Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blue Globe Thistle

Blue Globe Thistle
Echinops ritro
(EK-in-ops) (RIH-tro)

Since this plant was blooming at work but I didn’t have my camera I decided to reach into the archives for this macro of the flower. It was taken July 25, 2005 with my Nikon Coolpix 5400. The camera is still kicking around all though I haven’t used it in quite a while. The fact that it had an articulating viewing screen was helpful and a lot of fun. In general it is a good camera that has the ability to be set up fully manual if you want.

The Blue Globe Thistle has turned into a nice patch of flowers in a tough area. It does kind of have a unique appearance and since it is tall might be nice to have in the back of the border but it certainly can stand on its own also. One nice thing is it appears to be deer proof and the other animals don’t seem to like it either. It is easy to maintain only requiring deadheading after flowering and the cleaning of the foliage in the spring.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Dinnerplate Dahlia

Dinnerplate Dahlia
Dahlia 'Kelvin Floodlight'

The Dahlias are really starting to bloom. The heat roughed them up a bit but most of them made it through it okay. ‘Kelvin Floodlight’ is an old cultivar (introduced in 1959) and a personal favorite. The flowers are literally huge getting up to 12 inches across. The color is a deep yellow that really shines when the sun hits it. It is usually easy to snag a good picture of this Dahlia since it seems to have its own lighting system. This is one Dahlia that pinching off the side buds has resulted in larger flowers.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hosta Flowers

Hosta Flowers

It has been a while since the picture posted here was taken the day before. I had a quick run around the garden yesterday with the D70 and 24mm/1.8 Sigma lens and got this picture of an unidentified Hosta variety. Hostas usually doesn’t get to bloom in this garden because the deer and rabbits pretty much reduce it to a few stalks by the time it is suppose to bloom. They didn’t get his one this time as it is under the deck with a few leaves and flowers poking out. The flowers are nothing special on Hosta in IMO. There are a few fragrant varieties that are nice but for me it is all about the foliage.

In my low-key project to shoot pictures of a few NYC landmarks this summer here is the United Nations Building on the east side of Manhattan. Here is the story of the complex from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

Harlequin Bigleaf Hydrangea

Bigleaf Hydrangea
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Harlequin'
(hy-DRAIN-juh) (mak-roh-FIL-uh)
Synonyms: 'Sensation 75', ‘Buttons 'n Bows’

It was a pleasant surprise to find this Hydrangea blooming in the back of a perennial border I signed up to take care of this year. Until it bloomed it had the appearance of a regular type although, upon reflection, it was growing a little thin and wispy. Since the flowers are a strong pink the garden must have alkaline soil. Like most French Hydrangeas if the soil is acid the flowers turn blue. This plant is certainly a bit of a novelty but can stand on its own. A 1967 German introduction Harlequin reaches about 36 inches tall, which is a little more compact than most macrophylla Hydrangea. It blooms on one year old wood so be careful when you prune it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Today's Flower - Swan River Daisy

Swan River Daisy
Brachyscome 'Happy Face Pink'
Synonyms: ‘Jumbo Mauve’

This is an annual that we have enjoyed growing in containers for the last several years. It always seems to fill its spot and blooms continuously. You don’t see it that often for sale but luckily one grower near us always has a small crop. This is the first year for growing the ‘jumbo’ type and the flowers are much larger but the habit seems about the same.

Brachyscome is a genus of about 75 species mostly from Australia. Generally it is an adaptable and easy to grow flower that can grow under a wide range of conditions and garden situations (containers, rock garden, seashore). This particular species is named after the Swan River in Western Australia .. Some of the other species have interesting common names like Swamp Daisy (B. basaltica), Grass Daisy (B. graminea), Tufted Daisy (B. scapigera) and Snow Daisy (B. nivalis). I haven’t seen any of those for sale but would try them if I did.

See more flowers from all over the world at Today’s Flowers .
Since it is Sunday and that means Flowers from Today here is a bonus flower picture. It is another homegrown one.

Yellow Foxglove
Digitalis grandiflora
Synonyms: Digitalis orientalis, Digitalis ambigua

This plant is a biennial for the most part. I have been encouraging its seeding around the garden especially in the shady areas. It seems to be able to take both dry and moist soil although it prefers the latter. The seeding program is easy, just crushing the seed pods and sprinkling the seed around the plant and occasionally moving it to new areas. When the seed finds an area it likes it flourishes. This one is a little close to my heart, literally, since I take a dose of Digoxin everyday for my heart condition.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Oriental Lily

Oriental Lily
Lilium cv.

I was just about to make a post about the summer doldrums in the garden when I came across this gaggle of beauties blooming at work. It was especially nice to see them since the bulbs had been rescued from underneath the Hydrangeas in the background of this picture. You could smell these Lilies from a long way off and the blast of color was certainly welcomed. Right now there isn’t a lot blooming no that the ‘Nikko Blue’ Hydrangea are starting to fade. The paniculata type of Hydrangeas are starting to come on and there are a few Daylilies still blooming. The heat and dryness has made many of the other flowers a little shy at this point.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Red Cestrum

Red Cestrum
Cestrum elegans
(SES-trum) (ELL-eh-ganz)
Synonyms: Cestrum purpureum

When this picture was taken it was one of times that I didn’t know what the name of the flower was but figured that later it would be easy to identify and learn a little about it. It really took a while this time as the date was January 12, 2009. This file was found as I continue to try and organize my hard drive and get rid of unwanted photos.

As I remember it this was a nice plant with a little bit of a rangy habit but nice color. The flowers were almost more sophisticated than the plant. It is a native of Mexico and is quite tender having to be brought indoors in Zones 8 and lower. Cestrum can grow large (3 meters tall) and likes light shade or full sun. It can tolerate some drought but will bloom better if watered regularly. This plant is useful in attracting butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.

Thursday, July 22, 2010



To go along with my intense desire to revisit Hawaii, which was especially tugging at my heart when I drove by the line of private jets lined up at Westchester County Airport, I decided to go through some photos from our last visit in February. This waterlily, while small in size, was filling up a little tabletop water garden. All it needed was a couple of miniature Koi to make it perfect. Not sure but think this picture is from The Sacred Garden of Maliko located in Makawao. It is a very cool place with lots of orchids and other plants and two big dogs.

Out behind the garden is a little river and despite the warning signs I went for a little hike amongst the colorful rocks in the stream bed. Hiking in Mountain Rivers can be dangerous but the riverbed was completely dry and the rocks looked interesting. While walking along I found this little blue marble. It looked a lot like the earth to me and I wish that I had used a little more concentration on getting the shot.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Red Seedling Daylily

Red Seedling Daylily

Quite happy to have this one show up in e box of seedlings I bought this spring.

For Ruby Tuesday since it kind of Mary’s neighborhood. Rapid Mon and Jockey N. Terracciano in the 4th Race at Belmont Park Queens, New York. Track was fun. Loved they had no apparent photographic restrictions. After ‘my’ horses finished last in three races in a row it was time to go.

Work of the Poet/ Ruby Tuesday

Number 9 (Call Tiger) finishes 8th, only because there was only 8 horses.

Monday, July 19, 2010



Not really sure what type of Hydrangea this one is as it is one of the many plants I take care of that preexisted my tenure as a gardener. The shrub has gotten really big over the years and always yields a lot of blooms.

There are about 70 species of Hydrangeas and quite a few have ornamental purposes. Many cultivars have been developed for the garden including a range of colors, although the most naturally occurring color is white.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Giant Chincherinchee Flower

Giant Chincherinchee
Ornithogalum saundersiae

This is a bulb from South Africa that you don’t see too often growing in the garden but is sometimes available as a cut flower. I have never grown it myself but would like to someday. Since it tender it would have to be lifted out of the ground here every winter and stored in a cool dry place.

Ornithogalums are mostly native to South Africa and Europe. Here is a good reference page of the different species with pictures. Bulb Society dot org. It should be noted that this plant is considered poisonous to both farm amd domestic animals.

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

For a bonus picture here is a Black and White Bee on Butterfly weed.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blue Creeping Speedwell

Creeping Speedwell
Veronica austriaca subsp. teucrium 'Crater Lake Blue'

It is always nice to feature a plant genus that hasn’t been on this blog before. Veronicas have come a long way in the time I have been gardening. There are many nice horticultural types now. This hardy cultivar is nice to have mainly for its almost true blue color. It only blooms for a short period so it is best to plant it somewhere it can kind of fade away gracefully for the rest of the season. We often deadhead it by shearing but that has not produced a second flush of flowers. It can be grown in part shade but looks best in full sun. Not fussy about soil except it doesn’t like wet, poorly drained types. If you like blue flowers this one is exceptional.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Route 66 Threadleaf Coreopsis

Threadleaf Coreopsis
Coreopsis verticillata 'Route 66'
(kor-ee-OP-sis) (ver-ti-si-LAH-tuh)
Synonyms: Hybrid Coreopsis, Tickseed

This was a showy Coreopsis that I spotted at a local nursery. The red and yellow combination actually worked pretty well. This cultivar is a discovered seedling from a Pennsylvania garden. It is quite hardy surviving numerous winters in Zone 5 (minus 20 F) and shows all the usual traits of Coreopsis, which include thriving in poor soils, no serious pest and disease problems and good drought tolerance.

The red eye of he flowers appears variable and is a nice change from the ‘Moonbeam’ types. It seems a little taller at 24 inches but not too floppy. Now that I think of it this plant was also growing at the NYBG in the home gardening area’s Coreopsis collection. It looked attractive there too.

I finally got my rain and it seemed you could almost hear the collective sigh of relief from the gardens. We made it through the hot mini-drought okay but I do know that it can take several months to years for drought damage/stress to show up. Hopefully it won’t be too bad.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Smooth Mountain Prickly Pear

Smooth Mountain Prickly Pear
Opuntia ficus-indica
Synonyms: Indian Fig, Opuntia tuna-blanca

While going over some old files I found this picture of a patch of Thornless Prickly Pear Cactus taken at Jack London State Park in Sonoma, California. There seems to be a lot of confusion about what this plant is actually called so I tried to use the name that had the most references. My research led me to the Wikipedia biography of Luther Burbank an interesting American plant breeder who dreamed of developing the Thornless Cactus for cattle feed. It is still used for that purpose but mainly grown for culinary purposes (fruits).

All Prickly Pear Cactuses are native to the Western hemisphere, although they have now spread around the globe. Mr. Burbank introduced several varieties of the thornless types, which lack the small hairlike thorns, called Glochids, which most of the other 200 species have. The thornless characteristics are controlled by genetics but stressed plants can sometimes grow thorns. There are several species that are cold hardy growing as far north as Canada. The thornless type is thought to be hardy to about 20 degrees F.

To liven up this post with a little color here is a picture of some Prickly Pear fruit that was spotted elsewhere in the park.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Honey And Spice Daylily

Hemerocallis 'Honey And Spice'

This macro photograph doesn’t quite show the variations of yellow and orange that this flower has. It is a shorter, more compact, Daylily that grows to about 24 inches tall. The flowers are a good size and the plant was just covered with them giving a bright and sunny appearance. ‘Honey and Spice’ was introduced in 1992.

It is going to be another hot and dry day here. I have to load the truck with something I normally don’t, extra hoses. The weekend rain never materialized so some of the new plantings and transplants are at risk. We have the chance for some isolated showers this week and I will be hoping some black clouds roll over me.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Decorative Dahlia 'Seattle'

Decorative Dahlia
Dahlia 'Seattle'

The Dahlias are starting to bloom and ‘Seattle’ has made a nice impression. Any Dahlia that has white tips on the flower is all right with me and this one has blended nicely with the dark red/white tip ‘Mystery Day’. ‘Seattle’ seems to have some variations to the flowers including some that go all yellow after a time. Some other of its flowers seem to be more yellow than others. This year, for the Dahlia garden, I bought the tubers and potted them in the greenhouse instead of buying the plants already finished. This will also be the last year that I do that. While it is nice to be able to pick the varieties, as opposed to just taking what the nursery has to offer, it is too difficult to keep them looking good in the greenhouse until planting. Pinching them is an art and the timing has to be just right. Most commercial growers use growth regulators and I really didn’t want to get into that.

‘Seattle’ has a medium sized flower on slightly shorter plants (about 36 inches tall). It was introduced in 1993.

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

Today’s Bonus Flower

Double Petunia
Petunia x hybrida ‘Tumbelina Cherry Ripple’

This Petunia caught my eye at the nursery. It was quite unusual and it turns out to be the first double trailing petunia introduced. Although it is usually used in containers and vertical applications I think it would look nice as a bedding plant too.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Benchmark Daylily

Hemerocallis 'Benchmark'

I had forgotten that the Nikon P6000 had accompanied me down to the NYBG to see the Daylilies so it was a bit of surprise when the card got plugged into the computer. It, as usual, captured some great photos with good color. It was a bit of a chore juggling three cameras now that I think back on it but luckily the P6000 is really small. This first photo is what is considered one of the first daylilies of its color having been introduced in 1980. The lighting appealed to me although the flower was fairly huge and the color was attractive but not as special as some of the daylilies blooming around it.

This next shot is just a partial capture of the Daylily collection. It continues on outside both sides of this picture. It appears to be loosely arranged by color but not entirely. There is a section that is shady and also a little added area that is disconnected from the main walk. Of course there are thousands of Daffodils under the Daylilies. They are all named and feature a nice variety of flowers and are a spectacle in the spring.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Flame Vine

Flame Vine
Pyrostegia venusta
Synonym: Hua Pala

There was a post on this flower earlier in the year. This specimen was seen not in Hawaii like the other one but in a greenhouse in this area. On the picture of the bud I was practicing getting an out of focus background and it worked. The technical term is called ‘bokeh’ and the 105mm lens makes it pretty easy to obtain. The second shot is the flower in full bloom. You can see its orange color is amazing and the vine gets covered with them.

Yesterday I was complaining about the lack of rain around here. It was funny because when I got to work it started to rain. There wasn’t much, guessing about two tenths of an inch, but it was something and you could hear some of the plants uttering a sigh of relief at the moisture. We had to spend most of the morning watering anyway, especially the plants we had recently transplanted. Breaking the rules while gardening is something I have to do fairly regularly (like transplanting during hot weather) but it can definitely catch up with you and it did yesterday as a couple of plants that had been moved were really suffering.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Filbert Scented Geranium

Scented Geranium
Pelargonium 'Concolor Lace'
Synonyms: Shottesham Pet, Filbert Scented Geranium

This flower was still going strong even in the heat wave. The cherry red flowers are small but nicely set against the curly light green foliage. I didn’t pinch it to see if it smelled like filbert and taking this picture yielded no apparent odor from a pretty close vantage point. Here is a link to the gardening guru’s Scented Geranium page . I never knew there were so many types.

This tender perennial seemed to be shrugging off the hot and dry conditions of our Connecticut gardens. Things are so dry it is entering a critical stage now. I saw some weeds that were wilting and even the irrigation systems can’t seem to keep up. No rain is expected until Saturday and even then it is just isolated showers.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Fern-Leaf Yarrow

Fern-Leaf Yarrow
Achillea filipendulina 'Coronation Gold'
(ak-ih-LEE-a) (fil-ip-en-DOO-lin-uh)
Synonyms: Achillea filipendula

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Monday, July 05, 2010

Couple of Black and Whites from the Weekend

Echinacea purpurea

A couple of black and white flowers from the weekend. Shot in monochrome with the D700. Coneflowers aren’t quite blooming in my neighborhood but were out full force 60 miles to the south. This macro is a regular pink type of Coneflower. I am pretty sure that there will be a few new cultivars and types to see this year if history repeats itself. The second shot was an unnamed Asiatic lily. They have really been doing nicely this season.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Little Penny Hybrid Tickseed

Hybrid Tickseed
Coreopsis 'Little Penny'
Synonyms: Threadleaf Coreopsis

Yesterday I was at the New York Botanical Garden to se the Daylily collection. It was, as usual, dazzling and just about in full bloom. It was quite a spectacle the only problem being it was so hot out. After viewing the Daylilies I decided to take a walk through the Home Gardening Garden. This area of the garden has come a long way in the last few years and I was happy to see today’s featured flower.

Coreopsis ‘Little Penny’ appeared to be a cushion mum from far away. It was a mound completely covered with flowers. The color, as you can see, was quite unusual for a Coreopsis. This variety was introduced by Terra Nova Nurseries in 2010. The link shows some of the interesting varieties they have been breeding (the click through on that page seemed to be disabled, sorry). I would love to grow some ‘Little Penny’ but all the references I saw say it is tender in all but Zone 9 and 10, which are the warmest in the United States. It still would be a worthy annual especially if it blooms, as advertised, continuously through the season. I don’t think you could have fit another flower on the specimens I saw.

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

Here is a bonus flower for Sunday.

Upright Prairie Coneflower
Ratibida columnifera
(ruh-TIB-ih-duh) (kol-um-NEE-fer-uh)
Synonyms: Mexican Hats, Grey Headed Coneflower, Yellow Coneflower, Red Hats

This is a fun flower. I call it ‘Mexican Hat’ but its true name is Upright Prairie Coneflower. It is a bit of a wispy plant that doesn’t require a lot of attention. It is probably something I am doing but I can’t get it to last more than a couple of years at a time. Like most prairie wildflowers it is drought resistant and adaptable.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Two Sues Hybrid Daylily

Hemerocallis 'Two Sues'

This was an interesting Daylily that I came across. The flowers were huge and the colors are difficult to describe, although it definitely had an orangey/red thing going on. ‘Two Sues’ was bred by Curt Hanson and introduced in 2005. I have the feeling it will be around for a long time.

A daylily seemed appropriate for today as I am leaving soon to take some Daylily pictures at the NYBG. I am debating if I should take 3 cameras or just 2. The system of having the 105mm on one camera and the much wider 24mm on another seems to work well but I will probably have the point and shoot P6000 with me also. Sometimes having too much gear can complicate things but what the heck.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Lavender Lady Flowering Banana

Flowering Banana
Musa ornata 'Lavender Lady'
(MEW-suh) (or-NAH-tuh)
Synonyms: Ornamental Banana

This Banana was growing at the Cleveland Botanical Garden and the flower color was striking. I love the way Bananas add a touch of tropical flair to our northern gardens. We have several at work but they grow in containers where these were planted in the ground. ‘Lavender Lady’ even looked like it was going to reward its cultivators with a crop of fruit.

There was no reference to this cultivar on Google and it is not too often that a plant stumps that search engine. Luckily I had taken a picture of the sign to properly id it. Like most Americans I am looking forward to the long holiday weekend.

These pictures were taken with the D700 and Nikon 105mm VR macro lens.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Caudiciform Morning Glory
Ipomoea platensis
(ip-oh-MEE-a) (pla-TEN-sis)
Synonyms: Plata Ipomoea

This was a new flower for me. It was growing in a container and the vine part of the plant had grown to about 10 feet tall on its trellis. One of the interesting parts was its large and swollen caudex (the thickened persistent stem base of some herbaceous perennial plants). The way it had intertwined itself was amazing. This native of Argentina uses the water storage tissue in its caudex to survive extended droughts. The flowers were pretty with their two shades of pink and ruffled appearance. The foliage was nice too. You can see a little peeking in the side of the photo.

I have recently been struggling in how to write the story of the last member of the ‘Big Three’ that passed away last week. First I want to say that both of my dogs are okay. Both Ruby and Juno are doing fine. This is about someone else’s dog. During the 1990’s there was a lot of construction at the Estate. Not only were a lot of the gardens built then there was a lot of building construction at the same time. Almost everyday we would bring our dog, Molly, to work. There was also the caretaker’s dog, Garlic and the owner’s dog, Lily. These three dogs got along very well. They would often be hunting, digging (ugh) or just hanging out together. I don’t think I have ever seen dogs from different families enjoying each others company as much as these three did. We would often have Garlic and Lily over for sleepovers.

Molly (l) and Garlic
Photos courtesy of Conley Myers


It was one of those times in life when everything seemed to be just right and the three dogs just added to that. Molly would get so excited in the morning because she would know that she would be running around in with Garlic. All I had to say to her was “do you have your hard hat and lunch bucket?” and all hell would break loose. Three exceptional dogs, all gone now, that made a mark on my life and will never be forgotten.