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.