Friday, July 31, 2009

Green Envy Coneflower

Eastern Purple Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea 'Green Envy'

It is fitting this photo came out with a strange colorcast because the flower itself is a little weird. The shades of green, yellow and pink are difficult to describe. This flower was growing at White Flower Farm in a good-sized patch. It was emitting a kind of greenish glow. The plants were tall and pretty much loaded with flowers, buds and bees.

The parade of new coneflowers seems endless. Mark Veeder who gardens as a hobby developed this flower. It is different and intriguing enough to make it more than a novelty in the garden.

Thank goodness it’s Friday. This was a funny Begonia I saw growing in a container at WFF. It was mixing well with the Coleus and the other white Begonia.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Crimson Flame Striped Rose

Striped Floribunda Rose
RosaCrimson Flame

Since people seemed to enjoy the picture of the striped rose posted here last Sunday here is another one. It is strange that there were just a few references to this variety of rose on the net when usually virtually any rose you Google returns tons of information. This was spotted at a commercial office in Westchester, lucky they had left the tag on the plant or I would have never been able to figure out which rose it was. From the limited information I was able to garner ‘Crimson Flame’ is a Floribunda rose that was introduced in 2007. It did smell good and this particular specimen had been trained into a tree.

This year I have been doing a lot of foliage pictures and want to post some soon. This combination was growing in the shady area of White Flower Farms display garden. The Begonia is ‘Fireworks’ and it is a Rex Begonia. It is also know by the name Painted Leaf Begonia. Here is a link to a catalog page of Rex Begonias and you can see that they are extremely showy and colorful. They need to grow in full shade and ‘Fireworks’ only produces sporadic flowers kind of smallish pink flowers, although with foliage like that who needs flowers? The other plant is a cultivar of Golden Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold') called ‘All Gold’. If it is happy then it makes a nice shady ground cover.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Karma Cactus Dahlia

Cactus Dahlia
Dahlia 'Karma Bon Bini'

According to the Grower’s Exchange Nursery in Virginia the Karma series of Dahlias were bred especially for use as cut flowers. The flowers can have a vase life of 7 to 12 days when cut at a slightly immature stage. They also say, “the varieties in the Karma series have been selected for their keeping quality as well as their floriferousness, floral shape and color, and long, straight, sturdy stems with little or no lateral branching” Grower’s Exchange looks like a nice place to shop.

This Dahlia was growing at White Flower Farm in Licthfield, Connecticut. Yesterday I had to get out of the house and away from the computer hardware and software upgrades and decided to take a drive up to Litchfield County. It is, in my opinion, one of the nicer areas of our little state. Luckily both the D70s and D700 made the trip and when I was driving by WWF I decided to stop. The gardens were marvelous and the Dahlia border was just amazing. They had several ‘Karma’ series Dahlias and they are a really nice and by the looks of it well-behaved plant. There is a good range of colors, also. If anything the only thing I would complain about is the flowers are a little small for Dahlias but that would be very minor. I spent a couple of hours walking around until the thundershower came.

This will have to be my Ruby Tuesday post for this week. I noticed that I have been shying away from shooting red flowers again and Ruby Tuesday has again got me shooting the reds. See more Ruby Tuesday at Work of the Poet.

'Karma Naomi'

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Three California Flowers

Three California Flowers
Nemesia Hybrid
NemesiaJuicy Fruits Papaya'

These pictures were taken last winter and all three flowers are from the Carlsbad, California area. Nemesia is an annual that seems to be able to bloom all summer but really likes it when it is a little cooler. It was fun to see this flower in CA and then be able to buy it for the garden in Connecticut a couple of months later. I think our Nemesias need a little more sun they have been blooming well but seemed a little stretched. The different varieties of Nemesia really add a nice color range to containers and they are fragrant. Here is a link to Nemesia at the Proven Winners site. There seems to be some new introductions coming. I hope they keep introducing more of them so that Nemesia gets more popular.

Nemesia is the Scrophulariaceae family. It includes about 4,000 species of plants. Many are popular for garden use including Digitalis, Snapdragons and Monkey Flowers. Two annuals that I really like in the family are Bacopa and Angelonia. There are several root parasitic species including one with out chlorophyll.

Since it is Today’s Flowers here are a couple of extra flower pics. The first is a Striped Rose. I couldn’t find the name of it. It had kind of an orange tint to it, which was a little different than the Striped Roses I have seen before.

Finally here is another annual.

Hybrid Flowering Tobacco
Nicotiana alata 'Hummingbird Appleblossom'
Synonyms: Jasmine Tobacco, Flowering Tobacco

This annual is slowly making a come back. It seemed to be a lot more popular several years ago. This variety is a lot better compared to the limited colors you could get before. ‘Hummingbird Appleblosssom’ has larger flowers on a dwarf plant both of which are pluses in my book.

For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers . The links open at 1400 GMT.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Confederate Jasmine and a Hummingbird Nest

Confederate Jasmine
Trachelospermum jasminoides
Synonyms: Star Jasmine, Rhynchospermum jasminoides

The Star Jasmines have been a big success despite the weather. This is the first year I have used this plant and it has really just been a pleasure to have in the garden. We are using the three plants in big pots. They came already trained on little trellises. The plants haven’t really grown much taller but they have been flowering non-stop. The beautiful fragrance is probably one of the most refined that I have ever smelled in the garden. About a half and hour after we put them in place the owner came out and asked what the wonderful smell was. The smell had been wafting in the windows of the house.

There is a mixture of things growing under the Jasmines and they have all seemed to coexist well. There are Petunias, Million Bells, Sweet Potato, Verbena, Angelonia and a few other annuals. Confederate Jasmine is hardy to USDA Zone 8, which is about 10 degrees F. That isn’t going to make it around here, which is really too bad. I am going try to bring it inside but something tells me it isn’t going to like the heat of the greenhouse.

Every once in awhile I come across something extraordinary at work. There isn’t much that is shocking or awe inspiring from a discovery point of view anymore. However this week there were two things that were wondrous. The first was one Monday when after reaching into a buried irrigation valve box I felt something slimy. It turned out to be a Giant Garden Slug (Limax maximus). It was about 5 inches long and an inch wide. Easily the large slug I had ever seen. Earlier in day we were wondering where the Petunias went (they were almost totally eaten) and this discovery made it much clearer. Here are a couple of pictures of the second lesson nature’s classroom showed me.

This is a Hummingbird nest. Using a ladder and a 20 foot pole saw we were pruning the lower limbs off some American Beech Trees yesterday. When cleaning up the mess I noticed the little nest. It was quite amazing in construction and sorry about the quality of these photos but it was the best I could do under the circumstances. The second photo shows some of the lichen shingling. There was quite a bit of spider silk used on the outside. I am not sure what the inside was made out of but it was soft, tightly knitted and looked cozy.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mums from Last November

Mums from Last November

This picture pointed out to me that I have too many memory cards. This was on a 1 GIG card that was sitting in an office drawer since last November. The picture was taken on a November 2nd visit to the NYBG Kiku Festival. Having a couple of 8 GB cards a few 4GB and a bunch of 2 GB cards (three 1 GB cards, too) is just getting too confusing. It also makes me lazy since I don’t have to deal with the pictures to take more on another day. Right now I am trying to clear as many of the cards as possible. It is going to take awhile.

I seem to remember taking and posting a lot of Chrysanthemum photos last fall. There are quite a few on the card. Speaking of mums I noticed the nurseries are already growing this fall’s crop. Since this is the coldest summer ever (its official, so far) they better hurry up and grow. Last night we had a lot of cold rain, again.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Two Daylilies

Hemerocallis 'Chicago Picotee Memories'

Even though this Daylily was introduced in 1987 this was the first time I had seen it. The colors really worked well together and the tightly crimped flower edges with purple added a lot to the over all picture. It looked to be blooming on a pretty sturdy plant that was about 30 inches tall.

Here is an extra Daylily from the NYBG that I failed to record the name. I was being so diligent about it but this one got away. It is really a dark orange and yellow. Almost brown.

Being the head of the IT department (I am also the Chief Sanitation Officer and VP in charge of filing) of our small company is something that can be very challenging especially for someone like me. We just got a number of hardware and software upgrades yesterday so I am busy opening the boxes, charging batteries and of course the ever painful reading of the manuals. There will be more about the recent additions to the office as they get sorted out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Leopard Plant

Leopard Plant
Ligularia stenocephala 'The Rocket'
(lig-yoo-LAR-ee-uh) (sten-oh-SEF-ah-luh)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fanfare Indian Blanket Flower

Indian Blanket
Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Fanfare'
(gay-LAR-dee-uh) (gran-dih-FLOR-uh)

I hadn’t seen this variety of Blanket Flower before so while getting its picture this bee flown into the frame. Neither the camera nor I were quite ready for that but it worked out. ‘Fanfare’ has a remarkable flower color on a compact plant. The flowers seem a little more incised than the normal Gaillardias. It is a sport of ‘Dazzler’ Blanket Flower. If you don’t know what a sport is in botany it is defined as “an organism or part that shows an unusual or singular deviation from the normal or parent type; mutation.”

Blanket Flowers are getting more popular. Earlier this year, on this site, I was lamenting how few cultivars the nurseries were carrying around here. This year there was a lot more to choose from, which is the beginning of a trend, I hope. Until further notice I am considering these flowers as annuals. They just don’t seem to come back for us.

Since it is Ruby Tuesday here is a shot that I have been holding on to for awhile. It is a rare flower since until recently they didn’t think there were any red flowered Hoyas. It is a strange little plant and the flowers are weird and unusual. This picture is from the Main Greenhouse at Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, New York. They had several species of Hoya and they were all blooming on the tenth of May. This one didn’t have a proper identification tag but did have a little sign like they use at a steakhouse that said ‘Rare’.

Wax Plant
Synonym: Porcelain Flower

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Yellow Friendship Pervuian Lily

Pervuian Lily
Alstroemeria violacea ‘Yellow Friendship’
(al-stre-MEE-ree-uh) (vy-oh-LAH-see-uh)
Synonyms: Lirio de Campo, Alstroemeria paupercula, Country Lily
Today's Flowers

There seems to be a lack of information about this flower variety. There was only one real reference (that I found) to it at Digging Dog Nursery. That sure is a nursery Ruby and Juno could work at. This flower was blooming in the Ladies Border at the New York Botanical Garden. It wasn’t what you would expect to see in the Bronx. The page at DDN says ‘Yellow Friendship’ is hardy to Zone 8 (USDA) and in a good winter it might over winter at the NYBG. It certainly could never make it around here in Connecticut. By good winter I mean not too much cold or snow, easy would probably be a better term. The Ladies Border is a collection of southern and half hardy plants. Check out the ‘About’ link for a brief history.

The buds were really nice looking on this plant and the flowers had plenty of detail on them. The last shot is some of the spent flowers that fell down near the base of some Silver Sage (Salvia argentea).

For more information on Alstroemeria check out:
Alstroemeria Direct’s Fascinating Facts and FAQ

For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers . The links open at 1400 GMT.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lobster Petunia

Petunia ‘Potunia Lobster’

One of the reasons this site was started was to share different plants that we grow with other gardeners. Posting the successful ones is the easiest since sometimes there are factors that lead to a plant not doing well that isn’t their fault. Keeping an open mind and trying a plant a couple of times can be difficult but I usually try to give them another chance.

This year we planted a lot of Petunias. By a lot I mean a couple of hundred 4 and 6 inch pots. Not all of them did well because of all of the rain and the increase in the slug population. We did try a new type (to us) called Potunias. I was a little skeptical about the name but found that this breed of Petunias has its own website, here

We tried a couple of the colors of Potunias and ‘Lobster’ has outperformed them all. It truly has been an outstanding annual. It has a mounding and very tidy habit. It has also been the one variety that fought off the rain. The color is a beautiful pink that can really glow when the light hits it. It always seems to be full of flowers when whenever I look at it.

It is Saturday and I am going to have to be in the home office all day. The air conditioner is getting installed today. Originally to save money and energy I was going to try and make it through the season without A/C but after the last couple of days I am going to use it sparingly. Catching up with a lot of paperwork is not my idea of a fun Saturday so being comfortable will make it a bit easier.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Great Rudbeckia

Great Rudbeckia
Rudbeckia maxima
(rud-BEK-ee-uh) (MAKS-ih-muh)
Synonyms: Great Coneflower, Dumbo's Ears
Skywatch Friday

It has been a while since I participated in Skywatch Friday. These shots were taken with Skywatch in mind. They are from the Perennial Garden at the NYBG. I took three pictures of the scene and decided to post all of them here. All three and especially the last could have had benefited from a larger Depth of Field. The last one is kind of a blooper but it is posted just to show the background. The building is the Enid Haupt Conservatory (click the About link for the history).

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

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mexican Daisy

Mexican Daisy
Erigeron karvinskianus 'Profusion'
(er-IJ-er-on) (kar-winz-kee-AY-nus)
Synonyms: Fleabane, Santa Barbara Daisy, Dancing Daisy, Seaside Daisy

This plant was blooming in the Ladies Border at the New York Botanical Garden last weekend. It is quite a nice looking plant that was covered with white daisy flowers and a touch of pink on the buds. It grows to about 10 inches tall and is a rhizomatous perennial. Which is defined as “having or resembling a rhizome”. Without getting too technical a rhizome is “a horizontal, usually underground stem that often sends out roots and shoots from its nodes. Also called rootstalk, rootstock.”

Work is staying busy, much more than I thought the summer was going to be. All that rain has generated a lot of pruning and that is not a bad way to make a living. Today we are tackling an out of control foundation planting. It is my own fault as I installed it and have been taking care of it for the last 12 years. First up is giant Doublefile Viburnum that has to go from about 10 feet tall to 5 feet. There also is some Variegated Red Twig Dogwood that are about 8+ feet tall that are going to have to be reduced. I didn’t know they got that big and these are some of the largest specimens I have seen. There are some 30 foot tall Kwanzan Cherry Trees that need to be thinned out. The owner is all for this since the plants are pretty much eating up the front of the house.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Persnickety Hybrid Daylily

Hybrid Daylily
Hemerocallis 'Persnickety'

per·snick·e·ty [per-snik-i-tee] 1.
  • a. Overparticular about trivial details; fastidious.

  • b. Snobbish; pretentious.

  • 2. Requiring strict attention to detail; demanding: a persnickety job.

    Courtesy of The Free Dictionary

    Monday, July 13, 2009

    Daylily - Lyttleton

    Hemerocallis 'Lyttleton'

    There is going to be some Daylilies posted around here this week. I went to the New York Botanical Garden yesterday and the Daffodil and Daylily Walk was in almost in full bloom. There was a myriad of shapes colors, and sizes. I walked up and down a dozen times and always noticed new ones each time.

    I changed the Saturation setting to Vivid on the D700. Wow, some of the pictures came out with super saturation. It isn’t a bad look to me but I think I will back it off a bit before posting the pictures here or doing any printing. This first picture was left as is and was with the 60mm Micro-Nikkor lens.

    This Daylily was cute, the flowers were about 2 and half inches across and that seemed pretty small compared some to its neighbors in the border. The plant was about 20 inches tall. It was introduced in 1980. This flower was kind of a refined and much more beautiful type of 'Stella D'Oro'. Somebody I know called 'Stella D'Oro' a ditch lily the other day. It’s not my favorite but I wouldn’t go that far.

    Here is another Daylily called 'Calistoga Sun'. Its flowers were way bigger than 'Lyttleton' and really had a beautiful range of orange and yellow shades. I am assuming this is named after the town in California’s Napa Valley. If so, I think the name is fitting. This picture was taken with the D70s and the 105mm VR lens.

    Sunday, July 12, 2009

    Pink Elf Hydrangea and Bubblegum Petunias

    Dwarf Hydrangea
    Hydrangea macrophylla 'Pia'
    (hy-DRAIN-juh) (mak-roh-FIL-uh)
    Synonym: 'Pink Elf
    Today’s Flowers

    After seeing this Hydrangea at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and posting about it here I decided to try a couple in the new garden we installed last year. It made it through the winter and is now in full bloom. There are a couple of things I like about ‘Pia’ including its small stature and flower color. The garden is full of blue Hydrangea so it a nice contrast to have a few pink ones. They are planted in front of some blue ‘Endless Summer’ Hydrangeas and they look good together.

    Hybrid Petunia
    Petunia 'Supertunia Vista Bubblegum'

    A lot of our Petunias got either too wet or eaten by the slugs this year. However, this variety has been outstanding. It has just been a carpet of color and is vigorously spreading. I wished I had just used these instead of some of the other types of Petunias. Proven Winners introduced this Petunia in 2005 and I have the feeling it is going to be around a long time. The other Supertunias have been doing okay but not like ‘Bubblegum’.

    For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
    Today’s Flowers . The links open at 1400 GMT.

    Saturday, July 11, 2009

    Pink Summer Phlox

    Summer Phlox
    Phlox paniculata 'Shortwood'
    (floks) (pan-ick-yoo-LAY-tuh)
    Synonym: Garden Phlox

    There have been a lot of pictures of Garden Phlox on this site. It is a very photogenic flower. This was shot at the nursery while I was picking up some Sedum, Hibiscus and a few Cerastostigma. It was at Gilberties Herbs wholesale yard in Easton, Connecticut. It is a self service nursery, which I like, and while loading the truck this Phlox caught my eye. When I went to look at it I was impressed that it didn’t have any mildew. Gilberties is pesticide free so that was showing good resistance to Powdery Mildew.

    Garden Phlox is truly a workhorse in the summer perennial border. There is nothing quite like it. The fragrant flowers are always a stately sight to me. There are many beautiful forms and colors available. I had to laugh when after a quick look I thought the sign said 'Sherwood Purple' because that is a cultivar of Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera). I am glad that I took a closer look.

    Friday, July 10, 2009



    The name of this Rudbeckia has been lost but this is its second year and it is fabulous. The plants have doubled and are completely covered with flowers. The flower size is pretty big and the plant has grown to about 30 inches tall. It is slightly flopping but I just pruned off the stalks that were covering the Angelonia, Coral Bells and RudbeckiaAutumn Sun’. Those stalks are already making new buds where they were cut.

    This was in an area that the people had always just planted annuals. My strategy is to plant a layer of bulbs (done) and some perennials and annuals in the beds and it really worked with this Rudbeckia. Some of the other plants I have been using are Coral Bells (Heuchera 'Creme Brulee'), Liatris, and a lot of different Daylilies. This year I am trying some new plants like Summer King Foxglove, Rogerseria and some Artemesia. It is nice to have the luxury of filling in with annuals that way if something malfunctions you can just add more flowers.

    I am glad this week is over. Tuesday I set a personal record of working at 5 different gardens in one day. They were spread out over two counties. Overall it was a rewarding day and I got a lot of loose ends tied up. I am, however, looking forward to the weekend.

    This flower seemed a little shy. It was like it was covering its face.

    Thursday, July 09, 2009

    Yellow Strawflower

    Bracteantha bracteatum
    (brak-tee-AN-tha) (brak-tee-AY-tum)
    Synonyms: Everlasting Daisy, Golden Everlasting

    This flower illustrates a growing trend by growers that really irks me. It is the generic tag that they put in the different varieties of annuals. This flower came with a tag that said “Harvest Bloom Bracteantha”. It also had a tag that said “Yellow”, duh. The Nursery Select Program by Miracle-Gro seems to be a big offender here. I got some Nursery Select New Guinea Impatiens the other day and the tag said “Sunshine”. As a gardener I like to get as much information about what I am trying to grow as possible. Knowing the variety names is important especially when you have something that you like. If it is just listed as a Yellow Strawflower than it becomes more of luck of the draw situation instead of an informed purchase the next season.

    Once when I was buying a perennial order out on Long Island I accidentally picked some Nursery Select plants. The person said those are 50 cents extra if you take the NS label. I asked what the difference between the same plants he had in regular pots and he said “marketing”. After looking around on the internet for more information on the Nursery Select plants I couldn’t find a website or list anywhere. That makes me wonder.

    About this flower. It hasn’t really done too well so far but I don’t think that has to do with the variety. More like all the dark and damp days we have had. I planted it in a container and normally Strawflowers do pretty well there but this one has been struggling a little. They don’t seem to mind the moisture but really like a long and hot summer. The soil should be well draining and a little sandy for best results. The generic tag did say 6 to 10 inches tall, which was helpful. Many of the species of Strawflower get taller than that.

    Wednesday, July 08, 2009

    White Powder Puff

    White Powder Puff
    Calliandra haematocephala 'Alba'
    (kal-ee-AN-druh) (hee-mat-oh-SEF-uh-luh)

    Bonus picture for WW
    Golden Jade Tree
    Crassula ovata 'Hummel's Sunset'
    (KRASS-oo-la) (oh-VAY-tuh)