Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

Cymbidium Orchid

Cymbidium ‘Claude Pepper'

Since it has been a while since I posted an Orchid here is a nice looking Cymbidium. The color was glowing and usually brown flowers are not the most attractive this one looked good. It is named after the famous liberal politician from Florida who had an interesting career in Washington to say the least.

We are having a big thunderstorm right now and since the surface soil in the gardens was starting to dry out it is okay. If things keep up with the soaking rains and then warm temperatures and sun it really should be a banner year for horticulture. It has already been amazing as far as the trees and shrubs flowering (that has more to do with the conditions last summer) but the weather has allowed things to flower longer and more beautifully than most years. I am not sure but I may have just stated that the weather has been cooperating with us for a change. I need to remember that when it is not.

Happy Holiday Monday to everyone in the United States.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Conversation Piece Azalea

Conversation Piece Azalea
Rhododendron x Robin Hill 'Conversation Piece'

This flower is from a garden we started caring for this year. 'Conversation Piece' definitely was living up to it’s name as we all had something to say about the different colored flower appearing on the same plant. My natural thought was that it had been grafted and some of the rootstock had grown around the graft but research revealed that is not the case. The garden owner had told me they were Encore Azaleas , which I was excited at the opportunity to grow but a plant tag revealed them as 'Conversation Piece'.

'Conversation Piece' Azaleas are the low mounding evergreen type. They grow 2 to 3 feet tall with a similar spread. They thrive in USDA Zones 6 through 9.

The new garden is nice with a lot of mail order plants that the person has been growing for a few years and then decided to get some professional help to finish things off. We are acting as garden coaches for him as well as completing his plans and adding some things. I actually love it when our customers are active in the garden. They get to have the nice sense of ownership and pride that gardening can provide.

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 the bonus flower. I am not sure what variety this is but it was already blooming last week. That seems almost a month ahead of our regular types. The plant had good color and a lot of buds. This picture was taken with the Nikon 70-300mm lens that Karen has pretty much taken over. I always thought this lens was not a full frame type but it is. My camera knows when you use a non-full frame lens and automatically cuts down the image circle to 5 megapixels. I see that isn’t necessary for this lens. Since this picture was shot at 300mm it was weird standing across the lawn to get the picture instead of being right in its face.

Mophead Hydrangea
Hydrangea macrophylla
(hy-DRAIN-juh) (mak-roh-FIL-uh)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Impatiens walleriana 'Dazzler Pink Swirl'
(im-PAY-shuns) (wall-er-ee-AH-nuh)

This is the variety of Impatiens we have decided to use for what we refer to as the “necklace”. It is a ring of color around a giant planting of Great Laurel (Rhododendron maximum) that is planted in front of the house in Greenwich. It takes 16 dozen 4 inch pots to make it all the way around. The Rhododendrons are for screening and got roughed up pretty bad by the snow. This year we fertilized them and removed all the broken branches and after they are done blooming (they are late flowering) we are going to prune the top three feet of the height to encourage some more bottom growth.

We haven’t used the ‘Dazzler’ series of Impatiens before but everything I have read about them is good. They are considered one of the most landscape friendly of the Impatiens. Last year all that was available was ‘Super Elfin’ and I fought hard not to use it since the plants can get pretty big in their area. We ended up using ‘Super Elfin’ and it was beautiful, a perfect ribbon of color. By far the best planting of the five years I have been doing it.

After a little disappointing result last year from the small cutting garden. I decided to double dig the area. We couldn’t do it in the traditional way as it is only really one strip wide on two sides of a flagstone walk. A funny thing happened when we started digging, there was concrete slab about 8 inches under the surface. Using a crowbar I was able to punch a few holes in the concrete for better drainage. After mixing some home made compost and topsoil together we filled the beds back up while adding some Osmocote fertilizer (it’s expensive but my favorite). We actually mixed in about 20% of the original lean soil. I have found that using all topsoil backfill is too much for some plants.

Friday, May 27, 2011

White Geranium

White Geranium
Pelargonium x hortorum 'Survivor White 2011'
(pe-lar-GO-nee-um) (hor-TOR-um)

This Geranium had something I hadn’t seen before, a date in the name. The Survivor series is getting more and more popular and Geraniums in general have seem to have made a comeback. In my limited data sample white flowers are not as popular as they once were. They are sliding down the demand scale. It used to be that orange and yellow were the colors that people would say when it was a case of "bring any color but orange or yellow" but white is now appearing more and more in that sentence. I guess white can be a little boring and I always try and use it as a color to show off another color (like purple).

The survivor series has been bred for its long lasting flowers and compact habit. This one grows about 12 inches tall with an equal spread. They still haven’t came out with a self cleaning Geranium and these need to deadheaded and pinched to encourage blooming. Geraniums in general seem to be a little more heat tolerant but summer heat can produce a lull in blooming.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bonica Floribunda Rose

Floribunda Rose
Rosa 'Bonica'
Synonyms: Bonica '82, Demon, MEIdomonac

The first rose of the season was blooming yesterday and I was happy to have my camera to record it. The other roses are loaded with buds and it will be great when they bloom. The weather has not been cooperating for rose culture (too humid and rainy) but that is not going to stop the initial wave of flowers. In the garden this rose is from they have a separate company that manages pests and diseases so they came and sprayed yesterday. It is nice not to have to worry about that. If I notice anything going on in the garden I just have to call it in.

'Bonica' isn’t my favorite rose but gets four out of five stars for ease of cultivation, hardiness and it is a heavy bloomer. I have always thought of it as a shrub rose and was surprised to see it listed as a floribunda. The stems are really too short for cut flowers. Karen has been the one taking care of this group of Bonicas and has had great success with early season hard pruning and then monitoring the disease problems.

Everything here is gearing up for the big holiday weekend. It will be nice to have an extra day off this weekend although I am going to spend some time looking for the 35 dozen Impatiens I need for planting next week.

Monday, May 23, 2011



Yesterday we went to garden party at an old friend’s house that passed away in February. The garden is spectacular and David was one of the biggest plant collectors I have ever seen. His historical house was filled with all sorts of things that you would normally just drool over in garden catalogs. He had supervised all the design and installation work himself. Often spending long hours with the shovel himself.

I had visited him many times at the ‘farm’ but had never been there at this time of year. His collection of Rhododendrons and Azaleas were blooming with a lot of other fascinating plants. Luckily some provisions were made for continuing the garden with several groups and a trust fund. So this horticultural gem will continue wowing visitors for sometime. Learning this made the visit a little less bittersweet and I imagined him being happy with the large turnout for his going away party.

This yellow Azalea was top notch and was glowing on a kind of damp and dark day.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Golden Chain Tree

Golden Chain Tree
Laburnum anagyroides
(la-BURN-um) (an-a-gy-RO-id-eez)

This tree represents a small personal victory for me. After several attempts of trying to cultivate this plant it seems I have finally done it. When something like this happens I look back on my other experiences with Laburnum and think it was the other trees were planted in an exposed winter site. They don’t seem to like that. The tree in the photos in also planted in a slightly shady area. Well it certainly brightened my day when from across the garden this beauty’s siren was calling me.

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

Bonus flower for today. This table of Stocks sure looked and smelled beautiful.

Garden Stock
Matthiola incana 'Vintage Mix'
(ma-the-OH-luh) (in-KAN-nuh)
Synonym: Ten-week Stock

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart
Dicentra 'King of Hearts'

This is a special little plant. It is apparently a hybrid of three different Dicentra species (D. peregrina, D. eximia and D. formosana). It is much smaller growing than the ‘regular’ Bleeding Heart and much longer blooming. It can often bloom into July (or longer) long after the other Bleeding Hearts have disappeared for the year.

This plant likes a little moisture to look it’s best. It also does not like competition. The price can be a little hard to swallow but once it is in your garden you will love it. 'King of Hearts' is one of those almost perfect perennials to me. The smaller stature, beautiful foliage, fun flowers and low maintenance all combine to make it worth growing.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Flowering Crabapple

Flowering Crabapple

Last week I posted a picture of a Weeping White Crabapple and was complaining about how it needed a lot of pruning. This white crabapple is almost the exact opposite. It grows with an almost perfect vase shape and only needs a slight trim after flowering. This tree is also much more fragrant with a lovely smell.

Crabapples were especially beautiful this year. In some ways they are the most striking of the flowering trees. Sometimes if there is a lot of heavy rain while they are blooming it ruins the flowers but that didn’t happen this season. There are an amazing amount of colors, sizes and shapes to choose from. The dark red ones are my favorite followed by the ones with the dark foliage. Of course they provide a whole second season of interest when the apples come out in fall. The birds love them ad if they don’t get them all there is only a little mess under the tree.

I hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend. We have our monthly gig at the coffee house on Saturday. That is also little Erika’s birthday. Sunday I hope to get some pictures.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rose Morn Petunia

Opera Supreme Rose Morn Petunia
Petunia grandiflora ‘Opera Supreme Rose Morn’

These flowers look suspiciously like ‘Pink Morn’ petunias but I am not sure. We are just going by what the tag said here. No matter what the name these Petunias are eye catching and have a pleasing color scheme. Their trailing habit and floriferous nature are nice additions to the garden or containers.

Petunias have come a long way since being discovered in South America around 1750. It took many years (untl the early 20th century) before the modern Petunia that we know emerged from the breeding programs. First they were bred to get larger flowers than the initial two species then work began on getting double flowered and more colorful types. The work still continues today and I don’t think the modern plants resemble the old ones very much.

After 4 days of rain I am sick of it now. Our spring hasn’t been a pleasant one and I am ready for some sunshine and happy days.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Diascia barberae ‘Juliet Pink with Eye’
(dy-ASS-ee-uh) (BAR-ber-ay)
Synonyms: Twinspur

Monday, May 16, 2011

Yellow Rhododendron

Rhododendron 'Capistrano'

It’s getting to be Rhododendron season here and his little yellow one is coming along nicely. Years ago it seemed you couldn’t really find yellow flowered rhododendrons but now there are several varieties available. 'Capistrano' was bred by Dr, David Leach and introduced by Wayside Gardens. He considered it his best yellow and I have to agree.

'Capistrano' is a low spreading type that grows to 4 to 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide. That is a nice size since you don’t have to worry about the plant getting “too leggy”, which happens to a lot of the other rhododendrons. The foliage is pest and disease resistant and a nice glossy green.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

African Violet

African Violet
Saintpaulia 'Optimara Rita’

It is always nice to have a flower that hasn’t appeared on this site before. This is the first African Violet picture I have taken in many years. It was on a table with many other varieties at a nursery I visited last week. I was a bit skeptical when I read the tag and it told me to check optimar.info for the name of this plant. I did and it was easy to find my flower. It is quite a website and one thing I found of interest was their horticultural glossary. This definition of an African Violet is courtesy of Optimara.com

African Violet: Sometimes called Violet. A flowering house plant of the gesneriad family. Most common species is Saintpaulia ionantha, though altogether, there are 20 confirmed species. (See Saintpaulia and the species names that follow.) While African Violets are generally recognized for their distinctive rosette growth habit, trailing forms are also common. The first recorded discovery of African Violets was in 1892 in the Usambara Mountains, now a part of Tanzania. The discovery was recorded by Baron von Saintpaul. While Saintpaul is honored with the discovery of African Violets, the AVSA notes that specimens of these flowers had been gathered as early as 1884 by Sir John Kirk.

That is lot more than I used to know about African Violets. They don’t seem as popular as before but I know there are people who are collectors and are passionate about these plants.

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

This Azalea is blooming in my garden now. It has been beautiful every year for the ten years I have lived here. Despite the fact it had about 8 feet of snow on it this winter it is again doing well. A couple of big branches broke when I shoveled the roof but even those still attached branches are blooming. They will get cut off after flowering.

"And in the woods a fragrance rare
Of wild azaleas fills the air,
And richly tangled overhead
We see their blossoms sweet and red."

Dora Read Goodale
American poet
(1866 - 1915)

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Myosotis sylvatica ‘Deep Blue Tower’
(my-oh-SO-tis) (sil-VAT-ee-kuh)

This is the first time we have grown a variety of Forget me nots and this one is a winner. The color maybe my favorite of any flower. Normally there are hundreds of the regular species of this plant growing in the gardens and we gently encourage them by letting them seed after flowering to overcome their annual and biennial nature. Although some plants seem to persist for several years for the most part they peter out after one or two seasons.

Today we are going down to NYC to finish the annual plantings and plant some perennials and a couple of shrubs. Traffic should be a little better than going down on during the week but parking will probably still be a nightmare.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Common Lilac

Common Lilac
Syringa vulgaris
(si-RING-gah) (vul-GAIR-iss)
Synonyms: French Lilac

Well in the category of you learn something every day yesterday I found out French and Common Lilacs are the same. I guess it is just a kind of something that doesn’t matter but I like trying to keep the names of the flowers straight. Although there is another plant with the common name French Lilac it’s scientific name is Galega officinalis.

This is a nice French/Common Lilac blooming at the Estate now. The color is a little different than most but pleasant. It is always fun to take a picture of a lilac because you can enjoy the smell at the same time. They can be a little frustrating to grow and seem to be specific in the sites they like to grow in. If they are happy than it is no problem if they struggle it can go on for years with less than satisfying results.

We are going to see the great guitarist Ottmar Liebart tonight at the local concert venue. The tickets were a gift a of a gardening client. I am looking forward to relaxing.

Blogger is messed up every morning it seems. I hope they are not going back to their old ways.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Weeping Flowering Crabapple

Weeping Flowering Crabapple
Malus 'White Cascade'

This tree is almost a little too vigorous to me. It needs several prunings a season to keep it in tip-top shape. It grows wide and not too tall and is beautiful in flower. It also grows so thick that it is near impossible to grow anything below it. I have had some luck growing a little Deutzia and Japanese Andromeda (Pieris) but even those plants are trying to stick their heads out from under the dark canopy. Personally I would much rather grow ‘Red Jade’ Crabapple, which seems to me to be a much more refined and dignified tree.

I am off to the nursery with a big list today. I will be buying plants for several houses and gardens. It is an exciting time to visit your local garden center and I will surely have my camera today.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Horseshoe Geranium

Horseshoe Geranium
Pelargonium x hortorum 'Caliente Orange’
(pe-lar-GO-nee-um) (hor-TOR-um)
Synonyms: Zonal Geranium, Fish Geranium

Monday, May 09, 2011

Peach Prism Impatiens

Peach Prism Impatiens
Impatiens walleriana Patchwork ‘Peach Prism’
(im-PAY-shuns) (wall-er-ee-AH-nuh)
Synonym: 'Large Eye Patchwork Peach Prism'

These exotic Impatiens are new to me and their color and habit is amazing. I took this picture at the nursery and it is from a hanging basket. The plant is a bit more like traditional Impatiens (than the other types of Fusion varieties) but you can tell it is different by the shading pattern and the large size of the flowers. We will definitely have to try a few of these in the garden. I just hope they aren’t all snagged by the time I get around to purchasing them.

One of the best things about my garden is some giant Lilac shrubs that were here when we moved in. They are about 10 feet tall and 8-10 feet wide. Right now they are in full bloom, which allows us to take armloads of flowers into the house, they don’t last too long but have been filling the house and front yard with a great smell. They seem to be Common Lilac types (Syringa vulgaris) but there is one white flowered type. I have been collecting the seedlings the last few years and have planting them in kind of a loose row to extend the row. My seedlings must be young, as only two have flowered.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Coralberry Punch Million Bells

Million Bells
Calibrachoa 'Superbells Coralberry Punch'

This is one of my favorite annuals and it was nice to see it in this exciting new color. Calibrachoa is just a crazy blooming flower that looks like a small Petunia but doesn’t have any of the problems that Petunias do. They seem to be heat and cold tolerant, meaning they bloom through the summer and hang on in the garden through a few light frosts. They are not hardy (Zone 9) and I haven’t tried over wintering them but maybe this year a couple will end up in the greenhouse.

Superbells only grow about 8 inches high but can spill out of containers or along the ground for a few feet. They don’t like extra water and require good drainage. They don’t need deadheading and if they start to look a little sad (not often) I trim the ends up a little. They do seem to benefit from a regular fertilization program.

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

Happy Mother’s Day to U.S. Moms. Here is a bonus flower for Sunday.

Trailing Verbena
Verbena 'Lanai Peach'

Verbena is another great container plant. It happily grows and flowers along the edges of the pots. My experience has been that it is okay planted in the ground but the slugs love it and it seem more vigorous in the container garden. This color is great especially for the people that like the peach spectrum.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Johnny Jump-up

Johnny Jump-up
Viola cornuta
(vy-OH-la) (kor-NOO-tuh)

These happy faces have been greeting me each day on the way out to the truck to go to work. They were left over from the first batch of Pansies and Violas we planted that got frozen but have made a steady comeback since then. This year I saw more Johnny Jump-ups for sale then ever, which is a good thing. Many of the varieties have nice shades of blue and purple. This picture is of one of the darker types. They seem to mix well with Pansies and are very similar. The major difference between a Pansy and Viola is the flower size. The Violas are much smaller. They make up for that by having a lot of flowers per plant.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Burkwood Viburnum

Burkwood Viburnum
Viburnum x burkwoodii
(vy-BUR-num) (berk-WOOD-ee-eye)

It was a little funny to me that when I looked for a previous post for the Burkwood on this blog it had been posted May 5th, 2007. So it is safe to say that Burkwood Viburnum blooms around the first week of May in Connecticut.

Here is a link to the previous post on Burkwood Viburnum, click here . These pictures are from a different plant but it still had the great fragrance that was perfuming a whole section of the garden. It really is an amazing smell. After blooming this flowering shrub gracefully retreats into the background. The hint of pink in the buds is not evident as the flowers open to all white.

It was cold here again last night and we resisted turning on the heat in the house but it dropped to 34 degrees F (1.1 deg. C). I was also glad we resisted taking the plants out of the greenhouse even though they are bursting out inside and it is getting difficult to walk around in the conservatory. Many of the tropicals could take the temperatures if they weren’t used to having a cushy life inside. We don’t really have the time or inclination to harden them off by bringing them outside during the day and back in at night (many are too big and heavy to do that).

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

African Daisy

African Daisy
Osteospermum 'Voltage Yellow'
Synonyms: Cape Daisy

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Eastern Redbud

Eastern Redbud Buds
Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'
(SER-sis) (ka-na-DEN-sis)
Synonyms: Judas Tree, Canadian Redbud

Monday, May 02, 2011

Red Zonal Geranium

Zonal Geranium
Pelargonium x hortorum 'Calliope Dark Red'
(pe-lar-GO-nee-um) (hor-TOR-um)

This was one of the many nice geranium cultivars that one of our wholesale suppliers was growing this spring. I liked the deep color and compact habit.

The annuals are really starting to hit the market now, which is good thing for us. The temperatures are not really cooperating as it has dipped down to the 30’s (F) here the last couple of nights. I need to temper my enthusiasm for planting outdoors but May 1 is always an important date for our gardens here although our last frost date is May 24th I don’t remember it happening that late for many years.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Apple Buds

Apple Buds

These buds are from a new tree that I will be taking care of. An existing client added about a half an acre to his property and along with the land came a massive Apple tree. It is one of the largest I have seen. I hope he doesn’t want to prune it for shape as that would be a big and difficult job. It will be interesting to see what type of apple it is. One good thing is it seems to be in pretty good condition. The property also came with a large Crabapple, which needs to be topped but on a much smaller scale that the regular apple.

This time of the season is about the buds and the promise they hold. The dogwoods are just starting to crack their buds and that is always exciting.

Merrily, merrily shall I live now,
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.
William Shakespeare

Since it is Sunday again here is the bonus flower.

Flowering Quince
Chaenomeles x superba 'Jet Trail'
(kee-no-MAY-leez) (soo-PER-ba)

This is a nice somewhat smaller cultivar of Flowering quince. The branches seem to have a slightly weeping effect and would probably be easy to propagate by tip layering. This is its nicest time of year.

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