Friday, November 30, 2007

Golden Groundsel

Golden Groundsel
Packera obovata
(PAK-er-uh) (ob-oh-VAY-tuh)
Synonyms: Senecio obovatus, Roundleaf Ragwort

I am glad I looked up this plant up before posting as I have always called it Senecio. A little warning on this plant is that it spreads rapidly, almost a little too much so. I have been corralling it right from the start and have enjoyed the cultivation of this groundcover. I haven’t propagated any in the last couple of years but previously I dug up some of the edges and planted them in some very inhospitable places and the funny thing was this plant loved it. In one spot I planted it in rocks and a few really big Oak trees and while that slowed its spread down a little it has done nicely (it is in pretty heavy shade). I was very happy to have something growing in that area. They also are growing in a very moist area that gets wet when the water table is high. That is the patch these pictures are from.

Groundsel blooms in the spring as these pictures were taken in Mid-May. I usually cut the flower stalks off after they are done blooming to tidy it up. It is hardy to USDA Zone 4 and is semi-evergreen in warmer climes. The Japanese Maple is supposed to be ‘Crimson Queen’ but it seems a little nicer then that. I bought three of them at a nursery that was going out of business. I wanted some low grafted trees and they had them out in a field. The idea was to make them into a groundcover type and I have been fairly successful as the trees are now about 1.5 feet tall and 5 to 6 feet wide. You can see the Groundsel actually grew up through the Maple and bloomed, it has since been removed from underneath.

I am posting this picture because although I shot the Groundsel pictures in May and forgot about them I was attracted to this combination I saw at the NYBG in October. It is an Acer palmatum 'Tamukeyama' with what I think is the yellow leaved form of Licorice Plant (Helichrysum petiolare’). . 'Tamukeyama' has been in cultivation since 1710 and is considered one of the oldest cultivars of Japanese Maple. Many experts consider it to be one of the most sun resistant and best at holding its deep leaf color throughout the season.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Metallic Pyramidal Bugleweed

Metallic Pyramidal Bugleweed
Ajuga pyramidalis 'Metallica Crispa'
(a-JOO-guh) (peer-uh-mid-AH-liss)
Synonyms: Carpet Bugle

I got my computer back and I have another hard drive and some more ram. There are now 3 internal drives with 340 GB of storage and a gig of ram. I also bought a 200 GB external Firewire/USB hard drive so I have plenty of storage space now. I was getting sick of trying to manage my storage space but I should be okay for a while. I got the ram because Photoshop CS2 is kind of a ram hog. It seems a little faster. They also put a USB 2.0 card in for me and that is a lot faster plus it has 4 ports, which is better than the two I used to have. I have been moving a lot of files around and I put in 475 songs (all legal, BTW) that I have been waiting to add to Itunes but couldn’t because of the lack of space. I am listening to some new music as I type this. I now have about 4,000 songs in the library and on my Ipod. Someday I swear I going to listen to every one of them. According to Itunes that will take around 14 days.

Pyramidal Bugleweed makes a carpet of color in the spring.

While moving some files around I found some pictures of one of favorite groundcovers, Ajuga. I like groundcovers because they are often a problem solver, don’t take much maintenance and you generally don’t have to mulch them. This clumping form of Ajuga is slowly (compared to A. reptans) but steady spreading and very hardy. You can see a tiny bit of the foliage in the big picture but it doesn’t do justice to the purple crinkled leaves. They are really nice. Now this is a flat plant that is between 1 and 2 inches tall. The flower spikes are a beautiful color and a little taller at 4 inches. It is a wondrous color of carpet in spring. I started out with about 50 plants from very small pots and there are now several large patches of several hundred each. I use it in between some of the cracks in the stone walks. In general Ajuga is an easy groundcover that grows under a variety of light conditions and in both moist and dry soil conditions. There are a few different species and numerous cultivars available. I noticed that there is a little red Japanese Maple seedling in the upper right hand corner of the second picture. I will have to check that out tomorrow and try and save it. This patch of Ajuga has some Forget-Me-Nots that grow in and around it. Too bad I couldn’t get them to bloom together.

White Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis 'Alba') is a handsome, small stature flowering tree.

These pictures were taken on May 20th of this year. I was blown away by the greenness of the different pictures. This is another image from that folder. The Estate has a small collection of Redbuds and one of the best is the White Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis 'Alba'). Here is a little blurb about it from the Missouri Native Plants Website:

"Missouri's greatest gift to springtime gardens is the white redbud," wrote the late Edgar Anderson in a Missouri Botanical Garden Bulletin back in the late 1960s. "In bloom, it is beautiful by day, but only those who have seen it in the light of a full moon know the magic it can bring to a garden." The introduction and distribution of this unusual small tree by the Missouri Botanical Garden remains an outstanding horticultural achievement.

Barbara Perry Lawton
Click here for the rest of the story

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

ABC Wednesday - S is for Sculpture

Detail of “Grande Disco” , by Arnaldo Pomodo.

ABC Wednesday S is for Sculpture

If you are here for Wordless Wednesday scroll down to the next post. Please consider joining ABC Wednesdays.
“Kiosque L’Evide” by Jean Dubuffet. 1970-1984. Painted Polyester Resin.

“Grande Disco”, Arnaldo Pomodo.

On Sunday I went to the World Headquarters of PepsiCo to visit the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Garden. The garden is located in Purchase, New York, 31 miles north of New York City. Pepsi’s headquarters is surrounded by 168 acres of rolling gardens and grass. The same person that designed the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Edward Durrell Stone, designed the buildings in 1970. Three landscape architects designed the grounds, Russell Page, E.D. Stone Jr. (the son of the architect), and Francois Goffinet. The gardens were laid out to showcase the sculpture collection. I had a wonderful visit and I had forgotten how beautiful the garden was since my last visit several years ago. Like I said about the chewing gum business (Wrigley family) when I visited Catalina Island there must be good money in soda!

Now originally I had about ten pictures of the different sculptures to show but I accidentally deleted the 120 photos I took before saving them. This led me on an odyssey to try and recover the files. I eventually had to download ZAR (it’s a free image recovery program) to my wife’s Dell and while the program did recover many of the 400 photos that were erased when I wrote a CD to transfer over to my Mac something was lost and I only got a few of the photos (about 60) in usable condition. Oh well, I really tried and after several crashes and a lot of spinning I decided to go with these pictures. There is no free image recovery program for Mac that I could find. So I guess in this one case Windows is better. Needless to say I would have just junked the pictures if they weren’t for my ABC post. I am sorry I can’t show a lot of the beautiful pieces of art and plants they have at the garden. I may go back next weekend with a better plan.

This is some of what I recovered ☹

Back to the art:

My apologies to the artist whose pieces are posted here and not identified. The pictures I took of the tags didn’t get recovered. Not that you need a plug from me. These pictures were all taken with the Nikon 50mm/1.8. I used the aperture priority mode and let the camera set the shutter speed. I also used some exposure compensation and a circular polarizer on some shots. It is a wonderful lens and it was purposely the only lens I brought on my trip to the garden. The best way to get to know a lens is to use it.


Stately trees. Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) showing fall color.

I saw that I went over a 100,000 page views last night. Who would have ever thought that. Thanks to everyone, that just goes to show how many people have an interest in gardening, flowers and photography. I have loved all the comments and things I have learned from everyone out there. Keep it coming!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Irish Boats

Dingle Harbor.

Late Berries

Pyracantha coccinea berries in afternoon sun.

Late Berries

I went out looking for a few pictures yesterday. Obviously there isn’t much left out in the garden. I decided to take a few berry pictures as I feel that is something I am not very good at and haven’t had a lot of success in the past. Most of the berries were on their way out and the birds were at work eating the Crabapples and other fruit.

These were the best I could come up with:

The first picture is Scarlet Firethorn, Pyracantha coccinea (py-ra-KAN-tha). It is a shrub that can be very difficult to work around. It isn’t called Firethorn for nothing, they feel like fire when they stick in! It is a nice shrub for certain areas and privacy screens but be careful where you plant it in the garden. I think it looks best as an espalier. The ability to withstand drought and neglect, a fast growth rate, white flowers and colorful berries are a few of the reasons to plant Pyracantha. It can even grow in shade although you won’t get as many berries.

This tree is another plant with vicious thorns. I take care of several types of Hawthorne and they are just a bear to prune, downright dangerous actually. The Cockspur Hawthorne (Crataegus crusgalli) is a nice little tree that grows to about 18 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Its white flowers in the spring are followed by very glossy foliage for the summer with these fruits in the fall and winter. Another plant to be careful with the site you plant it on. The flowers have a slightly unpleasant odor so it should not be located near the front walk or next to a terrace or patio. If you are not using one of the thornless types don’t plant it near where children will be playing.

I am not sure what Viburnum this is. It is one of the few I have seen with yellow berries. The Estate has a fairly large Viburnum collection and I think I will try and add a yellow-berried type to it next year. This one was planted amongst some of the red-berried Viburnum and it was a quite striking combination. I took this photo in a parking lot and couldn’t get a good angle on the combination shot.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Aromatic Aster

Aromatic Aster
Aster oblongifolius 'Raydon's Favorite'
(ASS-ter) (ob-long-ee-FOH-lee-um)
Synonyms: Fall Aster, Symphyotrichum oblongifolium
I took these Aster pictures during the first week of October and am just getting around to looking at them. I swear I should keep better track of things. It is sometimes fun to look back and see some ‘new’ pictures. There are few more on the roll that I will be posting this week. This first Aster is fairly tall at 36 inches, but it doesn’t flop over. The thing I like best about it is it really blooms late and for a long time. Of course, the color isn’t bad either kind of a blue with the tiniest bit of purple. They are easy to grow and hardy to Zone 4 (USDA). I have found that growing Asters requires good drainage. I think not having the drainage is the number one cause of failure for these plants in the garden, especially in the winter. They can take moist soil but have found them dismal in waterlogged conditions. I usually deadhead to avoid the not true seedlings and get new plants through division. I never knew the common name was Aromatic Aster I will have to test that out next year.

This is a very tall Aster that I don’t know the name of. This picture was shot in a friend’s garden, also in the first week of October. It was pretty and had a lot of flowers. The flower petals were slightly shorter than most Asters giving a slightly different appearance.

Double Japanese Aster
Kalimeris pinnatifida
(kal-ee-MARE-us) (pin-na-TI-fi-da)

This photo didn’t deserve its own post but I wanted to show it as a nice perennial that isn’t grown that much. The flowers are beautiful and bloom in late summer to the end of fall. I have also grown the variegated version of this plant. If you want something different try Japanese Aster. I am not sure why this picture came out wit such a dark background it was shot in the middle of the day.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

White Beautyberry

White Beautyberry
Callicarpa dichotoma 'Albifructus'
(kal-ee-KAR-puh) (dy-KAW-toh-muh)
Synonyms: var. albifructus

I think I got the name of this plant right. I wasn’t sure if it was this one or Callicarpa japonica 'Leucocarpa'. C. dichotoma is hardy to USDA Zone 7 and the japonica is hardy to Zone 5. I haven’t seen either growing in Connecticut before but think I will try to get the hardier one as I garden on the colder edge of Zone 7. Some Zone 7 plants will work but eventually we get a really cold winter and that is that for them. Purple Beautyberry is one of my favorite fall shrubs as you just don’t see that particular shade of purple in the garden much.

These picture was taken at Skylands, the New Jersey State Botanical Garden a couple of weeks ago. They had about 4 or 5 of these plants and it made for a beautiful cluster of shrubs. If I had known that there were two types of White Beautyberry I would have investigated a little further trying to get an identification. If anyone knows any differences between the two plants please chime in.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Variegated Japanese Pachysandra

Variegated Japanese Pachysandra
Pachysandra terminalis 'Variegata'
(pak-ih-SAN-druh) (term-in-AL-iss)
Synonyms: Japanese Spurge, Silver Edge Pachysandra

While cleaning up some leaves I was looking at my Silver Edge Pachysandra and wondered why more people don’t grow it. It is a great groundcover for brightening up shady areas and having something a little different. The one knock against it is that it grows slower than the species. Pachysandra seems to be one of those plants that you either like or don’t. I rarely include it in designs because it invokes a negative response from a lot of people. To me it is a good problem solver and in the right area it works well. I have been using some ‘Green Sheen’ Pachysandra here and there. That one has a much glossier leaf than the regular type, its leaf is all green.

If you are thinking of planting Pachysandra consider the Variegated ‘Silver Edge’. It is slightly more expensive and slow growing but it pays for that with beauty.

The weather roller coaster is already starting to kick in. Yesterday the temperatures were in the 60’s (F) and today it is only suppose to get into the middle 30’s with a low in the teens. I hope it doesn’t get too cold right away I still have a lot of outside work to do.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Thanksgiving Centerpiece

I got a late mum for the centerpiece of our Thanksgiving table. It is nice most of the family is here celebrating. To all the American readers out there Happy Thanksgiving and to everyone else Happy Thursday.

This was shot with the 50mm @ 1.8. I sure wish this mum came with a name tag!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

ABC Wednesday R is for Rudbeckia

ABC Wednesday R is for Rudbeckia

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

Here it is Wednesday again. I had a lot of choices for this week’s letter but decided to go with genus Rudbeckia, one of the several genera referred to commonly as Coneflowers. These are great plants for the garden as they are tough, free flowering and mostly reliable perennials. I am never sure how to phrase something like ‘mostly perennial’ because with just about anything in the botanical world there are a few exceptions. A couple of the 25 species are annuals and a couple are biennial. For the most part the Black Eyed Susan (R. hirta) are perennials. I started off with 125 plants in the Estate Garden and have multiplied that to a couple thousand by encouraging seeding and using divisions to propagate them. This year was the first year the deer completely ate the tops of my whole crop. The plants started to flower and in about a week I was gone they stripped everything. I had to laugh when I saw on a gardening website that the deer don’t like them. They seem to eat them with abandon in certain situations. Lucky I was able to get this picture before the massacre. There were a couple of other older posts on Rudbeckia, use the search if you are interested.

One of the 25 species of Rudbeckia, Three-lobed Coneflower (R. triloba)

These flowers really add a lot to the late summer garden and look great planted in masses. I have always grown mine in full sun but read that they can take part shade. They like moist soil but can grow in just about any conditions. For a little extra pizzazz check out some of the new cultivars.

Here are some interesting (I get mostly plain yellow) seedlings I have gotten from my unsupervised crosses:

I really wanted to use Rose for ‘R’ but since there were over 70 (that’s where I stopped counting) different roses posted on this blog this year I thought that was enough. It is almost time to beput the roses to bed for the year now. The preparations in the different gardens range from elaborate to almost nothing. I am so far behind at work it isn’t funny. The 2 people I have working are leaving for Mexico on Saturday. One is not returning and the other says he will be back but his work permit is expiring so we will have to see what happens.

Here is a list of other ‘ABC Wednesday’ Blogs:

Wordless Wednesday

See Comments for more info

Monday, November 19, 2007

More Japanese Maples

More Japanese Maples

Since the Japanese Maples seem to be popular I thought I would post a couple of more that I shot on Friday. I have been calling this tree ‘Octopus’ for about 15 years now. I am sure that is the way it was sold. However research on the internet seems to point to ‘Octopus’ to being a red leafed cultivar. Oh boy. It seems to have some of the characteristics of ‘Octopus’, as it has very deeply dissected leaves and is short with a lot of congested branching. I will have to post these over at the UBC forums to see if anyone knows what this tree actually is. It is a nice tree no matter what is called. It was fairly big when I planted it and between the deer eating it and pruning it is about 3.5 feet tall and has a spread of about 7-8 feet. It has a large caliper, the trunk is about 6 inches across at the base. Like a lot of the green leafed JMs it gets an orange/yellow fall color. This tree is in at least half shade so I don’t think it colors as well as it would in full sun.

'Red Pygmy' Strap Leaved Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum 'Red Pygmy')

This next one is ‘Red Pygmy’ and it seems to be a dwarf. This is planted right next to a stream and it seems to like it. The leaves are strap like and turn this bronzy color in the fall. It holds on to its red color well into the summer.

Since I posted a picture of Ruby the Border Collie a couple of weeks ago I thought I would post a picture of my other dog. This is Molly. She is a 12 year old pure bred Siberian Husky. Both of her parents were red colored, so while she is mostly white and black this time of year she gets some red highlights. She is looking a little sad as she has figured out she isn’t going to work. This dog lives to go to work and she is friends with the other dogs on the Estate. She is still young at heart and doesn't act her age.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Yellow Fall Foliage

Fall Foliage on Japanese Stewartia (S. pseudocamellia)

Yellow Fall Foliage

On Friday I took my camera to work to try and record a few last foliage shots. The weather sure wasn’t cooperating as it was really windy, some of the gusts, I am guessing were 50 mph (80 kmh). On the Estate we have some big trees that I would say are a little shaky in that kind of wind. We only remove a tree when it is really dead as they add so much to the garden and landscape. So on a day like Friday you have to keep an eye out for any trees or large limbs that might come down. Nature has its own way of sort of tidying these things up. Lucky we only had a few sticks that fell, although at the house across the street a 50-foot tree snapped at the base. It wasn’t our turn to have any damage, this time. Anyway the winds didn’t help with the snapping of pictures but I managed to get these couple of pictures in between the huge gusts.

Still a lot of yellow foliage left on the trees.

This will probably be a two-part post as yellow is the predominate foliage color we have left. I will say again it was a very weird foliage season with some highs and lows. I don’t remember having this much foliage left on the trees this late but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. There are some trees that still haven’t turned and on some plants the foliage burnt off from the frost while it was still green. Which gives kind of a nasty grayish-brown appearance.

Fall foliage of PJM Rhododendron 'Balta'

I may have an audition in a couple of weeks. These are the songs that I have to learn, good thing I already know a couple. These are all cover tunes but there will be a chance to do some original music. This sort of some common ground we can get to know each other over.

Angel from Montgomery
Unchain My Heart
The Weight
Bring it on Home
Dead Flowers (how appropriate)
In the Midnight Hour
Wild Horses

So forgive me if I am brief over the next couple of days as I hit a heavy practice schedule.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fernleaf Fullmoon Maple

Fernleaf Fullmoon Maple
Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’
(AY-ser) (juh-PON-ih-kum)
Synonyms: Maiku jaku, Downy Japanese Maple, ハウチワカエデ

Since I have been enjoying all the Japanese Maples at work and posted on other blogs, like Ki’s, I thought I would share one of my favorite trees. The term Japanese Maples is usually applied to Acer palmatum but this tree is actually a species (different second name) Acer japonicum and it is a cultivar of that species ‘Aconitifolium’. Other cultivars of this tree include 'Vitifolium' and ‘Green Cascade’. It is a wonderful small stature tree that can grow in partial shade (should be in hot climates) and is hardy to USDA Zone 5. The species was introduced to the United States in 1864. Golden Fullmoon Maple is actually a different species A. shirasawanum. I did a post on that tree here.

A good way to tell the difference between Acer palmatum and A. japonicum is the amount of lobes on the leaf. The palmatum types usually have seven or less lobes and japonicum has 9 to 13 lobes. Sorry if all those species are confusing it kind of breaks down like this.

Acer palmatum and Acer japonicum are both species of Maple. They are both commonly referred to as Japanese Maples. The species of A. japonicum further breaks down into cultivars of Fernleaf (‘Aconitifolium’), Grape-leaved 'Vitifolium' and Weeping (‘Green Cascade’).

The Estate has two specimens of Fernleaf Fullmoon Maple. One is planted in a shady location and the other is in full sun. These pictures are from the sunny one. The one in shade grows a bit sparser and slower and gets more of a yellowy fall color. It is still beautiful. Most of the trees at work are tagged as to what they are, where they bought and how big and when they were planted. This one was bought at Imperial Nurseries, came in a 15 gallon container and was planted in the summer of 2000. As I remember it was about 5 feet tall and had a spread of about 4 feet. In the last seven years it has grown to about 8 feet tall and is about 12 feet wide. Its final height is supposed to be 10-12 feet tall and 15 feet wide but I have seen larger ones. The flowers in the spring and the emerging foliage (sometimes with a touch of pink) are beautiful as are the large green leaves in the summer. The real show starts in the fall with the change to orange, yellow and red leaves. The autumn show lasts quite a while and after the leaves fall off the winter outline isn’t bad looking. So it is really a tree that has three strong seasons.

The first picture was shot with the 60mm/2.8 Micro-Nikkor and on the second ahot I used the 50mm/1.8 Nikon lens.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Common name: Frangipani

I found these couple of pictures on a flash card that had become wedged between the wall and my desk. My housekeeping did have a purpose! It had been there for quite a long time as these were shot in August. When the drug store was getting rid of their stock of Compact Flash cards they were selling the 512MB SanDisk cards for $12.99 I bought 4 of them. It is nice to have a lot of memory cards but it can get confusing. Now that I have them all in front of me I am going to number them.

The first picture is the beautiful and fragrant Plumeria. Rather then type a lot of information about it I will direct to the Wikipedia page:

This second shot is from the water garden at the NYBG and is shot with a 60mm lens.