Monday, May 31, 2010

Midnight Blue Shrub Rose

Shrub Rose
Rosa 'Midnight Blue'
Synonyms: WEKfabpur

This rose was one of the many of thousands blooming at the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. ‘Midnight Blue’ really had a dark purple color and it had many sprays of flowers on the bush. The garden has all of the purple and ‘blue’ roses planted in one area.

My trip was important to me for a couple of reasons. I have not been as mobile as usual since my medical event in February and can’t seem to pinpoint the reason for that. This weekend I was determined to change things around and made it to the NYBG and Manhattan. Funny thing was nothing happened to me and it all worked out okay. I did get some good news from the doctor last week when the results of my nine hour brain damage test came back negative. There was average to superior brain function at every level. This was a big relief. So after getting the results back I made myself get off the couch and hit the road. This rose reminded me of the old Melissa Manchester song, which seemed a little fitting under the circumstances:
Even though simple things become rough, haven't we had enough?
And I think we can make it. One more time, if we try.
One more time for all the old times midnight blue

I am glad that I decided to go as the rose garden was just amazing. I have probably been there 50 to 60 times and this visit was the best by a factor of ten. As I crested the hill and looked at all the colors from far away it really floored me. How can it be described? I am not sure but think of all the roses you can imagine and place them in neat patches in a little valley and that is sort of it. The rose scent was apparent from several hundred yards away from the garden and grew stronger on the approach.

The Midnight Blue was photographed on the lower left hand corner of this photo.

Tomorrow I will try and make a review of the Emily Dickinson show at the NYBG. It was quite good and exceeded my expectations.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Flowers from Today Nonstop Begonia

Nonstop Begonia
Begonia tuberhybrida Nonstop ‘Yellow’
(be-GON-yuh) (too-ber-HY-brid-uh)

This yellow flower is one of my favorite annuals, although it can be brought inside and kept year round if you want. They grow quite well in containers. It is called a nonstop Begonia because it continuously blooms. The amount of flower forms and colors available seems to continue to grow and even the foliage has gotten into the act with more and more types available. A personal favorite of mine is the Mocha series by Park Seed. The coffee colored foliage really sets off the flowers nicely. These flowers are easy to grow in the moist shade. This type of Begonia doesn’t like to dry out so the moisture is a key part of their cultivation.

It seems hard to believe but the nonstop Begonia has only been gracing our gardens for about 30 years now after being developed in the 1980’s.

Since it is Memorial Day Weekend here in the United States this next picture seems appropriate. It is a picture of local Police officer Robert DiNardo who passed away last June. He was truly a hero here in our local community. This impromptu memorial is painted on a large wall of graffiti that I pass on my way to work every morning and yesterday I decided to stop and grab a picture. The roses are a nice touch and they give a good tie in to Today’s Flowers. The rest of the wall of graffiti is quite interesting and some of the best I have seen around here.

See more flowers from all over the world at Today’s Flowers .

Since it is Sunday and that means a few extra flower lovers visiting here is a bonus picture of some nice blue flowers.

Pericallis cruenta
(per-ee-KAL-liss) (kroo-EN-tuh)

Incidentally I broke out the D70s with the Sigma 17-70mm macro lens for the first two shots. I hadn’t used the camera in a long time but it felt good right away. It still works great. The shot of the Cineraria was taken with the Nikon Coolpix P6000.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Aspen Semi Cactus Dahlia

Semi Cactus Dahlia
Dahlia 'Aspen'

This is the first to the Dahlias to start blooming. It has an unusual appearance with the slight twisting of the petals. The petals seem to form a bit of an odd angle on some of the flowers. It is a nice bright, clear white and the yellow center stands out in a good way.

‘Aspen’ was introduced in 1989 by the famous Verwer Dahlias company. The tag said 12 to 18 inches tall but it has gotten there already and looks like it is going to get taller.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Climbing Rose ‘Royal Gold’

Climbing Rose ‘Royal Gold’
Rosa ‘Royal Gold’

Two years ago this rose was bought in a tree form for one of the big containers. It got some disease and didn’t look goods so it was moved to the Tennis Court where I decided to weave it through the fence. Since then it has become fairly enormous and right now is covered with blooms. It is a climbing rose and has grown every bit of its advertised ten feet and then some. It has the appearance of a hybrid tea and I didn’t know it was a climber until after purchase.

Since being moved it has shown pretty good disease resistance and when it blooms it can be breathtaking. The color is very rich and it has a nice fragrance. Planted to either side are two huge ‘Bonica’ roses. They each have about 500 buds ready to open. Hopefully the ‘Royal Gold’ can hang on blooming this heavy to the ‘Bonica’ open up. Roses in general have been doing outstanding around here this year. I drove by a commercial planting of red Knockout roses and red Rhododendrons (‘Nova Zembla’, I think) and it was amazing. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

This black and white picture is not as effective as the color but it still shows the nice form of the 'Royal Gold' flower.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Peach Drift Rose

Shrub Rose
Rosa 'Peach Drift'
Synonyms: Meiggili, Peach Compact Meidiland

Recently when the weekly email from a local wholesale nursery arrived in my inbox it featured ‘Peach Drift’ roses. Since I was still looking for some replacement roses it made up my mind to try a few of these since the color and habit looked so nice. There was no disconnect between the picture and when I actually saw the rose. Both were beautiful. As I have said here before the owner of the rose garden and I decided to try a few untraditional types of replacement roses this year and ‘Peach Drift’ seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

The color pretty much melted me but I was happy to read that the flowers can be used as cut flowers and has some fragrance. It is also touted as being very disease resistant. One of the more important aspects of the selection process this year was hardiness and ‘Peach Drift’ is a winner on that front also being rated for USDA Zone 5b. Growing only to about 18 inches tall I selected a prominent position in the front of the border of roses for the two plants. I am interested to see what happens. It has been about 2 weeks so far and it is still loaded with flowers and buds. Hope it can continue through the season.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sweet Kate Golden Spiderwort

Golden Spiderwort
Tradescantia x andersoniana 'Sweet Kate'
(trad-es-KAN-tee-uh) (an-der-soh-nee-AH-na)

‘Sweet Kate’ has been a real pleasure to have in the garden. Contrary to my experience with most other Spiderworts this one seems to form more of a clump than a sprawling mass. The color combination of the purple flowers with the gold foliage is eye catching and I like it better than I thought originally. This plant is located with a little shade and it almost glows when the light is hitting it right. If it gets a little tired looking later in the season a quick haircut will refresh it.

Spiderwort is considered a weed by a lot of gardeners for good reason. It can become invasive but 'Sweet Kate’ will have a place in my gardens anytime. The little bit of orange in the background of this pic is from a giant Exbury Azalea that is totally covered with blooms this year. All together the bed yields quite a splash of color with the combination of the Azalea and Golden Spiderwort.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cardinal Columbine

Red Columbine
Aquilegia 'Cardinal'

This red Columbine was a very nice sight to see. The darkness of the red combined with the white and yellowwas stunning. ‘Cardinal’ is part of the Songbird series of Columbine, which is known for its bright colors and large, long lasting flowers. One thing I noticed about ‘Cardinal’ was the flowers were held a little more upright than most Columbines. That made viewing and picture taking a lot easier.

These flowers are fairly adaptable to grow in the garden. Ideally they like morning sun but a little shade during the hottest part of the day. They do not like to dry out but do not need constant watering. If happy they will self seed and for me the mother plants usually only last a year or two but the planting can develop into a nice group over a couple of years.

See more spring flowers from all over the world at Today’s Flowers .

Just for fun and the fact that it is Flowers from Today here is a shot of a flat of Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) that we purchased. It sure smelled good.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Korean Sun Pear

Korean Sun Pear
Pyrus fauriei ‘Korean Sun’
(PY-russ) (FAU-ree-eye)
Synonym: Pyrus calleryana 'Fauriei', Flowering Pear

The naming of this plant is a little confusing. For this post this is what it said on the plant tag but after looking it up I realized it seemed to have several names. This particular tree was bought this spring as a small 10 gallon pot sized specimen to replace a Bradford Pear that had completely fallen apart last winter. It really had a lot of flowers for a young tree and the foliage was a nice glossy green with just a tinge of red. It has already grown a little this spring. We are looking forward to a good show in the fall as most Pear trees provide great fall color.

The genus name comes from the ancient name for Pear and the species is named after L'Abbé Urbain Jean Faurie. A well known 19th century botanist from Japan and Korea.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pink Morn Petunia

Opera Supreme Pink Morn Petunia
Petunia grandiflora ‘Opera Supreme Pink Morn’

After last year’s epic battle with slugs I swore we wouldn’t use any Petunias this year. This cultivar caught my eye at the nursery and it looked so cheerful and colorful that I had to have some. Normally, as a professional, I can resist impulse buys but also know that sometimes impulse buying can really liven up the garden. We will see how these do and what the slug population is this year. There was one other type of Petunia that caught my eye and there will probably be a post about them soon.

The label included with ‘Pink Morn’ says grows in part shade but in my experience they do much better in this climate with full sun. It also said it didn’t need to have the spent flowers removed, which most Petunias these days are like. In the old days they had to be deadheaded to be effective bloomers and it seems that habit has been bred out of them. I did read that these Petunias are specially bred for vertical growing, like hanging baskets, but can be effective for bedding too (whew). I lucked out on that. Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hybrid Tea Rose ‘Brandy’

Hybrid Tea Rose ‘Brandy’

This rose was one of the new ones planted in the big rose garden at the horse farm. I am glad some of the glow came through with the photograph. There was one flower on the bush as we planted it and really stood out amongst the other roses. First is the color, which is dreamy, and second is the size and structure of the flowers. Wow. Hopefully it will continue to bloom and produce a lot of flowers.

Here is the lowdown on ‘Brandy’:

Registration name: AROcad
Breeder: Swim and Christensen
Introduction: 1981
Parentage: First Prize X Golden Wave
Awards: 1982 AARS Award winner
Petal Count: 26-40 petals
Fragrance: Yes, mild tea

I thought the fragrance was really nice and a little stronger than mild. We will be watching how ‘Brandy’ performs in the garden and will report back because that is ultimately what is important. It could be the best looking rose ever and if it is hard to grow that takes a lot of the magic out it.

Here is the short list (forgot some) of roses we added this year. It is based on what was available not necessarily what we wanted. You can see there is a mixture of types and colors. Bring on the summer and the insects and diseases :lol:

‘Pat Austin’
‘Gertrude Jekyll’
‘Graham Thomas’
‘Cinco De Mayo’
‘Fourth of July’
‘Mr. Lincoln’
‘Lime Sublime’
‘Gina Lollobrigida’
‘Rainbow Sorbet’
‘Rhapsody in Blue’
‘Burgundy Iceberg’
‘Blushing Knock out’
‘Liv Tyler’
‘Queen Mary 2’
‘Carefree Celebration’
‘Peach Drift’

We are trying a few what I would call ‘untraditional’ rose types in the garden this year. The owner is looking to cut down on the after winter replacements. If they don’t work they will be moved somewhere else on the large property.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tulip and Perennial Forget-Me-Nots

Tulip and Perennial Forget-Me-Nots
Variegated Siberian Bugloss
Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost'
Synonym: False Forget-Me-Not

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Graffiti Pink Exotic Geranium

Exotic Geranium
Geranium 'Graffiti Pink'
Pelargonium x hortorum
(pe-lar-GO-nee-um) (hor-TOR-um)

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Guinea Impatiens

New Guinea Impatiens
Impatiens x hybrida ‘Sonic Sweet Orange’
Synonyms: Impatiens hawkeri

Since the New Guinea Impatiens did well last year they have moved up to take a larger role in one of the mass annual plantings we do every year. This is one of the colors we are using. The plant itself is compact growing to about 12 to 18 inches tall and it has that slightly reddish dark foliage. The darker foliage sets of the brightly colored flowers well. Making up these large plantings is always a bit worrisome and is carefully balanced on what we want and what is available. Hopefully ‘Sonic Sweet Orange’ will play its role without too much trouble. I have found it virtually impossible to get the full sized regular Impatiens these days but the New Guineas seem readily available.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Three Yellow Flowers

Three Yellow Flowers
Osteospermum ecklonis ‘Lemon Margarita’
(oss-tee-oh-SPUR-mum) (ek-LON-iss)
Synonyms: Spoon Daisy

At the nurseries yesterday I snapped a few pictures and I noticed later reviewing the photos that were a lot of yellow flowers. This Osteospermum was an odd color. Since there was a whole bench of them it almost looked like a brown flower. Is that even a flower color? Even with the bit of an odd color they looked nice all blooming together and this genus usually always appears graceful. They didn’t make it into the truck has I have had some hot weather problems with them.

This unknown rose was a beautiful color yellow. Really rich. Too bad it was in the shade a little when photographed. This flower was actually on a rose tree, which seems to be making a come back after vanishing from the wholesale trade around here for a few years. It was too expensive so that stayed at the nursery too.

Lantana camara ‘Chapel Hill Yellow’
(lan-TAN-a) (kuh-MAR-uh)

This is actually a plant that we bought yesterday. It was still inside the large greenhouse and was shining among the sea of green from the other plants. It is a cross between Miss Huff and New Gold. The Monrovia site said that it is hardy to 0 deg. F when established but I don’t believe it. Most other Lantanas are rated much warmer. I like growing Lantana because it doesn’t need much care (in water), comes in a nice range of colors and the animals don’t really like to eat it. If the growing conditions are right it can spread nicely over rough areas.

See more spring flowers from all over the world at Today’s Flowers .

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pink Knock out Shrub Rose

Shrub Rose
Rosa 'Pink Knockout'
Synonyms: RADcon

Today we are visiting 5 nurseries to try and get all of the stuff we need for the upcoming week, which for us is one of the biggest weeks of the season. ‘Pink Knockout’ roses are definitely on the list as are ‘Blushing’ Knock out. Yesterday I saw some ‘Double Pink Knockout’ roses and they are beautiful but they had been trained into a tree, which was not what I was looking for.

“Knock out’ Roses may end up taking over the rose world and my experience has been good with them so far. They are a trendy item but I do think that they are going to be here to stay. The disease resistance they show is reason enough to grow them and I often tell customers that while you are sacrificing some of the flower form (against hybrid tea type of rose) you are easily making it up with ease of growing and free flowering habit.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Alwin Fuchsia

Fuchsia ‘Alwin’

This is one of the hanging baskets we picked up yesterday. It isn’t as showy as some of the purple/red types but looked nice in a traditional sort of way. It is stashed in the greenhouse tonight and probably over the weekend in case of cold temperatures. There are no frost or freeze warnings but for the amount of money the annuals cost I would rather not take any chances. Everything is going to start getting planted on Monday and that will be a happy day. Tomorrow will put everything outside for a day of acclimation but it is going indoors over the weekend. The greenhouse is being kept cool this time of year but the heat is on as a back up.

Fuchsia flowers always amaze me. I can recall many times of ‘popping’ the buds during my youth. Back then it is hard to remember if that messed up the flower afterwards. Just for old time sake I did pop a couple on ‘Alwin’. There isn’t whole lot of information on ‘Alwin’ available in English (mostly Dutch, I think). It appears to have been introduced in 1976. The plant tag was no help so we will just treat it like a stock type of Fuchsia. This includes planting or hanging in shade and being kept well-watered and fed. We are not lucky to consider this plant a perennial (some types are hardy) and treat it like an annual. I usally try and clean up the spent flowers once or twice a week and will pinch any errant growth to promote bushiness.

This is a bud picture of ‘Alwin’. My camera fogged up a bit before taking it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sunny Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera Daisy
Gerbera jamesonii 'Festival Yellow’
(GER-ber-uh) (jay-mess-OWN-ee-eye)
Synonyms: Transvaal Daisy, African Daisy

Some people might have noticed a few changes around here over the last few days. This blog has finally upgraded to the new (now old) layout type of page from blogger. I have been trying to tweak it a little here and there but will have more time to work on it this weekend. The upgrade was fairly painless except copying the links but there was probably an easier way to do that. Any suggestions to help make the new layout better will gladly be accepted.

Yesterday was a cold, raw, rainy and windy day around here. By happenstance it was really the first time this season I felt some creative spark to get a few pictures. Since I had to visit a couple of nurseries for annuals that worked out too. I was happy that I went, as the two big wholesale nurseries were already getting low on plants. Although they swore that they were growing about the same amount of material as last year I didn’t think so. Lucky they did have the 16 dozen double Impatiens I needed. This Gerber reminded me of the sun and we need more sun in this area. The high temperature was around 50F and it is usually 70 at this time of year.

Gerbers are special flowers probably one of the more refined and regal looking Daisies to me. They seem to be an easy genus to get a good picture of and have been featured on Digital Flower Pictures many times. The nursery had a range of the Festival series colors and I thought they were all beautiful. Here is a link to Park seed’s Festival page. I think I will try a few in the garden this year. Hopefully the can stand up to the summer heat.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

Painted Ladies

Painted Lady
Gladiolus carneus
(GLAD-ee-oh-lus) (KAR-nee-us)
Synonym: G. blandus, Bergpypie

This flower is the first Gladiolus featured in the 1,343 posts on this blog. You just don’t see these flowers as often as you used to. This species is from South Africa however it will grow outside in Zone 8 and above here in the United States. The colors are just gorgeous and at 12 to 18 inches tall it seemed refined and handsome. They can also be cultivated inside in pots.

Yellow Grape Hyacinth
Muscari macrocarpum
(mus-KAR-ee) (ma-kro-KAR-pum)

Another not too often seen bulb is Yellow Muscari, which actually starts off purple and then turns yellow. Us northern gardeners can grow this out in the garden as it rated to USDA Zone 5 (most people recommend a coat of mulch in Zone 5). There is a fragrant type called ‘Golden Fragrance’ but I am not sure if this it.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Canary Island Broom

Canary Island Broom
Genista canariensis

This is a plant that is native to the Canary islands. Most Americans haven’t had the pleasure of visiting this small chain of volcanic islands located about 100km from the west coast of Morocco. They are very popular with European vacationers. When we visited in 2000 I found the island’s diverse plant population very interesting and have longed to return ever since. There doesn’t seem to be any direct flights from the US anymore and that is a bit of a damper on returning.

Most Brooms (the hardy types) are difficult to cultivate around here. In flower they are amazing especially the red flowered types. They seem to do well for a few years and then peter out. The Canary Island Broom is a little different having to be brought indoors during Connecticut’s winter. It can sustain in winter temperatures of 35 degrees F and higher outside making it USDA Zone 10 or higher. Indoors or out it needs cool night temperatures to produce its bright yellow fragrant flowers in late winter early spring.

While this plant is native to the Canary Islands or the Islas Canarias it has been exported to Europe and the United States were it is becoming naturalized in some areas.

For a brief look at the fascinating history and geography of the Canary Island here is a link to the Wikipedia page.

See more flowers from all over the world at Today’s Flowers .

Friday, May 07, 2010

Evergreen Candytuft Purity

Evergreen Candytuft
Iberis sempervirens 'Purity'
(eye-BEER-is) (sem-per-VY-renz)

This plant is always nice to see in the early spring. It is wonderful for edging and the rock garden. It is extremely hardy but doesn’t like to be wet in the winter. Once established it can survive in hot and dry areas. There used to be several in the garden only a few survive today because of the deer. They seem to particularly relish this plant for some reason. This plant should be sheared immediately after flowering to promote bushiness and to remove the unattractive berries.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Floribunda Rose ‘Cinco de Mayo’

Floribunda Rose ‘Cinco de Mayo
Synonyms: Celebration Time, Wekcobeju

Breeder: Tom Carruth, US, 2006
Introduced: Weeks Wholesale Rose Growers, 2009
Petal Count: 17-25 petals
Parentage: Topsy Turvy × Julia Child

I know I am a day late with this rose picture. This is one of the new roses for the big rose garden we tend to. The color is unusual and not quite perfectly rendered here. What is missing is the almost translucent effect the flowers have which kind of sheds an interesting orangey light on the rest off the plant also some of the dustiness of the flower didn’t come through. This rose slightly reminds me a bit of ‘Hot Cocoa’, which is one rose I given up trying to grow for more than one year (it never seems to winter over). The owner liked this rose, which in the end is all that counts. It looked a little funny as every rose we added had a lot of buds or flowers and glossy foliage while the original roses were still shaking off the winter with only a few buds. It was quite a contrast. I am under strict orders to have the garden looking good on July 11th for a celebrity Garden Party.

‘Cinco de Mayo’ won the AARS Award in 2009. See this post as to what makes a winner. One of ‘Cinco de Mayo’ parents ‘Julia Child’ won the award in 2006. We also got the only winner for 2010, ‘Easy Does It’ and I am sure there will be some photos of that one this summer. It is unusual, especially in this day and age to only have one winner for the year.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Blue Rhododendron

Blue Rhododendron
Rhododendron polycladum Blue Diamond

This little leaf Rhododendron was blooming at the nursery. Somebody was buying the last three so there was no impulse to buy one although the blue color was alluring. I am glad I didn’t get one as later research indicated a hardiness of Zone 7, which is one zone warmer than where I was thinking of putting it.

I was able to get some of the replacement rose bushes that are needed in the big rose garden. I will publish the list soon. Not too many nurseries around here seem to sell the Hybrid Teas and Floribundas anymore. Everything is geared to the landscape, Austin, and carpet roses these days.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Weeping Texas Redbud

Weeping Texas Redbud
Cercis canadensis var. texensis 'Traveler'
Click Here for a Larger Version

This was a new variation on the Weeping Redbud Craze for me. The tree seems to be like the regular Weepers that you see but the price was almost double ($595 US) for a 6-foot high tree with a reasonable crown. Redbuds always invoke a little bit of an up and down feeling in the garden. When blooming they are a fabulous splash of color on the down side the ones I have managed have been weak wooded and mostly uncooperative and often have a very long period of decline before dying. The heart shaped leaves are nice however the craggy winter outline is less than desirable. I think they are good specimen to use on the edge of the woods where they can fade in and out of prominence instead of using them as a focal point. There is a small commercial development near my house that planted redbuds in their parking lot last year. Half of them died this spring and the some of the others have a lot of dead wood in them and as usual the others look great with a lot of flowers.

See more spring flowers from all over the world at Today’s Flowers .

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Golden Barberry

Golden Barberry
Berberis 'Golden Carousel'
Synonyms: Bailsel

The flowers on this plant are almost insignificant as they are just about the same color as the foliage. They do add a little pizzazz to the plant in the spring and look nice against the reddish new growth. The red on the leaves does fade to yellow and is most pronounced during the spring. The fall color is great, like most Barberries, a good mixture of orange, red and yellow.

When I got ‘Golden Carousel’ I didn’t know too much about it except that it was $10 more per plant than the regular Golden Barberry. I now know that it is a hybrid between Korean and Japanese barberry species. The premium turned out to be worth it as ‘Golden Carousel’ has turned into a handsome shrub. Its final height is listed, as 4 to 6 feet and I have been able to keep it to 4 feet over 12 years. It has a strong vertical growth habit that makes it an interesting accent in the garden. It also appears to be deer resistant, as it hasn’t been browsed in a heavily populated area. All in all it is a nice shrub that can find its own niche in your garden lighting up a corner with its bold foliage color. Plant in full sun for best color although in part shade it still looks good with more of a lime green color.