Saturday, March 31, 2012

Scarlet Maple Fall Color

Scarlet Maple
Acer rubrum
(AY-ser) (ROO-brum)
Synonyms: Swamp Maple, Red Maple

This tree may have saved it's own life with this picture. It is located at the base of the estate near the bank of the lake. Periodically the lake floods about half of the root system. It is a multi-trunk specimen and that is the problem. The trunks are ugly and we have tried to make it look better but that led to a lot of sprouting and that looked worse. The top of the tree has been broken many times including during the October Snow from Hell of last year. I had finally decided to cut it down this spring but then I saw this picture and remembered why I had babying the tree along all these years. It provides a unique and colorful background to the plants planted in front of it.

Often times I am truly jealous of tropical gardeners especially when I see them having stuff year round and growing things like Palm Trees outside. This photo illustrates one of the outdoor pleasures I have that they don't. Everyone should see the New England forest in color. This species of Maple is one of the most populous here and if everything goes right, weather wise, they put on a fantastic show.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Morning Glory

Morning Glory
Ipomoea purpurea 'Grandpa Ott's'
(ip-oh-MEE-a) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)

I have to admit the color of this flower is very enchanting to me. Truly a sight to see in the morning when the vine is covered with hundreds of flowers each reflecting the sun in their own way. It has seeded itself but not in a malicious way just enough to keep enjoying it year after year. Some control was used on the plants last year but that was more to keep the size in check. There is some wild Morning Glory in the garden some of which is allowed to grow, I have found it to be an onerous and formidable opponent and realize that we are just going to have to live with it.

Our wild and whacky weather continues. Lucky most everything bounced back from the freeze of a couple nights ago. We had a cold night last night but not freezing. When I got home from work on Wednesday I noticed my front and back yard was covered with something white. Turns out we had about an inch of gravel sized hail.  Have to add it’s supposed to snow tonight with a dusting by morning. What a roll coaster!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Earth Song Grandiflora Rose

Grandiflora Rose
Rosa 'Earth Song'

Since we were working on the rose garden all day yesterday here is a shot from a previous year. Most of the roses made it through the winter but this year we are being a little more aggressive with removing some of the plants that haven’t preformed well. A couple of roses have really struggled and it was time for them to go. All together we need about 20 replacements to fill out the garden.

‘Earth Song’ was not on the removal list since it has been vigorous and healthy and appears hardy. The vivid pink flowers bloom in flushes and have a nice scent. It is a pleasant rose on all accounts.

We had our “hard freeze” on Tuesday night and thankfully it didn’t drop as low as the said it was going to. We had high 20’s for several hours and it didn’t do as much damage as I thought it would. The Magnolias are toast. The Star types are just a pile of brown mush and the Saucer type had damage to the outside petals, which doesn’t look good. Cherry, Andromeda and bulbs seem to throw it off. I am sure there will be more damage after a few days but it could have been worse.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Nemesia fruticans 'Opal Innocence'
(ne-MEE-see-uh) (FROO-tih-kanz)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Italian Pansy

Italian Pansy
Viola x wittrockiana ‘Bolero Mix’
(vee-OH-luh) (wit-rok-ee-AH-nuh)
Violaceae (vee-oh-LAY-see-ay)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Marguerite Daisy

Summer Daisy
Argyranthemum frutescens ‘Comet White Improved’
(ar-ji-RAN-the-mum) (froo-TESS-enz)
Synonyms: Marguerite Daisy, Cobwhite

These are annuals in our climate but provide a nice shower of daisies during the season. I am not sure what is or was improved about this particular type but it did well in one of the big containers and would certainly get an invitation to return to the garden this year. It is nice since most of the Marguerites around here seem to have more yellow in the flowers then Comet White Improved, which has bright white petals. The low (12 inches tall) mounding habit is great for containers or bedding. The ferny, bushy foliage helps keep it looking nice.

My how have the weather tables turned on us here in the American Northeast. Thursday had a high temperature of 80 deg (F) smashing the record and today the high is forecast for 49 with super strong winds. Tonight is when it really falls apart with a low of 25F and wide spread ‘hard freeze’ warnings in effect. I am sure glad I didn’t plant those Pansies on Friday.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kiku Chrysanthemum

Friendship Kiku Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum ‘Hoko Yuai’

This is another flower from the lost roll of the Kiku Chrysanthemum Show in New York City last fall. The flowers were huge and the overall the mum had been trained to show 298 flowers in the display. It was quite a work of art. It’s a little funny because this picture was shot and then not looked at until I took some pictures in Florida a couple of months later. Sometimes I wish that my organizational skills were better. These Chrysanthemums were breathtaking and it is hard for me to imagine the work that went into creating them. Not only do the flowers have to be perfectly grown to form the big shape out of the 300 but also they have to bloom at show time. I really hope the NYBG has another Chrysanthemum show this fall.

Since it Sunday that calls for a bonus snapshot and here is a pic of a beautiful Dahlia shot out on Long Island, New York. The growing conditions on the largest island in the lower 48 are great and there is always seems to be something horticultural significant to see.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

New Mophead Hydrangea

Bi-colored Mophead Hydrangea
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Tivoli’

This interesting new cultivar of Hydrangea was spotted at a local grower when we were looking for some Pansies. Not quite in full bloom I did like the combination of the lime green and pink in the flowers. There isn’t a lot of information out for this plant yet but it is said to be a compact version of the parent. In general I find bi-colored flowers to be lovely and exotic and these one was no exception. There is also a dark blue and white type in the series named ‘Bavaria’.

The Pansies looked pretty picked over so we didn’t get any. It was easy to be distracted by all of the other spring stuff that they were selling. Our overnight temperatures are still a little low to put anything out but the hardiest flowers. It would be easy to be fooled by the daytime highs, which for us have been way over normal.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Glory Bush

Glory Bush
Tibouchina lepidota 'Ecuador Princess'
(tib-OO-kee-nuh) (lep-PID-oh-tuh)

This flower certainly has a rich purple color. It was much different from the Tibouchinas we usually grow, which have kind of a more washed out magenta purple flower. The flower contrasted nicely with the glossy, skinny foliage. This plant is hardy to USDA Zone 8 and is more compact growing than most Tibouchina. The final size of 2-4 feet tall and wide makes it suitable for container cultivation.

Well it has been glorious to be outside and have the miracle of spring washing over me. The daffodils, crocus, cherry trees, and even the magnolias are starting to blossom. All you gardeners know what I am speaking of. The smell of decay in the garden has been replaced with a much more pleasant smell.

He smelled cold water and cold intrepid green. Those early flowers smelled like cold water. Their fragrence was not the still perfume of high summer; it was the smell of cold, raw green.
Paul Harding

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Pelargonium x hortorum cv.
(pe-lar-GO-nee-um) (hor-TOR-um)

This Geranium was spotted at the Magic Kingdom last winter. It really had a nice color, which is really only partially represented here. The flowers at Disney were all amazing and it is always nice to see large scale bedding plant displays. I don’t know what grows down in Florida during the summer but the Geraniums, Pansies and Snapdragons are sure nice to see during the winter. I remember passing a huge display of Pansies at Epcot that had a beautiful fresh smell and they were looking great.

Tuesday night Karen and I attended the Allman Brothers Band concert at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan. Part of their annual and fabled 10 night run the band was hot. It is always nice to see and hear guitar playing like that. Derek Trucks (left) is an amazing player and I had forgotten how good Mr. Warren Hayes plays as well. Greg Allman is somehow still alive and doing well singing and playing one of my favorite instruments, the Hammond B-3 organ.

Thinking back the last time I saw the ABB was at the old New Haven Coliseum on New Years Eve 1982. That venue has since been imploded but over the years it really had been the site of some great concerts. The Beacon is an amazing place that, I think, is one of the few grand movie houses from the 1920’s that is still standing in NYC. The next day at work we were dragging a little bit it was well worth it. I do think that Derek is one of the greatest American guitar players ever. He is 32 years old now and has 20 years of professional experience. The band was joined by his lovely wife Susan Tedeschi for a few songs. It was nice to see her playing a Fender branded guitar instead of all the other Gibsons everyone was playing. This picture was one of the only ones I managed from our 2nd row seats.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hardy Water Lily

Hardy Water Lily
Nymphaea 'Mayla'

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Apricot Candy Hybrid Tea Rose

Hybrid Tea Rose ‘Apricot Candy’
Rosa ‘Apricot Candy’
Synonyms: Meibedull

Monday, March 19, 2012

Swan River Daisy

Swan River Daisy

This Australian flower is one of my favorite daisies and I really hope they become more popular and easier to purchase. This is more what the straight species looks like and over the last couple of years different varieties have been kind of creeping into the market. The newer ones have more of mauve color scheme and larger flowers.

Truth be told we have never used this plant for bedding displays. We have grown many in containers and they have always done well often hanging on to the last day of the season. It is always nice to have some daisies that aren't white.

It is a little weird for me, as I don't want anything musical right now. My sound is really where I want it to be with the addition of the new/old Fender Twin. I guess I still want that 1962 Stratocaster but that isn't going to be happening soon. I started saving for it about 5 years ago but the price increases have far outstripped my ability to save. The price of the guitar has doubled but my savings haven't. :lol: I am not going to say how much it is but right now it is under $50,000. Just got to keep trying to get it and not dip into the fund for its acquisition.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Miniature Rose

Miniature Rose

Unfortunately I don’t know what variety of miniature rose this is but it has been a real trooper in the garden. Growing mini roses is easy and if you can keep the animals away from them they flower nicely through the season. Sometimes the deer seem to miss them and suddenly there will be a nice spray of little flowers and buds. They work great as a cut flower and are often fragrant. Miniature roses are true roses that are thought to have been discovered in Switzerland in 1919. They perform great in containers but I have not had much luck with indoor cultivation.

Since it is Sunday here is a bonus shot of a Pink Dogwood. This is from a full sized tree and it has some of the darkest flower color I have seen. Dogwood season is always special and they are amongst my favorite flowering trees.

Pink Dogwood
Cornus florida var. rubra
(KOR-nus) (FLOR-ih-duh)

Yesterday was an interesting day. I have been looking for a tube guitar amp for several months and I finally located one in my price range on Craiglist. Normally I don’t like to have anything to do with CL but the amps in the stores were just too much, up to about $2000 over my budget. The amp was in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and I packed up a guitar and the dogs and we headed down there. As a funny side note our Border Collie loves NYC. She was so happy to stick her head out the window as we cut across Manhattan and through the throngs of overly happy early St. Patrick’s Day revelers.

The amp was a Fender Twin Reverb (my ultimate choice), which is has a great characteristic rock sound. Not only was it a “Twin” but the model known as the “Evil Twin”. The design is based on probably one the most famous of all rock and roll amplifiers the 1965 model. Needless to say I quickly snagged it up and feel all set for a while in that department. I love vintage stuff and this amp fits nicely into my family of Fenders.

Top Left: “Black Bear” 1957 Fender Stratocaster
Top Right: “DJ” 1959 Fender Jazzmaster
Center: “Gomez” 2001 Fender Telecaster (main guitar right now)
Bottom: “Junior” 2011 Fender ’51 Pawn Shop Special
I have nicknames for all my guitars now.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Peach Daylily

Peach Daylily
Hemerocallis cv.

Quick post before I am off to work. This peach colored Daylily is balancing off the cold gray day we are having here. Work has been kicking my butt but it feels good to be out in the garden again.

Daylilies are so amazing. I didn’t catch the cultivar name of this one but I remember shooting this picture on Long Island and it was close to 100 degrees out. The flowers still looked fresh and appealing. Summer will soon be here and that is a good feeling.

As most readers know my favorite Pop Star is Selena Gomez. She is filming a movie called “Spring Breakers” in Florida right now and from what I have heard it going to be fairly racy for a Sel movie. She is about to make the tough transition from Disney star to adult actress. I am sure she is going to do it with her usual grace and style. This video is 45 minutes long but explores Selena’s rise from a poor kid in Texas to the top of the pops. I found it interesting and inspiring.

Thursday, March 15, 2012



It sure was a nice surprise to roll up to work and find 100’s of Crocuses in bloom. It was posted here last November 11th that we were planting them and there they were forming their own little carpet of color. These white ones were especially enchanting when the sun was hitting them. They seemed to look like a little electric flower. The purple striped ones were nice looking too. There is a bright yellow (not pictured) Crocus amongst them, which is truly hard to ignore.

The other bulbs (mostly Tulips and Daffs) planted in this garden seem a little slow and you could see me bending over and carefully flicking soil and mulch away from their areas trying to catch a glimpse of emerging foliage. I still have a sense of anticipation for those flowers. It is easy to forget with the mild weather that the tulips are not supposed to bloom until May and that is still two months away.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rose de Rescht Damask Rose

Damask Rose
Rosa 'Rose de Rescht'
Synonyms: Portland Rose
Hybrid Perpetual Rose, Pre-1900

Monday, March 12, 2012


Hybrid Gladiolus
Gladiolus x hortulanus
(GLAD-ee-oh-lus) (hor-tew-LAY-nus)

It was a pleasure to see this Glad blooming at the farm last year. When I saw it I realized I hadn’t seen a Gladiolus in many years. It brought many memories of my childhood when we grew crops of Glads on benches. Even as a little kid the colors astounded me. This flower has a little bit of that color magic. It’s funny when you get older and have been doing the same thing that things change and different tastes evolve. I did remember why I stopped growing Gladiolus, which was all the flopping over they did in the garden.

Gladiolus is a flower that has been around for a long time. The symbolism of strength and moral integrity has long been associated with the flowers. They have also symbolized infatuation, and the sword like leaves (where the plant gets its name) were suppose to pierce the heart of the recipient’s heart with passion.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Green Tarantula Daylily

Hemerocallis 'Green Tarantula'

This flower is a bit of a novelty item in the Daylily Border. It grows fairly enormous and doesn’t really flower that heartily. The color is also a little novel as it is bright pretty much a lime green and yellow mix. The flowers are huge, up to 8 inches wide and often display uniquely shaped and crinkled petals. I am not sure but this variety may go into ‘spider’ type division.

Since it’s Sunday again here are a couple of random Daylilies from the horse farm. The thing I like most about the colors of these types of Daylilies is if the light is right it kind of has a nice pink/yellow glow to the whole area. These are going to have to be divided this year.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pink Knockout Shrub Rose

Shrub Rose
Rosa 'Pink Knockout'
Synonyms: RADcon

In some ways I think this rose is going to take over the world. This one is from Central Florida and there seemed to be 1000’s of plantings of them everywhere. Someday I will probably come upon a landscape that is planted with just ‘Knockout’ roses and ‘Stella de Oro’ Daylilies. I know why people plant these reliable and hardy plants but they seem so pedestrian and uninspired.

We have had good luck with the ‘Knockout’ series and planted some last fall. Hopefully the deer left them alone. I especially love the double pink knockout but that was unavailable at the time.

The stove is definitely heating up for work around here. A couple of calls came in last week and we are going to be mobilizing next week since the weather is going to be nice. Since things are a little slow at the estate will be again offering our gardening services to residents of Western Connecticut and Eastern New York State. We do landscape design and installation too. Get in touch with us if you have the need.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Tiffany Hybrid Tea Rose

Hybrid Tea Rose
Rosa 'Tiffany'

‘Tiffany’ is a beautiful rose and I can’t believe it has never made it onto Digital Flower before. It always seems to be sporting a new flush of the soft and luscious pink blooms in the garden. It is a tall and stately plant that seems to be somewhat resistant to disease. 

Bred in 1954 by Robert V. Lindquist and introduced the same year ‘Tiffany’ has won many awards, including the AARS award in 1955. The flowers are about average size with a petal count of 25-30. The flowers are well formed and color shaded with a strong fragrance.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Tropical Lady's Slipper Orchid

Tropical Lady's Slipper
Paphiopedilum delenatii

This Orchid is from the Patrick Blanc's Vertical Gardens Exhibit at the New York Botanical Gardens. The show was just okay for me. In my opinion there weren’t enough flowers and not as many as previous years. Comparing it to other year’s shows found a bigger assortment of flowers (different types) but a smaller quantity. The vertical nature of the displays wasn’t the most attractive and many of the Orchids were not signed or identified.

Overall the show was not as impressive as I thought it would be and that maybe because after winter I may have been trying to hold it impossible standards. I know a lot of work goes into a show like this and they did the best that they could. I usually attend the show twice every year but with gas prices they way they are I probably won’t go back.

This was the first Daffodil I have seen blooming this year. It was tucked into a crack in the ground by a large south facing stonewall. It was a quick illustration on the importance of microclimate in the garden.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Pink Quill

Pink Quill
Tillandsia cyanea
(til-LAND-see-uh) (sy-AN-ee-uh)
Synonyms: Quill-leaf, Air Plant

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Pansy Orchid

Pansy Orchid
Miltonia ‘Newton Falls’

Monday, March 05, 2012

Backlit Spring Daffodils

Backlit Spring Daffodils
From a little group of photos that I was experimenting how to take pics of backlit flowers. This was shot with only natural lighting and I had to get out there early to capture them. The date says they were photographed on April 13th so we still have a little time to go.

I hope to be attending the Orchid Show at the NYBG tomorrow. That should prove fun and with the plant collections in the garden there should be something blooming outside too.

"But each spring...a gardening instinct, sure as the sap rising in the trees, stirs within us. We look about and decide to tame another little bit of ground."
Lewis Gantt

Sunday, March 04, 2012


Garden Mum
Chrysanthemum x morifolium
(kris-AN-the-mum) (mor-ee-FOH-lee-um)

There seems to be time here to sneak in a couple more chrysanthemums before spring. The garden forecast is looking good for next week. After doing some preliminary inspections at client’s houses there really doesn’t seem to be much winter damage. The early snowstorm raised havoc but the weather has been good enough that we were able to clean everything up. Spring is sure to show some things or hidden damage so I am ready for that.

This orange mum was kind of mid season replacement two autumns ago and it lived over the winter. We only pinched them back twice during the season so it developed a nice sprawly shape. It was a nice contrast with the perfectly shaped new seasonal mums. I am expecting good over wintering rates on last years mums but will have to wait and see.

Since Sunday here is the bonus snapshot. This mum stood out above all the others colorwise. The color is only partially rendered here. It is truly spectacular. We had a few in containers that are now heeled in the compost pile. I am not too hopeful because 'Dazzling Stacy' truly looks like a non hardy garden belle.

Dazzling Stacy Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum x morifolium 'Dazzling Stacy'
(kris-AN-the-mum) (mor-ee-FOH-lee-um)
Synonyms: Prophets Series, Daisy Mum, Dazzling Yostacy

Saturday, March 03, 2012


Hosta cv.

This Hosta has a couple of the qualities that I look for when selecting them, it has boldly colored foliage with good crinkling. The flowers are nice with a slightly purple buds opening to a white flower. They are nicely fragrant and seem to last a long time. It is also kind of slow growing, which negates frequent dividing. Most seasons we cut the flowers off the Hostas around the garden because they are not very showy but this variety seems to look good and is allowed to flower.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Double Delight Hybrid Tea Rose

Hybrid Tea Rose
Rosa 'Double Delight'
Synonym: ANDel

This rose is one of my all time favorites. I am talking stranded on desert island type of flower. The shading and shape of the flower is almost perfect as is the fragrance and general grace of the plant. It can get disease but for the most part it is an easy rose to grow. Did I just say that about a Hybrid Tea rose? :lol:

Here are a few facts about ‘Double Delight’:
Origin: A.E. & A.W. Ellis/ Herbert C. Swim, US, 1977
Introduction: Jackson and Perkins
Petal Count: Double. 17-25
Fragrance: Strong
Parentage: 'Granada' × 'Garden Party'
Synonyms: Andeli
All-American Rose Selection 1977

Is anyone else happy it is March? Spring looms off in the close shadows and is full of promise. March didn’t really come in like a lion it kind of limped in. We are expecting 60 degrees F. here tomorrow. With that kind of action there will be Snowdrops and Daffodils out soon.

This picture is a bit of an anomaly here as it was shot with the D70s and the Sigma F2.8-4 DC Macro lens. The lens is really deep back up and is probably the only lens in my bag that I don’t really like. The other Sigma lenses (28-200, 24mm/1.8) in the bag are fine but there is something about the 17-70 that just isn’t great. It is a lens that I regret buying in hindsight.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Shasta Daisy

Shasta Daisy
Leucanthemum 'White Mountain'
Synonym: Chrysanthemum x superbum, Chrysanthemum maximum

This little daisy was introduced in 2011 and I was happy to have scored a couple in the spring. The plant had a lot of flowers and the foliage stayed relatively clean. Growing to a height of 12 inches tall is a definite plus as far as Shasta Daisies go. I usually don’t stake Shastas but heavy rain/wind can snap the stems if it comes at the right time. The Honeybee was just a bonus and it was nice to see as we don’t seem to get as many Honeybees as we used to.

We had another nuisance snowstorm yesterday. It really couldn’t decide if it was a rain or snowstorm. It did manage to yield about 2-3 inches of wet, heavy snow and a little ice but I definitely put in the category of a missed bullet. Some areas to the north got a lot more snow.