Sunday, September 30, 2012

Slipper Orchid

Paphiopedilum Orchid
Paph. Yerba Buena x Gege Hughes

Well this orchid seemed to stump the internet. There were several flowers listed that looked like them but not really. The intense yellow was missing on most of the other pictures I looked at. This one looked a little like a face to me.

Paphiopedilum orchids are one of the most classy and elegant of the family. They come in a nice variety of colors and are considered easy to cultivate at home, if you can find them!

Since it is Sunday again here is our bonus snapshot. A great spray of Cymbidium flowers. It wouldn’t be my first choice for flower color but this one was making it work. Cymbidiums make a great house plant and can tolerate quite cool temperatures. The flowers can last up to ten weeks.

Asian Corsage Orchid
Cymbidium Featherhill Fanfare ‘Desert Sands’

Friday, September 28, 2012

Intergeneric Orchid

Intergeneric Orchid
× Beallara Star Gazer ‘Hilo Fantasy’

There seems to be a lot of interruptions as this post gets born. Since × Beallara has an ‘x’ in the name we know it's a hybrid. In this case since the x precedes the genus it is an intergeneric hybrid. The genera Brassia, Cochlioda, Miltonia and Odontoglossum are combined since orchids have an abbreviation system for its genera it looks like this Brs. x Cda. x Milt. x Odm. × Beallara hybrids come in a good range of colors. The flowers are a bit sassy and often quite bold. These orchids can produce their wonderful spikes under cooler conditions.

Tonight is the monthly trio gig at Java’s. It is pretty much a retirement for my old Stratocaster after the pick guard starting falling apart. It’s just too fragile to go out of the house now. I have decided to play one more band gig with it and then that is it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Variegated Potato Vine

Variegated Potato Vine
Solanum laxum 'Variegata'
(so-LAN-num) (LAX-um)
Synonyms: Solanum jasminoides

I often hesitate when recommending vines to people as they can become bullies in the garden and often require a lot of maintenance. This vine can grow enormous but the winter usually keeps it in check. Hardy to USDA Zone 8 it is best grown as an annual in Connecticut. We have grown it in a container in other years and it did exactly what a vine should do in a container, which is grow and fill its support and then to continue growing down around the edge of the pot and even on the ground. The foliage of this vine makes it worth having and the smallish flowers are a nice bonus. Since this plant is in the nightshade family all parts of the plant are toxic.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Siberian Iris

Siberian Iris
Iris sibirica
(EYE-ris) (sy-BEER-ah-kuh)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tropical Hydrangea

Tropical Hydrangea
Dombeya wallichii
(DOM-bee-yuh) (wall-IK-ee-eye)
Synonyms: Pink-Ball Tree, Astrapaea wallichii

A rare native of Madagascar and East Africa.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Orchid Tree


Orchid Tree
Bauhinia purpurea
(baw-HIN-ee-uh) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)
Synonyms: Butterfly Tree, Mountain Ebony, Geranium Tree

This tree seems to be a little controversial with its habits but I think everyone can agree that it is beautiful when flowering. This specimen is an especially dark colored variety and was growing in a pot. It was nice that it was only 8 feet tall as this tree can get up to 20 feet tall in nature. To me the specimens I have personally seen growing in Hawaii, California and Florida have been good looking trees that reminded me faintly of our own beloved native, Flowering Dogwood.

Orchid Tree is native to South China and Southeast Asia. There are several traditional medicinal uses for Bauhinia purpurea including as an anti-inflammatory medication.

Since this is a tropical type of post here is a Southern California sunset picture that has been hanging around.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Calla Lily in Black and White

Calla Lily
Zantedeschia aethiopica
(zan-te-DES-kee-uh) (ee-thee-OH-pik-uh)
Synonyms: Arum Lily, Large White Aethiopica, Varkoor

This is my little attempt at an ‘art shot’. It is easy to get caught up in the macro world of flowers and to a certain extent live there. That is forgetting the brilliance and beauty that flowers can lend our lives. A single white Calla lily in a vase is a bit of an interior design cliché but it still works. This picture (and all the black and white flowers on this site) was shot with the monochrome setting on the camera. No color picture of this flower exists. My only little secret is to turn the contrast setting up to +2 on the camera menu, which seems to give a better range of black and grey tones. The micro-Nikkor 60mm/2.8 lens and the D700 camera produced this picture.

Since it is Sunday again here is a bonus snapshot. This seemed like a very lonely rose. All it’s neighbors had bloomed months ago and had turned to mushy hips by now. The color and shape of this rose was slightly distorted but beautiful in its own way.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Japanese Rose

Japanese Rose
Rosa rugosa
(RO-zuh) (roo-GO-suh)
Synonyms: Beach Rose, Saltspray Rose, Wrinkle-Leaved Rose

This is a plant that I was taught to hate at an early age but over the years I have realized that despite some bad qualities it can be a good garden citizen. I was prejudiced against it but don’t feel that way anymore after having some of my own experiences growing it (funny how that works). Yes it is invasive, prickly and sometimes rangy growing but it is also fragrant, thick growing and resistant to most diseases that plague most roses around here. The fruit are nice looking and boldly colored. They have a habit of appearing on the bush at the same time as the flowers. We haven’t had any problem with seeding (we mostly grow the hybrids) and just watching and taking corrective action when needed has controlled suckering. This pleasant specimen was growing at the South Street Seaport in Manhattan.

Well today is the day of the party at the estate. The owner and I agreed the garden looked stunning. Luckily nature helped us out with a drenching rain this week. I got last minute color at the nursery yesterday. Here are my carts. I had to be careful since our budget had been mostly blown by then. Everything was reduced in price because it was in full bloom and the place wanted to get rid of the older stuff. That pretty much played right into my needs. 


Friday, September 21, 2012

Pumpkins and Corn

Pumpkins and Corn

This is the type of photo will be looking around for this weekend only with better lighting, composition and exposure. It is probably just a little bit early for that kind of thing but you never what is going to be out at the farms. This picture had the right subject and several autumn things just came together nicely. It seems rare for a combination shot to be posted here.

Tomorrow is the big party at the Estate and today is our last day getting everything ready. The gardens look about the best they can and today will just be planting some color and cleaning up leaves from that really windy Monday we had. They are not the good kind of leaves mostly just green ones that were torn to shreds and some nasty brown ones related to that dry spell we had a few weeks ago. I am really looking forward to the weekend. All the grandkids are going to be here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pansy Orchid

Pansy Orchid
Miltoniopsis ‘Isler’s Red’

This is a showy and refined Orchid hybrid. I always enjoy seeing Pansy Orchids and find their large and boldly colored flowers to be intriguing. ‘Isler’s Red’ is no exception and stays true to all of the endearing qualities of the genus. While certainly a challenge to grow at home this native of Central and South America can be rewarding to cultivate. They often come out with good spikes of long lasting flowers.

Since my week was broken up by the earlier windy and rainy conditions I keep thinking today is Friday. Oh well one more day until the weekend and it is time to start hunting around for some seasonal photographs. We haven’t had a frost but the mornings seem quite cool but that has been giving way to some beautiful days.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Canna Lily

Canna Lily
Canna x generalis
(KAN-uh) (jen-er-RAY-liss)
Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Stachytarpheta jamaicensis
(stay-kee-tar-FEE-tuh) (ja-may-KEN-sis)
Wordless Wednesday

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ballerina False Sunflower

False Sunflower
Heliopsis helianthoides 'Ballerina'
(hee-lee-OP-sis) (hee-lee-an-THOY-dees)
Synonyms: Rough Heliopsis, Orange Sunflower

This seems to be a really nice cultivar of False Sunflower. We haven’t tried growing it but I love having the regular species in the garden. It is one of the last perennials to have a really solid bloom this time of the year. Our patch of Heliopsis has begun to spread but hasn’t warranted control yet. The plants have a nice way of growing around and through things without being annoying.

I know its Monday but I wanted to add a nice flower as a thank you to all the people that have been following and commenting on this blog. You can see it is a beautiful fancy Dahlia that could have easily earned a post of its own.

Laciniated Dahlia ‘Hannah Baker’


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Messina White Chrysanthemum

White Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum x grandiflorum 'Messina'

This mum is again proving to be an early bloomer. We were on the hunt for some color for next weekend and got a few of these. There is a big party at the Greenwich estate next weekend and a few early Chrysanthemums certainly brightened up the landscape. There is still a good assortment of flowers out in the garden now. The Japanese Anemones, Black-eyed Susans and Asters are putting on a good show. The shrub roses and even some Hydrangea have been hanging on.

I really got a feeling for the people that have to grow these types of plants on a timely basis. There are a couple hundred of Chrysanthemums that have wintered over in the garden (for the last couple of years) and I have been sweating getting them to bloom next weekend. In truth I have only been partially successful in the color end of the equation a lot will be blooming over the next couple of weeks, which is partially due to just being later strains of mums.

Since it Sunday here are a couple black and white pictures as the bonus snapshots. The first is just a collection of bamboo stakes and it looked cooler and more geometric in real life. The exposure was a little difficult to manage with the bright natural light from the top. Both of these were taken with my Coolpix 8400, which generally does pretty well in monochrome.

This next shot is an interior shot of Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West, Florida.
I am not much of a military tour person but found the history and set up of this fort interesting. 


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Showy Stonecrop

Showy Stonecrop
Sedum 'Matrona'
Synonyms: Hylotelephium

This flower has undergone some name changes over the years and I am not really sure what to officially call it. It is a strange plant that seems to thrive on neglect and hard conditions. This plant is growing in one of the hottest driest area of the estate and is doing well. It is great to have something seem to actually want to grow there. My feeling it is easy to love this plant to death. If it likes the conditions then there isn’t much of a need for gardener invention with this fall-blooming perennial.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Star Orchid

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

These cute little orchids have really won me over. At first they were not impressive to me but their collection of small flowers always seems to have nice lighting and a face for the camera. We haven’t had much luck cultivating them at home but I have a feeling that is on our end and not the plants, although it is easier to blame the plants. Generally they come in a red/yellow/orange color scheme and seem very floriferous.

Our band is getting back together tonight for the first time in 6 weeks as our bass player is done lounging around the Jersey shore. I expect chaos as everyone brings in all the songs we have been learning during the break. Its time to book some gigs and that responsibility is falling in my lap.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

White Coneflower

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Japanese Iris Bud

Japanese Iris Bud
Iris ensata
(EYE-ris) (en-SA-tuh)
Wordless Wednesday

Monday, September 10, 2012


Viola 'Columbine'

This is what we found while looking for a few Pansies to augment some of the containers at work. I fell for the streaky purple coloring and fresh smell of ‘Columbine’. Overall I would have preferred Pansies because of their larger showier flowers but only Violas were ready at the nursery. It was nice to see they were offering (this is a grower) several different types for a change. We also got a flat of dark purple/white Viola and they seemed to compliment the lighter ‘Columbine’ flowers nicely.

Since I have a virtual mountain of work email to send out this post is going to be a little short. There is also a mound of paperwork that has to be dealt with. Get me back to the garden where I am more comfortable, please.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Purple-Flowering Raspberry

Purple-Flowering Raspberry
Rubus odoratus
(ROO-bus) (oh-dor-AY-tus)
Synonyms: Flowering Raspberry, Virginia Raspberry

This wild beauty was spotted growing in between a garden and the road in kind of what I would consider a waste area. This was the first time I had seen this plant growing around here but we are in its natural range, which covers the eastern United States and parts of Canada. There were no berries but a good crop of flowers. The foliage is stately and handsome. This plant is very hardy, likes moisture and can spread rapidly. It grows to about 4 feet tall and has good deer resistance.

Sunday again so here is a bonus snapshot of a unusually colored Grape Hyacinth. In my never ending quest for variations on a common theme we have planted several mixtures of these flowers. It is always kind of fun and exciting to see what shades are going to come up. The fall bulb season looks good after we have secured several orders for the autumn.

Yesterday our little dry patch ended in a big way. We got several inches of rain and even a little hail. There was a tornado watch for several hours but thankfully we only ended up with some strong wind gusts that didn’t seem to do any local damage.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Rainbow Orchid

Rainbow Orchid
Vanda ‘Tharab Kasemchai’

It seems like it has been ages since posting a black and white flower photo here. This orchid shot was shot with the camera in monochrome and is not a conversion of a color shot. I prefer it that way and think the tones come out better. This photo was shot a while ago with my Coolpix 5400. I remember when I got it and was excited to have a 5 megapixel camera. It doesn’t get used too much any more especially after the arrival of the DSLRs but you could usually count on it to take a good photo when called on. One thing I did notice when processing this photo is how small the file sizes are. My computer seemed much faster at adjusting the contrast and resizing then with the monster D700 pictures. The down side to that is there isn’t a lot of room for cropping so the composition has to be done right inside the camera.

Vanda orchids are some of my favorites and are considered some of the most important in the orchid family. The range of colors is always intriguing and the fragrant, showy flowers always capture my imagination.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Asian Corsage Orchid

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

Of all the orchid types Cymbidiums seem to be one of the most represented on this site probably because they are heavy bloomers and quite photogenic. This one had kind of a pale color but still looked nice with its classic form. No information was available on this particular clone but in general they are native to subtropical and tropical Asia and northern Australia. Cymbidiums have been in cultivation for 1,000s of years and are actually a culinary delight in some cultures although I would rather look at one than eat it. They are easy to grow and can withstand colder temperatures than most orchids.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Pink Rose

Pink Rose

 As fussy as we are about keeping the roses named in the big rose garden there are a few that have escaped us. This one of the unnamed varieties. Sometimes it pays off doing research to try and figure it out but since the garden is over 10 years old now and gets some new roses every year it is becoming more and more difficult to determine some of the unmarked ones. It is nice that about 90% are named and I often use that information when planning a new rose garden for someone else. Although most roses are given a break on that fact that the rose garden is on top of a high, cold, windy ridge in Westchester County. It is not the best place in the world to judge rose performance. Mainly the amount of flowers produced and the disease resistance are taken into account. This pink is a showy fellow with a high petal count, good fragrance and okay disease resistance and the color is attractive to.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Purple Petunias

Petunia hybrid

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Red Gerber Daisy

Gerber Daisy
Gerbera jamesonii
(GER-ber-uh) (jay-mess-OWN-ee-eye)
Wordless Wednesday

Monday, September 03, 2012

Lady Slipper Orchid

Lady Slipper Orchid
Phragmipedium Eric Young

This rare beauty was quite eye catching with a vibrant mix of colors. All 20 species of the genus are considered endangered in the wild. Most come from the area of Central and tropical South America and southern Mexico. The different species has a wide range of growing conditions in which they are found. Lucky for us collectors and breeders have been working hard to keep them alive. This particular orchid was introduced in 1991 and is a hybrid of Phragmipedium besseae x Phragmipedium longifolium.

Phragmipedium Orchids are fairly easy to grow and reward their cultivator with an extended springtime bloom period. The plants can bloom for several months if they are happy.

Happy Labor Day to the Americans out there. The traditional end to our summer doesn’t really seem that way with the high temperatures and lack of rain but the calendar says its so. What was that giant sucking sound I heard yesterday? It was the sound of the garden drinking up the meager rain shower we got in the afternoon. It wasn’t even enough to dampen the ground for more than a couple of minutes.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Cavendishia allenii

Cavendishia allenii

This photo is from a spring visit to the NYBG in the Bronx. It has always been a dream of mine to take a good photograph inside the ‘forest’ part of the Conservatory and finally I did it. There are numerous challenges to taking pictures inside that part of the building including having your camera fogged up from coming into the moist humid air from being cold outside and of course the lack of light. When looking up information on this plant there is not very much. Mostly just listings of its name. One site was calling it a tropical blueberry but there was nothing blue about it. I did find out it is an epiphyte, which means it grows non-parasitically on a host plant and without soil. Cavendishia allenii is also a native Central America (Panama) like the rest of the 100 species in the genus (a few are native to South America).

Since it is Sunday here is the Digital Flower Sunday bonus shot. It is a garden gate that we saw down in Key West, Florida. You can see the photo is slightly tilted, which is the best way to leave a bar in Key West. What happens to me down there typically is we go in order 2 drinks and Karen decides that it is too strong for her and I end up downing both drinks. I really loved the ironwork on his gate and the careful painting of each rose made it outstanding.

Well I can tell a new month has started, as I had to make all new folders for September. That is how I file all the photos and words from this site. That seems the most manageable way to handle things.

"The morrow was a bright September morn;
The earth was beautiful as if newborn;
There was nameless splendor everywhere,
That wild exhilaration in the air,
Which makes the passers in the city street
Congratulate each other as they meet."
-   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow