Sunday, May 31, 2009

Today's Flower Bumble Bee African Daisy

African Daisy
Arctotis hybrid 'Bumble Bee'
Today’s Flower

These are two flowers from the ‘The Ravers’ series of Arctotis hybrids by the Proven Winners growers. To me they seem to grow and flower best in the cool seasons of the year. They can conk out a little in the summer but usually come back in the fall. ‘Bumble Bee’ is an exceptionally yellow flower and when I have looked at this spring I couldn’t help but think sunshine. Here in Connecticut we have had an very cool spring and the Arctotis have seemed to love it.

According to the Proven Winners page here, ‘Bumble Bee’ and the rest of the The Ravers series grow to about 10 inches tall and can be planted in full sun or partial shade (didn’t know about the shade thing). They like good drainage and average to rich garden soil. They do benefit from deadheading the spent flowers.

Arctotis hybridSunspot

The flowers close at night and open again during the day (nyctinasty, is the technical term, I think). Arctotis is a member of the Daisy family or Asteraceae. After visiting this page I learned the family consists of over 20,000 plant species (50 to 60 of which are Arctotis) and “Horticulturally the family is very important and includes many ornamental plants such as marigold, dahlia, zinnia, daisy, chrysanthemum, tansy, and aster.”

These pictures were shot with my Nikon D700 and 60mm Micro-Nikkor macro lens. I am getting very used to the combination of camera and lens. For now the 105mm VR macro will stay on the D70s as a back up.

For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers .

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Japanese Primrose

Japanese Primrose
Primula japonica 'Miller's Crimson'
(PRIM-yew-luh) (juh-PON-ih-kuh)

This is a few of the thousands of Primroses blooming at work right now. They have had an exceptional year. It all started from a dozen plants of ‘Miller’s Crimson’. They have been seeding themselves and with a little help from me colonizing new areas. It was all part of a plan to use Primrose, Forget-me-not and Black-eyed Susans as groundcover to cut down the amount of mulch we have to spread. The results have surpassed my wildest dreams.

This plant is usually a biennial so the originals are long gone but sometimes the plants seem to last a couple of years. They get to about 16 to 24 inches tall and have a nicely textured leaf. Primroses like their moisture and do better in moist areas.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Flame Pillar Geranium

Flame Pillar Geranium
Pelargonium x hortorum 'Pillar Flame'
(pe-lar-GO-nee-um) (hor-TOR-um)

These geraniums were growing at Valley View Greenhouses. I hadn’t seen the pillar type before and just had to have two of them. They were growing a couple of different varieties and all the colors were nice but ‘Flame’ really caught my eye. It was quite a good deal (I am not going to post the price) and so far they have been doing great.

For maintenance we have been picking off the dead flowers and occasionally tucking branches up into the framework of the trellis it came with. It isn’t really a trellis it is more like a modified and much smaller tomato cage. It was amazing to me that at least three or four people came up to me and asked where I had got the geraniums and were there any left while I was loading up the Jeep.

Here is a quick link to the care of Pillar Geraniums:

We just finished a fairly big planting job in Pound Ridge. It was adding a lot of flowers, shrubs and trees to an existing garden. There was a lot of transplanting to be done. It was nice to move some of the semi-functioning and non-functioning plants out to the edges and add the things that have been doing well over the years. Of course I slipped in a few new things, too. Today we are planting a lot of annuals down in New Rochelle.

I learned something making this post. It is probably common knowledge but when a geranium is said to have ‘zoned’ foliage that means their “leaves are marked by distinct bands - or zones - of darker pigments” according to Alice B. Russell on this NCSU informative page about all types of geraniums.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oriental Poppy Center

Oriental Poppy
Papaver orientale

One thing that is great about this particular poppy is that it has been truly perennial. It is several years old now and continues to come up and bloom. It fades away during the summer but it is always a nice splash of color at this time of year.

We just planted a lot of Iceland Poppy (Papaver nudicale 'Garden Gnome') and I am not sure those are going to be perennial. I did tell the owner of the garden to enjoy them now as it is hit or miss about returning.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Hybrid Dahlia
Dahlia 'Grande Toluca'

For planting in front of the Dahlia garden this year we are going to try some Dahlina Dahlias. They are from the Proven Winners people.
Proven Winners

We have never grown this plant before so I will have to report back later as to its performance. From a potted standpoint they seem quite beautiful and almost like a smaller version on your typical Decorative Dahlia with the same vivid colors. I was lucky to get six varieties.

The Dahlinas come in three different series and as far as I can tell the series are mini, midi and grande. All the plants I got were in the Grande® Series. These two hybrids reach a final height of 18 to 24 inches. They should prove to be interesting and will probably be a lot more cooperative than the Cosmos we usually use in front of the Dinnerplate and Decorative Dahlias.

Hybrid Dahlia
Dahlia 'Grande Papagaya'

If you are visiting for this weeks Wordless Wednesday see the previous post.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Floss Flower 'Hawaii Blue'

Floss Flower
Ageratum houstonianum 'Hawaii Blue'
(ad-jur-RAY-tum) (hoos-toh-nee-AH-num)

This flower is making its debut on Digital Flower We use Ageratum as an edging plant but have always wanted to make a mass planting of it. Last year our Ageratum got pretty huge, each plant was about 24 inches tall and 30 inches wide. That was the ‘Artist’ series type and it was a bit unruly but made a big splash of blue. The ‘Hawaii’ series comes in blue, purple (‘Royal’) and white. It has been a long time since I have seen the white for sale. It is a dwarf, compact F1 hybrid. That likes to grow in full sun but can put up with a little shade. It can also grow in containers.

Happy Memorial Day to the Americans that come here. I am off to the nursery for some more flowers. We are going to try and get all the annuals planted this week.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Three Generation Bearded Iris

Bearded Iris
Iris germanica
(EYE-ris) (jer-MAN-ih-kuh)

While waiting for someone to come out of the house I saw this patch of Iris. It was quite beautiful and I knew it was old. The way it was growing right next to the side door looked old, too. The owner told me that it had been her grandmother’s and then her mother’s Iris. Guessing this person was in her early 70’s that would make this Iris variety old indeed. You could tell it wasn’t a modern showy hybrid but it did have dignity and class. The muted color (compared to today’s Iris) was just right.

Some of the Irises were blooming at work. Two of my favorites are this peach ones and the red ones. It was really windy when these were taken and I had to wait for the wind to die down before snapping.

For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers . It starts at 14:00 GMT on Sunday.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Skywatch - Golden Dawn Redwood

Golden Dawn Redwood
Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Goldrush'
(met-uh-see-KWOY-uh) (glip-toh-stroh-BOY-deez)
Synonym: M. gly. ‘Ogon’
Skywatch Friday

A while back I posted that I had bought this tree and didn’t know if the marketing hype had got me or it was good decision. It has worked out nicely as the tree has already grown a couple of feet and is starting to shed it’s ‘nursery' shape with a nice branching structure. Its color is stunning and even in the fall the needles turn a nice rusty brown before falling off. It is a Deciduous Conifer. There aren’t too many of those around and I can only think of Larches (Larix), Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia), Bald Cypress (Taxodium) and Golden Larch (Pseudolarix). I am sure that is not a complete list.

If you click the Dawn Redwood label you can see the original picture I took of the foliage. It seems to be a very photogenic tree. I took this and the next picture with Skywatch Friday in mind. Yellow and blue is a nice combination in the garden.

I am not sure if anyone really knows how tall this tree gets. I did read 2/3’s of the size of a regular Dawn Redwood, which is still really big. Luckily I envisioned it getting real big and gave it enough space. It is growing on very wet soil and seemingly loves it.

Golden-leaved Boxelder
Acer negundo 'Kelly's Gold'
(AY-ser) (neg-UN-doh)
Synonym: Ash-leaved Maple, Cutleaf Maple, Stinking Ash

This is another golden tree growing at work. It has turned out okay and does add a chartreuse element to the partly shady area it is located in. I have seen it growing out in the open and it really does turn gold. It is nice since the inside leaves are a bright green so the contrast between the two is beautiful. Box Elder isn’t my favorite tree but some of the specialty ones are nice. There are two different variegated ones at work and both are handsome and almost dainty trees. One is 'Aureomarginatum' and the other is 'Variegatum'.

Kelly’s Gold’ gets up to 35 to 40 feet tall but mine is going to be shorter then that. Boxelder is native to a wide geographical area (it is the most widely distributed of the North American maples) and is considered an invasive species in some areas. It can grow on almost any soil type. It is extremely cold hardy.

Visit Sky Watch Friday for more skies around the world.
SkyWatch Friday Home Page

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lilac Daphne

Lilac Daphne
Daphne genkwaBethpage

When Daphne is on it is on in a big way. It can be a fussy plant to grow but if you give it the right conditions it can do nicely. They do seem to be prone to unexpected dying. By now I have gotten used to that and always seem to end up buying a few more just to have some around. It is an elegant and classy plant that has one of my favorite fragrances in the garden.

It is funny that a plant that smells so good could be poisonous but that is the case with Daphne. There must be some medicinal purpose as Daphne genkwa appears as yuán hua on the List of 50 Fundamental Herbs of Chinese Herbology.
Wikipedia Link

This specimen was growing out on Long Island and is named after the hamlet of Bethpage, New York. It was a beautiful little plant.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Golden Full Moon Maple Foliage

Golden Full Moon Maple Foliage
Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum'
(AY-ser) (shir-ah-sa-WAN-um)

Sweet Buckeye Foliage
Aesculus octandra
(ES-kew-lus) (ock-TAN-druh)
Synonym: Yellow Buckeye

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hybrid Tea Rose

Hybrid Tea Rose
Rosa 'Abbaye de Cluny'

This rose was blooming at the nursery. It is a large wholesale/retail grower of annuals but they have a few roses. The weather yesterday was as it has been, crummy. This flower caught my eye and was literally glowing even in the low light of a drizzly morning.

These pictures are different then 99% of the photos on digital flower because I used the flash. Normally if there is anything that can be done not to use the flash I will try it that way first.

There were a lot of nice flowers for sale and we got the 18 dozen salmon pink Impatiens, petunias and verbena and a bunch of other stuff. The Impatiens are for a big necklace around a Rhododendron hedge. The nursery was growing like 12 varieties (maybe more) of the Fiesta series of Double Impatiens; we got ‘Ole Salmon’. There are still a lot of plants to be procured and there are a couple more nurseries I want to go to.

About 'Abbaye de Cluny' hybrid tea rose. The colors are fantastic and the flowers are pretty huge. Meilland roses bred it in 1993.

Registration name: MEIbrinpay
Parentage: Seed: ‘Just Joey’. Pollen: ‘Louis de Funès’ × ‘MEInarual
Height: 32" to 39"
Petal Count: 25 to 40
Scent: Mild

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Interesting Orchid

Interesting Orchid
Encyclia baculus
Today’s Flower

Not sure if this is a rare flower but it was one I certainly had not seen before. This first picture was taken when I walked through the Orchid part of the greenhouse at Planting Fields the first time. It is from the D70s with the 105mm VR lens. The greenhouse is nice since you have to walk through the Orchids to get to the Cactus/Succulent/Arid room. Since there is no exit in the dry area you have to walk back through the Orchid collection to get into the main part of the greenhouse. I used that opportunity to take the second picture with the D700 with the 60mm lens. They came out pretty much the same.

It is rarely that a plant stumps Google but this is one that only had a few vague references. Google search only yielded six results. None of which was particularly great. From this book, it is actually called The Orchid Book, Edited by J. Cullen, I learned the genus Encyclia has about 150 species and is native to Central and South America. They were formerly in the genus Epidendrum and have the same cultural requirements as that genus of Orchids. So even though there wasn’t much info on this flower it was great and interesting to see. It definitely reminded me of a Cobra.

This is a picture of an Exbury Azalea about to bloom.

For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers . It starts at 14:00 GMT on Sunday.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ruby Rhododendron

Ruby F. Bowman

This Rhododendron had an interesting color. It wasn’t red and it wasn’t pink and not lavender either. It was one of the few Rhodos that was blooming at Planting Fields last weekend. So far the Rhododendron season has been less than impressive. They seem a little late and the ones that are blooming don’t have that vibrancy or vigor they usually do.

‘Ruby F. Bowman’ is a hardy (down to 0 degrees F) early to mid season bloomer. It is a vigorous grower.

Since somebody asked to see some coral Azaleas here you go. This one wasn’t named. Contrary to what I said about the Rhododendrons the Azaleas have been having a stellar season. I have seen a lot of truly beautiful ones this year.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Snow Crystals Sweet Alyssum

Sweet Alyssum
Lobularia maritima 'Snow Crystals'
(lob-yoo-LAR-ee-uh) (muh-RIT-tim-muh)
Synonyms: Sweet Alison, Seaside Lobularia

This Alyssum took off in the garden. A carpet of pure white. After having grown ‘New Carpet of Snow’ for many years this one was new to me this year. I noticed the flowers are much bigger on ‘Snow Crystals’. It also seems to have a little more fragrance and that is a wonderful smell to have in the garden.

This picture could have used a little more Depth of Field. I just wanted to show the densely packed 'snow crystals'.

Alyssum is easy to grow. It is really what I consider a cool weather annual. It hangs on during the summer (adequate water helps) and usually does pretty well during the fall. It often self-seeds and I can’t quite tell if it comes back true. There seems to be a little variation at least. You can also seed it directly on the ground and have a good show. Around here we do that as soon as the soil can be worked.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Red Tree Peony

Tree Peony
Paeonia suffruticosa 'Hoki'
(pay-OHN-ee-uh) (suf-roo-tee-KO-sa)

This amazing plant was in bloom at Planting Fields last Sunday. It is always a surprise to me how many people aren’t familiar with this cousin of the herbaceous Peony. It is an easy plant to grow and generally doesn’t need staking. ‘Hoki’ is a particularly striking version of the Tree Peony. Its vivid flowers were easily spotted a hundred yards away and it stood out among the Tree Peony collection, which had several other outstanding cultivars. It also had a nice fragrance.

This Tree Peony grows to about 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Tree Peonies are actually woody shrubs and not trees. They can take up to three years to get established and start flowering heavily. It has woody stems that should not be cut back.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Candle Delphinium

Candle Delphiniums
Delphinium elatum
(del-FIN-ee-um) (el-AH-tum)
Synonyms: Larkspur

This picture is from yesterday when I visited Planting Fields Arboretum for a couple of hours. They had a nice assortment of Delphiniums blooming in the Main Greenhouse. This is my second go around with the Delphiniums as they were blooming in San Diego when we were there in February. Not sure if that is when they bloom there or they were forced. In the greenhouse they mixed the Delphiniums with Foxglove and Hydrangeas and it was a nice combination.

Delphiniums are a great flower. Even though I have been growing them for years I am not exactly sure of the best cultural practices. Lately we have been treating them as biennials and replacing them or adding a few plants each year. Dividing them just hasn’t worked for us and now if a plant lives more than 2 or 3 years I consider that a bonus. There are a few things I know they don’t like. Winter drainage is important as is not cultivating deeply around the plants.

All that being said Delphiniums are worth the extra work. It is a stately and elegant flower that comes in a fantastic range of colors and shades. The scientific name evolves from the Greek for Dolphin since the ancient Greeks thought the buds looked like Dolphins. The common name ‘Larkspur’ was given since the flower resembles a lark’s claw.

At Planting Fields the Azaleas were at their peak. It was amazing. There must have been 30 different shades of just coral colored types as well as every other color of Azalea. There will be a few pictures of them this week. Lucky I got there earlier as the line to get into the place was huge when I was leaving at around 1:30pm.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Golden Brush Ginger - Today's Flower

Golden Brush Ginger
Burbidgea schizocheila
(bur-BIDJ-ee-a) (skitz-oh-KY-la)
Synonyms: Golden Ginger, Flame Ginger

This Dwarf Ginger’s flowers really do look like flames. It can be a little tricky to grow bit if you give it even moisture, part sun exposure and a low fertilizer diet and you should be rewarded with a heavy twice a year blooming period. The flowers can take up to two weeks to open giving a nice burst of color.

This plant is one of over 1300 species of Ginger. It is native to the jungles of Borneo and Malaysia. It has nice reddish stems and nice looking foliage. The species is named after the British plant explorer Frederick William Thomas Burbidge. I would love a job like his.

I have been reading his book “Cool orchids, and how to grow themwith a descriptive list of all the best species in cultivation”
at Open it was published in 1874. I find browsing the old horticulture books fun when I have the time.

For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers . It starts at 19:00 GMT on Sunday.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Golden Bleeding Heart

Golden Bleeding Heart
Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart'
(dy-SEN-truh) (speck-TAB-ih-liss)

This plant keeps popping up in gardens that I have visited. It seems to be getting more and more popular. I just started cultivating one plant last summer and it made through the winter and looks good this spring. The leaves are more chartreuse than anything else and maybe that is from the shade. Most of the other specimens out and about seem to have the same color. Just to see if this is the true color I want to get one and plant it more sun.

Bleeding Hearts have been around a long time and are a garden classic. Whenever this plant is happy it truly takes off and can get quite large for a perennial. It often goes dormant by mid-summer but there are types now that can make through the heat (‘King of Hearts’ is one). Be careful when digging around Bleeding Heart roots, they don’t like it.

These two pictures show the combination of the foliage and flowers.

On Monday I had the pleasure of meeting fellow blogger and photography enthusiast Sara Chapman. Her brother David and his wife Shree also joined us. We went to two gardens in Greenwich. One that I am working on and another that a friend owns. Even the though the weather was dicey we had a good time. Both gardens were nearly at peak and there was lots of stuff to see. Too bad I could only eke out a few hours to go garden touring but even that was tough to do.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Winter Jasmine

Winter Jasmine
Jasminum nudiflorum
(JAZ-mih-num) (noo-dee-FLOR-um)
Synonym: Hardy Jasmine, Jasminum sieboldianum

This Jasmine is hardy to USDA Zone 6. That is a low zone for a Jasmine. It lived in New Canaan, Connecticut for about 12 years before a really bad winter took it out. It is a great plant to have in the garden and it can start flowering late in the fall and depending on the winter bloom until early spring.

This picture was taken on March 24th of this year. The plant was just about done flowering so you can see it is a good candidate for the winter garden. It is always a welcome sight for me. It can be a bit rangy but responds well to pruning, including light shearing or rejuvenation type pruning. The yellow flowers fade to a papery white. Yellow flowers seem to taking over this blog :lol:

This Jasmine is a little different than the Primrose Jasmine I posted earlier this week. This plant is one of only a few of the 200 species of true jasmines that is not fragrant. It is also a lot hardier than the Primrose type. Winter Jasmine does best in full sun but can grow in part shade.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Yellow Rose

Yellow Rose

This was taken at Longwood Gardens in the Indoor Rose Garden. Having a rose room would be great but probably a little expensive. The garden is really set up to grow roses for cutting. It is right after the room full of Hibiscus.

Rain rain go away,
Come again another day.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Monday, May 04, 2009

Leopard's Bane

Leopard's Bane
Doronicum orientale 'Little Leo'
(dor-ON-ih-kum) (or-ee-en-TAY-lee)
Synonyms: Doronicum caucasicum, D. caudatum

This hardy little plant blooms early and adds a nice touch of yellow to the spring garden. It is very hardy and seems to come back every year. Mine are planted in almost full sun and have gone dormant during the height of the summer. They do grow in part shade and I think they would look nice with some of the perennial forget-me-nots. ‘Little Leo’ is certainly more compact than the species and the flowers seem a little bigger. Hardy Candytuft (Iberis) is providing the white background.

Sorry I haven’t had time had time to return visits and say much on the comments section. This rain isn’t helping matters any in getting some of the stuff we need to get done. I do appreciate people taking the time to visit and leave comments.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Today’s Flower Fish Geranium

Fish Geranium
Pelargonium x hortorum 'Wilhelm Langguth'
Synonyms: Horseshoe Geranium, Zonal Geranium

The Geraniums have been doing great this year. This one provides a nice contrast between the scarlet flowers and variegated foliage. They are easy to grow and provide a lot of color in the garden. We often over winter a few geraniums as plants but they can also be grown from cuttings.

These other Geraniums have grown well for us, also. This ‘Pink’ from the ‘Survivor’ Series of Geraniums.

Another variety we have used this year is the ‘Patriot’ Geraniums. This is the ‘Salmon’ one but the ‘Bright Red’ and ‘White’ also have nice flowers on bushy plants.

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