Wednesday, October 31, 2007

ABC Wednesday ~ ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ Winterberry Holly

ABC Wednesday ~ ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ Winterberry Holly

Winterberry Holly
Ilex verticillata ‘Scarlett O’Hara’
(EYE-leks) (ver-ti-si-LAH-tuh)
Synonyms: Black Alder

This week brought a wealth of ‘O’ photos. I actually had a few extra that I didn’t use. Those will probably be popping up here and there over the next few weeks. I am the only one that is thinking about next week’s letter right after this post? ‘P’ should be easy. I am thinking of something already.

We pretty much wrapped up the gardening season here this week. Both Monday and Tuesday featured killing frosts. In one way I am sorry to see it go, in another it was a fairly terrible season to grow things around here. We had a late Spring, cool summer, drought in late summer early fall and all that really didn’t add up to a great growing season. I guess some plants liked the conditions and flourished and some didn’t and didn’t do well. All in all Connecticut’s climate is fairly amazing because of the amount of plants that find the conditions to their liking during the season. It is a broad based bunch that hails from around the world. This year a lot of things didn’t thrive like they have in the past. In general I would give the year a 6 out of 10 and that maybe a little generous. As a gardener though I am pretty much an eternal optimist and will be out there again next year, with high hopes.

‘Scarlett O’Hara’, which is of course named after the heroine from ‘Gone with the Wind’, is a deciduous Holly. The plant has become quite popular and there are numerous named cultivars available. I hadn’t seen this one before but have been growing some of the others like ‘Winter Red’, ‘Sparkleberry’ and the smaller growing 'Cacapon' and ‘Red Sprite’. The cultivars are better than the species in almost every case. This Northeastern United States native likes moist soil and can grow in wet areas. It also can grow on drier soils but I like to use it in tough areas. The striking berries are really showy when the leaves fall off and the birds like them.

Oxalis vulcanicola “Molten Lava’

This ‘O’ is growing at work in the Conservatory. It is a funny little plant that flowers from time to time. The foliage color is interesting and it doesn’t seem to need much care. I just found out the foliage gets a deeper and richer color in the sun. I will have to move it. If you want to know more about the Wood Sorrels refer to this page of

and the Wikipedia page on Oxalis

This last ‘O” is for ocular. I took this picture at a local nursery. When I went up there last week they already had the Christmas stuff out!

Here are some of the other blogs that are participating in ABC Wednesday. If you want to join let me know and I will add your link. I took out a few people that haven’t been posting the last couple of weeks. If you want to get back on the list leave a comment. We also have some new people and to them welcome!

Oh yeah, I am sure someone else though about this, ‘O’ is for Orange.

Wordless Wednesday ~ Happy Halloween

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wordless Wednesday ~ White Pumkins

'Little Boo' Pumpkins

Hardy Chrysanthemum ‘Rhumba’

Hardy Chrysanthemum ‘Rhumba’
Synonyms: Dendranthema

Today’s flower is a Hardy Chrysanthemum like these flowers I posted on September 28th:

‘Rhumba’ is still blooming strong along with my ‘Sheffield Pink’ mums. Most of the generic ‘hardy mums’ look bad or have completely finished blooming. Even though I feel like it is a waste of time I will be planting a few of those with the hope they are truly hardy. No need to worry about that with ‘Rhumba’ as it is hardy at least to USDA Zone 5. This is my first season with ‘Rhumba’ so I can’t say that it is hardy from experience. It has grown to about 20 inches (50cm) and seems to have a nice habit. The buds and blooms are various shades of coral as they open and age. They are part of the Autumn Crescendo Series of Chrysanthemums. All of which appear to be nice plants.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pink Flowers

Pink Flowers

Here are some pink flowers I shot this fall. The Cosmos I grew from seed. I had a post about Cosmos awhile back here.

This New Guinea Impatient (Impatiens × hybrida or I. hawkeri) was actually an outtake from last weeks ABC Wednesday 'N' photo quest. They did really well this year for the second year in a row. I am thinking about planting more of them next year.

I know this plant is ‘Purple’ Coneflower but it sure looks pink to me. I shot this earlier in the fall at a perennial nursery. This was only about a tenth of the block that was blooming.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fall Leaf on Granite

Fall Leaf

I took this picture at work the other day. It is a native Acer rubrum (Swamp or Scarlet Maple) leaf on an Old Spruce Mountain Granite step. The granite is native to Connecticut. Those darker areas are actually pieces of Garnet.

I went to a XXth (not allowed to say the number, if you know what I mean) in Manhattan last night. We had a good time. The entertainment was a private concert by the Derek Trucks Band of whom Eric Clapton said in his new book, “Derek’s playing is stunning, unlike anything I’d ever heard before”. Eric asked him to join his last world tour and Derek played on Eric’s last record. Derek’s wife Susan Tedeschi joined in for several songs and she is an attractive, talented woman with a lot of energy. It was some of the best close up guitar playing I have ever heard. Actually it was some of the best guitar playing I have ever heard, period.
Here are a few links to DTB sites:

Derek Trucks/Wikipedia

I got a new lens, the Nikon 50mm/1.8 and decided to use it at the party. Here is a picture of Derek that I took.

I posted eight other pictures here:
New Pictures Album on Digital Flower

The lens did pretty amazing considering the $119 (US) price and the really dim light at the venue. I am happy to have a new prime and hope to use it on some botanical and night shots.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Spooky Tree ~ Festival of Trees

Spooky Tree Festival of Trees
Weeping Beech

I wanted to participate in the Festival of Trees that I saw on Salix’s blog.

So here is my attempt at a ‘Spooky Tree’. It is actually a Weeping Beech tree that I shot in Long Island during full sunshine and edited with Photoshop. I am looking forward to see the other entries, they will probably be a lot scarier than mine.

I hope I am not to late as I just found out about this the other day.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Green Threadleaf Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Viridis')

Green Threadleaf Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Viridis'

I wanted to get a few fall foliage pictures and these are what I ended up with. I can keep dreaming of taking those gorgeous landscape shots with all the trees on fire. I can’t even find the right place to try and take a shot like that and if I did I probably wouldn’t be able to capture it. The first shot is a Green Japanese Maple. I like the green ones especially since they can grow in shade pretty well. This tree has had its ups and downs over the years. It had an inexplicable stretch were the bark peeled off the top of the branches and it really thinned out. On one of the gardening forums I am member of this same cultivar did the same thing so I was wondering if it was an incompatible graft or as someone else suggested some sort of sunburn. Anyway it came back from that and unless you look closely you can’t even see any damage. It puts on quite a show in the fall and the winter outline is nice. I think when you use the scientific name for this tree you it is okay to drop the var. dissectum.

This second shot is Sumac. I am not sure which one but it is not the species that grows on the side of the road and in waste lots. It is a handsome garden plant that gets this great red. It also gets hairy orangey-red seeds that look nice. This is not Poison Sumac!

I wanted to post this picture although I could have used a bit more depth of field (a lot more, actually). It is a Maple I had never seen before called Red Vein Maple (Acer rufinerve). It is also known as Honshu Maple and Melon Skin Maple. It is a small tree that is a snakebark type. The fall color was outstanding on the few leaves that were left on the plant. I saw this at the local nursery yesterday and I am kicking myself for not buying it. I guess I could go back but it is really out of the way. I should know better than to hesitate or waffle on something like that. If you see a plant you like and it is hard to get and it is priced fairly reasonably then you got to go for it right then. The Maple was 40% off to top it all off.

This plant is Fothergilla major or Large Fothergilla. It is also known as Witch-alder. It is a lovely plant that has unique petalless flowers and as you can see great fall color. Here is a link to one of my favorite plant sites with more information on Fothergilla:

I like using Fothergilla in moist areas, part shade and woodland gardens. It looks great in all of them.

Finally I saw a funny bumper sticker on the way home yesterday it said:
Please God help me be the person my dog thinks I am.
How perfect. So I am posting a picture of one of my dogs, Ruby Tuesday Slippers. I wanted to call her Ruby Tuesday but thought that a reference to the slippers in the Wizard of Oz was nice to have. She is a three-year old Border Collie mix that weighs about 60 lbs. She is quite a dog and I know I think the world of her and judging by the way she acts when I get home she does the same about me. I just hope I can live up to her thoughts. I also have a 12-year old Siberian Husky named after the Hawaiian Island, Molokai. She is a lot different than Ruby but they are the best of friends.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Belgian Hardy Mum

Belgian Hardy Mum

Short post today as I am tired and don’t have much time. I have a backlog of paperwork to do and since I am one helper down have to get into the trenches myself (the horror of that). We are moving some 8 foot shrubs that are getting too big for the foundation planting and adding some new drainage as the area behind the plants has sunk over the years allowing water to get into the basement. I wanted to share this Chrysanthemum that I saw at White Flower Farm a couple of weekends ago. It is a Belgian Hardy Mum, which you can learn a little about by
clicking here.

These types of colors seem to be ‘in’ as I have been seeing a lot of plants like this. I guess it does have a certain fall look to it. I marked this one down as ‘Castilio’ but I don’t think that is it. It is kind of a cross between a spider and cushion Mum if that is possible. I never seem to know the cultivar names of the mums and they also seem to change every year. If you find a couple you like chances are you won’t be able to get them the following year.

Overall my Mums are doing well this year. I guess I got them at the right time because sometimes they don’t seem to last too long.

Blogger seems to have some uploading problems today so I tried using my Photobucket account to post the pictures. Sorry in advance if they are not coming through.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

ABC Wednesday ~ Variegated Garden Phlox

ABC Wednesday
Variegated Garden Phlox
Phlox paniculata 'Nora Leigh'
(floks) (pan-ick-yoo-LAY-tuh)

If you are here for Wordless Wednesday scroll down to the next post.

Wednesday again, I can hardly believe it! Of course I feel my timing is off since I have been waiting for it to get cold and instead we have been enjoying record temperatures and summer like warmth. I am not complaining, it is just weird. Wednesday is one of my favorite days now with ABC and Wordless, it is fun to have a lot of visitiors. I collected a few ‘L’ photographs yesterday after an initial panic of not thinking I had anything but luckily the Variegated Garden Phlox ‘Nora Leigh’ was blooming. I just planted it last week in the borders I have been renovating at the Estate. Now gardeners will recognize this plant as the one with the classic and beautiful flowers but some of the most disease prone foliage of any perennial. I swear if there is even a few molecules of Powdery Mildew in the neighborhood it will descend on the Garden Phlox and multiply at a rate that defies belief. I have added this Phlox and the white Phlox ‘David’ because they are the most disease resistant cultivars I know. ‘Nora Leigh’ usually blooms in the early summer but since these were cut back at the nursery at the right time they are giving a second wave of blooms. I would recommend this plant to brighten up the border with its green and creamy yellow foliage. The flowers are beautiful but the foliage is the real show with this plant. It seems to remain smaller than the other Garden Phlox and very slowly forms clumps. The seed does not come true, so division is the best way to propagate it.

This foliage is from the Nyssa tree at the Estate. It goes by the common names Sour Gum, Black Gum, Pepperidge Tree and Tupelo Tree and is a clear case for referring to plants by their scientific names. In this case that is Nyssa sylvatica (NY-suh sil-VAT-ee-kuh). It is a very underused landscape tree in my opinion. It has a beautiful pyramidal shape when young and great fall color. It is hard to transplant because it has a taproot so it can be difficult to buy. I bought this one in Pennsylvania and the nursery owner told me they can grow it there because of the hard pan soil. The taproot can’t penetrate the hard soil and that makes it possible to dig.

I remember that I wanted a fairly large specimen and he assured me this Nyssa was the best he had ever seen (therefore worth several hundred more dollars). I didn’t really believe him but bought it over the phone and sure enough he was right. I planted along the shore of one of the ponds and it has been beautiful ever since. It can grow in most soils but does love moist almost boggy ones the best. A bit of a garden oddball it leafs out late in the spring and sometimes gets its fall color in late August. It held on to some leaves a lot later this year and I was able to get this picture. Only about one-third of leaves remained or I would have taken a picture of the whole tree.

Here is a link that pretty much covers all the information about this tree:

Finally ‘N’ is for night and New Haven. This is a Metro-North Commuter Railroad diesel locomotive from the Danbury branch of the New Haven Line. The trains on the mainline are electric but some of the spurs still use diesels. I took this picture last winter when it was about 10 degrees F. outside. This engine is still in service and makes the trip to New York City’s Grand Central Terminal everyday.

Here is a scrollable box of some of the other blogs that are participating in ABC Wednesday. If you want to join let me know and I will add your link.

Wordless Wednesday ~ Scarlet Macaw

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wordless Wednesday ~ Indian Corn

Indian Corn (Zea mays)

Kiku ~ Part 2

Chrysanthemum 'Sparkling Cheryl'

Kiku ~ Part 2
Chrysanthemum Festival at the New York Botanical Garden, 2007

Having had a little more time to reflect on the exhibit I came to the conclusion it was very special. These are a few more pictures I took on Sunday. The Black and White was taken with my Point and Shoot Nikon Coolpix 8400. I probably should have just shot with that all day. I sometimes forget how good of a camera it is. I should probably take better care of it. I must admit that when my wife inserted the flash card the wrong way (she didn’t just insert it wrong, jammed in there would be closer) that the camera was cooked. It came back from the repair shop just as good as new and has been working great ever since. I sometimes forget to take it out of the bag and use it. I am so used to using the DSLR now.

Two views of the Cascade Chrysanthemums at the Kiku Exhibit.

The benefit I performed at last Thursday raised over $4,000 for the young widow and the 2 year-old twins. That made me feel good. I must admit playing out has got me thinking about maybe joining up with a band again. I will have to think about it. I gave away two pictures for one of the raffles. They were left over from my Photography Show in Ridgefield last year. The people that won said they would like to buy a few more prints, which is okay with me!

Giant Bamboo Sculpture

Not my finest hour with a camera but I thought you might like to see the giant spider Chrysanthemum 'Morning Clouds'

I had to switch my feed to ‘short’ and send out a couple of emails to some scrapers that were using this site’s content illegally. I hope they stop. A special heads up to Mr. Brown Thumb for pointing out that they were scraping me.
Mr. Brown Thumb (misnomer) is a Chicago based garden blogger that has a wonderful site. Check it out.

Courtyard of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY.

I have to take my camera to work today. I forgot about ABC Wednesday and I need an ‘N’ shot. Uh-oh, I don’t think anything is really blooming that well at work. I might have to dip into the archive.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Kiku at the New York Botanical Garden

Kiku at the New York Botanical Garden

Chrysanthemum Festival in the Bronx, 2007

Kiku in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory Courtyards.

On Sunday I attended the Kiku Chrysanthemum Show at the New York Botanical Garden. I want to first say that I didn’t take in the whole show and only spent about two and half hours at the garden so this by the nature of my visit can’t be a complete review.

Stone and Kiku garden display. Very creative.

I printed my on-line free member tickets the night before and they give you a choice of admission times at 15-minute intervals. I chose 10:15 and was one of the first people inside. By the time I left the Conservatory at noon it was getting packed. I was very impressed by the flowers being displayed. They were probably some of the most beautiful Chrysanthemums I have seen. Once the crowds started to arrive it was very difficult to see the booths the flowers were in and I think the people were kept a little too far away from them. If you want to take some close ups you better bring a lens longer than the 70mm I had.

Be prepared for large crowds.

The big Chrysanthemums that had around 175 flowers were amazing. The growing of these plants is something I don’t think I could do, way too tedious. I actually liked the cascade mum display better. I think I have seen those at the garden before. They were more natural looking and they had a few more varieties to look at.

Among the Chrysanthemum booths there were numerous cultivars of Japanese Maples. Some were starting to show their stunning fall color. Interspersed inside the Maples were different and interesting Bonsai trees. Inside the Conservatory in the area were the seasonal displays are located there were more Bonsai trees and two of the big Chrysanthemums that you could get a little closer to. The lighting wasn’t the greatest for photography.

In general I didn’t have a good day with the camera. That used to frustrate the heck out of me but now I just let it roll off. I enjoyed seeing the flowers and it was a lovely day to tour the garden so I will just leave it at.

As I said this isn’t meant to be a complete review of the Kiku exhibit. I will go back when the hype dies down a little bit for a more extended look around. Here is a link to the show:
I would encourage everybody to attend and form their own opinions. For me it was worthwhile and fascinating.

I will be posting a few more pictures when I get a chance to go through them.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sawtooth Sunflower (Helianthus grosseserratus)

Sawtooth Sunflower
Helianthus grosseserratus
(hee-lee-AN-thus) (gros-ser-AY-tus)

This is one of those plants that I have seen before but really didn’t know the name or much about it. This flower was growing in the Rock Garden at the New York Botanical garden. Well it was newly planted in the area next to the Rock Garden. This plant is tall! With this specimen reaching about 10 feet. It is a little rangy looking but the flowers are beautiful. If I had a small garden I probably wouldn’t consider this one as it is just too big but it would make a nice back of the border or mass planting in the larger garden. The Willow-leaved Sunflower (Helianthus salicifolius) is a better choice for smaller gardens.

The Sawtooth Sunflower is distinct from some of other Sunflowers with its glaucous, glabrous stems and thin serrated and slightly folded leaves. While native to the Midwestern US it has spread through the Eastern Us and was introduced to Canada. Here is a link to a distribution map:

It likes to grow in slightly moist rich soils but can tolerate even dry gravelly soil. Plants that grow in dense thickets are usually shorter and more compact. Single plants can reach 12 feet tall and are hardy to USDA Zone 3.

Like the post I made the other day with the Elm leaves here are some Guava (Psidium guajava) leaves from the same ‘roll’ as the Sunflower. This picture was shot inside the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the NYBG. As much as I try to take pictures inside there they hardly ever come out especially in the section the Guava was growing which is cool and very moist. Here is some more information about Guava:

Finally, in response to Ki’s post about hot sauces of October 11th here is the rack of them I saw in Santa Fe, NM. This was about half of the rack.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bartlett Arboretum Pictures

Unnamed Coleus.

Since I was out late last night here are a few pictures from my recent trip to the Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford, Connecticut.

Classic Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) blooming the greenhouse.

I am not sure what this one is but it is a colorful plant that I have seen a couple of different times this year, any ideas?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chinese Elm 'Central Park Splendor'

Chinese Elm
Ulmus parvifolia 'Central Park Splendor'
(ULM-us) (par-vee-FOH-lee-uh)
Ulmaceae (ulm-AY-see-ay)
Synonyms: Lacebark Elm, ‘A. Ross Central Park’, ‘Across Central Park’

I saw this tree at the NYBG and it was quite beautiful. It has an interesting history, which you can read a bit on
here (Wikipedia)

and here:

One thing about this Chinese Elm is the fact gardeners in Zone 5 can grow it; that is much hardier than species.

This next picture I took at work yesterday. It is the foliage of one of my favorite trees, Stewartia pseudocamellia or Japanese Stewartia. I like the form, bark, flowers, foliage and the fall color of this tree, pretty much everything. I am surprised more people don’t use it.

In the department of having your camera when you need it, I saw this picture when I was dropping my dogs off at day camp on Tuesday morning. It didn’t come out as well as I wanted it to but at least I had my camera to try it. I will probably reshoot it next week when the foliage gets some more color and try a couple of different exposures. Now yesterday I went to check on a garden at a house that no lives in. Well the people do use it a couple of weekends a year. In the morning I saw my camera in the kitchen and said to myself I probably won’t have enough time to get any pictures today. So I left it home. When I got to the house I pulled in the driveway and saw what I thought was a stray dog. Turns out it was a Coyote. We looked at each other for minute and he ran through the neighbor’s yard. I backed out quickly and knew since the road took a turn that I could cut him off and sure enough he out of the woods to cross the road not too far from me. Boy do I wish I had my camera.

Busy day today, that’s all for now.