Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Rhododendron and Azalea

A Rhododendron and Azalea

Continuing yesterday’s theme of the unknown Dahlia here are some pictures of a Rhododendron and Azalea that I can’t identify. In the past I probably wouldn’t have even taken these shots because I want to be able to identify all the plants and flowers that are posted here but after further consideration I have decided to go ahead and post them.

With Rhododendron and Azalea there are several thousand cultivars to choose from, so unless it is a common variety there isn’t much hope of getting the name. Both of these were growing in public places so there was no quizzing the gardeners on the name.

Today I going to try and visit all 14 gardens that we are tending to this year. I was joking the other day that there are four people and 14 gardens that is 3.5 gardens per person. It is a bit ambitious since they are all pretty far flung but it should provide some photo opportunities. I am cleaning off some memory cards and charging up the batteries. I am even going to take my Coolpix 8400 with me. I haven’t used that camera in awhile and it is always fun to mix up the equipment now and then.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Unknown Dahlia

Unknown Dahlia

This picture is the best I can do today. I took this out in the Dahlia Garden this week on a rainy day. The exposure actually came out pretty good for such a dreary day. Not having bought identified Dahlias is sure going to be a source of frustration for me. Today we are going up to tend to the garden in Hyde Park. Since the owners have a staff we just take care of the pruning and some garden odds and ends. Unloading those trucks really kicked my butt yesterday. They were packed full of stuff including several hundred Boxwood. Now I remember why I don’t work at a nursery, too many trucks to unload!

I hope to have time to shoot a couple of pictures this weekend but I am not counting on it. There hasn’t been a lot of time for extra writing on this blog lately. I do want to keep sharing as many pictures as possible.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dianthus deltoides ‘Double North’

Dianthus deltoidesDouble North
(dy-AN-thus) (del-TOY-deez)
Synonyms: Maiden Pink

This is the first time I have seen this Dr Keith Hammett (New Zealand) introduction. I thought it was beautiful. The grey-bluish foliage had formed a nice mound and the flowers were on short stems. I really love Dianthus but it has been finicky for me before. I keep trying it anyway. The garden I was working in yesterday had a whole walk way planted with the pink version of this plant and it made a wonderful edge.

I am not going to try and explain my day today. Let’s just say it has 4 tractor trailer loads of plant material. From 1-gallon perennials to some 14 to 16 foot White Pines. I am going to be planting the stuff in a couple of weeks. Someone else designed the garden and bought the trees. I just get to dig the holes!

As a follow up to the Nova Zembla Rhododendron bud I posted a couple of days ago here is the flower after it opens. It looks more red when viewed from a distance.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Scarlet Begonias and Sunflower Abstract

ABC Wednesday and
Wordless Wednesday

‘Eternal Flame’ Hybrid Tea Rose

‘Eternal Flame’ Hybrid Tea Rose

There seems to three roses with the name ‘Eternal Flame’. This one is also known as Meifacul. This is the only Hybrid Tea with the ‘Eternal Flame’ name. It has a nice fragrance and the color is a very nice yellow.

Bred in France in 2007 this is another of the roses from Alain Meilland. It is nice to able to be posting some roses. The big rose garden is coming along nicely even though it is on a very cold and windy site. I can’t wait to begin taking some more rose photographs.

My day off was really nice we had about 15 people over and I think everyone had a good time. I have 5 houses planned for the rest of week.

Monday, May 26, 2008

'Nova Zembla' Rhododendron Bud

'Nova Zembla' Rhododendron Bud

The Red Rhododendrons were starting to bloom at the farm. The White Azaleas were in full bloom underneath them and it was a nice combination. I know some gardeners don’t like white and red together but it is one of my favorite color combinations. The picture I took of them together didn’t come out and the Rhodos really needed a few more days to be in full bloom.

‘Nova Zembla’ was introduced in 1902 and it is considered one of the hardiest reds. There are certainly more exciting red Rhododendrons but Novas seem to be very dependable. They can get up to 10 feet tall and have nice foliage. Since this is only picture of the bud you can’t see that the flower has nice black spots when open.

What are you going to say about White Azaleas? They have really been spectacular this year (like most years). I am not sure of the cultivar on these but if I had to guess it would ‘Delaware Valley White’. These planted in front of the Rhododendrons with some semi-dwarf type of Juniper. When I first saw the Azaleas and Junipers together I thought that doesn’t look good but when they bloomed it was actually pretty nice. The Juniper needs to be pruned since it is kind of taking over.

Today is a holiday in the US and I am not working. I think I went 40 days straight without a day off and it feels weird not to be at work.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cannon`s Double Azalea

Cannon`s Double Azalea
Azalea x 'Cannon`s Double' (Exbury hybrid)

It would hard to describe the color of this Azalea because it was several all at once. It was very easy on the eyes. It gets to about 6 feet tall and has red tinted foliage. I am going to have to try one of these.

Here is a partial list of the plants we planted at the small farm the last couple of days. Sorry for the mix of common and botanical names. It is just how it came out. The plants marked with star are the ones I haven’t grown before. Since it is the most northern of our gardens I have to watch what we plant. It gets a lot colder. Lucky about 3 miles is a large wholesale nursery that I am very familiar with. They grow a lot of their own stock from propagation so it is a nice test on the climate and the plants are acclimated already.

AjugaBurgundy Glow
Artemisia schmidtiana 'Silver Mound'
Azalea ‘Fashion’ Azalea ‘Lorna’ Azalea ‘Gartrell Pink’ Azalea ‘Gibraltar’ Azalea ‘Girard’s Crimson’ Azalea ‘Girard’s Fuschia’ Azalea ‘Golden Lights’ Astilbe 'Montgomery' Red
Astilbe Pink
Black Bugbane (Cimicifuga simplex 'Brunette')
Buddleia davidii “Dark Knight’ Buddleia davidii 'Nanho Blue'
Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)
Carefree Shrub Rose 'Carefree Celebration'*
Coral Bells (Heuchera ‘Caramel’)*
Coreopsis grandiflora ’Flying Saucer’*
Crimson Wonder Hardy Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos)
Cutleaf Lilac (Syringa laciniata)
False Forget-Me-Not (Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost')
Fern-leaf Bleeding Heart (Dicentra ‘King of Hearts’)
Golden Spiderwort (Tradescantia 'Sweet Kate')*
Golden St. John’s Wort (Hypericum androsaemum 'Golden Tutsan')
Hairy Toad Lily (Tricyrtis hirta)
Hardy Chrysanthemum Sheffield Hybrid
Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum)
Knockout Roses
Liatris spicata 'Kobold'
Lungwort (Pulmonaria 'Blue Ensign')
Lungwort (Pulmonaria 'Majeste')
Montauk Daisy (Nipponanthemum nipponicum)
Meyeri Lilac
Morning Light Miscanthus
Rhododendron ‘Nova Zembla’
Rudbeckia 'Herbstonne'
Sneezeweed (Helenium 'Mardi Gras')
Summer Wine Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Summer Wine')*
Spirea ‘Neon Flash’
Tatarian Dogwood (Cornus alba 'Elegantissima')
Tatarian Dogwood (Cornus alba 'Ivory Halo')
Tiger Tail Spruce (Picea alcoquiana ‘Howell’s Dwarf Tigertail’)
Variegated Blue Holly (Ilex meserveae ‘Blue Maid’)
Variegated Iris
Veronica ‘Red Fox’
Weigela ‘Wine and Roses'
Weigela ‘Minuet’
White Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan')
White Globe Thistle (Echinops sphaerocephalus ‘Arctic Glow’)*
Yellow Ice Plant (Delosperma nubigenum 'Basutoland')*

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Two Pink Flowering Crabapples

Two Pink Flowering Crabapples

As usual I enjoyed the Crabapples this year even though their flowers were cut short by the wind and rain we had. These two pink-red Crabs were outstanding and I am glad that I planted both of them. The first one is Malus x 'Prairie Fire' and it is a hardy tree (US Zone 3), which gets to about 15-20 feet tall. Although I have been keeping it a little smaller. It is disease resistant which maybe the most important cultivar selection criteria for me now. ‘Prairiefire’ has been around for some time now, it was introduced in 1982.

This second Crabapple was new to me but it performed nicely the last two years. 'Cardinal' Crabapple (Malus 'Cardinal') was introduced by Princeton Nurseries of New jersey and is also considered disease resistant. The flowers a deep pink but the best thing about this tree is the purple color of the leaves. Mine didn’t set a lot of fruit and I hope that changes but overall I am very happy with this tree.

Friday, May 23, 2008

'What A Peach' Rose

'What A Peach' Rose

I saw this strongly fragrant Miniature Shrub rose at the nursery when I was buying a 8 to 9 foot Norway Spruce. The tag said it was a Shrublet rose, which is something I hadn’t heard before. It was bigger than what I would normally call think of as a miniature rose and the final height was listed at 4.5 feet tall. The color was gorgeous and overall it had a classy and cultured look. Right after I took this picture I walked further down the line of roses and when I turned around someone was taking it home.

Christopher H. Warner bred this rose in the UK in 2000. Weeks Roses introduced it into the US in 2002.

Parentage: Laura Ford ® × Sweet Magic
Synonyms: CHEwpeachdell

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dahlia 'Bishop of York'

Dahlia 'Bishop of York'

I planted the Dahlias in Claire’s garden the other day. For the first time in 24 years I bought some pre-finished plants as opposed to potting up the tubers in early spring. It just has been that type of year. I bought 12 different types and this one of three dark leafed varieites. It was already stunning to me so I can’t wait until we get deeper in the season. Having always admired the bronze leafed (is bronze leaf, purple leaf or dark leaf the proper way to refer to these?) varieties I am happy to finally be trying some. I got a couple of the other ‘Bishop’ series and I am sure you will be seeing them here soon, although this is my favorite.

Apparently there is no ‘Bishop of York’ in real life, only an Archbishop. This variety was hybridized by Van Der Linden in the Netherlands and was introduced in 2002.

I have another big day planned. I have three meetings with people and probably won’t get much gardening done.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Fuchsia 'Eden Rock'

Fuchsia 'Eden Rock'

Hybrid Tuberous Begonia

Hybrid Tuberous Begonia
Begonia x tuberhybrida
(be-GON-yuh) (too-ber-HY-brid-uh)
Synonyms: Non-stop Begonias

This year I decided to plant a lot of these and they seem to be a big hit. Valley View grew a mix of yellow, salmon, pink and a couple of bi-colors. They also had some of the Mocca series, which has a dark leaf. I just have been putting the colors together in some big mixed plantings and it makes a colorful carpet in the moist shade. I have read that they are deer resistant and will report back with my actual experience as some of the plants are in pretty heavy grazing territory.

Previously I grown these in containers with good results so I am anxious to see how they do in a bedding situation.

Monday, May 19, 2008

White Crabapple

White Crabapple
Malus sp.

This Crabapple had the most enticing fragrance. I shot this picture at the little farm. At 25 acres it really isn’t little but it smaller than the other farms we work on. I call it the little farm since it has a smaller garden then the others. I am not sure what variety of Crab this is and trying to figure it out was impossible. It might be 'Snowdrift' but that is just a guess. I knew that Crabapples are fragrant but this one went a little beyond what I consider normal. It was extra nice since there was a patch of white Lilacs blooming nearby and this tree was overpowering them.

Going through the archives of shot but not selected pictures I found this Orchid. (Asian Corsage Orchid, Cymbidium 'Milk Tea').

I finished another house yesterday but my appointments yielded more work so it was a wash. One of the houses I visited had a collection of yellow Rhododendrons, which I found quite interesting. I wish I had my camera with me! They will probably be done blooming by the time I get back to do the work. Sigh.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Geranium 'Stephanie'

Geranium 'Stephanie'

This is another beautiful hybrid perennial Geranium. It was developed from a seedling at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Scotland and is a distinct cross between Geranium peloponnesiacum and G. renardii. They like moist sites and full sum but I have grown them in less than ideal conditions and been happy with them. This cultivar is very floriferous and can rebloom later in the season with a little light shearing after the first wave of flowers.

I know last Sunday I said I was going to work this Sunday but oh well. I have a job I will be finishing off today which is always a plus. I have a couple of appointments, also. The planting job went well on Saturday and we got everything in. I need a couple of more trees and some mulch and that job will be finished up too.

It was funny to see this daisy in a sea of Alyssum. I wish I had a wider angle to show the 100's of flats of Alyssum.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mountain Cornflower

Mountain Cornflower
Centaurea montana 'Amethyst in Snow'
(sen-TAR-ee-uh) (MON-tah-nuh)
Synonyms: Mountain Bluet, Perennial Cornflower

This is a new variety for me. The contrast between the two colors is very eye catching. I will have to try some in the garden. One thing I like about Centaureas are the fact they are low maintenance and thrive in poor and somewhat dry soils. I have read that they will also live in part shade but don’t have any experience with that. The foliage is interesting as the leaves get quite long (6+ inches) and has kind of a silvery grey appearance. This plant was introduced in 2005 from the breeding work of Kees Sahin. The breeding on this genus is really starting to amaze me.

I don’t have much time to write today since I have to leave early. The people I am working with like to get to work early and leave late. They want me to pick them up at 5:30 am but that is just too early for me. I haven’t had time to respond to the comments here but I want everyone to know that I read them all and appreciate hearing what you have to say about the pictures and the flowers.

I have a planting job today. Here is a list of what we have to plant:

6 Dwarf Norway Spruce (Picea abies ‘Ohlendorffii’). These are about 3 feet high and 4 feet wide. 20-gallon pots.

3 Baby Blue Spruce (Picea pungens 'Baby Blue'). This tree has its own website . It is a seed grown strain of Blue Spruce. They are about 6 feet tall now. This is worst tree to plant as far as having sharp needles.

3 White Pines (Pinus strobus). 6-8 feet and heavily sheared.

Not too many trees except they have to go on top of a four-foot high stonewall into a narrow planting strip. They are some 10-foot tall ‘Hoopsi’ Blue Spruce planted up there already to add to the fun.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Valley View Greenhouses

Valley View Greenhouses
South Salem, New York

This is where I buy about 80% of my annuals and a lot of my perennials. I started going there when I first started working on the Estate in 1985 and it is amazing to me how much it has grown since then. Well I guess it isn’t amazing as they produce great plants and offer people in the trade a good deal. Lately I have noticed that they have upped their personal and friendly service. That makes the shopping experience a whole lot better.

Valley View offers a wide range of annuals. Some trendy items as well as some hard to find items and there are always a few surprises. If I can’t find exactly what I am looking for a good substitute is usally available. It is self-service which I like especially if I only have idea of the area I want to fill up as opposed to having an exact plant list. You can get help if you need some information about the plants.

Their selection of perennials is great and the stuff always seems to do well after you plant it. I like they often carry several cultivars of the same plant. The shrub and ornamental grass offerings are expanding and if I remember correctly this is something that they didn’t even have when I first started going. There are also a few trees for sale, so basically all that you need to make a beautiful garden.

To sum it up if you are looking for healthy, reasonably priced flowers in Westchester County head over to Valley View Greenhouses in South Salem.

Here is a link to their website:

If you have time send an email to them saying they need more pictures on their website.

I just wanted to add that this isn’t a paid endorsement. I feel it is the least I could to do after they have supplied me with so much nice plant material over the years. Also for some of the flower pictures that have appeared on this site.

This is the shrub and perennial yard.

I call these two the Flower Girls, although not to their face :lol: They were too busy to ask them to stop and pose for a proper picture. Debbie (left) is the one in charge. She knows her stuff and runs a tight ship. For many years she seemed to be the only one at the front. Carly (on the right) is always friendly and a real sweet heart. She is also helpful and efficient. I happened to snap this during the one second of the day when she wasn’t smiling. They are as nice to a business customer as to the little old lady buying a couple of Petunias. Way to get us people back on the road and making money, girls. Please keep it up. I, for one, appreciate your hard work.

This is a shot of the main greenhouse. It is a great building and kind of a wonderland to me. It reminds me of the commercial greenhouses and nursery I grew up at. This picture only shows about half the space and was as wide as I could get with a 17mm lens.

In addition to the Main Greenhouse there are a lot of smaller ones with plants in various stages of development.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Yoshino Cherry

Yoshino Cherry
Prunus x yedoensis
(PROO-nus) (yed-oh-EN-sis)

While I was cleaning off one of memory cards I came across these photos of Yoshino Cherry. It is a spectacular tree that was in full bloom the day I took the photos (April 18th, just north of NYC). This tree grows to about 50 feet although if you start out pruning it when it is young it can be held much lower. It is easy to get a nice shape out of the Oriental branching pattern. I was surprised this tree is hardy to USDA Zone 5. They should be planted in full sun with good drainage. The bark and yellow fall color are nice for the fall and winter seasons. These photos were taken of one tree out of a group of several. I noticed some of the others had a slight pink tinge to the flowers.

This is the tree (along with the Kwanzan Cherry) of the Washington, DC Cherry Blossom Festival. I read recently that actually Macon, Georgia has more of these trees than DC does. There are a few cultivars available including ‘Akebona’ (soft pink flowers), ‘Perpendens’ (irregular weeping branches) and ‘Shidare Yoshino’.

In Japan there is a legend that each spring a fairy maiden hovers low in the warm sky to wake the sleeping Cherry trees to life with her delicate breath.

Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers, but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms.
Ikkyu Sojun

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Brazilian Jasmine

Hybrid Columbine
Aquilegia 'Songbird Blue Jay'

Monday, May 12, 2008

Variegated Big Periwinkle
Vinca major 'Variegata'
(VIN-kuh) (MAY-jor)
Synonyms: Greater Periwinkle, V. m. Elegantissima’, Vinca Vine

I don’t think I have ever photographed this flower before. I have never grown a planting of it either, but used it lot in containers. This maybe the first time I remember even seeing it flower. It is totally entrenched in the back garden of the little farm. So much so I may walk around with a little roundup to get rid of some them. It is considered invasive and I can see why! It is rated to USDA Zone 6 (-10F), which is something I never knew. At the end of the season we have been tearing out thinking it wasn’t hardy.

Here are some pictures from the farm. Geographically it is the most northern of our gardens and probably is another climate zone colder than most all of them. This is little Amelia the Sheltie puppy. Very camera shy and right after I tried to take her picture she dug a hole in the garden. She sure is cute. There is also another dog, 3 cats, 2 goats, 4 horses, 10 sheep, chickens and for wild animals there are always deer, turkeys and a hawk. I can’t wait to that big patch of Iris bloom. It is a nice garden but you can see it has some blank spaces. We are probably going to plant a lot of new perennials to beef up what is there.

This is a picture of one of the plantings in the back yard after our pruning. I was walking around with my camera taking some close ups and happened to see the way these plants looked together.

This white Lilac was also blooming yesterday. I am going to cut it down when it is finished flowering. The snow plow knocked it over.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Variegated Double Impatiens 'Pink Ice'

Variegated Double Impatiens
Impatiens 'Pink Ice'

This is the Impatiens that I got the 40 flats of yesterday. It is all going to one house. I have never used the Variegated Impatiens on this large of a scale before so it going to be a bit of an adventure. In general I like variegated plants but some are too garish. This Impatiens is really tasteful and dainty so the variegation really works well. I did some other planting including some Japanese Iris ‘Sensation’ (Iris enstata), ‘Magnus’ Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), ‘Becky’ Shasta Daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum 'Becky'), Tioga Double Impatiens, Assorted Dahlia, ‘Profusion’ Zinnia and a 12 flats of Begonias.

As I was planting the Scarlet Begonias the Jerry Garcia song kept going through my head. When I got home I had to put the song on my Ipod. Since I hadn’t listened to the song in a long time the words were a little different than I remembered but it is still a great song.

Here are a couple of the verses:

She had rings on her fingers and bells on her shoes,
She wore scarlet begonias tucked into her curls,

I knew right away she was not like other girls, other girls.

Well, I ain’t always right but I’ve never been wrong,

Seldom turns out the way it does in a song.

Once in a while you get shown the light

In the strangest of places if you look at it right.

Words by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia

That is one thing I like about having an Ipod is my complete CD collection is at my fingertips. I didn’t have to rummage through all the discs (several hundred) to find the song I wanted to listen to. I just dialed it up. ‘Scarlet Begonias’ was followed by ‘Scarlet Fever’ by Kenny Rodgers and ‘Scatterbrained’ by Jeff Beck alphabetically. Talk about three different worlds.

Variegated foliage of 'Pink Ice'

I am working today at the small farm. I bought some perennials and have to finish the clean up and do some more corrective pruning. This week I have two more houses to open up and then I will have to start making some return visits to the houses that I have already been working on. This week is the last Sunday I am working for a couple of weeks. I feel like the photographic season is passing me by. Other than a couple of quick snaps at work or the nurseries I have been visiting I really haven’t had a lot of time to take pictures. In way that has been good since I have had to try and make those pictures count.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bluest Azalea

Bluest Azalea

The title of this post is kind of a joke. When I bought this plant at a strange nursery in Pennsylvania the farmer (that what would be the best way to describe him) said, “This is the bluest azalea there is”. Since it was fall I couldn’t dispute that fact although it did look suspiciously like a little leaf Rhododendron. I bought it anyway without knowing the name and sure enough the next year it bloomed and I had to admit it was pretty blue. This was 15 years ago and before some of the recent blue flowered introductions. I wish I could find out the name because I like having the names for all the Rhodos in the collection. For all I know this is something the farmer could have crossed himself. The color is straight out of the camera.

Here are couple more pictures of some of the little leaf Rhododendrons I enjoyed during the spring. None of these were marked with the cultivar name. So this is kind of the unknown Rhodos post.

This one is some type of Rhododendron yakushimanum cultivar. They sure are pretty, especially when the buds are first starting to open up.

Yesterday was a wash out here. It was really cold, windy and wet at the nursery. I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of the flowers I was looking for. I still need forty flats of salmon pink Impatiens.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Cape Daisy

Cape Daisy
Synonym: African Daisy

This is one of the annuals I have been planting this week. This year as been funny since I have had more requests for annuals then ever before. It truly has been the year of the annual. I don’t mind because annuals always add a lot of color to the garden. I hope to take some more pictures of the different flowers I have been planting. Dahlias, Impatiens, Petunias, Marigolds, Salvia, Cleome and Begonias to name some of the species for this year.

Both of these are from the 'Crescendo' series. This 'Crescendo Orange' and the top flower is 'Crescendo Primrose'

Cape Daisy is a nice annual for masses or containers. I like them since they aren’t too fussy and seem to give good color throughout the season. I found that they need full sun and well drained soil. If they start to slow down blooming some light shearing maybe in order. They benefit from deadheading (removing the spent flowers). These plants have been in full bloom since they came from the nursery. I once showed a picture I took of one of these flowers to a friend from California and he said, “Ugh, those are freeway daisies”. I just thought to myself you are lucky to have that beautiful a plant growing along the highway.

Here is a link to a website devoted to Osteospermum:

There is 2 to 3 inches of rain expected for this area today. We could use some rain but not that much. I would like a day off but I have to get more plants and I have found that a lot of the wholesale nurseries are not too busy when it is raining.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Pink Knockout Rose

Pink Knockout Rose
Rosa 'Radcon'

These seem to be all the rage in roses now. I guess they are okay and serve a purpose. Nothing can replace the Hybrid Tea in my heart. They have two very nice attributes, they stay small and they do have good disease resistance. I like the pink and the original red the best.

Here is a link to the story of the breeder of the Knockout Roses, William Radler of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I guess a rose with it’s own site is kind of cool.

A couple of milestones have slipped by here at Digital Flower As of last week there have been over 200,000 page views. There have also been close to or over 1,000 visitors per day. I don’t think I could have imagined that many people viewing this site in the beginning, even now it is difficult. I hope everyone has been getting something from their visits. A bit of plant knowledge, some gardening tips or just a lift from seeing some flowers. Thanks for visiting!