Monday, February 28, 2011

Red Passion Flower

Red Passion Flower

With a bit of a heavy heart I am posting this red Passion Flower to mark the passing of our friend, client, veterinarian and over all good person Dr. Brian. He had fought his brain cancer long enough and finally gave up Saturday. A true friend and advocate for the animal world he worked tirelessly to help them as they came across his doorstep in every condition imaginable. As a person he loved his garden more than most people I have met and it was lovely. We had just finished adding a large new area to the garden when he was diagnosed. He had been planning for his future at the farm.

A typical Brian story was when I would call him to check in on him he would inevitably turn the conversation to my health issues (since we both had brain ‘things’ last year) and he gave me a lot of good advice. His sense of humor about things would often put things in perspective for me. He touched the lives of many people like that and I think that is a wonderful legacy. I could go on and on about the different interactions I had with this man but I am just going to say goodbye, friend.

All that live must die, passing through nature to eternity.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shasta Daisy

Shasta Daisy
Leucanthemum x superbum
(lew-KANTH-ih-mum) (soo-PER-bum)

Some simple but elegant Daisies for Today’s Flowers. This patch of Daisies never seems to fail to have a great show in the spring. It has been steadily increasing in size with virtually no maintenance, except the occasional shearing after the first flush of blooms. Usually I just shear the tips and that rewards me with a new round of blooms. After several years I am going to have to go in and do some dividing, which will be nice for the new plants it will create.

Since it is Sunday here is the bonus flower.
Flowering Maple
Abutilon 'Clementine'

We grew this Flowering Maple last season. I had never seen one this color before and it performed well. Now I kind of wish that we had saved it in the greenhouse over the winter. They do well inside but not great but after a couple of weeks outside in the spring they are back to looking beautiful. You can see a Scarlet Leadwort (Plumbago indica) poking in from the side. They did well together.

For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers .

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hawaiian Mini Impatiens

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

This Mini Impatiens was growing inside a greenhouse and they looked great. I had never heard of them before but would like to try them in the garden. They probably won’t be available at my local garden centers and I don’t have the capacity to grow them from seed but I will be watching for them.

Impatiens are a godsend for the shade garden only requiring moisture to grow and flower all season. We have been taking some inside the last couple of years and they do okay inside the greenhouse. If they start to look a little ratty cutting them back and fertilizing seems to help out. The tops can also be rooted for new plants.

This photo was shot with Karen’s new 35-70mm/2.8 lens. It was bought used (not in production any more) in mint condition.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sweet William

Sweet William

This little flower has been growing in a rock garden that I have been caring for the last couple of years. I am not sure what species of Dianthus it is. At first I thought it might be D. caryophyllus but it seems to lack some of the ten stamens present in that species. Whatever the name it forms a nice carpet, which I think grows both as a perennial and from seedlings. It provides a nice counterpoint to the dwarf conifers in the area (much nicer than mulch). A few Forget-me-nots also are populating the area and they look good together with the Dianthus.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Yellow Phalaenopsis Orchid

Phalaenopsis Orchid
Phalaenopsis cv.

This is a picture from last year but I am posting it in anticipation of the NYBG’s annual Orchid show, which starts March 5th. In the past years it has been spectacular and hopefully it will continue the tradition this year. There is nothing like walking in the conservatory after a long winter and seeing and smelling thousands of flowers in bloom.

Today marks the start of the Connecticut Flower Show and I am gong to try and attend that also.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Giant Semi Cactus Dahlia ‘Lloyd Huston’

Giant Semi Cactus Dahlia ‘Lloyd Huston’

This Dahlia certainly lives up to the “giant” in its name. The flowers can get up to 10 inches across. It has an interesting blend of orange, bronze and yellow pleated petals. ‘Lloyd Huston’ was bred in Canada and was introduced in 1983.

It didn’t take long after getting home that the snow started again. 5 inches are expected here today. In some ways it will be nice to freshen up the existing piles with a new coat of white.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Sesbania punicea
(ses-BAN-ee-uh) (pun-IK-ee-uh)
Synonyms: Scarlet Wisteria, False Poinciana, Purple Sesbane

Every trip to Southern Florida reveals a couple of plants that I was not familiar with. This year’s trip was no different. Sesbania punicea was a plant that was stunningly beautiful and in full bloom. A little research found that this plant is not perfect (few are) as it has an invasive habit and is poisonous. The color was remarkable on this native of Puerto Rico and the bees seemed to be very attracted to it.

It turns into a small shrubby tree that is 12 to 15 feet tall. Growing especially well (and seeding) in wet, boggy areas.

For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers .

Since it is Sunday that means a bonus flower. We saw literally thousands of Bougainvillea blooming. The Keys were full of them. The dark red and orangey coral ones were the most prolific bloomers at the time but there were also some nice gold ones and purple out too. This was the only one I saw of this color.

Bougainvillea 'Imperial Delight'

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Soprano Vanilla Spoon African Daisy

African Daisy
Osteospermum 'Soprano Vanilla Spoon'
Synonyms: Cape Daisy

A relative new hybrid (2007) of Osteospermum that has an unusual flower shape. Osteospermums are easy to care for and very rewarding to grow. This one grows to about 12 to 20 inches tall with a mounded habit.

We are on our final leg of the trip home and both the dogs and us are ready to get home so we can start complaining about the weather.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Yellow Geiger Tree

Yellow Geiger Tree
Cordia lutea
(KOR-dee-uh) (LOO-tee-uh)
Synonyms: Aloe Wood, Muyuyo, Texas Olive

This interesting tree has a lot of history. The common name comes from Captain John H. Geiger one of Key West’s prominent early settlers. There are over 300 species of Cordia that grow throughout the world. This species is considered native to Peru and Ecuador but has been naturalized elsewhere.

One cool fact about this tree is it is considered everblooming. A tree that blooms all year long is a great concept. Since it is a shrubby, short plant you can enjoy the blossoms up close.

Today, unfortunately, is our last day in Florida and we are getting ready for the road trip home.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chalice Vine

Chalice Vine
Solandra guttata
(so-LAN-druh) (goo-TAH-tuh)

D70s with the 80-200mm f/2.8D lens

Monday, February 14, 2011



Seeing these little guys on the way to Florida sure was uplifting. Compared to the flowers of Southern Florida they are a little passé. Today I went to Fairchild Gardens here in Miami and they had all sorts of delightful botanicals. The Palm collection is considered one of the best in the world and it is amazing. Palms come in almost size and shape and a few colors too. Look for a couple of Fairchild pictures in the up coming week.

Our dog is doing much better (thanks for asking). She has responded well to the antibiotics and while not 100% she is getting there. Luckily is a strong dog and has been able to deal with it pretty well.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Key West Waterlily

Nymphaea cv.

A couple more flowers from Papa’s house (Hemingway) in Key West. The waterlily was nice to see blooming in its small pond. The color was great and there were several of the lilies blooming. The gardens at the house were in good condition offering a good selection of tropical plants. It wasn’t like some of the yards we saw on Key West, which featured overgrown and totally out of control foliage. That type of garden was fun to look at and offered the owners a lot of privacy but if it were mine I would have had to go through it with a chainsaw and machete but to each its own.

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

I am excited to visit one of my favorite places in the United States tomorrow, Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens . I’ll be the guy waiting at the gate for it to open with all the camera gear. Actually I am bringing the two cameras and a couple of lenses. It is important to enjoy looking at the plants as well as taking pictures of them.

Since it is Sunday and that means a bonus flower here on the Digital Flower blog. Here is one that has me stumped (if you know what it is let me know). I thought it was a Mimosa tree as the flower is very similar as was the growth of the shrubby tree but the foliage didn’t match at all. The powder puff flowers are always fun to look at and the color on this tree was very nice.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Key West Sunset

Key West Sunset
Key West, Florida

One of the big happenings in Key West is the nightly sunset celebration at Mallory Square. It is festive and fun with a lot of different performers. A cruise ship was blocking the sunset at first but it pulled out fast and the sunset could be seen in all its glory.

This 80-200mm lens took this shot and it did a good job. It is really sharp and after the sun went down I took a few shots basically in the dark. With the lens and the great high ISO performance of the D700 combined the pictures actually came out pretty well.

We are moving up the coast today and will be reporting from the Miami suburbs for a couple of days.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Seven-year Apple

Seven-year Apple
Genipa clusiifolia
(JEN-ni-puh) (kloo-si-FOH-lee-uh)

This nice shrub was spotted growing at the Key West Botanical Garden although it likes the conditions all over the island. A front line shrub that can take strong winds and salt it can grow right on the coast. The name is a little misleading as it does not take seven years to flower or fruit . The small flowers are fragrant and the pink tips are good looking. The glossy foliage is handsome too.

One of our dogs, Ruby Tuesday, has picked up some sort of tropical infection and is really sick. Lucky we found a good vet here and she is under going treatment. Most of my day will be filled up with caring for her.

This was shot with the Nikon 105mm macro lens and D700 camera. It is a toss up over which is my favorite the 60mm or 105mm. I am lucky to have both.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

African Tulip Tree

African Tulip Tree
Spathodea campanulata
Synonyms: Fountain Tree, Firebell

Here is the first shot from the 80-200mm 2.8, used lens I got over the holidays. It was fun to be able to shoot this picture, as the flowers were many feet above the ground. The lens seems really sharp and auto-focuses well, which are two things I look at when evaluating a lens. It is not perfect but I am glad it is in my bag now.

This tree was blooming in the garden at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West. It is a definite must see attraction while visiting the island. This is a beautiful tree that has a few problems with its cultivation like being weak wooded and invasive. Those are minor problems compared to the beauty it brings to the tropical landscape. The bright orange flowers and deep green foliage is a striking combination.

I have the 18-70mm Nikon lens that was repaired before we left home here also. The front element was replaced due to Karen putting a deep scratch in it. For $63 it was well worth it. This lens came with my D70s as the kit lens and it is one of the best that Nikon has offered as a kit lens. Here is a quick picture of a Tropical Hibiscus that was shot with it. It is a sharp lens that has even a bit of a macro effect to it. It was weird having both the 80-200 and 18-70 on the cameras at the same time. I hardly ever use zoom lenses and it was taking a bit of getting used to.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

‘White Fairy’ Degarmoara Orchid

Winter Wonderland ‘White Fairy’ Degarmoara Orchid
(day garmo-ara)

The winter wonderland part seemed appropriate.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Mexican Flame Vine

Mexican Flame Vine
Senecio confusus
(sen-NEESH-shee-oh) (kon-FEW-sus)
Synonyms: Orange Glow Vine

Monday, February 07, 2011

Tropical Hibiscus

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

This is kind of an abstract macro of a beautiful Hibiscus flower I saw while walking down Duval Street yesterday. There are thousands of these plants on the island and they are in various stages of blooming. My favorite are the coral/peach colored ones but some of the reds are growing on me too (especially the ones with a white center). This was taken with the Nikon D70s and 60mm Nikon lens.

Yesterday was the first day I had the Nikon 80-200mm/2.8 lens out and it is really sharp and the autofocus seems to do okay. It is however a great beast of a lens that is a bit heavy and tends to draw attention, which I would rather not have when I am shooting. I will be posting some shots from this lens soon.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Today's Flower - Fall Aster


Greetings from Paradise. I haven’t had time to develop (:lol:) any shots from the tropical flowers we have been seeing so here are a couple from the fall. This Aster must be happy since it has returned and flowered for the last 10 years despite the fact the rest of the garden has been encroaching on it. It really should be moved but I don’t want to mess it up. It has a delicate kind of blue/purple color and doesn’t get too tall.

Our little compound (and I do mean little) in Key West has some interesting trees planted in it. There is a Ficus looking tree that is really big that has peeling, suntanned bark, which is reminiscent of our Paper Bark Maple at home. There is also a Schefflera tree with its big green, glossy foliage, a Plumeria and several nice types of Palm Trees. It was around 80 degrees (F) here yesterday.

For more flower pictures from around the world check out:
Today’s Flowers .

Here is the bonus flower for Sunday. It is a good all around perennial that is one of the last to bloom in our fall gardens.

Montauk Daisy
Nipponanthemum nipponicum
(nip-pon-AN-the-mum) (nip-PON-ih-kum)
Synonyms: Nippon Daisy, Leucanthemum nipponicum

There is a little problem with our Internet and I guess I am real spoiled at home with a fast cable connection. I will try and get this posted and visit a few Today’s Flowers participants.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise
Strelitzia reginae
(stre-LITZ-ee-uh) (ree-JIN-ay-ee)

I found this “bird’ blooming out on the streets of Avalon, California in November. It forms kind of a nice shrub and the foliage always looks good to me too. We have one in the glasshouse at work and after about three years it decided to bloom with a couple of weak flowers although I was grateful to have them. I never considered seeing this plant growing as a street planting but it seemed to like the conditions.

This picture was shot using the Nikon D70s and Sigma 24mm/1.8 lens.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Golden Feathers Colorado Spruce

Golden Feathers Colorado Spruce
Picea pungens 'Golden Feathers'

I saw this unusual tree at a nursery last year. It would have probably made it into my cart except they wanted almost $500 for a 4-foot tall specimen. Now I don’t mind paying that much for a tree but I need to know about it first and it has to be something that really has a use.

‘Golden Feathers’ is a selection from a seedling discovered in 1960. The new growth is bright yellow that fades to a chartreuse color and then turns green. The new growth color lasts about three weeks (which is kind of short). It turns into a large tree of about 45 feet tall.

We have made it to Southern Florida and are enjoying warm humid temperatures and some actual outdoor flowers. I will be prowling around the grounds of this hotel with my camera in a little while before heading off to Key West.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011