Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dinner Plate Fig

Dinner Plate Fig
Ficus dammaropsis
Synonyms: Highland Breadfruit

The foliage on this New Guinea native is spectacular and this is just a small shot of one leaf. The leaves can get up to 3 feet long and 2 feet wide. This Fig is considered rare in Southern California. It was growing at Quail Botanical Garden in Encinitas, California.

The next picture is an Orchid from Balboa Park. I am not sure of the name but I thought the color was unusual. We have made it to Amarillo, Texas and are off to Little Rock today. We have been using some back roads like CA-79 to get over to Palm Springs the back way. It was quite a nice ride through Temecula and Palm Desert. We also rode on Route 66 in Gallup, New Mexico.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Two Wildflowers

Two Wildflowers

The first picture is some sort of Hypericum that was growing as a kind of a rangy large shrub. It was nice to see the yellow flowers against the blue green foliage. The second flower is from Torrey Pines State Reserve and was blooming on the side of a cliff. Not sure why the rest of the photo come out almost monochrome but it works well to show off the flower color, which was intense.

We are leaving San Diego today for the drive to Connecticut. That month sure went fast. I hope to make it home by Monday night. The forecast for CT is cold so we probably won’t be rushing. I think both of us are looking forward to going home, even though our time here has been wonderful.

I will try and update this site as we go as there are still a lot of flowers and plants that I photographed here that I want to talk about.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Florist's Cineraria

Florist's Cineraria
Pericallis cruenta
(per-ee-KAL-liss) (kroo-EN-tuh)
Synonyms: Senecio cruentus, Cineraria cruentis
Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunny Felix African Daisy

African Daisy
Osteospermum 'Sunny Felix'
Synonyms: Cape Daisy, Freeway Daisy

The Osteospermum are really starting to come out and making a colorful patchwork of color alongside the roads and in gardens. This is one of the few named ones that I have seen. It was introduced in 2005 by Proven Winners. The patent stated this about ‘Sunny Felix’:

A new distinct cultivar of Osteospermum plant named ‘Sunny Felix’, characterized by its white ray florets with a small, but distinct violet-blue spot, violet-blue to gray-purple disc florets, dark green foliage, long ray florets measuring about 37 mm in length, and more leaves and shorter petioles than the typical Osteospermum variety.
Patents online, #17419

There have been a couple of other posts about this flower on this site. I like them a lot but they need to make a more heat resistant plant.

I just wanted to say thanks to all the people that have been reading this blog and to those that have been leaving comments. You really keep me going and keep me striving to take good pictures. This site continues to be an adventure and learning experience for me.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Snowball Orchid

Snowball Orchid
Neobenthamia gracilis

On Friday I went to the San Diego Zoo to see the Orchid Greenhouse. The collection is only open to the public on the third Friday of every month. The collection is only species of Orchids and most were not in flower right now but there were some interesting that were blooming.

This delicate Orchid, with almost grassy foliage, is a native of southern Africa. There is only one species in the genus. It had a vague fragrance. Here is another Orchid from the zoo’s collection (didn’t get the name).

Baja Fairy Duster
Calliandra californica
(kal-ee-AN-druh) (kal-ih-FOR-nik-uh)
Synonyms: Red Fairy Duster, Flame Bush, Tabardillo

You can see from the species name that this is a California native. It is a cute little plant with a nice flower color. I couldn’t get a direct picture of the flower since the color kept blowing out. The foliage is interesting as it is twisted and very small but detailed. It doesn’t need much water which is a bonus in this climate.
More Info on Baja Fairy Duster from Living

This is a red Geranium that I saw at Quail Botanical Gardens. The plant wasn’t tagged so I am not sure about the name. The flower shape is what caught my eye.

For more flowers from around the world check out
Today’s Flowers Home Page

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Two Ranunculus

Ranunculus asiaticus
(ra-NUN-ku-lus) (a-see-AT-ee-kus)
Synonyms: Turban Buttercup, Persian Crowfoot, Persian Buttercup

Quick post as we are headed up to Rancho Cucamonga to visit Karen’s uncle and some cousins. It is about a 2-hour drive from Pacific Beach.

Ranunculus has been blooming nicely in this area. The purple one was a new color for me and the shaded one was also attractive. We can grow these in Connecticut but only as a spring flower, they don’t seem to like the heat. I was reading an article that said all Ranunculus are poisonous and they can cause severe blistering of the mouth and a lot of gastrointestinal problems. They can also cause contact dermatitis in people. When dried the poison deteriorates enough to be safely eaten by livestock.

For being that bad on the poison front they sure a beautiful flower and I wish we were going to be here to see Flower Fields in Carlsbad . Maybe next time.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mount Soledad Cross La Jolla, California

Mount Soledad Cross La Jolla, California
Skywatch Friday

The San Diego area has been presenting a lot of skywatch opportunities. This first shot is the Latin Cross in Mount Soledad Park. Here is a link to more information on it:
Mount Soledad

The picture was shot in Black and White (monochrome setting) with the D700 and the 50mm/1.8 Nikon lens.

The second picture is from Tourmaline Surfing Park, which is ‘our’ beach. It is about a 3-minute walk to the sand from the house. It has been fun and a little weird to be mixing with the surfer crowd. The beach is beautiful and we have been taking the dogs down every couple of days to enjoy the sunset.

The third picture is a Prickly Pear Cactus that was growing at Torrey Pines State Reserve in La Jolla. There will be another post on Torrey Pines. The trees are the rarest Pines in North America. I shot it with Skywatch in mind. It was rare to see that many clouds!

For other skies from around the world check out
Skywatch Friday

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yellow Wonga Wonga Vine

Yellow Wonga Wonga Vine
Pandorea pandorana
(pan-DOH-ree-uh) (pan-DOR-an-uh)

This is another of the flowers that I have been photographing without knowing what it was. The botanical diversity here continues to amaze me. I found this flower by googling ‘yellow vine with red markings’ and the San Marcos Grower link was it. There is a lot of information on this link to san marcos

Yesterday we drove up to Julian and they had some snow. It was quite dramatic driving back to San Diego and the 70 degree temperature.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

Blanket Flower

Blanket Flower
Gaillardia aristata 'Sunburst Tangerine'
(gay-LAR-dee-uh) (a-ris-TAH-tuh)
Synonyms: Indian Blanket, Brown Eyed Susan, ‘Granoran'

We are really having a storm in San Diego today. I don’t think this day will make the travel brochure. The wind is really strong and up to an inch of rain is expected. It’s okay since we have been doing things every day, a break maybe be good. On Friday we took a drive out to El Cajon and visited Summer’s Past Farms in Flinn Springs. The garden was quite nice especially for this time of year. They have a nice store and nursery.

This Blanket Flower was spotted in the nursery and its clear yellow color looked good. In the past Gaillardia hasn’t really been a perennial for me and has only lasted a couple of years at most. I will be interested to see if the ‘Oranges and Lemons’ we planted last year comes back. Even if it doesn't I still continue to use it as an annual. I have planted Blanket Flower in several types of soils and conditions. It seems to like the leaner, drier types of soil. It definitely benefits from deadheading.

This is a new cultivar and it stays compact. I was surprised at all the cultivars and species available to gardeners now. Our local nurseries haven’t been carrying as many choices.

They had a nice collection of Lavender at the farm.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Blue Bush

Blue Bush
Eucalyptus macrocarpa
(yoo-kuh-LIP-tus) (ma-kro-KAR-pa)
Synonyms: Mottlecah, Desert Mallee
Today’s Flowers

This plant was a highlight in a day full of botanical magic yesterday. I drove up to the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Of all the gardens I have visited this one was one of the most stunning. On hindsight visiting on Valentine’s Day wasn’t the best idea since the garden was crowded with couples. Lucky I arrived early and had a couple of hours before the crowds started. The garden was unbelievable in many ways and the Desert and the Palm gardens were my favorite.

Blue Bush Foliage

This Blue Bush was growing in the Australian garden, which had a large collection of plants from down under. The bright gray foliage and the red flowers caught my attention right away. From looking the plant up it is a long-lived perennial that grows to 12 feet tall and produces a decorative nut (I didn’t see any on the two specimens at the garden). It is hardy to USDA Zone 9 and has low water requirements once established. They can suffer from sooty mold and the plants at Huntington were suffering a bit from that.

The Camellia Festival was going on at the garden. Their collection was amazing and some were 30 to 40 feet tall and covered with blooms. The Magnolia, Cherry trees and Azaleas were also blooming. One of the most fascinating things to me was there were a lot of plants that grow back east and all of the tropical stuff, too.

Saucer Magnolia

Here is a picture of the Cactus Collection; did I say it was amazing? It was. The paths kept circling around with more and more varieties and types to be seen.

I will be posting more Huntington pictures during the week. The camera seemed to be working well. I mostly used the D700 with the 60mm lens.

For more flower pictures from around the world visit
Today’s Flowers . It opens at 6pm GMT.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Three Annuals

Sweet Alyssum
Lobularia maritima
(lob-yoo-LAR-ee-uh) (muh-RIT-tim-muh)

The annuals have been providing good fodder for the camera. This Alyssum was actually from a huge patch growing near the sidewalk. The Ranunculus was a beautiful red and they seem to be just starting to bloom. The cream-colored flower is some sort of Phlox, I think. The little garden that this Phlox was growing in had several colors of the flower but this champagne colored one was my favorite.

These pictures were all taken in our neighborhood in Pacific Beach. There are some lovely gardens and interesting plants within a few blocks of the house. I am not sure what people think of me taking pictures but someone was waving to me the other day as I took a picture of their Aloe forest.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Italian Pansies

Italian Pansies
Viola x wittrockiana

The Pansies have been blooming here like crazy and the colors and shades seem to be endless. These purple with yellow and ruffled edges looked really attractive. This was just one of the many varieties Sea World had planted in their extensive gardens. The annual plantings were astounding, as was the $65 admission price. We were able to get a two visit for the price of one ticket (per person) so to make it worthwhile we will be going back to photograph some more flowers and animals.

Small picture of the gardens at Sea World

We have been hanging out a lot in La Jolla and that seems to be my favorite neighborhood. It reminds me of Westport and Greenwich Connecticut combined although it is a little more densely settled. Yesterday we went to the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla and it was a nice little place. I will probably post some pictures of that tomorrow. Today we are cleaning the house as we have some guests arriving from Sacramento and then on Tuesday another one of my brothers and his girlfriend are going to be staying a week.

The weather hasn’t been postcard perfect but its not bad either. A big storm is expected for the weekend.

Red-bellied Piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

King of Tree Philodendron

King of Tree Philodendron
Philodendron eichleri
(fil-oh-DEN-dron) (IKE-ler-eye)
Wordless Wednesday

Monday, February 09, 2009

Gazaland Aloe

Gazaland Aloe
Aloe spicata
(AL-oh) (spi-KAH-tuh)
Synonyms: Lebombo Aloe, Aloe sessiliflora

The Aloes have been a colorful sight around here. The colors are bright and bold and the spikes of flowers are almost everywhere. These two were unusual the first having the striped buds and reddish edged foliage. The red one (second) was a nice dark red with the bottom of the spike having a little yellow, it was unnamed.

Aloes have been used medicinally for centuries. I have used it myself for burns and it also is used in many cosmetics and skin care products. While there are over 250 species of Aloe the one used most is Aloe barbadensis (Aloe vera). The species range in size from miniature to giant trees and often form massive colonies. The minis are really cute and this is the first time I have noticed them growing in large numbers.

Aloes generally grow in non-freezing climates (USDA Zone 10-11) but can be cultivated indoors as houseplants. They need sufficient sunlight and not too much water.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Orange Clockvine

Orange Clockvine
Thunbergia gregorii
(thun-BER-jee-uh) (gre-GOR-ee-eye)
Synonyms: Thunbergia gibsonii, Orange Trumpet Vine

Today’s Flowers is a group of bloggers from all over the world that post flower pictures on Sunday. You can always find some beautiful and interesting flowers by visiting the participants.

This is the fourth species of Thunbergia that has been posted on this site. Here are some links to the other Clock Vines on this blog.
Thunbergia alata/Black-eyed Susan Vine
Thunbergia grandiflora/Bengal Clock Vine
Thunbergia mysorensis/Clock Vine

This one was unusual to me since the flower was a solid yellow. All of the different vines are attractive to me but they are grown as annuals in Connecticut’s climate. I don’t have to deal with rampant or unwanted growth.

Thunbergia gregorii is a native of central Africa and is hardy to about 25 degrees F. It likes full sun and has low water needs. The dried hairy stems and pods can be a skin irritant.

This is a shot of some Palm trees that I took in Pacific Beach. I love the geometric shapes of the Palms. That is something we don’t have back home.

To visit Today’s Flowers click here. It opens at 6 pm GMT.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


Antirrhinum majus
(an-TEE-ry-num) (MAY-jus)

Recently there were some Dwarf Snapdragons posted here and these are the taller types. They seem to grow really well here and don’t flop over like at home. I definitely am going to be trying some snaps this year. Some of colors, like in the second photo, are quite amazing.

These pictures were shot in just one of the hundreds of little annual plantings that are all over the place here. Most of what we would consider early spring annuals are included. Flowers like Alyssum, Primroses and Pansies and quite a few types of Poppies.

There has been quite a bit of rain the last couple of days and there is a little more on the way. The rain is not that steady there are intervals of sunshine between the showers. The rain has already been working it’s magic on the non-irrigated plantings, with newer and darker shades of green coming out.

Both of these pictures were shot with the D700 and the 105mm macro lens.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Point Loma - Cabrillo National Monument

Point Loma - Cabrillo National Monument
Skywatch Friday

One of my favorite vistas in the San Diego area is Point Loma. Set high above the city with a lighthouse, whale watching area and endless sea views the overlook is dramatic and beautiful. We spent a few hours watching the military ships and aircraft moving in and out of the harbor (finally saw that nuclear sub!).

Today it is rainy and that is supposed to stick around for a couple of days. I have a feeling that is going to bring even more flowers to this area. We had such a great stretch of weather that a little rain is going to dampen my spirits. The plants in the small garden at the house already look refreshed.

For other skies around the world visit Skywatch Friday Home Page.
Skywatch Friday

For more on
Point Loma

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Caribbean Flamingo

Caribbean Flamingo
Phoenicopterus ruber

What trip to San Diego would be complete without a trip to the San Diego Zoo? The world famous facility did not disappoint yesterday presenting both botanical and animal delights.

Since I got the Nikon AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5 - 5.6G for Christmas and haven’t had a chance to use it that was the only lens I took with me. The only way to get the feeling for a new lens is to use it and it usually takes multiple outing for me to decide if I like it. It did pretty well for the price. It is a whole different ballgame to use a zoom lens and it took awhile to remember how to use the zoom and the VR. VR stands for Vibration Reduction and
this link explains it better than I could.

I am not sure if the 70-300 is going to be good for plant portraits. It was weird standing several feet from the flower instead of getting up close and personal with it. You have to watch out as I am nursing a few kind of nasty puncture wounds from getting to close to the Agaves while photographing another plant. They are two just below the knees that are painful.

My brother and a cousin have been visiting for a couple of days before moving on to Maui to visit my sister. I am jealous that they are going to Hawaii. The weather has been stunning in San Diego but we are looking at a little rain moving in the next couple of days. It won’t dampen my spirits, though, as it is still really nice compared to home.

Here is a flower picture with the 70-300mm. I ended up with a few nice photos of plants. This Aloe was striking with the different colors on the stalk. It seems to be the Aloe flowering season and I never knew that they came in so many colors.