Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Orange Daylily

Orange Daylily

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Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mikado Semi Cactus Dahlia

Semi Cactus Dahlia
Dahlia 'Mikado'

Having missed getting a shot of ‘Mikado’ the last time I visited Planting Fields I was determined to get one this time. It just came out okay and doesn’t really have the electric color that the original flower does. It seemed like a pretty big flower for a Semi-Cactus type. It was very puffy. The plant was doing well and had several other flowers besides this one. I would grow this Dahlia any time.

Since this is a Ruby Tuesday post and ‘Mikado’ is a little orange I thought this plant would cover the red for ruby.

Redbud Hazel
Disanthus cercidifolius
(dis-AN-thus) (ser-uh-sid-ih-FOH-lee-us)

This was just another cool plant in the five acre Synoptic Garden at Planting Fields. The Disanthus was struggling a bit but putting a good show on its few leaves. The Synoptic Garden is arranged by the plant’s scientific name. There are a few plants out of order but that is to have a nicer flow through the garden. There were some existing plantings in the area and some of those were saved but don’t fit in alphabetically. It is a great garden and always fun to explore. The Abelia collection (a plant I am not crazy about) was remarkable and really showed some of the nice cultivars available. I could see some of the short ones in the garden.

Since the Disanthus was new to me I found it immensely fascinating. From looking it up some sites say it is hardy to Zone 5 (USDA) and we are in Zone 6 (warmer). This shrub grows in part shade and still gets its great fall color.

See more Ruby Tuesday at Work of the Poet.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

2009 National Dahlia Show

2009 National Dahlia Show
Planting Fields Arboretum
Oyster Bay, Long Island

Both the Dahlia Show and Dahlia Garden at Planting Fields were stunning. The show is a national one that is hosted by the Mid-Island Dahlia Society . The flowers were of every conceivable shape and color and the arrangements and bouquets really caught my eye. The garden at the arboretum was in good form with no signs of the disease that wiped out my Dahlias late in the season.

The first Dahlia is ‘Sunshine Paul’ and the second is ‘Harvest Moonlight’.

On a whim before leaving I decided to throw the 24mm lens in my camera bag. Officially it is a Sigma 24mm f/1.8 EX DG Aspherical Macro lens. All of these pictures were shot with it. It is a great lens and I had forgotten what fun it can be to have something that wide. One thing about this lens is it can focus very closely to the subject (7.1 inches) and that can give some funky results. The price must have gone up, as my copy was about $400 US new, which in terms of lenses is kind of a bargain.

The Lantana flower shows how close you can focus with the 24mm. It was nice to use on the Dahlias since they are so big it really fills the frame of the picture.

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

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Spider Miracle Daylily

Hemerocallis 'Spider Miracle'

‘Spider Miracle’ is an unusual Daylily and it was a joy to find it for sale at the local wholesale nursery this year. Most of the Daylilies available wholesale are kind of plain and there seems to be a limited amount of them. My plants did well except a few of them got tall enough to flop over. The flowers are 8 to 9 inches wide and the scapes get to about 32 inches tall. It is a nice yellow color with a tinge of green around the throat.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dwarf Shasta Daisy

Dwarf Shasta Daisy
Leucanthemum x superbum 'Snowcap'
(lew-KANTH-ih-mum) (soo-PER-bum)
Synonym: Chrysanthemum x superbum

This is a dwarf Shasta Daisy. It only got about 12 inches tall with the flowers. We planted about fifteen of them in three different gardens under a variety of conditions and it performed pretty well. It is cute as a button when blooming but it didn’t produce a lot of repeat blooms even though it was deadheaded at the proper time. Three of the plants got what looked like a fungus and were cut down completely. When the foliage reemerged it was fine. I can’t really recommend a perennial until it returns a few years but this one certainly has promise if it can make it through the winter especially for Shasta Daisy lovers you don’t like to stake or pinch their plants.

This next flower is one of my favorites and there was already a post on it this year.

Gloriosa Daisy
Rudbeckia hirta 'Autumn Colors'

The color combination is dramatic and each flower seems a little different. It also seems that the plants vary pretty wildly as to how much orange, yellow and red they have. It bloomed its heart out this year. Every time I looked at it seemed to have layers in both color and dimensions. It has faded and gotten a little beat up now but it was worth having it. Right now I am toying with the idea of cutting it back completely.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Black eyed Susan and Coneflowers

Black eyed Susan and Cone flowers

Echinacea purpurea
(ek-in-AY-shee-a) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)

This was quite an effective mixture of flowers. This planting kind of looked a bit like a happy accident but got me thinking that planning something like this would probably work out. If I ever do another large scale Black eyed Susan planting there will definitely be some Coneflowers sprinkled through kind of randomly. One other note on some of the Black eyed Susans at work they are blooming in the shade. Well not full shade but darker than a part shade. Just another desirable trait of this great plant.

Since the addition of a lot more storage space on my network I decided to gather all of my memory cards and clean them off. They are the larger Compact Flash type of cards and have been very reliable. The fact that I still have a few 256MB and 512MB cards shows that they have been around for a while. There are also assorted 1 and 2 Gig cards and the two 8 GB cards I bought with the D700. Those were only $17.99 each and I am sure that were a couple of the smaller cards purchased for almost 3 times that amount. For fun I put the 256 card in the D700. You get 23 pictures. The other day after putting the 8GB card in the D70 I thought it said 22 pictures left. After looking for the pictures I realized it was reading 2.2 (2,200 pictures). That’s over 91 rolls of 24 exposure film. That should be enough to get the shot, don’t you think?

Here are two pictures from the 256MB disk. I hadn’t used it since 2007 when these were taken at the Pepsico World Headquarters, which is also the home of the Kendall Sculpture Garden in Purchase, New York. The White Birch (Betula jacquemontii) seems fitting as the colors are starting to come out here. The insect is unknown to me. The only other time I have seen it is on the little patch of Chinese Lanterns at the Estate. They come every year to eat some of the foliage. The date of these photos says November 25th, 2007.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Big Cone

White Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea alba
(ek-in-AY-shee-a) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)

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Wordless Wednesday

Monday, September 21, 2009

Autumn Sage

Autumn Sage
Salvia greggii ‘Puebla Light Orange’
(SAL-vee-uh) (GREG-ee-eye)
Synonyms: Cherry Sage, Texas Sage

Salvia ‘Puebla Light Orange’ has been growing in the containers this year despite all the rain and cloudy days. My local nursery must have got some of the ‘Painted Dunes Collection’ since there are 4 of selections in the garden. It is funny because I just picked the flower because I liked the color not knowing what was behind getting to my garden.

Here is an excerpt about this plant and the rest of the ‘Painted Dunes’ collection:
“Ecke Flower Fields is offering a collection of very popular large container and landscaping plants which have worldwide acceptance. In response to requests for genus and varieties, which provide versatile plant material that are heat resistant with good drought tolerance, self-cleaning, bloom spring to fall and have the ability to be grown cool for energy efficiency and lower production costs, Ecke Ranch reviewed its deep resource for genetics and is providing a solution.

The “Painted Dunes™ Collection”, is being introduced in an off-catalogue offering with clean stock status comprised of nine varieties. Agastache, Lavender and Salvia are the genus in the “Painted Dunes™ Collection.” In addition to filling the requirements on what is often called low maintenance vacation landscape plants, this collection is extremely fragrant and nature-friendly as they attract and provide nutrition for hummingbirds, butterflies and honeybees.”

©2008 Paul Ecke Ranch

It is a very nice selection of Salvia and I am glad to read that it is a bit more ‘green’ than most annuals. It has been a pretty good magnet for hummingbirds as they can’t seem to resist this or the Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ planted nearby.

These are two pictures from Central Park. I forgot he camera was set to monochrome and shot the afternoon in Black and White.

The first shot is a Crabapple allee near the formal garden and the second was a group of Alliums that were reblooming. It is nice type of Allium and I want to figure out which one it is.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

White Canna Lily Flower

Canna Lily
Canna x generalis 'Ermine'
(KAN-uh) (jen-er-RAY-liss)

You don’t see white Canna flowers too often. There are several types out now and this one is billed as the ‘whitest’. Up close there is a little yellow in the flower, especially when it is starting to go by, but from a few steps back it does appear to be all white. This Canna is also a dwarf only getting 2 to 3 feet tall.

Yesterday we where out wine tasting on the North Fork of Long Island. It is fun visiting all the vineyards as most have at least some garden. It wasn’t as good as winery jumping in Sonoma or Napa Counties but they are really trying. We ended up going to quite a few places and I am feeling the effects a little today. We scored about 8 bottles of various wines we liked, which should last us awhile.

This Aster flower was blooming on the side of one of the buildings. It looked wild but I am pretty sure it was planted there. Since it was really windy I am surprised it came out at all. The blurry background is mostly from the wind and luckily the flower got frozen.

Autumn starts on Tuesday so here is a shot of a little fall scene someone had set up at an art gallery.

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

Saturday, September 19, 2009

True Blue Pansy

Viola x wittrockiana 'Delta True Blue'
(vy-OH-la) (wit-rok-ee-AH-nuh)

While the Pansy has always been a symbol of spring to me more and more they are making appearances in the fall. They make a nice display in the autumn garden and are a nice change from mums and Asters.

The Delta series seems to be a popular one and these were spotted at the local wholesale nursery. I enjoyed walking by the huge carts loaded up with them for the blast of color and fragrance. Last year was the first year in many that our Pansies overwintered. I am not sure which one those were but they were beautiful all the way up until May.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Variegated Rubber Tree

Variegated Rubber Tree
Ficus elastica 'Variegata'
(FY-kus) (ee-LASS-tih-kuh)

This plant has been living at work for about 15 years. Until recently it stayed very small but after transplanting it to a bigger pot it has grown fast. It is now about 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide. I have been pruning it since it seems to try and sprawl a bit. The leaves are amazing and, although this picture doesn’t show it, has a nice red tinge to new growth.

I have been trying to take a picture of it for a long time. I had given up but the other day while walking by it thought what the heck. The strong sunlight was actually much better than the dull flat light of the greenhouse. Since this is a tropical plant it only spends the summer outdoors here. Supposedly it can tolerate light frosts but this one gets put indoors much earlier than that. They make a fine houseplant and are a really gorgeous tree when grown in the ground and allowed to develop its natural shape.

Both of these pictures were taken with the Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G VR. This lens has really grown on me. The way it puts the shadows to black is great. The only thing is the size is humongous and it is heavy. It seems to be starting to have a nice synergy with the D700. This was a quick off the hip shot of a Koi at Wave Hill. The camera and lens did okay for the fact I didn’t even have the camera up to my eye when it was taken and used the same settings as the shot before.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Immortality Tall Bearded Iris

Tall Bearded Iris
Iris 'Immortality'

This is a great Bearded Iris. It has literally tripled in size since being planted last year. It is blooming again right now, which certainly has livened up the Iris bed. The other rebloomers planted are sporadic fall bloomers and not as strong as ‘Immortality’. The smaller sized stature of this cultivar is nice, too. It grows to about 24 inches tall.

This next photo is a sign of things to come. It is a Shasta Doublefile Viburnum. They really should shorten the scientific name on this one. Who wants to be typing out Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum 'Shasta' every time?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Torch Lily

Torch Lily
Synonyms: Red Hot Poker, Tritoma

On Sunday morning I decided to visit Wave Hill Gardens in the Bronx. The gardens were in good shape and there was a plethora of botanical treats to be had. This Torch Lily really stood out as very different. The color scheme and the size of the flower were distinctive. After reading up on it when I got home I learned it was introduced in 2005 by Seneca Hills Perennials and Ginny Hunt. The garden tour only lasted a couple of hours but was worth the drive.

Here is a link to Seneca Hill’s Kniphofia page:

Kniphofia has been featured on this site several times (use the labels if you want to see those pictures). It is an easy and beautiful flower to take a picture of.

This weekend has been all about backing up our computers. The new 1TB (1024 gigabytes) Maxtor Central Axis has been getting a work out. It runs through the router and is available to all the computers on the network. It was pretty much plug and play and started working right away, thankfully. I was happy to see that the price I paid at Staples a couple of weeks ago was about $50 lower than the website price for the drive. Sometimes it pays to visit your local brick and mortar store.

The backup plan consists of two external hard drives and DVDs. I can’t stress it enough to photographers that you need to back up your stuff regularly. Take it from someone who has felt the pain of losing information and photos.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wax Begonias

Wax Begonia
Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum
(be-GON-yuh) (sem-per-FLOR-enz kul-TOR-um)
Synonym: Fibrous Rooted Begonia

These Begonias were growing at the farm and have been doing well all season. They are one of my favorite annuals. Growing in full sun to almost full shade they are adaptable to many spots in the garden. You can even take a few inside and grow them over the winter. These flowers do like their moisture and dry conditions often result in stunted growth.

Wax Begonias are probably the most popular of the over 1300 species of Begonia which are classified by root characteristics and top growth. There are hundreds of strains and cultivars within those 1300 species that give an almost endless array of flower colors, leaf shapes and colors. This Begonia is native to Brazil and is actually a tender perennial. The climate here makes them an annual but the plants can be propagated easily from leaf and stem cuttings.

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

Friday, September 11, 2009

Scarlet Firethorn

Scarlet Firethorn
Pyracantha coccinea
(py-ra-KAN-tha) (kok-SIN-ee-uh)
Skywatch Friday

This shot is from the archives and was found while being copied onto a new hard drive. It was taken in the Somerset area of England in November of 2005. I was still a relatively new owner of a DSLR at the time. We had great fun on the trip and this photo brought back some memories. There is a little sky poking in and it provided a nice light. I am always amazed how low the sun angle seems in England in the autumn and winter.

Pyracantha is a nice plant as long as you can keep your distance. The berries look great and the foliage is often semi-evergreen here in Connecticut. It can grow in almost any soil and doesn’t need a lot of care. There are several types available for the garden including the dwarf ‘Gnome’. It seem people often plant this a little out of place. It needs room to grow and not interact with sidewalks, doors, parking areas, etc. I have read several references where they say Pyracantha gets to 10 feet tall. I have had it grow almost twice that size when it is happy. I would definitely consider it a large-scale shrub.

Today is a grim anniversary for the United States and the world. We are playing a gig tonight at the local coffee house. At first we almost refused the date but thought it was okay. I am sure everyone is remembering the day in his or her own way. We have decided to make some music. This blog has commemorated this anniversary before.

Since this is a flower picture blog here is a picture I took yesterday of an Ivy leaf Geranium. The flower color almost matches the berries.

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

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chrysanthemum Buds

Belgian Hardy Mum
Chrysanthemum 'Milano Pink'

Yesterday while picking up a few mums at Valley View Greenhouses I took a couple of pictures of their crop of mums. They really have some nice looking plants this year. Unlike last week when how much color the mums were showing was important this time I got some that the buds were just cracking open. The soft pink of the first one is not really what many would consider a fall color but I got one anyways. The blush color will contrast nicely with some purple Asters in the garden, hopefully.

This second shot was kind of a depth of field experiment. It didn’t come out exactly how I wanted and will need a reshoot. The idea is okay but the technical aspects need a little work.

The stove is heating up, so to speak, at work. It looks like the fall season is going to be okay.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Japanese Windflower

Japanese Windflower
Anemone hupehensis
(uh-NEM-oh-nee) (hew-pay-EN-sis)
Synonyms: Japanese Thimbleflower, Japanese Anemone
Wordless Wednesday
For Ruby Tuesday please see previous post.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Red Zinnia

Red Zinnia
Zinnia elegans
(ZIN-ya) (ELL-eh-ganz)

Today is a holiday around here. This red Zinnia is for my Ruby Tuesday post. The Zinnias actually did well this year, not too much fungus. It is strange because you would think with all the rain and cloudy days that they would have gotten the powdery mildew. I noticed the Bee Balm didn’t get too much mildew either.

Zinnias are nice to have in the garden. This season there were even a few tall ones that I liked. Normally the dwarf types behave best but since it has been an upside down year the taller varieties also did well. Zinnias are easy to grow from seed and cutting the flowers encourages a lower habit and a lot more flowers.

This is the plant list of what we installed on Thursday and Friday. I hope it turns into a nice garden.


1 Gold Rush Dawn Redwood
1 Chaste Tree (Vitex)
1 Dwarf White Pine (Pinus strobus ‘Nana’)
3 Thundercloud Purple leaf Plum
1 Kousa Dogwood Clump


5 Doublefile Viburnum ‘Shasta
5 Pink Rhododendron ‘English Roseum
2 Pink Rhododendron 'Roseum Elegans
3 Red Mountain Laurel (Kalmia ‘Carol’)
3 Gold Mound Spirea
1 Spirea ‘Snowstorm
1 Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginia ‘Henry’s Garnet’)
1 Weigela florida ‘My Monet’
13 Spreading Deutzia
1 Climbing Rose ‘Joseph’s Robe
1 Climbing Rose ‘Westerland


1 Purple Clematis 'General Sikorsky’
3 ‘Red Head’ Fountain Grass
3 Dwarf Fountain Grass ‘Little Bunny’
3 Veronica spicata ‘Red Fox’
3 Shasta Daisy ‘Becky
3 Montauk Daisy
5 Dwarf Purple Coneflower ‘Kim’s Knee High
1 Rudbeckia 'Indian Summer’
3 Chrysanthemum 12” Hanging Baskets

12 ‘Goldilocks’ Creeping Jenny
12 Angelina Sedum
1400 Hardy English Ivy

See more Ruby Tuesday at Work of the Poet. It actually starts tomorrow.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Purple leaf Dahlias from Central Park

Purple leaf Dahlias

Yesterday we decided to drive down to Central Park in Manhattan and see the only formal garden in the park. Ruby and Juno accompanied us but that makes it almost impossible to take pictures. Especially when Ruby sees a cat in the plants or she feels she has to protect Juno from the other dogs in the park. It all adds up to a distraction. That is something we knew going in though.

Central Park never ceases to amaze me. We were lucky to find a parking space on East 105th Street and walk about a half a block to the garden entrance. The garden was really beautiful and full of flowers and interesting foliage. For me the North Garden was the place to be and liked it the best. There were a few wedding photo shoots going on in the South Garden so we didn't explore it as much. The whole trip was a bit of exploratory mission and it definitely warrants a return trip for more photography.

We also walked around the park for a while after visiting the garden. The damage from the huge thunderstorm was evident in the area. The trees had been cleaned up but there were several stumps of trees that had been blown over. If you looked a little more closely a lot of the big trees had sustained some limb damage. There is a link to an article about the August 19th, 2009 storm.

Storm Toppled Scores of Trees in Central Park

Here is a link to the Conservatory Garden

Reading the article was fun after visiting. It shows that area of the park has a rich history.

The Dahlia pictures for today are the purple leaf type. I thought that the yellow one was 'Bishop of York' but after looking at some pictures figured out it is not. The flower shape was different and today's flower didn't have a red center. The foliage was deeper purple and less glossy, also. I don't remember what color the black and white was. Oops. There were no signs identifying the plants that could be seen.

Purple leaf Dahlias are always nice to have in the garden. The contrasting colors of the flowers with the rich dark leaves is superb. They don't seem to grow as tall as some of the other types are a classy and refined plant.

This is one meager photo of the North Garden. The 105mm lens was a little too wide to get more of the garden in. Next time I will bring the 60mm and 24mm lens with me.

I am looking forward to clicking around and seeing other flowers from around the world: Today's Flowers . It starts at 18:00 GMT on Sunday.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Perennial Marguerite Daisy

Perennial Marguerite Daisy
Anthemis tinctoriaCharme
(AN-them-is) (tink-TOR-ee-uh)

This little yellow Daisy did well most of the summer. A couple of weeks ago it started to falter and soon after we decided to shear it down. There are already signs of new growth but it probably won’t make it back to flowering this season.

Growing to a height of about 14 inches tall this flower is nice for the front of the border. It has the ability to adapt to different soils and it is drought tolerant once established. It also grows in containers and the cutting garden. Dividing every two to three years is helpful to retain vigour.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Hardy Hibiscus

Hardy Hibiscus
Hibiscus moscheutos
(hi-BIS-kus) (mos-KEW-tos)
Synonyms: Swamp Mallow, Rose Mallow

This Hibiscus was marked ‘Cherry Brandy’ but that wasn’t true because it isn’t all red. So even if it isn’t the right name it sure was a beautiful flower. If you are gong to buy this plant it is usually better to think about planting it a little earlier in the season. Yesterday I wanted to get a couple for the planting job we are doing now and they had all sprawled over at the three different nurseries that I visited.

Tomorrow starts the big holiday weekend in the US and the unofficial end of summer. Three days off in a row that sure is going to be nice.