Monday, March 30, 2009



This is the second time this year I get to enjoy these elegant and stately flowers. There already have been two posts on them here this year from San Diego. These Ranunculus were for sale at the Union Square Farmer’s Market on Saturday. I think they work as cut flowers however these were being sold in pots. Here is a link to Wikipedia’s entry on Ranunculus .

The first shot is from the D700 with the 105mm VR Nikon lens and the second is the D70 and the 60mm macro lens.

The weather was weird here yesterday. Instead of raining in the morning and then clearing up as forecasted it stayed gray all day with a little bit of rain. Just as I was saying that it didn’t rain much at all the skies opened up with a tremendous thunderstorm. I am talking bright lighting, really loud thunder, wind, driving rain and even some dime sized hail. It reminded me of this quote by one of my favorite American authors Mark Twain:

In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tulips for Today's Flower


The Farmer’s Market in Manhattan’s Union Square had literally hundreds of thousands of potted and cut flowers. There were Pansies, Ranunculus, Primrose, Daffodils, Roses, and these Tulips. The tulip selection of colors and types was truly amazing. Another item at the market were cut branches for forcing. Surprisingly there wasn’t a lot of Forsythia branches. There was a good selection of Fruit Tree branches (mostly Peach) and Pussy Willows. Business was very brisk for the flower vendors and the nice spring day brought people out in droves.

For more information on Tulips try this link:
Flower Expert/Tulips

A few things that were interesting to me on that page:

“Tulips are one of the most popular spring flowers of all time, and the third most popular flowers world-wide next only to the Rose and Chrysanthemum."

“There are now over 3,000 different registered varieties of cultivated Tulips.”

“Tulips symbolize imagination, dreaminess, perfect lover, and a declaration of love.”

“Fresh out of onions? Use your Tulip bulbs instead! Tulip bulbs are a good replacement for onions in cooking.”

I was in Manhattan to pick up my D70 camera. It had been messing up for quite awhile. It needed a new shutter and some other things. Total price was $250, ouch. I do love this camera and it has taken some nice pictures over the several years that I have owned it. This is the place that repaired it:

They have three locations in NYC to drop off cameras. In the past they have always delivered good repair work and the D70 repair seems to be good. I used the D70 and the 60mm lens on the Tulip and statue picture. It is nice the D70 weighs about half of the D700. Much easier to keep steady.

The statue of George Washington is impressive to me and according to Wikipedia it is:

“modeled by Henry Kirke Brown and unveiled in 1856, the first public sculpture erected in New York since the equestrian statue of George III in 1770 and the first American equestrian sculpture cast in bronze.”
Wikipedia/Union Square

There is a picture of the statue from around 1870 on that page. Nice to see a 139 year older view.

Since it is Today’s Flower Day here is an interesting vine that was growing in the Alpine House at Wave Hill. It is called Bolivian Nasturtium even though it is from Chile.

Tropaeolum tricolor
Synonym: Tropaeolum tricolorum, Three Colored Indian Cress

That color red gets me every time and the little yellow added a lot. It was growing in a pot and had a small trellis.
Rare / Tropaeolum

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

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bush Lily

Bush Lily
Clivia miniata

This Clivia was blooming at Wave Hill. There is one of these at the Conservatory at work also. Only the yellow one at work doesn’t look like it is going to bloom this year. Last year was the first year it had ever bloomed and I had hoped that would be the start of having it bloom every year. The orange Clivia at work has some buds on it. I remember I divided it one time and it took about ten years for it to start to flower again. For the yellow one I am going to try and keep it cool and dry for the autumn and see what happens.

Clivias are native to South Africa and are members of the Amaryllis (Amaryllidaceae) family. They like shade and can withstand high temperatures but not blazing sun. It is a plant than can survive quite a bit of neglect. We take ours outside for the summer but have to put them inside during the winter. They can survive temperatures as low as 36 degrees F.

Plan your year in the spring, your day at dawn.
Chinese Proverb

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tiger Crow Orchid

Odontocidium Tiger Crow ‘Golden Girl’
Synonyms: Odcdm. Tiger Hamb├╝hren x Odcdm. Crowborough

These are from the Orchid Show. They were blooming with these huge sprays and add to that were a lot of sprays and you can imagine how beautiful it was. Since I have never grown Odontocidium Orchids here is a link to Orchid’s page on this Orchid:


That is a great website to figure anything out about Orchids.

The top picture was shot using the 105mm VR Nikkor lens. The bottom picture used the 60mm Micro-nikkor.

I am still cautiously optimistic about this season as I have 3 appointments on Saturday. I came across this quote from Bo Bennett:

As sure as the spring will follow the winter, prosperity and economic growth will follow recession.

Yesterday we pruned a 125-foot long Privet hedge in White Plains. It had to come down 2-3 feet so we were cutting into some fairly big branches. The garden is mostly all perennials and it really looked bleak. I couldn’t resist poking into the soil to see if the perennials were coming up.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pale Crocus and Andromeda

Pale Crocus and Andromeda

To contrast to the Purple Crocuses that were posted the other day these pale beauties are here today. It finally warmed up enough (not very warm, mind you) that the Crocus opened up. These were growing in a very off area of the garden and must have seeded. However they got there it was quite a treat to see them. There isn’t much blooming but at this garden they did have some Andromeda (Pieris) just starting to bloom. I helped myself to the fragrance, which is quite beautiful.

There was also a Jelena Witch Hazel blooming and those shots didn’t really come out as well as they could have so I am going to tackle that again on Friday. Witch Hazel flowers are quite alluring to look at but difficult to photograph. The Witch Hazels are actually finishing blooming now. They start flowering in February.

The Helleborus were starting to bloom a bit. I am probably the only gardener in the world that isn’t crazy about them. They are nice to have in the garden, especially the darker strains, but really only work for me in mass plantings. They are brave to get up and bloom this time of year. It was a little warmer today but still not really like spring. We really need some rain and some warm temperatures to get things rolling.

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.

Margaret Atwood
Canadian, b.1939

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Colorful Tropical

Colorful Tropical

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.

Henry Van Dyke, 1852-1933

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Purple Crocuses

Purple Crocuses

These flowers were blooming in the Bronx yesterday. Bet they are closed up with the cold temperatures we are having this morning. These were a very nice purple and had a large flower.

There are about 25 to 30 of Crocus that are cultivated although the Spring Crocus (Crocus vernus) and the Dutch Crocus (Crocus flavus) are the ones you see the most. They are many cultivars and hybrids. Crocus are members of the Iris family, Iridaceae.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Today's Flowers

Garden Mum
Chrysanthemum 'Mammoth Twilight Pink'
Chrysanthemum hybridaMN98-E90-15

Is it too early to start thinking about the fall garden? These mums are actually recommended for spring planting so they have time to establish themselves. Truly a perennial and hardy down to minus 30 degrees F, they are a bit revolutionary. They can be grown as a single plant or in large fall blooming hedges.

Developed at the University of Minnesota (so you know it is going to hardy just about everywhere :lol: ) Mammoth Mums don’t require any special care. They can grow up to 3 feet wide and 6 feet tall with each plant being capable of producing up to 5,000 flowers!

Since it is Today’s Flowers day here is a bonus flower.

Autumn Catchfly
Silene schafta 'Persian Carpet'
(sy-LEE-nee) (SHAF-tuh)
Synonyms: Moss Campion

Here is another fall blooming plant (you can see where I am in archiving). This little flower puts on a show long after most Alpine plants have finished blooming. ‘Persian Carpet’ is a little more compact growing (6 inches tall) and has a brighter color than the species. It needs very well drained sandy soil and is hardy to Zone 3.

For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers . It starts at 18:00 GMT on Sunday.

I am excited to be going out to find something blooming today. I will have to head south to find something to photograph.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Super Purple and Bold Tiger Daylilies

Two Daylilies
HemerocallisBold Tiger
Hemerocallis 'Super Purple'

These pictures are from last year. From looking at pictures of these Daylilies there seems to be some variation to the color of the flowers. ‘Bold Tiger’ grows to 2.5 to 3 feet and is hardy to USDA Zone 3. It was introduced in 1990. The large fragrant flowers are borne on sturdy trusses and have an extended bloom time. It is a tetraploid type, which means they have twice as many chromosomes as regular Daylilies. Tetraploids also tend to have bigger, more intensely colored flowers.

‘Super Purple’ actually looked maroonish to me. It was introduced in 1979 and won the 1986 James E. Marsh Award, which was given to the most outstanding lavender or purple daylily flower for a ten year period from 1981 to 1990.

Yesterday’s snow was a little depressing. Just Mother Nature showing off her cranky side, I guess. There were only a few Crocuses and the Witch Hazel blooming.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pink Tecoma Flowers

Pink Tecoma
Tabebuia heterophylla
(ta-bee-BEW-ee-uh) (het-er-oh-FIL-uh)
Synonyms: Pink Trumpet Tree, Pink Poui-Rosea
Skywatch Friday

This was taken in the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.
The garden has it’s own website here.

I wanted to frame the picture in a Japanese style and in the back of my mind was Skywatch Friday. Doing ‘sky’ pictures on Friday has helped me explore some new angles for taking pictures.

This tree is beautiful in the landscape. When we were looking at it Karen and I both guessed some sort of Catalpa tree. It was, however, a bit more refined than the average Catalpa. The buds reminded me a bit of Foxglove. Well we got the family right, Bignoniaceae. It was only later when I saw a marked specimen that the name was revealed. The tree grows 20-30 feet tall and the ones in the Japanese Garden had been pruned to about 15 feet (very well, I might add).

Happy Spring!

Happy Skywatching.
To see hundreds of other sky photos from around the world check
Skywatch Friday Main Page

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Garden Phlox

Garden Phlox
Phlox paniculata 'Eva Cullum'
(floks) (pan-ick-yoo-LAY-tuh)

This was quite a special Garden Phlox last summer. The color and shading of the flowers are intense. The fragrance is very nice, too. The sturdy plant grows to 3-4 feet tall and it is prone to getting powdery mildew. Last year my plants bloomed nicely and then got some mildew. It was after we cut them back to encourage a little more blooming. Eventually I cut the plant back to ground.

Having been spoiled growing some of the mildew resistant Phlox it was a little bit of a let down. This year ‘Eva Cullum’ will probably get one spray of fungicide to try and help it through the rest of season. Phlox is a little extra work but it is a great addition to the garden.

We are back to work full time now and it has been tiring. The winter seemed kind of harsh to the gardens and there is much clean up work to do.

This is kind of a fun picture that was taken inside the Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden. Make sure you click it to see the detail. I really felt like I was in the rain forest.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Phalaenopsis ‘Taida Smile’
Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Here is a ‘real’ beer from the motherland.

For more pictures of Ireland click here

Monday, March 16, 2009

Field Daisy

Field Daisy
Leucanthemum vulgare
(lew-KANTH-ih-mum) (vul-GAIR-ee)
Synonyms: Marguerite, Moon Daisy

Just a Daisy that was spotted along the beach in La Jolla for today. Since today is our return to full time work maybe the simplicity of this flower will rub off on the season. Ox-eye Daisy is considered a weed in may places but to me it is always cheerful and wonderful. It does seed a lot like at the Estate but it can be controlled fairly easy do to its shallow root system.

Spring starts on Friday and about that I am glad. The forecast is for moderately mild temperatures this week.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Today’s Flower: Nun's Cap Orchid

Nun's Cap Orchid
Phaius tankervilliae Dan Rosenberg ‘Tropical Ice’
(FAY-ee-us) (tan-kar-VIL-ee-ay)
Synonyms: Chinese Ground Orchid, Veiled Nun Orchid
Today’s Flower

This is an easy to grow and very showy species of Orchids. There can be up to 20 flowers per stalk and they get to about 4 feet tall. The flowers are beautifully detailed, long lasting and fragrant. Even the foliage of this Orchid is nice looking. I will repeat my two general rules on Phaius culture, give them a little shade and don’t over water!

These were from the 2009 NYBG Orchid Show, which had a mini-review here last week. This second flower is a Pansy Orchid (Miltoniopsis, mil-toh-nee-OP-sis). They can be quite dramatic and come in a range of colors. I find the culture of these Orchids to be a little tricky.

The other day when I was in Manhattan this guy wanted his friend to step out into Broadway and take his picture with Times Square in the background. The first picture he is trying to convince his friend that is safe. The second picture was the pose and the third is where he almost got run over. Everybody else saw the traffic coming except him.

To see other flowers from around the world:
Today’s Flowers . It starts at 18:00 GMT on Sunday.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Blue Passion Flower

Blue Passion Flower
(pass-iff-FLOR-uh) (see-ROO-lee-uh)
Passiflora caerulea
Synonyms: Hardy Passionflower, Maypops

This is one of the more exotic flowers you can grow in Connecticut. Several references said that it can live outdoors to Zone 6 but it has never lasted outside for me. We grow it in containers and it does fine but they need to be brought in at the end of the season. They seem to last only a couple of years in containers before they lose vigor. The containers grown vines have never produced fruit for me.

Many people recommend part shade for Passion Flowers but that doesn’t really work here in Connecticut. The plant needs full sun and moderate amounts of water. In the wild they can grow up to 32 feet but 10-12 feet seems to be tops in the pot.

Passionflowers are mostly native to the southeastern part of the Western Hemisphere. There are over 500 species and it seems every year that I find a couple of new ones growing here and there (usually at Botanical Gardens). There are a lot a lot of cultivars available for the home gardener now. Personally I have grown a couple of the red types and some of the blue flowered types and the cultivars are special but the species has its own beauty. The plant parts (stem, flowers, leaves) are used medicinally. They provide a calming effect on the users and is often mixed with Valerian to provide a stronger effect.

Friday, March 13, 2009

San Diego Sunset

San Diego Sunset
Sky watch Friday

This was probably the best sunset we saw during our time in San Diego. We both felt as if we had walked into a volcano without all that pesky ash and heat. Everything was bathed in beautiful colors and the sunset went on for a long time. The last picture was actually when we were walking up the hill to go home. These were shot with the D700 and 105mm Nikon lens. The lens doesn’t seem to flare that much and the D700 handles the exposure quite well.

Here is a shot of Ruby and Juno on the beach. The dogs were allowed on the beach before 9 am and after 4pm. I was surprised that they liked it so much. I guess with all the other dogs, people and flotsam and jetsam that made it interesting for them.

This last picture is a Lily that was at the little flower stand in Pacific Beach. It was nice to have a place to get fresh flowers. I am not sure of the name of the place but it was right next to the La Jolla Car Wash on Turquoise Street. This flower kind of reminded of the sun so that why I included it in this post.

Happy Skywatching.
To see hundreds of other sky photos from around the world check
Skywatch Friday Main Page

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Apple Blossom

Apple Blossom

This Apple blossom was spotted in El Cajon, California. I didn’t know that you can produce Apples in Southern California but apparently it is possible especially in the mountains. The area near Julian, California had quite a few Apple trees and has an Apple Festival at harvest time.

Here are some facts about Apple Production:

Apples are the fourth most widely produced fruit in the world after bananas, oranges and grapes.

Apple production in recent years surpassed 60 million metric tons, enough to provide each person in the world with about 20 lbs of apples.

Washington State is the largest apple producing state, consistently accounting for about 55 percent of the U.S. total.

The next four producing states are New York, Michigan, California and Pennsylvania. Production in these states has declined in the last decade.

Belrose Apple Industry Facts

This would have been a better picture with a little more Depth of Field.

I have been listening to a lot of new Cd’s. When I was in Manhattan on Saturday dropping off the D70s for service I had to hit some of the stores in the Village to see what they had. I picked up a few bootlegs including Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood Live in 2007 and a few used discs. These are a few of the new (and old) discs I have gotten recently.

Jorma Kaukonen – River of Time

KT Tunstall – Drastic Fantastic

Chicago - Chicago II

Van Morrison – Astral Weeks Live

One of my customers gave me a CD of their granddaughter’s music. So with a hint of skepticism I cued up the disc. It actually was very good. Kind of a folkie/indie type of music. We are going to try and see a gig if we can (lucky she is local). Check it out on Ellen Kempner @ MySpace Music

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Subway Busker

Subway Busker
Union Square Station
Manhattan, NY

105mm/2.8 VR
This fellow reminded me a bit of Jimi Hendrix. He was even playing Little Wing.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The 2009 New York Orchid Show Brazilian Modern

The 2009 New York Orchid Show
Brazilian Modern
February 28-April 12, 2009
New York Botanical Garden
Bronx, NY

The 2009 show is like the preceding years tremendous. We attended on Sunday, which I know is a day to get to the garden early. It started to get a little crowded by the time we were leaving. The flowers were out in force and there were several I hadn’t seen before. The show was staged nicely but the 2008 show was more my style.

The structures that the flowers were displayed on were amazing. Made from large bamboo poles they allowed the flowers to tower over the attendees. This wall of white Orchids was astounding and was an element that was worth seeing by itself. It was about ten feet long. There were some multi-specie walls at the end of the exhibit and they looked great but lacked the impact of the single type display.

Orchids are one of the easiest flowers to shoot in black and white. Not sure why that it is. This unnamed Vanda Orchid was shot using the monochrome setting on the D700.

The show is definitely worth attending even if it is for the wonderful fresh smell of having all those flowers blooming. The admission price is $20 and parking is $12 per car. It was free for us since we have a membership. The tickets were easily printed at home. I got some other photographs of the Orchids so they will be posted in the next couple of days.