Saturday, January 30, 2010

Today's Flowers: Hua Pala Vine

Hua Pala
Pyrostegia venusta
Synonym: Flame Vine
Click Here for a Larger Version

This vine is growing at my sister’s house in Makawao. That is the Hawaiian word for “edge of the forest”. It is considered Maui’s paniolo or cowboy town. Located on the mid slopes of the volcano at about 1600 feet above sea level it is now an gallery and cafĂ© type of town. This vine is covering a large part of the eastern part of the property and seems to be just bursting out with color. It can become invasive under the right conditions and in this case it is borderline. It sure is beautiful and for me a welcome sight. This next picture shows a real hazard with Hawaiian parking.

For the first time ever I am posting a non-nikon flower picture. This Plumeria flower was taken at the Koko Crater Botanical Gardens on the dry side of Oahu. The camera is Karen’s Fujifilm J38. It seems like a good camera but I will have to evaluate it more as time goes on. It is amazing in its smallness.

Plumeria rubra 'Kaneohe Sunburst'
Click Here for a Larger Version

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

Plumeria 'Maui Beauty'

Plumeria rubra 'Maui Beauty'

The aptly named ‘Maui Beauty’ from the Plumeria Grove at the Koko Crater Botanical Gardens on Oahu. Many of the Plumeria trees were dormant but there were a few that had some blooms.

We are off to the airport to catch a flight to The Valley Isle (Maui) so I thought this flower’s name was appropriate.

Click Here for a Larger Version

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hawaiian Hibiscus


This going to be a short post because I am enjoying the sunshine too much to be inside blogging. This pale Hibiscus was one of the nicest I have seen so far. The flowers were huge! The 10 inch flowers were such a delicate color although the plant itself was not healthy looking.
Click Here for a Larger Version

Since I have heard there is some snow back east here is a shot of a garden we saw on the North Shore. Our trip over there was a little rainy but the lushness easily made up for that. It sure takes a lot of time to make the loop around Oahu. There was some big surf and the water looked beautiful. This is our last day here as we head over to Maui tomorrow. I am excited to see my sister and my little nephew. This picture was taken with the Coolpix P6000 and that means it is a big file. I crushed it down (w/jpeg compression) as best I could.

Click Here for a Larger Version

I am nursing a slight sunburn but that isn’t stopping me from going outside as the tropical sun is nourishing and recharging my batteries. It is hot here today but a little hazy. I think the volcano is acting up a little.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cannon Ball Tree

Cannon Ball Tree
Couroupita guianensis
(koo-roo-PEE-ta) (gee-uh-NEN-sis)
Synonyms: Castanha-de-Macaco, Couratari pedicellaris

This tree was blooming at the Foster’s Botanical Garden in Honolulu. It is an amazing garden partly because of the collection of trees and flowers and partly since it is right downtown. As you are viewing the various tropical plants they are completely ringed by high rise buildings. It is easy to blot out the cityscape and focus on the plants.

This is a tree I had never seen before and it had the appearance that its flowers and cannonballs were growing on a vine that was climbing up the trunk but closer examination showed the vine looking parts were actually short branches coming from the trunk. The blooms were fragrant and highly detailed. The “watch out for falling cannonballs” sign was funny. It was nice that the flowers were almost right to the ground because there were several trees that were blooming that you couldn’t really see, as they were very tall and the branches started 20 or 30 feet from the ground. You could only see spent flowers around the base.
Click Here for a Larger Version of the Cannon Ball Tree

We are holed up on the quiet end of Waikiki Beach very near Diamond Head. I read that Diamond Head is one of the most recognizable geographical features in the world. Not sure about that but it certainly is one of the most recognizable craters. Since the sky was a little hard to shoot yesterday I took this in black and white and it is the view off our balcony.

Click Here for a Larger Version

Today the hunt for more flowers and rare tropicals continues on Oahu’s fabled North Shore.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Native Hawaiian White Rosemallow

Native White Rosemallow
Koki'o ke'oke'o
Hibiscus arnottianus
(hi-BIS-kus) (ar-not-ee-AH-nus)

This is considered a rare plant when growing in the wild in Hawaii. It is one of the few plants considered endemic to the islands. This plant was under cultivation on Maui and compared to the other types of Hibiscus you just don’t see it as much. It can get quite large, up to 30 feet tall, but I have only seen it around 10 feet. There are three subspecies of this plant and this particular flower is native to the moist to wet forests of the mountains of Molokai and Oahu.

It flourishes in moist, wet forest conditions at elevations from 390 to 2500 feet. The subspecies immaculatus is extremely rare and grows in a few valleys on Molokai, which we sadly will not be visiting this time. The pronunciation of the Hawaiian name is co key oh kay oh kay oh (Koki'o ke'oke'o).

There is a lot to do today before we leave tonight. The dogs have to get situated and there is still some packing to do.

Larger Picture Click Here

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Collarette Dahlia

Collarette Dahlia

Collarette Dahlias have been around a long time but they don’t seem to be as popular as some of the other types. This one had a nice color combination and was blooming profusely when I saw it at the Pau Callahan Dahlia Garden at Planting Fields Arboretum. Since it was not labeled it is just a guess that it is either 'Awaikoe' or ‘Double Trouble’.
Click Here for a Larger Version

Here is the official description of the Collarette form:

A bloom will have a single row of flat or slightly cupped ray florets arranged in a flat plane; the ray florets will uniformly overlap, preferably in the same direction with no gaps. The petaloids surrounding the disc should be approximately one-half to two-thirds the length of the ray florets. Eight ray florets are most desirable. A round floret tip is preferred. The disc flower should contain evidence of pollen with up to three rows desirable.


It always funny to me that flowers have the technical and scientific side and the beautiful and striking side of their existence. You can look at flowers either way and still get a lot of enjoyment and pleasure form them. I guess I fall somewhere in the middle but am careful not to let too much information get in the way of enjoying the beauty.

There are not too many plants that when I see them I say to myself, “I don’t really like that”. Believe me that they are few and far between. However, this plant is not something I would have in my garden. The flower color is nice; you don’t see that deep a gold color all the time, but the leaves just don’t strike as something that looks good. Of course this is just a matter of personal taste and I guess I could see them planted around the edge of a vegetable garden. BTW I am not against variegated plants. There are some that I do truly love.

Tropaeolum majus
Click Here for a Larger Version

Since we are shipping out to Hawaii tomorrow night I thought this Plumeria flower would be appropriate. It was blooming when we visited the Islands in October. It is nice to have family out there and I am looking forward to visiting with my sister and nephew again as well as doing some exploring. This trip includes a stop for a couple of days on Oahu, some time on Maui and a week on the Big Island. I will certainly be taking a lot of pictures and right now I am trying to decide what gear to take. I will be trying to update this site during the trip. Among other places this Plumeria Garden is on the list.

Dean Conklin Plumeria Grove

Common Frangipani
Plumeria rubra
(ploo-MEER-ee-a) (ROO-bruh)
Click Here for a Larger Version

Here is a link to the Wikipedia article on Plumeria.

You will see that the flower figures into several tropical and religious cultures, including Hawaii where the flowers are used for leis and worn by women to indicate relationship status, over the right ear if seeking a relationship, and over the left if taken. The flowers can also be used medicinally in the treatment of dysentery.

It is plant with a fascinating story. This post is for a meme called Today’s Flowers . It is a lively group of gardeners and flower lovers from all over the world that post flower pictures on Sunday. It is always fun for me but I especially enjoy it this time of year.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tiny Monster Hardy Geranium

Hardy Geranium
Geranium 'Tiny Monster'
Larger Version Here

This new Hardy Geranium was a big hit last year. It is a sterile hybrid between Bloody Cranesbill (G. sanguineum) and Armenian Cranesbill (G. psilostemon). The flowers are a really deep color and while not quite the profuse flowerer that the other Hardy Cranesbills are it did well. The color makes up for the difference in the amount of flowers. That tag said that it grows up to 36 inches tall but the ones in the garden were more like 18 inches tall. All of the Hardy Geraniums did very well last year and were a pleasure to have around. Their fiery fall color was an extra bonus.

Hardy Geraniums like a moist, but not wet, site with plenty of organic matter in the soil. They do well with light shade and need more shade in southern gardens. If they start to look bad they can be sheared and will return with a new flush of growth and flowers. I like to plant them in the spring has there have been some problems with frost heaving if planted too late in the autumn. Propagation is by division although some varieties to seem to seed (but not too much).

Yesterday I went and got a new printer. Since we are a Mac household (and business) I decided on the HP Office Jet 6500. It was on sale for $99 but the ink was $88 extra. They do give you some starter cartridges but they are only good for 35 pages.

Looking over the pictures I shot last fall there were quite a few from NYC. Here is a funny jazz band that we saw. The guy was actually blowing two trumpets at once and sounded good. After much searching I couldn’t find the name of this player. I did find several pictures of him with different ensembles playing in the same place in the park (near the fountain).

Larger Version Here

Thursday, January 21, 2010

False Purple Shamrock

False Purple Shamrock
Oxalis triangularis 'Atropurpurea'
Synonyms: Oxalis regnellii, O. papilionaceae

Click Here for a Larger Photo
This delicate little flower’s color is a nice contrast to the dark purple leaves. It is rated hardy to USDA Zone 6 (-20.5 °C, -5 °F) but I don’t think I have ever seen it growing outside here in Connecticut. It does well in containers and can brighten up the house. We have had it growing several years and I have found that it likes warm temperatures and moisture. When it starts to look ratty cutting it back seems to work well.

If you grow it outdoors, in warmer climates, it has been known to become invasive. To me it would make a nice groundcover in a semi-shady area and might be useful to cover the bottom of more leggy perennials and old bulb foliage.

For fans of the movie Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and films like North by Northwest, Sleepless in Seattle, and others here is a shot of the famous Plaza Hotel in NYC. I was just testing the Sigma 28-200mm lens and it did a good job considering the lighting conditions.

Bigger Picture of the Plaza

Monday, January 18, 2010

Yellow Daylily - Golden Chimes

Yellow Daylily
Hemerocallis 'Golden Chimes'

This is another Daylily from last summer. ‘Golden Chimes’ is probably the oldest cultivar that I saw during 2009. It was hybridized in 1954 and you could almost tell that since the flowers were not as showy as the more recent introductions. This flower did have some interesting traits, as the backside (reverse) of the petals was a darker gold with a little red. The scapes were also held high above the foliage, which gave a nice appearance. The flowers would be considered small by today’s standards being about 3 inches wide.
Golden Chimes in a Larger Size

On Saturday while organizing some of my camera equipment I came upon my old 28-200 Sigma film lens. It occurred to me that I had never teamed this lens up with the D700. Since I was already on a quick trip to Manhattan I decided to put it on the camera and try it out.

Officially it is a Sigma 28-200mm, f3.5-5.6, Aspherical, DL Hyper zoom macro lens. It is about 15 years old. For just having a few minutes to shoot a couple of pictures the lens did pretty well. Now I have been spoiled a bit by the sharpness of the 60 and 105mm Nikkor lenses but the Sigma is sharp but not in the category of the other lenses. It was fun to actually have a zoom lens since I have been using prime (fixed focal length, no zoom) lenses for so long now.

Here are a couple of the results:

This is Wollman Rink in Central Park
Click Here for a Larger Version

Wisteria Pergola in Central Park
Larger Version

Just checking the wide end of the Sigma 28-200mm
Click Here for a Larger Version

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Today's Flower: Two Red Daylilies

Hybrid Daylilies
Hemerocallis ‘Red Hot Returns’
Hemerocallis ‘Point of View’

For Today’s Flowers here are a couple more Daylilies. They must have done well flowering last year because they seemed to get under the lens a lot more than usual. Here are two more hybrids that were spotted during the summer. I have grown neither but did plant some ‘Red Hot Returns’ last fall. It is a relatively short Daylily with a good reblooming habit. The color is nice with petals orangey red and a lemony throat. Click here for a Larger Version of 'Red Hot Returns'.

‘Point of View’ represented here in both a macro and wider view is a spider daylily variant. It is a cross between ‘Spider Man’ and ‘Newberry Amaryllis’ and was hybridized in 1992. The flowers are big and a nice red. It blooms in the early to mid-season.

^Click Here for a Larger Version

Larger Version

The other day I started to try and link to a larger version of the pictures posted here. It worked except that I can’t really put them in the ‘New Pictures’ type of gallery that I had envisioned since when I move them later it will cause a lot of dead links here. Instead the pictures will be linked to the gallery that they will reside on Digital Flower Sorry for any confusion while I work this out.

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

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Luminous Jewel Daylily

Hemerocallis 'Luminous Jewel'

‘Luminous Jewel’ is a little unusual for a Daylily because of the nearly white color. The outer color is set off nicely with a green throat. It grows to about normal height and the flowers are fairly large at 5 inches wide. It was introduced in 1974. I think it would look good mixed with some darker colored Daylilies.

I am trying out linking to larger versions of the pictures that appear on this blogspot. It may or may not work and or it may need to be refined a little. The link will take you to the New Pictures album at the main site of Digital Flower You can view the other pictures in this post via the links on this page or by browsing the album. Here is a link to the larger version of ‘Luminous Jewel'. Click here

The name of this second Daylily was not evident when it was photographed last summer. I did find the colors attractive. The blending of the yellow and pink looked good.

A larger view of this photo is available here

The next couple of days are going to be Daylily pictures here. There is an over abundance of those types of shots left in the ‘to be used’ folder.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Passionate Kisses Floribunda Rose

Floribunda Rose
Rosa 'Passionate Kisses'

This rose was growing out on Long Island. The photo was snapped on September 21st during our winery tour. ‘Passionate Kisses’ has been featured here before. It really looked nice blooming up against the white stucco wall. The color has a nice bright effect and the blending is complex and beautiful.

On Wednesday we attended the Tim Burton exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan (aka the MoMa). Of course photography was not allowed inside the show itself but I did get a picture of this balloon.

Although it was crowded we were able to wander around and see everything. It wasn’t quite as impressive as I thought it was going to be but it has some very interesting parts. The early Tim Burton history was amazing to me. The various papers and drawings from his middle and high school days clearly showed his mind was not like other peoples right from the start. To me it was amazing how little doodles and partial stories later become big screen blockbusters.

While most of his work has a similarity to it that didn’t bother me as much as it did some of the critics in the reviews I had read prior to going. His photography, which seemed to have been done mostly with a Polaroid, was fascinating. All in all it was definitely worth attending.

We didn’t spend too much time touring the other galleries. The Monet exhibit, while grand in scope, was a little boring to me. I guess I like a little more color in artworks. We did have a quick look at the Picasso collection and some of the other paintings. The exhibit entitled ‘new photography’ was a bit of a misnomer. It was actually old photography and new to the collection of the MoMa. There were some truly amazing photographs and some that were just ‘meh’ to me.

Pablo Picasso
Spanish, 1881-1973

Three Musicians, 1921
Oil on Canvas

The forecast is for a little warmer weather. Hopefully it will be a long January thaw!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pink Poinsettia

Euphorbia pulcherrima
(yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (pul-KAIR-ih-muh)

It’s a little late for Poinsettias but this the only one we had this year. Since it officially hit the junk pile yesterday I thought it was fitting to post today. It was amazing to me that when we went to buy Poinsettias all of the wholesale places had about 1/10th of the stock that have had in previous years. A sign o’ the times probably, sigh.

This pink Poinsettia was actually a hanging basket and that was nice because it draped over the table it was placed on. Juno the Siberian Husky wouldn’t leave it alone and kept chewing the leaves. The dog never showed any ill effects but I did noticed she wasn’t eating the leaves just chewing them up.

Yesterday I went to the Tim Burton exhibit at the MoMa. More about that tomorrow. This picture was taken with the Nikon Coolpix P6000.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Two B&W from Manhattan

Two from Manhattan
Strawberry Fields in Central Park

Church Door
Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Prince Street

Monday, January 11, 2010

Painted Nettle

Painted Nettle
Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Kingwood Karnival'
(sol-en-oh-STEM-on) (skew-tell-ar-ee-OH-ih-deez)

This year Planting Fields Arboretum had a Coleus collection planted in one area. There were at least 15 different types and ‘Kingwood Karnival’ was one of them. Now a Coleus Collection where everything is planted rather rigidly is probably not great for the home garden it was nice to see all the different cultivars lined up. I learned two things by researching this post. One was the fact that the common name for Coleus is Painted Nettle and two the scientific species name is really long and hard to pronounce.

There seems to be a few more Coleus to choose from each year. We had several good ones in the garden last year but it was difficult to keep the slugs off them. If you are looking for more information on Coleus check out this website:

I will certainly be using that as a reference tool when shopping in the spring.

This Hosta was nice and puckered. Not sure what variety it is but it had interesting shading. Over the last couple of years we have been collecting some different Hosta types and planting them in one garden. It is fenced which helps keep the deer and other animals away. It has turned out well and I have actually been enjoying the flowers. In the past we mainly planted them for the foliage.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Floribunda Rose ‘Easter Basket’

Floribunda Rose ‘Easter Basket

Color: Yellow blend w/ pink edges
Petal Count: Medium, 18-25
Bred: Alain Meilland (2006).
US Introduction: Conard-Pyle/Star Roses, 2007
Fragrance: Very Mild
Parentage: ‘Carefree Beauty’ x ‘DELbara' × ‘KORfalt’

This rose was blooming very late in the season and still looked good. The roses went right up to the end and there were still quite a few buds until it really froze. A lot of times the late season rose flowers can have some blemishes and are not shaped as beautifully as one of the summer flowers. Don’t get me wrong having a slightly less then perfect rose is better than no roses, especially at that time of the year.

Both ‘Easter Basket’ and the other rose photo today were able to escape the disease cycle and produced some clean flowers the day I had my camera. These pictures were taken November 2nd of last year. This other rose’s name escapes me now but it is another yellow blend. The flowers are two or three times the size of ‘Easter Basket’.

With this weather it will be fun to visit everyone’s flowers.

Today’s Flowers

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Maidenhair Tree

Maidenhair Tree
Ginkgo biloba
(GING-ko) (bi-LOW-buh)

These pictures were taken at the New York Botanical Garden last fall. They have been lurking around on an old memory card. There are several cultivars (remember that means a culti-vated var-iety) of Ginkgo growing at the Estate and this one was featured on this site on September 14, 2006. Last fall we moved a couple of Ginkgos to an area where they will be able to expand. Luckily we have been dealing with the male of species, as I had never seen the fruit before.

The trees at the NYBG had a lot of fruit under them. There is supposed to be a rancid smell (actually its well documented) but I didn’t notice it. Not sure why but perhaps it was my excitement at finding a new botanical curiosity. Looking around for information on these fruits, which I think technically are seeds, led to a lot of confusion on my part. It isn’t simple but here is some of what I learned. The seeds can be eaten (in moderation) if you can get by the ‘aromatic’ smell of the fleshy outer covering. They are considered a delicacy in some Asian cultures. Be careful as handling the outer coating can give a painful rash to some people. Gingko Trees are sexed with only the female producing seeds. It can take up to twenty years until they start ‘bearing’.

Sitting here the sights and smells of the autumn NYBG trip are coming back to me. The slanted warm sunshine, slight smell of decay and the rustling of the leaves all stand out now. This winter is going to get a little harsher around here over the next few days. Today’s forecast calls for a high of 22 degrees (F) and a wind of 10 to 20 mph from the NNW. Tonight is supposed to be 8 degrees Fahrenheit, which I think is around minus 13C. We got about 2 inches of snow yesterday. As bad as we have it here I do feel sorry for the people in the Southern United States. There is probably going to be a lot of plant material that doesn’t make it through the sustained cold temperatures.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Cherry Cheeks Daylily

Hemerocallis 'Cherry Cheeks'

To celebrate the new Daylily Picture album at Digital Flower here are two red Daylilies. The first one, ‘Cherry Cheeks’, has an unusual color that almost lends a tropical flair to the late season Daylily garden. Each flower, which are quite large, has a slightly different blend of colors. It is a extremely vigorous cultivar that comes on strong just when you need it.

‘Cherry Cheeks’ flowers on 28-inch tall scapes with 6-inch wide flowers. It was introduced in 1968 and has been holding its own since then. The fact that it has been in the trade for over 40 years shows me that it has a lot of staying power and can compete with the more modern cultivars. Definitely worth having in the garden.

This second shot is a unknown red cultivar against a background of Black eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta). It was quite a contrast. This picture is slightly reminiscent of one of the photographer’s style that I have posted a new link to in the “other blogs” part of the sidebar. Except she would have had a lot better bokeh (out of focus background) and better colors. She probably would have thought of a more interesting way to capture the scene, too. Please check out Kala’s Flower, Nature & Macro Photography: A Matter Of How You See It Blog. It is not that often that I find someone’s flower photography that is as unique and captivating. Please visit.

Another new link in the sidebar is Maris Ehlers Photography. In the interest of full disclosure she is my wife’s cousin. That really doesn’t have any bearing on my promoting of her site that is just how I become aware of her work. It has more to do with her talent and ability to photograph people then her being family. She often uses a high contrast and almost high key style that is perfect for her subjects. Maris sure seems to have the ability to capture her subjects with easy going and candid way that is very flattering. Check it out and vote for your favorite photo of 2009.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Blue Cape Plumbago

Blue Cape Plumbago
Plumbago auriculata
(plum-BAY-go) (aw-rik-yoo-LAY-tuh)
Synonym: Cape Leadwort

It seems once a year Plumbago shows up on this blog. I will say again I think Plumbago is a beautiful flower. It adds a beautiful touch of blue to your garden and is easy to cultivate. There are some variations in the blueness of some varieties but they are all pretty. It is considered a tender perennial and must be taken inside for winter here. Plumbago seems to tolerate heavy shearing and will often explode in a cloud of color afterwards. It is a native of South Africa but is adaptable to many areas.

Since Plumbago is often called Skyflower I thought it would be a good flower for Skywatch. Here is a photo of a rainstorm of the coast off La Jolla, California. There was a rainbow, too. After a little while watching these clouds the rain came to us. This picture is a rarity here since it was shot with Karen's Nikon D80 with a 18-135mm Nikon lens.

“The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson's Journals, 1843

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

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Key West Sunset

Key West Sunset
Key West, Florida
Wordless Wednesday

See more Florida Keys pictures at the New Digital Flower
Click Here


Red Bow from Sedona
Ruby Tuesday
See more Ruby Tuesday at Work of the Poet.

Visit our Sedona Album here