Saturday, August 30, 2008

Black-eyed Susan - 'Becky Mix'

Black-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia hirta 'Becky Mix'
(rud-BEK-ee-a) (HER-tuh)

This annual has just been super this season. It has just kept blooming and is really showy. The ‘mix’ is a good range of yellow and yellow with red centers. This is one of the darker yellow and out of about six plants there has been a good mix of yellow/orangey shades. I really wish it were perennial like most of the other Black-eyed Susans. ‘Becky’ has stayed very compact and fit into the front of a border we planted this summer almost perfectly. You can see from the leaf sticking in the picture that it has kind of hairy spines. They don’t really hurt but the foliage feels weird.

Karen and I are taking a long weekend on the Jersey shore so this space will probably pick up again on Monday evening or Tuesday. The Labor Day Weekend is considered the end of summer here in the US. I have an action packed fall season planned for work and will be ready to dive in on Tuesday.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Mum Season

Time to kick off the Mum Season. This is two of the 36 I purchased yesterday. Twenty-one were in 4.5-inch pots, which are really small for a Chrysanthemum, so maybe those don’t count. The little rose garden we tend to was looking a little rough for under planting so we took out the Cosmos, Amaranthus and Violets that had kind of seeded in and used the small mums along the front border. Hopefully they will form a little carpet of color. For the larger gaps in the middle I was able to get some nice hybrid Frikart’s aster (Aster x frikartii 'Monch').

That is probably one of my favorite Asters. The flowers are quite classy looking and the plant stays relatively compact. It is a hybrid between Aster amellus x Aster thomsonii developed by Karl Frikart in 1920. This Aster is hardy to USDA Zone 5 and is less susceptible to powdery mildew than most species of Aster. They were just starting to show some color. Most of the Mums were like that also. Sometimes if you buy them this early they don’t last the whole season and have to be replaced. I snuck in a couple of flats of purple Pansies and the area looked a whole lot better, it had gotten a little messy.

The yellow mum is Chrysanthemum 'Novare' and is a Belgian Hardy Mum. Though I sometimes wonder exactly where the ‘hardy’ mums are hardy. Only about 2 in 10 come back for me. I have had slightly better success in the last couple of years by not cutting off the dead tops at the end of the season. I have been putting some leaves over them also. Still I wouldn’t exactly rate them as hardy. When I worked at the nursery we used to call them ‘hardly’ mums. The red mum is ‘Camino’ which I couldn’t find any references to.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bolton's Aster

Bolton's Aster
Boltonia asteroides var. latisquama 'Jim Crockett'
Synonyms: White Doll's Daisy, False Aster, False Chamomile, Thousand Flower

Boltonia usually comes to my mind as a fall flower but it actually starts blooming in late summer. This is a semi-dwarf type (20 inches tall) that is really free flowering. I didn’t know one of the common names for this plant was Thousand Flower, it fits perfectly! It was developed by Thomas Boyle at UMass and is named after the first host of the Victory Garden. That is a public television gardening show that has been on for over thirty years. I don’t recall seeing lately. Here is a link:
PBS/Victory Garden

This variety of Bolton’s Aster is supposed to be more resistant to Powdery Mildew and mine haven’t got it. There has been quite of bit of Powdery Mildew around here lately. It has been growing in the rose garden and I had to take off several branches to try and stop the spread of it.

I am half way through the big transplanting project. It hasn’t rained in weeks but I put the Bio-Plex transplanting Aid on and haven’t seen any problems yet. The stuff is remarkable.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Daylily - 'Mint Condition'

Hemerocallis 'Mint Condition'

Scroll down for this weeks Wordless Wednesday.

It has been a week or so since a Daylily was posted here so here we go again. The Daylilies bloomed so beautifully this year. Two years ago I did a big Daylily planting (the garden was fenced for deer) and this year when I went back it was amazing to see how much they had grown. Everywhere I went this summer it seemed there would be a lot of Daylilies. Maybe the conditions were favorable but it could also been that the flowers always bloom like that and I just noticed.

‘Mint Condition’ is a beautiful butter yellow diploid Daylily. It was introduced in 1983. It is quite tall and had a nice texture to the ruffled flowers.

This is kind of what I mean about seeing Daylilies everywhere. I pulled into an abandon commercial building near Westchester County Airport to make a phone call and there was an ocean of Daylilies blooming. Only a small patch is represented here it continued for several hundred feet and was across the street also. It was quite a nice red cultivar. There was also huge plantings of yellow and orange. They were perfect and had no maintenance.

Sorry I haven’t had the time to respond to all the comments but wanted to say to everyone thanks for leaving them. It makes this space so much more enjoyable for me.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tuberous Begonia Mardi Gras

Tuberous Begonia ‘Mardi Gras’
Begonia x tuberhybrida Mardi Gras
(be-GON-yuh) (too-ber-HY-brid-uh)
Blackmore & Langdon's Large Flowered Picotee Begonia

Ruby Tuesday

Yesterday I visited White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Connecticut. They have a beautiful series of display gardens and they were in fine shape yesterday. I was looking for some Painted Daisies (Tanacetum coccineum), which I have not been able to find anywhere. After taking some pictures on the gardens I decided to follow the sign to the Tuberous Begonia Greenhouse.

Since I am used to looking at and being around a lot of flowers I get a little jaded sometimes but every once in awhile something totally stuns me in regards to the botanical world. My entrance to the greenhouse was one of those moments. It literally took my breath away. The color was overwhelming and amazing. Each of the display Begonias were in perfect full bloom. It probably was one of top five flower displays I have seen and that fact that is totally unexpected was part of the reason. When I go to the New York Botanical Garden or Kew I expect to be amazed. Not so much so when I enter a kind of non descript Quonset type of greenhouse in the rugged Litchfield Hills of Connecticut. I got quite a few nice pictures although shooting inside a greenhouse can be tricky. There will certainly be some more Tuberous Begonias on this blog coming up soon. I really wanted the 24mm/1.8 lens but left it home. The lens has really integrated itself into my ‘bag’. I am not going to leave home without again.

This is a crude panorama of the greenhouse so you can see a little of what it looked like. Some of the Begonias were fragrant and had a very nice scent.

Thanks for visiting. For more Ruby Tuesday and red stuff visit the teach @
Work of the Poet

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hybrid Tea Rose – Moondance

Hybrid Tea Rose – Moondance

This is the third time ‘Moondance’ has been featured on this blog. There must be something to it. Actually most all of the rose bushes at the Rose Garden were blooming. There were a couple of hundred flowers out. That surprised me a little since this is usually a time that the roses slow down a little and then start perking up in the fall. This Rose Garden is not one that is doted over, I am lucky if I spend a couple of hours a week or every ten days deadheading and pruning. If I spent more time than that there would be a lot more roses. For white roses in the garden, which symbolize innocence and purity, there is ‘Moondance’, ‘John F. Kennedy’ and ‘White Lighting’. Of the three whites ‘Moondance’ has been by far the best performer.

Class: Hybrid Tea
Origin: Dr. Keith W. Zary, US
U.S. Introduction: Jackson & Perkins Co., 2007
Petal Count: 26-40
Fragrance: Moderate
Parentage: Princess Alice × Iceberg
Synonyms: JACtanic
All-American Rose Selection 2007

This is a picture of the pink rose ‘Aromatherapy’. The purple rose is ‘Falstaff’. ‘Moondance’ is the white rose in the back with ‘Day Breaker’, ‘Dream Come True’ and the red is ‘Love’. This is about 10 or 12 of the 180 rose bushes in the garden.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Kim's Mophead White Coneflower

White Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea 'Kim's Mophead'
(ek-in-AY-shee-a) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)

This White Coneflower was introduced in 2001 but I just ended up trying it. The several I planted last summer returned and bloomed well. This is the white flowered form of ‘Kim’s Knee High’, which stays about 18 inches tall. That is one of its best attributes. Perfect for smaller areas or in the front of borders. They have an odd but attractive greenish cone. I never knew that Echinacea was a good cut flower until this year. They were so prolific this year that I was cutting a lot of them. In some ways it seems the world has gone Coneflower crazy. That is okay with me.

I have a busy Saturday planned here is my ‘to buy’ list:

1 Six station Irrigation Controller
1 Gallon Bio-Plex Transplanting Aid
12 Five foot ‘U’ Fence Posts
3 Bags 1” Mexican Black Beach Pebbles

On my ‘to do’ list:

Spray Rabbit and Deer Repellent at three different gardens
Check availability for 65 Mums
Apply the Bio-Plex to a 16 foot Magnolia that we have to transplant next week
Dead head the Rose Garden

The good thing is I am going to take my camera with me.

This is a pic of a Skipper on ‘White Swan’ Coneflower.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Inula verbascifolia
(IN-yoo-luh) (ver-bask-ee-FO-lee-uh)
Synonym: Inula candida ssp. verbascifolia

This little plant was growing at Wave Hill the last time I went (the process of going through old image files continues). The contrast between the silvery foliage and bright yellow flowers was attractive. Reminded me of a miniature sunflower.

There wasn’t a whole of information on this particular species of Inula. The genus is made up of 90 species and it is quite variable. The species range from diminutive types to giant plants. Inula verbascifolia is native to the Italy and the Southern Balkans, other Inula are native to Europe, Africa and some Asian regions.

This is my Skywatch Friday photo for this week. Just a shot after we parked to walk the couple of blocks to the restaurant the other night.

To see other Skywatch photos
click here.

Lotus Bud

Lotus Bud

This was growing in a small Koi pond I saw at a nursery. It was nice because the buds were right along the edge of the display and easy to photograph. This is a link to a Wikipedia article on Lotus.

It really is a fascinating plant.

If you don’t have a water garden to grow a Lotus plant in you could always get your dog a Lotus chew toy.

That red carp looks cool too.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Red Rose on Ruby Tuesday

Red Rose on Ruby Tuesday

This rose was growing in the rose garden about a month and half ago. I am really not sure which red rose it is but I think it might be ‘Mr. Lincoln’. Out of the 160 roses I have about 120 identified. There are a few doubles and triples of some varieties. Since I inherited the care of the garden I am not sure about some of them.

Red roses are traditionally sent as a symbol of true love and fidelity but also can mean a sign of respect or courage.

Thanks for visiting. For more Ruby Tuesday and red stuff visit the teach @
Work of the Poet

From the Dahlia Garden

From the Dahlia Garden

These two Dahlias are from two different Dahlia gardens I have been growing this year. Both have been providing copious amounts of flowers and have not had a lot of fungus or insects. This year was the first in about 20 that we used prestarted and unnamed tubers. In a way that was easier than looking through the catalogs and selecting them. It was also easier not to have to pot them up.

This Orange Cactus Dahlia has been especially prolific and always has several flowers ready for cutting. These pictures were taken in July and I found them yesterday while going through the files on my hard drive.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

More from the Orchid Show

More from the Orchid Show

These shots are from the Orchid Show at The NYBG in March. I just found the memory card they were on. Originally I took a couple of pictures off the card and made a Black and White Orchid post and then lost track of the card. I have been going through some other downloads to make more room on my hard drive. Usually I would sort through the pictures before I put them on the computer but sometimes in the interest of time and having a clean card to go shooting with everything gets downloaded. Those include pictures with exposure, focus and subject matter problems. Sometimes they are photos that I think I will have a use for later but never end up looking at them again.

So some spring cleaning of my drives is in order, summer cleaning actually. I have already thrown out a couple of CDs worth of photos and there are more to go. In between playing with the puppy, work paperwork and everything else going on around here I am rummaging through the old files.

In order to add a little color to this post here is a fern and palm combination and a shot of the Orchid House that was used to display many of the small types of Orchids.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Three Group Flower Shots

Three Group Flower Shots

This summer I have been working on my group and plant combination shots with varying amounts of success. I thought I would post a few. The first is Purple Coneflower with Black eyed Susans. Both perennials have been having a super stellar year and I have noticed the Black eyes pretty much combine with anything.

The second shot is from a garden that I visited a couple of weeks ago. The Phlox has also had a fabulous year without too many mildew problems. The Trumpet Vine in the back was well tended (cut back) and added nicely to the overall garden.

This third shot is some cultivar of Black eyed Susan and was shot with a relative shallow depth of field. Having the 24mm lens has helped being able to get a lot of flowers into one picture. I wondered why 24mm was so comfortable for me and figured out that is how wide the Coolpix 8400 lens is.

We are going on a non-botanical photography mission today. More about that later if any of the pictures come out.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lotus Pool at The New York Botanical Garden

Lotus Pool at The New York Botanical Garden
Skywatch Friday

Been awhile since I posted a Skywatch Friday but I have been enjoying other people’s creative ways to show the sky. This is one of the outdoor water gardens that are inside the courtyard of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory in the Bronx. It is considered the largest Victorian glasshouse in the United States (it is huge). It is easy to get some nice Lotus and Water Lily photos, even with a short lens since many of the plants are growing close to the edge of the pools.

Here is a closer shot of the Lotus flowers in the foreground. I used my 17-70mm Sigma lens with a circular polarizer.

I am working up in Hyde Park today and have to leave early since it is a long drive. The garden and the surrounding farm are worth the trip. Have a nice Friday.

For other Skywatchers check:
The Sky Watch Team

Jerusalem Artichoke

Jerusalem Artichoke
Helianthus tuberosus

This plant can be a potential weed in the garden. I happened onto a huge stand in full bloom at the NYBG last weekend. The insects were loving the flowers and I was able to get pretty close. Jerusalem Artichoke has no ties to the city of Jerusalem and is not an artichoke (good name for the plant, huh?). It is a species of Sunflower native to the Eastern United States that Native Americans cultivated for food. I have never eaten it except for some pasta made from the tuber but it is widely cultivated and sold.

This Honeybee was busy and didn’t mind me sneaking in for a close shot with the 60mm.

People have been clamoring :lol: for pictures of Juno the new puppy. She has been a wonderful addition to the family and has fit right in. Here are a few snaps of her.

This is a goofy shot of her when she decided she wanted to play with my camera strap.

Ruby Tuesday has taken a maternal interest in Juno. She watches over her when they are not playing together. They have really hit it off. It is funny because Ruby is a 75 pounder and her head is as big as Juno's whole body.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Two Daylilies and a Red Rose

Two Daylilies and a Red Rose

This is going to serve as my Ruby Tuesday post for this week. This Daylily was blooming at the farm this weekend. It is quite late as most of the collection has finished. Daylilies are sold as early, mid and late blooming and I am always torn when doing a big Daylily planting to have all of them bloom at once or to select a mixture that blooms over a longer period of time. Rebloomers are nice but they don’t give you that huge blast of color the second time.

This second one is ‘Oriental Ruby’. This was shot with my 17-70mm Sigma lens that I dusted off and decided to try and use. It was weird having a zoom lens after using prime (fixed focal length) lenses for so long. The Sigma has macro and it was a little difficult to remember its sweet spot. The minimum focusing distance is always the biggest deal to me when shooting macro. All the lenses I own have a different MFD and in general they have their strong and weak points. The Sigma is a pretty good lens for the price.

This rose is a Hybrid Tea named ‘Peggy Rockefeller’. The Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden is named after her, too. This is beautiful red rose that grows straight and tall. It always seems to be blooming when I see it. With all the rose photography I did last year there hasn’t been a great impetus to get out there and shoot some more. I probably will since I can’t resist.

Exhibition name: Peggy Rockefeller
Registration name: WILace
Breeding: J. Benjamin Williams, US, 1992
Parentage: Queen Elizabeth x Swathmore
Fragrance: Spicy

For more Ruby Tuesday visit the teach @
Work of the Poet

Sunday, August 10, 2008

White Coneflower Close up

White Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea
(ek-in-AY-shee-a) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)
Synonym: Echinacea purpurea alba, Brauneria purpurea, Rudbeckia purpurea

I have wanted to take a real close up of a Coneflower for quite awhile. It hasn’t really worked out so I thought I post this one and move on. White Coneflower is very beautiful and there are now more cultivars to choose from. This year the Coneflower has been superb (both the Purple and White) and I have been doing literally hundreds of shots of them. Maybe we can have a day where I post a number of the ones that came out well. Coneflowers are nice to hang around if you like insect shots, a variety of bugs visit them.

It is going to be a busy day around here as there is a lot of work around the house to do and I have to drop some flowers off in New Rochelle for planting tomorrow. It is a new garden and we are going to be taking care of it.

Here is the whole (well, almost) White coneflower that I did the close up on.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Moon Vine

Moon Vine
Ipomoea alba
Synonyms: Moonflower, Giant White Moonflower, Calonyction

This is the third year in a row that the Moon Flowers have been done well in containers for us. I rarely get to see them because they are planted at work and it is a night blooming plant but I can tell they have been blooming by seeing all the spent flowers. Maybe I should grow one at home next year. Sometimes if it is a really dark and overcast sky there will be a few flowers open the morning. It is a classy looking vine during the day with big heart shaped leaves. The flowers sure are beautiful and wonderfully fragrant.

This was shot with my 60mm Nikon macro lens at 1/320 at F9. Not sure why it came out with the black background since it was in bright sun in the middle of the day. I am trying to figure it out so that I can try to do it with other flowers. The camera was set to minus 2/3 exposure compensation and was in the Aperture Priority Mode.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Two More Daylilies

Two More Daylilies
Hemerocallis 'Woodside Amethyst'

A couple more Daylilies. The color on this one was pretty incredible and only partially represented by this photograph. It is a Trophytaker Daylily, which I originally thought, was a marketing gimmick but I see that are selected on six criteria, all which should in theory make a better garden plant:

1. Beauty: A Trophytaker® must reflect the beauty of modern daylilies. Most older varieties have less attractive flowers, often lacking the vigor and substance of today's new hybrids.

2. Hardiness: Many Daylilies have been selected for flower form, rather than hardiness. Trophytaker® Daylilies must be hardy to at least USDA Zone 5. Many should even prove to be hardy into Zones 3 or 4.

3. Fast Clumping: Gardeners want a nice clump quickly. A Trophytaker® will triple its fans the first year.

4. Bloom Period: The average Daylily blooms for approximately 21 days. Trophytakers® must at least double the average, blooming a minimum of 42 days at the research site.

5. Superior Foliage: Many Daylilies surrender to the elements by mid-summer. A Trophytaker® must maintain attractive foliage until late in the season.

6. Pest Resistance: Trophytakers® must be as insect and disease resistant as possible.

Courtesy of:

'Woodside Amethyst' is a Diploid Daylily that gets to about 30 inches tall and blooms in the early to mid season.

In the weird but beautiful Daylily color category we have ‘Nile Plum’.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Shasta Daisy - Switzerland

Shasta Daisy
Leucanthemum x superbum 'Switzerland'
(lew-KANTH-ih-mum) (soo-PER-bum)
Synonyms: Chrysanthemum x superbum, Chrysanthemum maximum

This picture was taken when I went to the nursery to pick up a few perennials and annuals. 'Switzerland' was looking good and I bought three without knowing anything about it. Some research has shown that is considered one of the longest blooming Shasta Daisies. That is always a plus. The flowers are quite large and really a nice pure white. I am looking forward to growing it a season or two and giving it a full review.

Shasta Daisies are easy to grow and very rewarding. I have found deadheading the spent blooms can really increase the flowering time. They combine well with other perennials and make a good cut flower. They like full sun and well drained soil.

This next picture is a Shasta that we grow a lot called ‘Becky’. It is nice that the flowers are large and overall the plant is bigger than most of the other cultivars. It sometimes flops over, which is a drag but all in all is a nice plant to have in the garden. I have heard that 'Becky' flowers have an unpleasant scent but not sure about that. I am going to have to smell one at work.

It sure has been a summer full of D’s. Dahlias, Daylilies and Daisies.