Thursday, June 30, 2011

Daylily Seedling


This is a first here a night flower picture. While fetching my camera from the truck last night I thought what the heck and shot this picture of a Daylily seedling blooming near the driveway. I love night photography but it is better with a tripod and a little bit of light. The blue hour (dusk or dawn) is the best. There is a little camera shake here but the camera and lens did well (D700 and 60mm Micro). I did use a little of the on board flash but it was dialed way back. A little lifting of the levels in Photoshop was also done.

We have had a couple of nice summery days in row now. It’s easy to forget what a disaster the spring weather was. Today we are planting more annuals in a race to have them finished for the holiday weekend.

This one of the earliest Daylilies in my garden and it is an amazing color. I didn’t expect anything like this when I bought the 100 seedlings for $100. As they come out we are grading them for color and form and this one got a 5 in both categories.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Shrubby Sundrops

Shrubby Sundrops
Oenothera fruticosa
(ee-no-THEE-ruh) (froo-tih-KOH-suh)
Synonyms: Narrow-leaf Evening Primrose

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Garden Peony

Garden Peony
Paeonia lactiflora
(pay-OHN-ee-uh) (lak-tee-FLOR-uh)

This Peony was blooming last week long after all the others had finished. I am not sure why the picture came out the way it did as it was high noon when I took the photo. Peonies are a much requested flower for us. They grow and bloom nicely so it isn’t a problem to add them to the garden. Staking them would be the only hassle in growing them but once you have a support system in place it an be used over many years.

It’s funny because a little while ago I posted that I thought white flowers were no longer in vogue. It seems since then almost all I have posting have been white flowers. The way this Peony was glowing surely helps the case for white flowers as the color showed off nicely against the dark green foliage.

We have been managing a big garden in Greenwich, Connecticut for the last several years and when we started there were Peonies planted in all different areas. Two years ago I got the idea of putting them all in one central bed for two reasons. One was the ease of maintenance and the other was to be able to view and cut the flowers easier for the owner. It has worked out well and I was able to sneak in a couple of new cultivars at the same time.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Carefree Celebration Rose

Shrub Rose
Rosa 'Carefree Celebration'
Synonym: RADral

I can't believe that this rose has never appeared on this blog before. It is a great rose that we have been growing in two different locations. For the big rose garden this plant has been a welcome addition. It is not the type we normally grow in the garden since it is a mixture of Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, Grandifloras and even a few shrub roses. You know the finicky, high maintenance types. So against my better judgment we added ‘Carefree Celebration’ and it has been wonderful. The scapes of flowers look so happy and it seems to bloom pretty much continually. The flowers in the picture are a bit faded as the normally color is more orange/coral and fade to a nice pink. Today is the big rose tour at the garden and ‘Carefree Celebration’ is of course acting like a star. Even after all the heavy, heavy rain we had last week it was still hanging on.

The second garden I planted this rose in is much more rustic. Even under those conditions ‘Carefree Celebration’ has been growing nicely in a bed by the swimming pool. It has been disease resistant trooper that provides a lot of color.

Here are some details on ‘Carefree Celebration’:

Breeding/Introduction: Bred by William J. Radler. Introduced by Meilland-Star Roses Inc., 2007

Type: Shrub rose

Petal Count: 15 to 18 petals. Double.

Hardiness: Extremely Hardy (Zone 4b)

Come join us at Today’s Flowers . The links open at 1400 GMT. It is a great bunch of people and you get flowers from all over the world.

Here is Sunday’s bonus flower. Out of the 4 or 5 ‘Blushing Knockout’ roses we have only one has been producing flowers with this stray red petal. It probably isn’t that rare but it is fun to have. The plant also produces many regular type blossoms without the red petals. ‘Blushing Knockout’ was bred by the same person who created the first rose in this post and the ‘Knockout’ series. That is impressive to me.

Shrub Rose
Rosa 'Blushing Knockout'
Synonym: RADyod
Radler, 2004

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bandana White Lantana

White Lantana
Lantana camara ‘Bandana White’
(lan-TAN-a) (kuh-MAR-uh)

It hasn’t really been Lantana weather (hot and dry) around here this season. We are again waking up to a murky day with the threat of showers and thunderstorms. There has been some of the heaviest rain I have seen here in the last couple of days. Luckily it has only been fairly brief in duration or there would have been more flooding but even with the briefness I did see some cars up to their doors with water and stalled out in low lying parts of our little city. On Thursday I was driving on the Merritt Parkway , which can be a challenge without tropical type downpours, when one of the big storms hit. I found myself saying once again, “Thank goodness I m in a Jeep.” Traffic slowed down to bout 10 MPH from the normal 70 or so.

Lantana is an annual that I usually select for hot, dry and exposed places. It needs some water to get established but later can get by with very little. I like that if it gets too dry it tends to crinkle up but will come back to life when rehydrated. This white one is nice. When it’s in a group that tiny bit of yellow really adds to the overall look.

I have to work in Manhattan today. There are a few problems with the courtyard gardens I have been supervising. Nothing major but like any garden problem they need to be addressed before things get out of hand. Of course it will be an excuse to walk around with the camera.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mandevilla Vine

Mandevilla x amabilis 'Moonlight Parfait'
Synonyms: ‘Monite’, Mandevilla x amoena

It was nice to see this tropical beauty blooming at the nursery. The color was a really nice blush pink and it seemed to be blooming heavily in its little pot. The price was too high for me to take one home but I enjoyed gazing on it briefly as I was shopping.

Mandevilla has about 100 species native to Mexico and South America. It is a fast growing tropical vine that has had many cultivars introduced. Pink and red seem to be the most popular colors but white and yellow flowered types are available too. 'Moonlight Parfait' was developed at Sperling Nursery in Calabasas, CA and introduced by Monrovia in 2001. The flowers will get pinker in colder temperatures. It grows up to 15 to 20 feet long and can be trained on fences, arbors and trellises.

This constant thundershower activity is making it difficult to get things done and have them look nice. The rose show is Sunday and they have been getting pounded by the heavy rain. It also make pruning hard because the wet branches droop down not giving the true shape of the plant.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dwarf Dahlia

Dwarf Dahlia
Dahlia pinnata 'Emily'
(DAHL-ya) (pin-NAY-tuh)
Synonyms: 'Daparos', Royal Dahlietta Series

For the first time we are growing a few Dahliettas in the Dahlia garden. This dwarf pink is doing well and already had quite a few flowers. The final size is 8 inches tall by 12 inches wide, which makes it perfect for under planting the bigger coarser Dahlias. The Dahlias in general have been growing slowly, they probably want more sunshine, but have been producing buds and flowers at an acceptable pace.

Getting things for the cutting garden was really difficult this year. I guess most of the cutting flowers don’t make great bedding plants so they got cut by the growers. I did manage to get some Zinnias, Cosmos and some Celosia. It didn’t come out as envisioned but should be okay for the season. We will add things if they become available later in the season.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lanceleaf Coreopsis

Lanceleaf Coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata 'Baby Sun'
(kor-ee-OP-sis) (lan-see-oh-LAY-tuh)
Synonyms: Tickseed Coreopsis, Sonnenkind

Monday, June 20, 2011

Icy Drift Groundcover Rose

Groundcover Rose
Rosa 'Icy Drift'
Synonyms: MEIpicdevoj

Last year on May 27th I posted that I had bought a couple of ‘Peach Drift’ roses here . They turned out great even though it was an unconventional choice for our rose garden. Last week when we were there installing the other new roses ‘Peach Drift’ was doing very well. Loaded with flowers and buds and no disease. I was truly happy with the plant. That is why I have decided to try ‘Icy Drift’ its slightly smaller new cousin. It was disease free at the nursery and in full bloom. You can see from the picture the flowers are small but full of petals.

Drift roses are a cross between full sized groundcover roses and miniatures. They seemed to have taken some of the best qualities from both. Part of my need was good hardiness since the garden is located in a very exposed spot for winter. Our new program of putting about a foot of leaves on the plants, after they are cut back, and burlap around the garden has cut down our losses dramatically but we still need to buy as hardy a rose as possible.

Here is the low down on ‘Icy Drift’:

Type; Shrub
Introduction: 2010. Conard-Pyle (Star Roses)
Flowers: Small in large clusters. 17-25 petals.
Height: 1-2 feet
Spread: 2 to 3 feet
Hardiness: Zone 5 in the US

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Golden Clematis

Golden Clematis
Clematis tangutica
(KLEM-uh-tiss) (tan-GOO-tik-uh)
Synonyms: Golden Tiara, Russian Virgin's Bower, Old Man's Beard

While rummaging around in what was left of the roses I noticed this beauty on the edge of the display block. I don’t ever recall seeing it before but my conversation with the nursery person led me to believe it is quite popular. Further research indicates that is quite true. It is certainly a big change from the large flowered showy types of Clematis I am used to growing. I resisted the urge to buy one when I saw the price, $98 (US). It was a nice healthy looking plant but I just couldn’t bite at that price. In defense of the nursery they are the top place around here to get what you need when looking for unusual and rare plants. They grow a lot of big specimen material that is just not available anywhere else. So I feel they are able to charge a bit of premium for their plants.

It was the place I ended up for my 10 roses after visiting five other places. I was able to get some nice looking plants for $28 each. They were the only roses I saw that looked half way decent and was happy to get them. Among the new roses this year are ‘Tahitian Sunset’, 'Marmalade Skies', 'Elle', 'Purple Passion' and a few others. I accidentally bought a climbing rose, ‘Autumn Sunset’ (sounds good doesn’t it?) and the owner said go ahead and put it in and see what happens. The roses are doing well and seem to be anticipating their upcoming show, which is a week from today. Despite the heat and humidity they have been pushing a lot of flowers and I was happy to see that most of the roses we replaced last year were doing well. It is amazing what a little research will do for your gardening prospects.

Come join us at Today’s Flowers . The links open at 1400 GMT. It is a great bunch of people and you get flowers from all over the world.

Sunday’s bonus flower is this little Geranium. It was really attractive they way it was spilling out of its pot across the bench. It looked a bit festive to me.

Pink Cascade Geranium
Pelargonium x hortorum ‘Mini Cascade Pink’
(pe-lar-GO-nee-um) (hor-TOR-um)

I have laughingly started to refer to this year as the year of the Geranium. They have been around forever but lately they seem to be enjoying a nice resurgence in the market.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dwarf Shasta Daisy

Dwarf Shasta Daisy
Leucanthemum x superbum 'Snowcap'
(lew-KANTH-ih-mum) (soo-PER-bum)
Synonym: Chrysanthemum x superbum

Although the tag for this plant said ‘Snow Cap’ I have my doubts. The flowers were at the right height (Snow Cap is a dwarf) they seemed too big in diameter. The ‘Snow Cap’ we have been growing had slightly smaller flowers than the species.

Either way it was nice to see it blooming. People are always asking what my favorite flower is and are sometimes surprised and even a little disappointed when I answer “daisy.” I guess they expect me to say some exotic flower but to me the Daisy is perfect. It certainly is my favorite of the flowers I get to see all the time. The simply arranged petals around the yellow center have a nice effect on me. There is a certain order to the way the flower is structured that is nice. They often bloom in masses, which is another attribute. I guess almost any flower in the Aster family would be a more accurate answer but not to many people will understand that one.

Yesterday I missed updating this site for the first time in a long time. I left the house at 4 am to go to the free Selena Gomez Good Morning America concert. It was raining really hard when I left but by the time I got the city the rain had pretty much stopped. For any free event in Manhattan I expected chaos but the crowd was small and orderly. I got a good place to stand and it was fun seeing how they put the show together. All the morning personalities were there including Robin, George, Sam and Lara. Emeril Lagasse was there doing a cooking segment and that smelled good.

Selena looked great (even after her recent health scare) and sounded good. She performed her new song for the first time in public. It was weird going to a concert with a 7 am start time. That was the first time ever for that.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dwarf Spike Speedwell

Dwarf Spike Speedwell
Veronica spicata 'Royal Candles'
(veh-RON-ih-ka) (spi-KAH-tuh)
Synonyms: ‘Glory’

This is a perennial that I have been using more and more over the years. My favorite and seemingly most available is ‘Red Fox’. It has taken some explaining sometimes to be allowed to plant Veronica, which is a name a lot of older gardeners associate with a terrible weed (Veronica persia) that infests lawns and planting beds. This perennial is a much more refined and gracious plant and a good garden citizen. It seems very hardy and able to grow in difficult areas. I am very excited to try this dwarf version (8-12 inches tall). The flower color is an awesome blue and it seems very prolific.

This is a low maintenance flower that blooms in the late spring and summer. The flowering season can be extended by deadheading. It has average soil and water needs. One trick I have learned is that Speedwell likes well drained soil, especially in the winter. Some sources say that it will grow in light shade but I have found it likes full sun better.

This site went over 900,000 page loads (not visitors) yesterday. Thanks to everyone that has come for the information and pictures.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Good as Gold Coreopsis

Bigflower Coreopsis
Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Good as Gold’
(kor-ee-OP-sis) (gran-dih-FLOR-uh)
Synonyms: Large flowered Tickseed, Tickseed Coreopsis

Monday, June 13, 2011

Persian Buttercup

Persian Buttercup
Ranunculus 'Bloomingdale Special Mix'
(ra-NUN-ku-lus) (a-see-AT-ee-kus)
Synonyms: Turban Buttercup, Persian Crowfoot

This flower has been featured on this blog before however not with this particular shading and colors. The ‘Special Mix’ was really special this year. It had several flowers like this one and a flower with purple edges. The standard mix of colors was also in the pots. They did well until we got a couple of days of heavy rain with no sun and then had to be replaced. This typically is an early spring flower for us but it didn’t last as long as it should have. There are Dragon Wing Begonias in its place now.

One thing I will say about Ranunculus is that it always appears to me to be a stately and elegant flower. From the colored ruffles to the finely cut foliage it radiates class. The Bloomingdale strain is dwarf only getting to 10 inches tall and that adds to its beauty.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Christmas Orchid

Christmas Orchid
Angraecum sesquipidale
Synonyms: Christmas Star Orchid, Comet Orchid, Star of Bethlehem Orchid, Rocket Orchid

This isn’t the best flower picture I have ever taken but I thought people might like to see this rare and unusual beauty. It’s discovery shook up the botanical world at the time because of the lack of a known pollinator. This orchid is native to the lowlands of Madagascar where it attaches itself to trees at the edge of the forest.

Angraecum has about 200 species of plants associated with it. That makes it one of the largest groups of African Orchids. It is easy to cultivate (if you can find it) but needs a lot of space because of its size. It blooms on December and late winter, hence the Christmas Orchid common name. The plants prefer a little shade and no direct sun. It needs good draining medium that is kept evenly moist. Generally conditions similar to Cattleya.

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 today’s bonus flower.

Supertunia Petunia
Petunia hybrid 'Kakegawa S30'

Any of the Supertunias are usually a good bet. They grow well and seem to be able to shake off any bad weather. This one has a bit of green near the center but you really can’t see that unless looking up close.

Last night I went to see British Blues/rock guitarist legend Robin Trower. Even at 60 something he was pretty amazing. The last time I had seen him was in 1976 at the Palladium in NYC. It wasn’t as loud this time thankfully. Of interest to me at this concert was the warm up band the Matt Schofield Trio. He is a great guitarist and the trio had a organ player that doubled as the bass player (he was pretty amazing). Its nice to have a local concert venue that gets good acts. The concert was about 15 minutes from my house.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Julia Child Floribunda Rose

Julia Child Floribunda Rose
Synonyms: WEKvossutono, ‘Absolutely Fabulous’

This rose was featured here in 2009 and was added to the big rose garden in 2010. I have been happy with it in the garden. Its bright sunny yellow flowers are always nice to se especially on cloudy days. It seems to have good disease resistance and a lot of flowers during the season. It would be on my recommended list in general but it gets really high marks for a yellow rose.

It is fitting that I am posting a rose today as the hunt continues for 10 replacement roses. I have been to several nurseries so far and only found disease ridden, bug eaten roses. It seems harder and harder to find good roses that are not knockout types. Don’t get me wrong Knockouts are fine but they wouldn’t fit into the rose garden very well. There is no way I am buying a rose loaded with disease from the “factory”. It is just asking for problems.

Julia Child was obviously a colorful person. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes by her:

"Learn to cook--try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!"

"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”

Both of those can be applied to gardening.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Large Sunflowers

Large Sunflowers
Oil on Wood, 1928
Emil Nolde (1867 –1956)

As a change of pace here is a painting from the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. The subject and amazing brushstrokes prompted me to photograph this painting. Mr. Nolde was considered to be one of the first Expressionists and often used bold colors in his floral works. His flower paintings were said to be based on his love for the art of Vincent Van Gogh.

It is really difficult to photograph paintings in a museum although the Moma does not really have any restrictions other than no flash and no pictures in certain galleries. Getting the angle of the lens ‘flat’ on the canvas is the hardest thing for me. If you don’t, you get all sorts of distortion on the perspective. Some of those can be worked out in Photoshop but you basically have to have close to right in the camera. This photo was shot with my all time favorite lens, the Nikon 60mm/2.8 macro and the D700 camera

The weather finally broke yesterday after a couple of days of 100+ degrees. A line of violent storms rolled through at about 5 pm. We were lucky at home not to have much damage but several neighboring towns had a lot of damage including trees down, no power and roads closed. While it is still humid here at least we won’t have to deal with heat. The forecast calls for a much more comfortable 81 degrees today. Just in time for the weekend.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Flower Carpet Amber Rose

‘Flower Carpet Amber’
Synonyms: Calizia, Sedana

We always seem to be trying to find creative ways to have the ground covered. Pachysandra, Ajuga, Vinca and even Juniper are some of our choices. However the flower carpet series of roses seems like a nice alternative especially when they come in colors like this one. This rose gets about 2 feet tall and spreads up to 40 inches wide. It blooms throughout the season. This rose was considered new for the 2009-10 season

Here are some facts on ‘Flower Carpet Amber’:
Type: Shrub Rose
Bred by: Reinhard Noack, 2005
Petal Count; 9 to 16
Flower Size: 2 inches diameter

Here is a link to the home page of Flower Carpet Roses:

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Monday, June 06, 2011

Drummond's Phlox

Drummond's Phlox
Phlox drummondii ‘Blue Star’
(floks) (drum-AWN-dee-eye)
Synonyms: Annual Phlox

This is the first F1 Hybrid Phlox and it is gorgeous. The purple shading in this variety (it is often sold as a mix) is outstanding. Best if treated like an annual these new strains are said to last the whole season, which is a definite bonus compared to its older counterparts. It is best to plant this in the garden during the early season cool temperatures. ‘Blue Star’ Phlox has a well-branched mounded habit that gets about 12 inches tall. It likes full sun (5 to 6 hours per day) in moist well-drained soil. The bright colors can attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Since we have fallen behind at work (drat you rain) we have to pick up the pace a little. Thankfully the big annual plantings are in but there still a lot of big containers to plant with annuals. The season started a little slow for us but things keep getting added on (I am not complaining about it).

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Chandelier Lupine

Lupinus 'Chandelier'

This Lupine was an eye catcher but I pushed my cart right by it in the nursery. My history with Lupines have been mixed and it doesn’t really seem perennial in this climate. Occasionally a few return the next season and if I am lucky a few new seedlings come up the following year. I do love the structure and geometric shapes the Lupines provide in the border but for me they are much better to gaze upon then to try and grow.

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

Here is Sunday’s bonus picture, Just a Siberian Iris from work. The color blue is perfect and the plant seems to like being locked up in a tiny pocket of soil between the rocks of the pool stairs.

Siberian Iris
Iris sibirica
(EYE-ris) (sy-BEER-ah-kuh)

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Two Roses

Two Roses
Grandiflora Rose
Rosa 'White Lightnin'’
Synonym: AROwhif

At first I was not enamored with either of the roses in this post. 'White Lightnin'’ (not a spelling error) really struggled for the first few years of my taking over the big rose garden. It didn’t grow much and threw off a few flowers here and there. After sticking by it this year it has grown almost like a regular rose. It has been covered with flowers and the foliage seems strong and healthy. Listed as white, near white and a white blend on a lot of sites that pretty much covers it. This flower has a bit more cream yellow than most but that isn't really apparent when viewed from a couple steps back. When viewed from a reasonable distance these roses have an all white appearance. 'White Lightnin'’ has surpassed ‘Moondance’ as the number one white in the garden. I have to add 10 roses this year and am trying to get ‘White Iceberg’, which will give it a run for the money.

This next rose has already been featured here before . This rose has also risen in my little rating scale. It is a constant disease resistant bloomer. With parents like ‘Playboy’ and ‘Peppermint Twist’ what did you expect?

Floribunda Rose ‘Scentimental’
Synonyms: Scentimental Sunflor, WEKplapep

As a side note both of these shots are from my Sigma 24mm/1.8 lens (mine is the Nikon mount version). I decided to throw it on the camera as a fun challenge. It is a real nice lens and I love the way it handles the light and shadows. The Nikon 60 and 105mm are sharper but the Sigma isn’t bad in that department. It was a $100 less when I bought from B&H. It needs to be a big flower to get full coverage at the wide angle.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Golden Torch Cactus

Golden Torch
Echinopsis spachiana
(ek-in-OP-sis) (spak-ee-AY-nuh)
Synonyms: Torch Cactus, Cereus spachianus

As a change of pace here is a Cactus we saw growing in California last year. I thought something from that area would be nice since it is so cold out this morning. The thermometer says 49 degrees F but it feels colder. I went out with a tee shirt and was freezing. What a wild and whacky weather year we are having.

Torch Cactus is a night bloomer with strongly scented flowers. The flowers (not pictured) are fairly huge, up to 8 inches across and usually only last a day. It is a native of Argentina and can reach a height of 6 feet.

I am glad it is Friday. We have two stops today but both are for planting, which makes it okay. Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

White Shrub Rose

White Shrub Rose
Rosa ‘White Out’
Synonyms: Radwhite

While out plant shopping yesterday I came across this beauty. Although I need 10 roses I didn’t get this one because it was in a tree form and that wouldn’t fit in the rose garden. The big rose tour is June 23rd and I need to find the bushes soon. I would like to find a couple of new white roses for the garden because it is underrepresented in the color scheme.

‘White Out’ is new being introduced in 2009 by Conrad-Pyle. Since it was bred by William J. Radler (the person responsible for Knockout roses) it is being billed as the closest thing to a “White Knockout rose”. It does look kind of like a Knockout but has its own beauty too.

Here is the run down on ‘White Out”:
Color: Actually considered Cream but looked really white
Fragrance: Mild. Citrusy.
Petal Count: 4 to 8
Disease Resistance: Excellent
Height and Width: 42 inches by 42 inches
Bloom Cycle: Perpetual

Its June now:

"What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade."
Gertrude Jekyll

"In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them."
Aldo Leopold

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

French Hollyhock

French Hollyhock
Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina'
(MAL-vuh) (sil-VESS-triss)