one.

It does look good en masse and has a subtle fragrance. A couple of qualities it does have are low water requirements and a resistance to deer. Like most of their relatives they are attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

“Long stormy spring-time, wet contentious April, winter chilling the lap of very May; but at length the season of summer does come”
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Striped Red Petunias

Striped Red Petunias
Petunia 'Ultra Blue Star'

These Petunias are from the 2009 season. I have to admit that Petunias have a special place in my heart and all the breeding that has been going on with them has made that love even stronger. I am not sure what type these are but they might be ‘Ultra Star Crimson’. Growing Petunias is easy if they have the right conditions. Many sources say they grow well in partial shade but to me full sun is better. They also like water but need to be in well draining soil. Modern types do not need deadheading but I have found a slight cut back (light shearing) is beneficial and helps for the fall season. I can’t wait to start growing some this year.

Since it is Sunday and that means Todays Flowers here is a bonus flower. Today’s Flowers for flower pictures from around the world.

Mandevilla Vine
Mandevilla splendens ‘Sun Parasol’
(man-de-VILL-uh) (SPLEN-denz)
Synonyms: Dipladenia, Mandevilla boliviensis

It is a little unusual to find this vine in white but it is a nice change. I would like to grow on of these with that really dark red Mandevilla they have now. This flower was photogenic as I took four pictures of the flower and they all basically came out well. White flowers always kind of stump me for exposure. I often blow out the whites but here I am right on the edge. Both of the flowers in this post were taken with the D70s and 60mm/2.8 Micro-Nikkor (Nikon) lens.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Couple of More Cymbidiums

Cymbidium Mighty Sunset 'Barbara'

A couple more Cymbidium shots from the NYBG Orchid Show. These two had unusual colors (to me). ‘Barbara’ had huge spikes that were full of flowers and I was happy to see that I remembered to take a picture of the spike instead of just the close up.

The next orchid is also a Cymbidium but I didn’t see the name. The yellowy orange color was a standout.

Today we have to plant the Pansies at the farm and it marks the first Saturday workday of the season. Hopefully the overnight temperatures will be okay for the flowers as the memorial service is on Sunday. I think 1,000 people are attending.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Cymbidium Orchid

Cymbidium Enzan Stream
Parentage: Cymbidium Lucky Rainbow × Cymbidium Alexanderi

The soft pink of this Orchid was very attractive. Pink flowers aren’t my favorite but the delicate blushing on these Orchids caught my eye. Cymbidium Orchids have become more and more appealing to me and the Orchid Show had some I hadn’t seen before.

It snowed here overnight but luckily not too much. Just left a light coating on the cars and grass. Some sort of cruel April fools joke I guess. I got a chuckle last night when I was returning some calls about gardening work and it was snowing like crazy outside.