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.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Large-Cupped Daffodil Group

Large-Cupped Daffodil

These Daffodils seem happy and proud to be yellow and I dug up this picture just to remember why we have been digging all the holes the last few days. We have been mostly been planting hyacinths and crocus but a few bags of daffs have slipped in. There are also a lot of white lily bulbs. The garden’s owner really loves them for the fragrance. I love them too but they require a deeper hole than the other bulbs and it is stony ground.

Is anyone looking forward to the weekend? There is a big backlog of songs I have to learn. Not only do I have to learn the chords but also the arrangements. This band is heavily into arrangements but lately we have been doing some jamming too. That is always fun and exciting and we seem to be getting better at it. It is almost time to start heading out for some fall foliage shots. I have staked out a few vistas for that but the trees haven’t come into full color yet.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sunny Monica Garden Mum

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

Ever feel like you were in a storm of change and didn’t have anything to hang on to? That is kind of the way I feel right now. Stand by for a big official update on my employment situation here soon. In some ways it will probably be a case of be careful what you wish for because it may come true.

I picked this mum for today since I will be ordering the 150 eight inch mums for the place in Greenwich. We have been patiently waiting for the Impatiens to frost out and be removed but we haven’t had a frost yet. Now there is a freeze warning for here on Friday night. That should pave the way for the new planting. We also have several hundred bulbs to install in the same garden, which we will be working on today. It sure has been cold here at night but the conditions must not be right for frost so instead we will just have a season ending freeze instead.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Blue Frost Pansy

Viola x wittrockiana 'Matrix Blue Frost'
(vy-OH-la) (wit-rok-ee-AH-na)
Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 08, 2012

Fair Bianca Austin Rose

Austin Rose
Rosa 'Fair Bianca'
Synonyms: English Rose, AUSca

This Austin rose was introduced in 1982. Not as showy as some of the other Austin roses it seems to grow well and have a good amount of flowers. The fragrance is a little funky but pleasant to me. The petals form an intricate kind of old rose shape. One characteristic I like about 'Fair Bianca' is it doesn’t get too tall. Growing to about 2.5 feet it is nice for the front of the rose garden or mixes well into the border. Like most Austin roses it is very hardy and always seems to pull through the winter with minimal damage.

There are going to be some changes in my personal and professional life coming up. I can’t say anything right now but will try and keep this site up as much as possible.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Corsage Orchid

Corsage Orchid
Cymbidium Via Nogales ‘Louise’

You may have noticed we have been on an Orchid kick here lately. It's a two-fold celebration for me. We just took the orchid collection inside at the estate, they really love being outside but the cool evenings are getting to be a little too cool. Of course the plants needed a lot of work and a few had to be transplanted. Luckily the needed supplies were ‘in stock’. We are anticipating quite a few flowers as many had spikes forming. We even had a few stray bloomers over the summer.

All of the recent pictures are from a lost roll of orchid photographs from my Coolpix 8400. It is a nice camera but lacks the overall sharpness of a DSLR. It does well with color rendition and macro focusing but is old technology at this point. That is okay it is still functional and makes a great backup. Speaking of old technology I had send a fax out today and that was a trip. Finally got it out from our all-in-one machine. I had to chuckle when remembering how awesome having the ability to send a fax to someone was.

Since it is Sunday here is a bonus orchid pic. A nice intergeneric (the x is before the genus name) xMiltonidium with a rich red color and large flower size. This genus is a hybrid between Miltonia and Oncidium (Milt. × Onc.).

xMiltonidium 'Bartley Schwarz'

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Cane Orchid


Cane Orchid
Dendrobium Oriental Smile ‘Fantasy’

This orchid was amazing with its large flowers and its sunset combination of colors. It is a hybrid between Dendrobium fukujyu x Dendrobium yuubae two of the 1,200 species in the genus. Mainly native to Southeast Asia Dendrobium orchids have adapted to a wide range of habitats mainly growing as an epiphyte (air plant) or lithophytic (growing on rocks). They can be a little tricky to grow at home; getting the right temperatures is essential and they are not really popular for home cultivation. Breeding is continuing so we may get some easy to grow types soon.

The foliage has started to turn here and looks nice. The forest has lost its green luster and is in transition now. Some of the woods look like a messy artists palette that too much yellow, orange and red has been dramatically smeared into some areas.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

White Poinsettia

White Poinsettia
Euphorbia pulcherrima cv.
(yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (pul-KAIR-ih-muh)

It is a little early but a couple of the nurseries/growers we went last week had Christmas decorations out for sale. My initial reaction was one of dismay but the sales people said a lot of professionals were already looking for stuff. With some creative, popular items you have to act fast these days so I guess I understand.

This poinsettia is from a 4-megapixel camera. It was for its time an amazing device to me. One grower had literally a sea of Poinsettias growing but none were this far advanced. I know they raise a crop of ‘Early Red’ for the early bird crowd. It was a nice sight to see their massive mum crop just coming into color.

The weather here has been terrible, it reminds me of living in England. :lol: Good planting/transplanting weather but that is about it. Since the nights have been getting kind of cool we brought in some of the most tender greenhouse plants yesterday. I think there is going to be a frost warning for interior Connecticut Sunday night and that is just too close for comfort so the rare and really tropical stuff is under glass now.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Yellow Daylily

Yellow Daylily
Hemerocallis cv.
Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Rosebay Rhododendron Bud

Rosebay Rhododendron
Rhododendron maximum
(roh-do-DEN-dron) (MAKS-ih-mum)
Synonym: Great Laurel
Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 01, 2012

Garden Croton

Garden Croton
Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum ‘Norma’
(koh-dih-EE-um) (var-ee-GAY-tum)

This blog is always teaching me new things. Today’s flower is surely not the prettiest or most glamorous. You could probably even call them insignificant but I photographed it because even after growing various Crotons at work and home for many years I had never seen the flowers before. Codiaeum for me provides year round interest in its crinkly, leather like colorful leaves. It all hit home when I visited a garden in Fort Lauderdale and they had an enormous collection of many different cultivars planted in a woodland setting. It left an impression on that clear, bright winter afternoon.

These types of Crotons should not be confused with the genus Croton, which is a large group of species (700) in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). Codiaeum is native to Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Southern India and some western Pacific Ocean Islands. It grows in open forests and scrublands. It can grow into a tall shrub/small tree in the wild. My experience growing them in containers has been good. Keeping them moist seems to be the key to having a nice plant. They can be slow growing in containers but are valued for the color and texture they can bring to the greenhouse in the winter.

October is here. Here is a quote that sums up a little bit of what has to be done this time of year.

"Fall is not the end of the gardening year; it is the start of next year's growing season. 
The mulch you lay down will protect your perennial plants during the winter and feed the soil as it decays,
while the cleaned up flower bed will give you a huge head start on either planting seeds or setting out small plants."
Thalassa Cruso

I would just like to say goodbye to my friend David who was removed from life support this weekend. Mercifully it was just a short time until he was finally at rest after the machines were stopped. I know he wouldn’t have wanted to live like that.

All that live must die, passing through nature to eternity.”
William Shakespeare