Sunday, December 30, 2012

Eastern Purple Coneflower

Eastern Purple Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

Here area couple of Coneflower shots from this summer. They are both of cultivars but I am not sure which ones they are. The pink ones had a nice tight formation with good color. One of the keys of growing these flowers is giving them a nice dry winter. They really don't like wet feet in the winter.

This bonus snapshot is the less seldom seen white type of Coneflower. The estate has a big collection of 'White Swan' Cones and we tried to spread the seed in the beds as we cleaned up. It usually takes a couple of years for the population to build up and mostly you end up with some nice light pink ones from the seeds.

Happy New Year.

White Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea cv.
(ek-in-AY-shee-a) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)
Synonym: Echinacea purpurea alba, Brauneria purpurea, Rudbeckia purpurea

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Reed Stem Orchid

Reed Stem Orchid
Epidendrum Princess Valley 'Innocence'
Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Star Of Siam Waterlily

Nymphaea 'Star Of Siam'

I thought I would share this really nice blue waterlily flower picture. It is a tropical day-blooming type. The flower does resemble a sapphire star but also has the additional beauty of chocolate splashed leaves. The mottled foliage spreads out to a medium sized plant.

Christmas preparations are getting in full swing here now. Despite our agreement that we wouldn’t do too much this year it seems like the same amount s previous years.

Since it is Sunday here is a bonus snapshot of a waterlily and Koi fish. He just seemed to swim in and out of the frame as I was lining the shot up.

Nymphaea cv.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Large Fothergilla

Large Fothergilla
Fothergilla 'Mt. Airy'
Synonym: Fothergilla gardenii x major, Fothergilla major

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Jungle Beauty Daylily

Hemerocallis 'Jungle Beauty'

While going through some old files I found a “roll” of unexplored Daylilies. There were some astonishing reds and pinks in the folder. This first one was introduced in 1990 and had a nice velvety black color. The scape had a good bud set and a strong frame. Quite an eye catcher and well named.

This second flower had a warmer brighter color. I have to admit to really liking the Woodside collection of Daylilies. Dr. Darryl Apps just knows how to breed colors that I like. He recently retired and the whole Woodside collection was moved to large wholesale nursery in New Jersey.

Hemerocallis 'Woodside Fire Dance'

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Yellow Daylily

Yellow Daylily
Hemerocallis cv.

Out of the hundreds of thousands of plants on this estate I have found one little patch of Daylilies. No one seems to know what color or the cultivar name so that is a mystery that will be solved next year. Most all of the flowers are white in the garden and I am interested to see how the monochromatic color scheme works. The landscape architects were here yesterday trying to come up with a plan to fix the most heavily storm damaged areas. We are still cleaning up but most of the mess is now taken care of and we are getting back to our regularly scheduled winterizing of the garden.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mexican Sunflower

Mexican Sunflower
Tithonia rotundifolia
(ti-THO-nee-a) (ro-tun-dih-FOH-lee-uh)
Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Leopard Prince Orchid

Doritaenopsis Leopard Prince
Parentage: Doritaenopsis Sun Prince x Phalaenopsis Ho's French Fantasia

A heavily spotted version of a Doritaenopsis intergeneric hybrid. I have to admit about being confused about Doritaenopsis as a genus. The names Doritis and Doritaenopsis are now out and these orchids belong to Phalaenopsis. The names seem to keep changing and plant names are much less settled then I once believed them to be,

I got my Christmas present yesterday and it was something I waited a long time to get. Since my old guitar needs to be retired due to stress cracks in the pick guard I wanted another Fender Stratocaster to replace it. Ironically the new guitar is almost an exact replica of the old one. The people in Guitar Center were getting sick of me demoing every Strat in the store. When I plugged in the 2003 Eric ClaptonSignature Model  I knew I had found my perfect prize. After playing hardball on the price it went home with me.

Here is a Sunday bonus snapshot. This flower was at the orchid wholesale nursery and was unnamed. It really had a rich, velvety appearance.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Julia Child Floribunda Rose

Julia Child Floribunda Rose
Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Zygopetalum Orchid

Zygopetalum B.G. White 'Stonehurst

Continuing my education on different orchid genera here is the beautiful Zygopetalum type. There are fourteen species and they are native to South America. The waxy fragrant flowers are easy to grow and last a long time as a cut flower. I am looking to add a few of these to the new orchid collection at work.

Since it is Sunday here is the bonus snapshot. The other day we went to this super huge wholesale nursery on Long Island and the person with me bought a 4-inch Aloe plant for $2.15. It felt kind of funny walking out with just the little guy. I have also been dreaming about going to Hawaii this winter but that is kind of tough since I just started a new job. This Aloe was blooming in a foundation plant on the Big Island. I really like the yellow ones.

Aloe sp.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Lipstick Palm

Lipstick Palm
Cyrtostachys renda
(sir-toh-STAY-kiss) (REN-duh)
Synonyms: Cyrtostachys lakka, Sealing wax palm

This is one of my favorite palm trees. The color of the stems has always enchanted me. I can’t even comment on how the rest of the tree really looks. The thinking of getting one for the greenhouse at the Estate kind of went out the window after I read that is one of the tenderest palms available. It can’t even reliably last at 60 degrees F., and sometimes times the greenhouse gets that low at night. 55 is my target for overnight temperatures but I am having a little trouble zeroing in the state of the art climate control system. Oh how I long for a simple dial thermostat.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Ovis aries
Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dawn Viburnum


Bodnant Viburnum
Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn'
(vy-BUR-num) (bod-nan-TEN-see)

Now that the disaster clean up at work has slowed down my mind is wandering towards spring. Hopefully there will be a few Bodnants in the estate’s amazing Viburnum plantings. I am still learning the gardens and find new plants almost every day. This shrub is a hybrid of two different Viburnum species (Viburnum farreri and V. grandiflorum) and the first crossing in 1933 was discarded as not being significantly different then the parents. A later cross (1935) from the Bodnant Gardens in Wales was considered a success and led to the cultivars 'Dawn', 'Deben' and ‘Charles Lamont’. I only have experience with ‘Dawn’ not ever seeing the other ones for sale.

The amazing thing about this shrub is can bloom during the winter. It usually follows an early April bloom here in Connecticut but can have sporadic flowers during most of the year. If conditions are warm it often starts blooming in February. It grows to about 10 feet tall with arching branches.

Bonus snapshot of another early spring fragrant bloomer. This is also a hybrid, like the Viburnum, between Japanese and Mountain Pieris (P. japonica x P. floribunda). It is not s showy as some of the new types but a good old standby.

Hybrid Andromeda
Pieris 'Brouwer's Beauty'

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sara Asian Corsage Orchid

Asian Corsage Orchid
Cymbidium (Sussex Dawn x Memoria Francis Dawn) ‘Sara’

Can you tell that I am excited about growing a lot of orchids at work? Lately I have been immersing myself in knowledge about growing orchids, especially Phalaenopsis. The main thing seems to be if you are able to reproduce certain known conditions the plants will be happy. Even though there are three zoned rooms in the greenhouse we have been using only one as an Orchid Room. It has a separate climate control with misting and venting. The venting system is a little messed up right now so we have been using the doors to the outside and the windows for manual venting. We let the temperature get up to about 80 degrees before cooling it down. It is a balancing act trying to keep the conditions best for several species at once. I am trying to find some microclimates inside the room for our finicky species. So far it is quite an adventure.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Yellow Cattleya Orchid

Yellow Cattleya Orchid
Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Phragmipedium Orchid


Phragmipedium Cape Sunset

This Orchid genus is not represented in the new orchid collection at the Estate. I did manage to secure three collector types for the group but we are still missing specimens of Vanda and Cymbidium. My hands will be full with the 20 new Phalaenopsis and others so I probably shouldn’t be worried about what I don’t have. Lucky the greenhouse at work has three rooms and the climate can be set up separately in each room. There is also a nice misting system, which helps keep the humidity up.  Ten of the new orchids are marked for the main house and there care will be turned over to the domestic people. They are in full bloom. Well the fun begins on Monday when the orchids hit the greenhouse.

Since it is Sunday here is the bonus snapshot of the day. A black and white Asian Corsage Orchid.

Asian Corsage Orchid

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cane Orchid

Cane Orchid
Dendrobium sanderae
Synonyms: Mrs. Sander's Dendrobium

This Orchid is kind of in honor of the Orchid collection that is being delivered to the Estate on Monday. It going to be mostly Phalaenopsis hybrids but also some Cattleya and other species. Last week I bought 12 nice 4” Dendrobium orchids from the same wholesaler for $4.50 each.

Sorry this blog has been so sketchy on updates lately. I have been spending the weekends in Connecticut and living in Queens during the week. The new job is fantastic but it is taking a lot out of me and has me keeping somewhat irregular hours. Standby for some more orchid pictures as the new plants come into flower.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Spotted Phalaenopsis Orchid

Phalaenopsis Orchid
Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Constellation Dogwood Tree

Flowering Dogwood Tree
Cornus x rutgersensis 'Constellation'
Synonyms: Rutcan

Sorry for the sporadic updates on this blog. My new job has become one of disaster relief for the gardens at the new estate. There have been a lot of tough calls on what to save and what not too. Of all the plants on the place the mature White Pines and the Lacebark Elms bore the brunt of nature's fury the most. The main tree allee of Elms was almost totally ruined but plans to replant are already being made. The big, heavy, wet snow was almost more devastating then the hurricane. The snow seemed to affect more plants than the winds did. Also of note was the havoc wreaked on the mature Holly collection. The really big Hollies made it ok but the smaller ones had a lot of damage.

Today's Flower is a special dogwood tree. It was developed by Dr. Elwin Orton of Rutgers University as a cross between our native Dogwood (Cornus florida) and the Oriental Dogwood (C. kousa). It combines to of my favorite trees. We got a couple of specimens at the old estate very early after their release (1988) and they have turned into handsome small trees. They grow great foliage but didn't seem to start blooming for a long time. I am not sure if this is indicative of the species or just the conditions mine were located in. They lack the fruit of Cornus kousa and bloom slightly later.

Norway Maple
Acer platanoides 'Princeton Gold'
(AY-ser) (pla-tan-OY-dees)

Kind of on the same note here is another tree developed in New Jersey. It is really a bright accent in the garden and should be used with care.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Moonbeam Coreopsis

Threadleaf Coreopsis
Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam'
(kor-ee-OP-sis) (ver-ti-si-LAH-tuh)

This has really been a stalwart perennial for us over the years. It has nice foliage and with a little trimming blooms for a long season. The plants expand at a manageable rate and are easy to divide. Good plant for tough places or the border.

We had another terrible storm last night with a lot of snow and high winds. This island doesn’t need anymore tree damage but with the way the wind was rattling my window last night some had to come down. Right now I am temporarily living in Queens, New York to cut down on commuting and I got a good introduction to Long Island traffic last night.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Clivia Lily

Clivia Lily
Clivia miniata cv.
(KLY-vee-uh) (min-ee-AH-tuh)
Synonyms: St. John's Lily, Fire Lily

Since there are quite a few Clivias at work I thought boning up on their culture was a good idea. In the past we have had good luck with Clivia but some specimens have proven to be very stubborn about blooming. Breaking it down to a few simple rules of cultivation can be helpful. They like bright light but never direct sun. Potting mix is also important with a good coarse Orchid Bark working well. Watering is also a major factor. Clivias do not like excessive moisture and can be literally watered to death. Keeping them mostly dry during the winter is important. My personal experience leans towards letting the plants get really root bound in their pots and to avoid dividing when possible. They flowers on the plants at work are white and I hope to see them next cycle.

Work is progressing on the clean up on the island. Thankfully there were some temporary traffic signals installed on the main road. The gas lines there were incredible. I have to go to Manhattan today and assess the damage to the gardens down there. After being flooded by seven feet of saltwater the prognosis is not good but I still have to try and look at what can be saved.

Here is today’s bonus snapshot:

This was quite a strange looking Pansy. The face was amazing to me. Our garden mums and Pansies did well through the storm.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Oxalis obtusa

Oxalis obtusa

This is kind of a rare bulb that was blooming in the Alpine House at Wave Hill. I am pretty sure that this is an immature specimen but the species can be quite variable. The flowers are a unique blend of peach and yellow. It looked to me to be able to glow under the proper lighting. Looking back on some of the posts on Oxalis on this site I found some diminutive but beautiful flowers.

I am happy to report our power came back on. I missed being able to do this blog. The new Long Island garden got devastated and it will be a long time cleaning up and restoring its glory.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Marguerite Daisy

Marguerite Daisy
Argyranthemum hybrid 'Sunlight'
Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hybrid Cattleya Orchid

Hybrid Cattleya Orchid
Brassolaeliocattleya Success Dream x Laeliocattleya Orglade’s Grand
(brass-oh-lay-lee-oh-KAT-lee-yuh) (lay-lee-oh-KAT-lee-uh)

Today’s Orchid is a mouthful. It’s much easier to write the horticultural way, Blc. Success Dream x Lc. Orglade's Grand. This is actually a trigeneric hybrid with some other stuff sprinkled in. It reminded me most of a Cattleya type with the huge flowers and fresh fragrance. Cattleya orchids are some of my favorite and I am looking forward to growing some over the winter.

Sitting here doing some homework listening to the wind continue to pick up in intensity. Its really starting to blow and I will be happy to get this post up before the power or cable goes out.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spice Twice Hybrid Tea Rose

Hybrid Tea Rose ‘Spice Twice’
Synonyms: JACable
Petal Count: 17-25 petals
Breeder: Dr. Keith W. Zary, US, 1997
Parentage: ‘Spirit of Glasnost’ × ‘Kardinal 85’ (Kordes 1985)

Couple of roses for Sunday. This first rose has a great fiery orange/coral color that is hard to match. The flowers grow on a tall, strong bush that seems relatively disease resistant. I am not sure why but the flowers on the two bushes I have grown always seem to be on kind of the small side. The advertised size of the flowers is 6 inches across but mine can hardly muster 3 or 4 inches. Despite that it is always nice to see the flowers because of the way the sunlight can make them appear to glow. The fragrance is intoxicating too. If you only have room for a couple of roses I probably wouldn’t recommend ‘Spice Twice’ unless of course you are a sucker for that color (like me). ‘Tropicana’ can kind of supply the color on a much better growing rose.

Today’s bonus snapshot is an unknown red rose. Guessing I am going to say ‘Don Juan’ but am not really sure. The sides of the photo have had a vignette placed there to get rid of a really busy background and try and show just the summer richness of the rose.

The storm frenzy continues to grow around here and we are now solidly in what I call the ‘Cone of Doom’, which is the projected path of the storm. Overnight bad news came from the west coast as a big earthquake hit the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia. Luckily the area is sparsely populated and there wasn’t much damage according to news reports so far. Having spent quite a bit of time in that area I always had a little nagging fear of the areas natural beauty. It is almost too majestic. The bad news is a tsunami is headed for Hawaii where my sister lives. I am never sure if I should pick up the phone and call even though it is in the middle of the night there. She lives in up country Maui at about 1,000 feet above sea level and there is a warning horn like 100 yards from her house so I figure that she is safe.

Friday, October 26, 2012

White Japanese Anemone

Japanese Anemone
Anemone x hybrid 'Honorine Jobert'

This flower is really starting to grow on me. It is one of the few perennials in the garden that still has strong blooms and good looks right now. It seems very reliable and returns every year. Usually it starts blooming in very late summer and adds a kick to any late season planting areas. The main problem is how tall it gets and it does have a tendency to flop over. Rather stake individual plants we often put up kind of a fence around the plantings and that holds up the blossoms. There are some pink types that are also beautiful.

Everyone here is bracing for the possible hurricane on Monday/Tuesday. The forecast keeps changing but we are now directly in the projected path (the cone of doom as I call it). High winds and a lot of rain is expected depending how the storm sets up. I am going to try and not worry that much about it. Getting the chain saws ready will be the extent of my preparations right now.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Black and White Lupine


A fun flower that has a lot of structure and grace. This is a wild Lupine that was blooming in Northern New England last summer. We don’t seem to get them growing wild in Southern New England. I have found that while a good stand of Lupines can look stunning in the garden they need to be replanted every year.

Commuting to Long Island has been tiring but spending a couple of days a week at the new Estate has been rewarding. It is a fantastic and magical place that has totally enchanted me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Siberian Iris

Siberian Iris
Iris sibirica 'Cleve Dodge'
(EYE-ris) (sy-BEER-ah-kuh)
Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Music Maker Rose

Buck Shrub Rose ‘Music Maker’
Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Water Lily

Water Lily

This was blooming in a hobbyist pond this summer and looked quite beautiful. Due to the dry conditions it was hard to keep up with topping the ponds off at work. We didn't grow anything like this flower either. The 70 different species of Nymphaea fall into two categories hardy or tropical. The hardy types are diurnal blooming with the tropical types blooming during the day and night.

Since it is Sunday here is the bonus snapshot.

Hardy Begonia
Begonia grandis
(be-GON-yuh) (GRAN-dees)
Synonym: Begonia evansiana

This plant has always interested me but I have never had the guts to try it. Perhaps Long Island, with their slightly less harsh winter will be a good trial for it. If can colonize some shade areas that would be great.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Two Black and White Roses

Two Black and White Roses

The name has escaped on this first rose but I am guessing Hybrid Tea. Both of these pictures are from a “roll” of unlooked at black and white photos I took last year. These were taken with my compact Nikon Coolpix 8400 camera in the monochrome mode. Sometimes I use the smaller/slower flash cards for the compact cameras and often leave them in there for a long time or don’t process them right away. That is what leads to their lost roll status.

After many years running a gardening business we have decided to give that up and concentrate on one garden. As I hinted at before I have accepted the position of head gardener at 26 acre garden on Long Island’s Gold Coast. The garden is totally amazing and has been well cared for. There will be some pictures of the flowers coming soon. I plan on keeping an extensive journal some of which may end up being published here.

Even though it is only Saturday here is another black and white rose photo.

Hybrid Tea Rose
Rosa 'Tiffany'

Friday, October 19, 2012

Love Grandiflora Rose

Grandiflora Rose 'Love'
Synonyms: JACtwin, 71-5324

After seeing this rose in several gardens and becoming enchanted with its bi-colored petals, strong smell and graceful habit I decided to try a couple in the big rose garden. They have performed well and have been reliable. All 4 of the bushes came through the mild winter and bloomed throughout the season. Red roses are not my favorite but this one is extraordinary.

We are working in the office today as it a really rainy and windy New England fall day outside. We are expecting 1 to 2 inches of rain, which we need, and it is off to a good start. We still need some bulbs so I will make a last swing through some nurseries to see if anything is available locally before ordering them from a catalog.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Showy Border Forsythia

Border Forsythia
Forsythia x intermedia
(for-SITH-ee-a) (in-ter-MEE-dee-a)

I didn’t want to go another day to go by without an update to this flower blog. Today’s flower is a garden classic that has been growing in western gardens since the late 1700’s. Almost every house around here has at least one Forsythia bush and often times more that that. It is an easy to propagate and cultivate shrub that can be used as an accent or for screening. If left to it’s own devices it forms a large thicket that explodes in color early in the season. We have to move a big planting of Forsythia today as it is starting to encroach on the neighbor's yard.

Things are changing here as I have been working part-time at a new estate. Kind of a get to know you trial run for the head gardener position. Even though the commute from Connecticut to Long Island has been brutal I have been offered a full-time position. The garden is amazing and since I am running a little late today I cannot speak of all the wonders at the new place right now but plan to describe it more fully here this weekend. Lets just say I am happy and excited about this new opportunity.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pink Flowering Almond

Pink Flowering Almond
Prunus glandulosa 'Rosea Plena'
(PROO-nus) (glan-doo-LOW-suh)
Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 15, 2012

Japanese Primrose

Japanese Primrose
Primula japonica 'Miller's Crimson'
(PRIM-yew-luh) (juh-PON-ih-kuh)

Myosotis sylvatica
(my-oh-SO-tis) (sil-VAT-ee-kuh)

It was kind of a happy accident to have these flowers line up together. The garden is literally covered with the Primroses in spring after we have been gently encouraging into seeding in various areas. The Forget me nots are left over from a huge patch we grew a couple of years ago from seed. It is a classic combination that started out from a dozen Primroses and a big bag of seed that someone gave me. The flowers look a lot better than mulch and have been colonizing a lot of tough wet areas.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sooty Sweet William

Sweet William
Dianthus barbatus var. nigrescens 'Sooty'
Synonyms: Dianthus nigrescens

There seems to be some debate on whether or not this flower is a biennial or perennial. My experiences have been mostly biennial and if we get 2 or 3 years out of them we are happy. Dianthus seems to thrive in the drier areas of the garden with unimproved soil. The edge of masonry work with even a little stone dust from the stonework mixed in seems to suit it best. Winter drainage is also an important part of keeping them going. It is true garden classic that has been around a long time. Lately some new cultivars have been showing up due to breeding so they may be more perennial. This type grows 8-12 inches tall and gets nice dark foliage later in the season. It is said the flowers smell like chocolate but I can’t confirm or deny that.

Since it is Sunday again here is the bonus flower snapshot.

Hybrid Tea Rose ‘Fragrant Cloud’
Rosa (ro-zuh)

This is a really beautiful hybrid tea rose. It is quite old having been introduced in 1963. I always have a lot of respect for a rose that can last that long on the market. It can be susceptible to black spot and other rose problems but you forget all about that when you have cut a few of the flowers for the house. It certainly lives up to its name then.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

More Daffodils


Another daffodil shot. Can you tell who is dreaming about spring already? As a gardener it always pays to try and think a couple of seasons ahead because they seem to arrive and pass by no matter what.

This shot was a depth of field experiment that was conducted with my least used lens and back up camera body. So the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 macro lens and the Nikon D70s body. The lens has proven to be a tough performer with good color rendition and sharpness. This model isn’t manufactured anymore without Sigma’s built-in image stabilizer (OS). It was a cheap lens and I bought it several years ago to replace a broken Nikon 18-70mm lens.

What I have found is I don’t like zoom lenses at all. The 80-200mm/2.8 zoom is a great lens but when it is on the camera I often forget it is a zoom and don’t operate it properly. The 17-70mm did okay on this test producing good exposure with good bokeh (background blur) although it isn’t as creamy as the Nikon lenses. The Sigma vs. Nikon lens debate continues to rage and I have to say that Sigma seems to suffer from quality control problems sometimes and there seems to be good and bad copies of everyone of their models. Mine, luckily, have been good and it never seems to be a disadvantage to have them on the camera.

Neil Young’s Cinnamon Girl and an old Kinks song are on my to-do list today. I am breaking out one of the Les Paul copies for Cinnamon Girl since it is in an open tuning. For me it is better to have an extra guitar pre-tuned and not mess with tuning them on stage.