Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Some D70s Shots

Some D70s Shots

After dragging my backup camera around during our California get away I ended up taking about 30 shots with it. The plan was to keep the Sigma 24mm/1.8 lens on the D70 to have a wide-angle lens available all the time. I don’t really like to change lenses in the field but will do it when necessary. The D70 hadn’t made it into the bag for quite some time (there were some pictures from Manhattan from July on the card) and it is funny because I often forget the nuances of the settings and capabilities of a camera if it is not used regularly. This time it was that the lens flares really bad in bright sunlight and that ruined about half of the shots. Both the D70 and Sigma are good pieces of equipment and I am happy to have both. For the entire trip the Nikon 60mm lens stayed on the D700, which is a little odd but I didn’t feel like changing.

The first picture is a yellow Daylily that was blooming at Greystone Mansion in Beverley Hills. It is now a city park that has a great location and extensive gardens. A lot of films and TV shows have been shot there so it had kind of familiar feeling to it. Almost as nice as the park was the drive we had around the neighborhood afterwards. There was some quite amazing housing and views to see. There were Daylilies blooming all over the area and I am assuming that they were reblooming at that point. The 24mm does do a fairly nice macro doesn’t it?

Bougainvillea ‘La Jolla’

This picture is from the same camera/lens combination. You can see the polarizer really kicked in although the sky was an amazing shade of blue. This particular Bougainvillea seemed to be the cultivar that was blooming the most at that time. There were a few other colors but this show stopping red was a standout. I just tried to rescue a Bougainvillea at work but think it was a little too late. We will try potting it up tomorrow and hope that just the foliage was damaged by frost. They don’t do great inside over the winter but do survive and sometimes put on a good show.

This final D70s picture is from the harbor at Avalon, California on Catalina Island. The boat was swinging in to pick up the massive exodus off the island on Sunday afternoon. The 22-mile trip out in the morning featured a smooth ride and at one point 100’s of Porpoises jumping and swimming alongside the boat. The building on the right is the Catalina Casino.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Variegated Impatiens

Variegated Impatiens
Impatiens walleriana ‘Peaches and Cream’
(im-PAY-shuns) (wall-er-ee-AH-nuh)

The color combination on this annual was stunning. It was spotted in the conservatory at Wave Hill Gardens in the Bronx. There are not a lot of references to this plant on the Internet. Only one site had plugs for sale and they described it as ‘heirloom’, ‘old’ and ‘hard to find’. ‘Peaches and Cream’ would certainly spice up any planting of Impatiens. In the past we have grown a lot of variegated Impatiens but they are always have white and green leaves.

Wow, it dropped down to 17 degrees (F) here last night, which has to be the coldest night this season. It should rebound nicely to the low 50’s but it is going to be difficult getting going in the garden this morning.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Southern Island Mallow

Southern Island Mallow
Lavatera assurgentiflora ssp. Glabra
(lav-uh-TEER-uh) (as-sur-jen-tih-FLOR-uh)

This is an extremely rare flower that is native to Santa Catalina Island and Santa Barbara County. I go this picture by hanging my camera over the wire cage that was protecting it from the deer and Bison on the island. I don’t even want to think what kind of damage a herd of Bison could do to the garden. Like a lot of the Lavateras this flower was striking with its stripes and color pattern. While we saw so many interesting flowers on our trip to California this one was the best.

There isn’t a lot of information available for this plant however I did find this blurb about Catalina endemic plants at this website:

Catalina endemic plants are species that occur naturally on Catalina Island and nowhere else in the world. A restricted (endemic) island distribution may result from the gradual elimination of a species on the mainland and its persistence on the isolated island(s), where the threat of extinction may be less.

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

Since it is Sunday here is a bonus California flower. It is a rich rose hailing from Beverly Hills. I think it is ‘Iceberg’ but not really sure.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bigleaf Hydrangea

Bigleaf Hydrangea
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Madame Emile Mouillere'
(hy-DRAIN-juh) (mak-roh-FIL-uh)
Synonyms: French Hydrangea, Sedgewick's White

I am not sure what happened to this Hydrangea this summer but it should have bloomed white. It may have been that this flower is aging with a little pink or the plant itself was mismarked. Having inherited this Hydrangea I am not sure if it was bought from a reliable source. The plant exhibits many of the characteristics of 'Madame Emile Mouillere' including the spindly branches and good cold hardiness and an excellent mix of fall colors. Even if the color wasn’t pure white we did enjoy the amount of flowers this shrub produced.

Growing Hydrangeas is something we are called on to do in almost every garden we care for. It really comes down to how cold the winter is here for the final outcome the next summer. I don’t believe in covering or wrapping a lot of plants but will add some mulch if the species is borderline hardy. The one trick for Hydrangea is the pruning schedule, don’t do it too late.

I have a gig at a local coffee house tonight. It should be fun. Here are some of the songs I have been learning (or relearning) over the last couple of days:

Let it Rain
- Eric Clapton

– Jerry Garcia Band (I am singing those two)

City of New Orleans
- Arlo Guthrie

Sister Golden Hair
- America

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pink Chinese Dogwood

Pink Chinese Dogwood
Cornus kousa
(KOR-nus) (KOO-suh)

This tree has been in full bloom for the last couple of weeks. For those not familiar with Dogwoods they are supposed to bloom in the spring. This is the first time I have ever seen one blooming like this in the fall. They have Christmas lights on it now and it is also in full fall color. Originally I thought that maybe it was newly planted and some how been forced to flower now but that really doesn’t make any sense.

Plants and the botanical world continue to amaze me even after all this time working with them. I had to sneak into the parking lot of a jewelry store to grab these pictures. If the tree flowers again next fall I will have to try and get a few cutting or seeds from it. It might start a revolution.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tree Dahlia

Tree Dahlia
Dahlia imperialis
(DAHL-ya) (im-peer-ee-AL-is)

This monster perennial remains elusive and isn’t grown as much as it should be. This one was spotted in Southern California where the weather is mild enough for the November/December blooming time. This specimen was about 12 to 15 feet tall and didn’t have any stakes but some support is usually a good idea especially in windy areas. The flowers point downward, which is nice to see the detail and I was lucky to see a side shoot that had flowers low enough to photograph.

Happy Thanksgiving to the Americans. We are looking forward to having friends and family over today for a meal of turducken. I certainly have a lot to be thankful for this year so it is special. During the afternoon there will be a few moments when I am stealing away to my office to learn some songs for the gig on Saturday night.

This second shot is shown to provide a little scale for the Tree Dahlia. They are huge!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Miniature Rose

Miniature Rose
Rosa 'Puppy Love'
Synonyms: SAVapup

‘Puppy Love’ is a beautifully blended mini rose. The flowers go along with the mini part but the bush is quite large growing up to 4.5 feet tall and quite wide. This one was spotted out in California but it would certainly find a place in my garden if it were available. The lightly scented flowers have 23 petals and it blooms throughout the season. The flowers produce a nice tapestry of colors when aging on the bush. Ernest W. Schwartz (U,S.) bred this rose in 1978 from a parentage of Zorina × Seedling.

I hope everyone is getting ready for the big holiday week in the United States. It is a special time of year here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Spotted Hawkweed

Spotted Hawkweed
Hieracium spilophaeum 'Leopard'
(hi-er-uh-KEE-um) (spee-lo-FAY-um)
Synonyms: Hieracium maculatum

This post was originally going to be about some of the flowers I saw last week in Southern California but yesterday on a quick trip to Manhattan I decided to stop at the Conservatory Garden in Central park and on the way home Wave Hill in the Bronx. The Central Park garden was finished for the year. There were a few flowers if one looked hard for them but even most of the fall foliage had come down. It did yield the bonus picture for today.

Unusual mottled foliage of Hawkweed

The cute little yellow daisy was growing in a stonewall at Wave Hill. I hadn’t seen Spotted Hawkweed for so many years I forgotten about it. The flowers usually bloom in the summer but there were several out yesterday. I have always wanted this blog to feature flower pics that I had shot the day before and I lived up to that today. Wave Hill had a couple of other flowers out in the garden and as always the conservatory yielded some interesting blooms.

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

Today’s bonus picture is a tree not a flower.

Sassafras albidum
(SASS-uh-frass) (AL-bi-dum)
Synonyms: Tea Tree, Mitten Tree, Cinnamonwood

This is a fun native tree to me although some people find it a bit invasive. We are always trying to encourage them to grow at the estate with mixed results. It is difficult to buy from nurseries because of the long taproot but a few places are now offering container specimens. The fall color is lovely and if you look at the leaves hard you can find three distinct shapes growing on one tree. The leaves and roots have medicinal value for a variety of ailments but should be used with caution.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Caramel Fairy Tale Floribunda Rose

Caramel Fairy Tale Floribunda Rose
Synonyms: Caramella, Reminiscence, Korkinteral

This rose has been a pleasure to have in the garden. The bush gets quite large (6 to 7 feet tall) and seems to have a good number of blooms throughout the season. One thing I particularly like about it is the high degree of disease resistance. The only thing missing is a heavy scent. The color is officially yellow but the flowers have quite bit of pink in them. They do fade to mostly yellow but the colors before that are beautiful. This rose is on my recommend list.

Bred by: W. Kordes & Sons in Germany, 2001
Introduced by: Palatine Roses, 2007
Petal Count: 40+

This second picture is an unknown rose that I saw in Southern California. It was in the big rose garden at South Coast Botanical Gardens but didn’t have a sign that was visible. A hybrid tea by the looks of it and by the size of the flower with an unusual dusky yellow color. I would really be hard pressed to describe the color to someone and it is only partially represented here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Skywatch-Marina Del Rey

Skywatch-Marina Del Rey

Since I haven’t done a Skywatch Friday in a long time I thought I would show these two shots from Marina Del Rey. When in Los Angeles this is the area we usually stay in. All the boats are fascinating and it is easy to get to other places around town or the airport.

While in California this last time I was experimenting with a cheap neutral density filter that was purchased a long time ago but never used. Part of the reason it was brought along on this trip was for lens protection although with the 60mm/2.8 Nikon lens it isn’t really necessary since the front elements are recessed quite a bit from the outside edge of the front of the lens. The filter worked really well giving great color with just a hint of lost sharpness. The only problem was it was more apt to underexposure, which is kind of my Achilles heel of photography. I will be looking into purchasing a higher quality model.

The first photo was taken from our tenth floor balcony right after sunset and the second one was shot at dock level along the walkway.

Marina Del Rey, California from Wikipedia

Skywatch Friday

Neutral Density Filter from Michigan Tech

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Final Chrysanthemum

Final Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum morifolium
(kris-AN-the-mum) (mor-ee-FOH-lee-um)

It was nice to see this beauty blooming yesterday. The rain, wind, snow and sleet had not beaten it down or taken its spirit. It was still a blaze of color in an otherwise drab and dank landscape. This one is especially impressive since this mum had lived over from being planted in the fall of 2009. Truly a hardy Chrysanthemum and I wish I knew the variety although that doesn’t do you a lot of good as the growers seem to change the varieties every couple of years.

It sure was windy here yesterday but thankfully warm but that knocked down any remaining foliage. I am really feeling the pinch of the season now. There are several things we need to wrap up and hopefully the weather will hold out long enough.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Prickly Pear Cactus Flower

Prickly Pear Cactus
Opuntia monacantha
(op-UN-shee-a) (mon-ah-KANTH-uh)
Synonyms: Palma-Brava, Opuntia

This beauty was blooming off the trail at the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden on Catalina Island. The colors were pretty fantastic and it was the only cactus out of hundreds that I saw blooming.

We are flying back to the cold and dark Northeast today. It will be nice to be back home. I really miss the dogs and it will be great to see them.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mediterranean Beach Daisy

Mediterranean Beach Daisy
Asteriscus maritimus 'Compact Gold Coin'
(ass-ter-IS-kus) (muh-RIT-tim-mus)
Synonyms: Gold Coin, Odontospermum maritimum

This nice little daisy was acting as a groundcover and doing it very well. The foliage was a dark green, which set off the flower color nicely. It is a tender plant but does well here in Southern California because it is also drought-tolerant.

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

Here is the bonus flower for Sunday. It is the hybrid Tea rose ‘Paradise’. It has a beautiful blend of colors and it was fun to see the fading flowers on the bush that had changed to a darker color.

Today we are on our way to Santa Catalina Island . I am looking forward to visiting the botanical garden there.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Shrub Marigold

Shrub Marigold
Tagetes lemmonii
(TAG-e-teez) (lem-mon-ee-eye)
Synonyms: Mexican Bush Marigold, Mount Lemmon Marigold, Copper Canyon Daisy

The fabled Southern California weather is certainly living up to its hype. It has been so beautiful with temperatures in the high 70’s (F) and a little bit of breeze. Yesterday we spent most of the day touring the South Coast Botanical Gardens . I would give the place six stars out of five. We really loved the rustic areas as well as the more landscaped gardens. It is a great collection of plants that is well maintained (perfect combination for a botanical garden). There were a lot of plants I had never seen before as well as some old friends.

This Marigold was really cool. It had run a little rampant but still looked good and had a lot of flowers. It grows quite tall and was giving off a lemon scent.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hardy Chrysanthemum

Hardy Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum 'Sheffield'
Synonym: Dendranthema ‘Hillside Pink Sheffield’

This flower was blooming in the garden yesterday. A real star of the fall garden it is the latest blooming perennial out there (kind of tied with Willowleaf Sunflower, which is still in flower). The Sheffield mums have already gone through several nights of freezing temperatures, a lot of wind and even our little sleet/snow storm.

Today is a travel day as we are flying out to Los Angeles for a few days of rest and relaxation. Hopefully I will be able to keep posting on this site while away from home.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Monday, November 08, 2010

Amazon Lily

Amazon Lily
Eucharis grandiflora
(YOO-kuh-riss) (gran-dih-FLOR-uh)
Synonym: Eucharis amazonica

This native of Central and Southern America is a great plant. It is considered a bulbous perennial and can bloom twice a year under the right conditions. The flower stalks resemble a Daffodil and bear 3 to 10 fragrant flowers each. They are easy to grow inside and enjoy a shady spot in the garden with plenty of water during the summer. By all accounts it is a very long lived plant whose cultivation can bring years of enjoyment.

We are having a sleet storm out today. It is windy and really raw outside. I had an appointment to look at a new garden today but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Tropical Hibiscus

Tropical Hibiscus
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Silver Memories'
(hi-BIS-kus) (RO-sa-sy-NEN-sis)

Today’s flower is another tropical. It had a very unusual color scheme and I was immediately attracted to it when I saw it a local nursery. If it had been earlier in the season it would have come home with me but its price couldn’t be justified in October although we have had pretty good success overwintering them in the glass house. This variety was being sold as ‘premium’ type of Hibiscus, which basically doubles the price. These photos were shot at a little strange angle to eliminate some undesirable background elements. The second photo reminds me of a vortex.

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

Here is Today’s bonus flower. It is a miniature rose, which I think is ‘Black Jade’. About 15 years ago we planted several dozen mini roses at the estate. In hindsight they should have been grouped together but were instead planted here and there around the gardens. The deer demolished some but a good number have survived and this variety has been especially good. Since it is planted in an elevated garden with a tall stonewall in the back the animals can't get to it. It is usually covered with flowers during the year and often needs to be cut back because of all of the growth. I have learned to whack it in the early spring now to keep it under control.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Red Passion Flower

Passion Flower
Passiflora (pass-iff-FLOR-uh)

We didn’t grow any Passion Flower this year as the vines weren’t available in the spring and I have pretty much given up on keeping them in the greenhouse over the winter. So I was a little jealous when I came across this red beauty in a friend’s garden. These flowers lend such an exotic and tropical touch to our gardens up north that they are always nice to have. There is quite a bit of symbolism in the flower and the flowers are used medicinally.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Violet Sage

Violet Sage
Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna'
(SAL-vee-uh) (nem-or-OH-suh)
Synonyms: Ornamental Meadow Sage, Balkan Clary

It’s nice when a perennial comes along that has several attributes that make it stand out from the other ones that are similar. Caradonna has maroon/purple stems and it blooms for longer than some of the other Salvias. It also doesn’t grow as quickly and has longer, skinnier flower stems. What it does share with the other common Salvias is a dark, rich purple color. It is a great plant to have in a dry border or planted as an accent.

Today it is raining again and I hope that doesn’t last all day. After doing some paperwork I want to get some photos although our fall foliage is pretty much gone now.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Last of the Impatiens

Impatiens walleriana
Synonym: Busy Lizzy
(im-PAY-shuns) (wall-er-ee-AH-nuh)

Glad to have gotten a picture of my hanging Impatiens flowers before they turned black in the freezing temperatures we have had at night. The growing season is really over now although a few flowers here and there seemed to hang on but have that funny look to them (like they came real close to freezing to death).

The Impatiens looked real nice hanging down a steep wall by the swimming pool. We just mixed the colors and it all worked out nicely. Definitely something I will consider doing again next year. Plans are already starting to whirl for next season and my general opinion is to try a few new things and capitalize on what worked in the past.

I must be on some sort of list at the P.C. Richards Theater in NYC as we again won tickets for the private Duffy show. It was really fun and she and her 14-person band sound great. I didn’t know Welsh women could be so hot! (:lol:). Had a great time and enjoyed the tracks from her new album, which is due out in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Intergeneric Orchid Minho Princess

Doritaenopsis ‘Minho Princess’

Intergeneric cross of Doritis and Phalaenopsis Orchids
Dtps. Sun Prince X Phal. Ta Lin Freeds

Monday, November 01, 2010

Hanging Lobster Claw

Hanging Lobster Claw
Heliconia rostrata
(hel-ih-KOH-nee-uh) (ro-STRAY-tuh)
Synonyms: Crab Claws, false bird-of-paradise

This flower was blooming on the Big Island of Hawaii. I think the identification is correct, as this is the species of Heliconia that the flowers hang downward. The plant was about ten feet tall, which also matches Heliconia rostrata.

Heliconias have about 200 species and are mostly native to tropical America. They are important plants in the florist industry and to wildlife. The name Heliconia comes from Mount Helicon, the seat of the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts and sciences in Greek mythology.

The color photo shows the brilliant red of the bracts (modified leaves). The true flowers are the little yellow bits sticking out of the ends.

"November's sky is chill and drear,
November's leaf is red and sear."
Sir Walter Scott 1771-1832