Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bolton's Aster

Bolton's Aster
Boltonia asteroides var. latisquama 'Jim Crockett'
Synonyms: White Doll's Daisy, False Aster, False Chamomile, Thousand Flower

Shot in Monochorme with the Nikon D700 and 105mm/2.8 Nikon lens

Monday, August 29, 2011

White Maiden Pink

Maiden Pink
Dianthus deltoides 'Albus'
(dy-AN-thus) (del-TOY-deez)

Quick post just to say we made through the storm but won’t have power for several days. We relocated to a hotel and the drive over was filled with broken trees and wires and a lot of flooding. We are going to be cleaning up for a long time.

This is a cute white form of the Maiden Pink. They like alpine conditions where they can form tight mats with a carpet of color.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Royal Creeper Vine

Royal Creeper
Oxera pulchella
(oks-ER-uh) (pul-KEL-uh)

These are archive shots from last winter. Taken at Fairchild Tropical Garden just south of Miami, Florida.

Since we are under a Hurricane Warning my thoughts have briefly drifted down to Florida and the devastation we saw when driving through Homestead, Florida after Hurricane Andrew had a direct hit there. I know it won’t be as bad as that but it did teach me a little bit about how bad these storms can be. The most recent forecast has the eye of a Category 1 Hurricane coming right over our little town/city. We are directly in what I call the “Cone of Doom”, which is the projected path of Irene. I was laughing and telling my friend from the west coast we will probably be wiped off the map just as we were in 1777 when the British troops burned the town to the ground for supplying that pesky Continental Army of the Americans. All kidding aside we have made some preparations and are keeping up with forecast although I have severely limited my intake of the coverage of the storm. It’s not really telling me anything and quite frankly is depressing.

About the flower for today. It is a quite attractive vine that blooms in the winter. It is very tropical and looks distinct and classy. Vines in general are not my favorite types of plants. While there is a time and place for them they usually end up going somewhat out of control.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lantana Hybrid

Lantana Hybrid
Lantana x 'Mone'
(lan-TAN-a) (kuh-MAR-uh)
Synonyms: Tangerine Spreading Lantana

This is the first year we are growing Tangerine Lantana and it has done well. Despite our relatively cool summer and wet August the Lantanas have been chugging along. My personal preference for Lantana is to grow the solid color types. We have an all white, all yellow, mostly red and the Tangerine, which is mostly orange. The solid colors are more pleasing to me but the growth rate and flowering seem about the same. It is a pleasant annual to have in the garden but be aware that the leaves are poisonous but the berries provide a nice food source for the birds.

Last night the legendary Texas band ZZ Top rolled into our little city. Even with the threat of rain we decided to go. They played a great show and I don’t think I have heard guitar playing like that for a long time. The seemingly effortless style of the band was amazing. You could tell they have been together for a long time (40 years and over 50 million albums sold). The only thing that was a little disappointing that some of the legendary guitar collection seemed to have been left at home. They did play the white furry ones and a sunburst Les Paul. It wasn’t the fabled ’59 Sunburst ‘Pearly Gates’ but still sounded great. I don’t think ‘Pearly Gates‘ goes on the road anymore. I think the main guitar he played was a Gretsch G6199 "Billy-Bo" Jupiter Thunderbird replica. It had a beautiful design on it. Fitting I guess for a Sharp Dressed Man.

As anyone who reads this blog knows I really like the pop star/actress Selena Gomez (1.45 million albums sold). It was a pleasure to see her in concert last Saturday night and meet her earlier in her tour. The juxtaposition between seeing Selena and ZZ Top in 5 days was pretty amazing. A little known fact about me (well not anymore I guess) is that I like Pop music and while I don’t know exactly what songs are on the charts at any given time I do probably have some knowledge of the songs. Selena’s concert was great. She really worked hard on putting on the best show she could and it worked. She is working with UNICEF (she is the youngest UNICEF Ambassador ever) and the George Harrison fund to look back on the 40th Anniversary of the Concert for Bangladesh. There was a short video clip of Harrison, Dylan, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and Eric Clapton playing and talking. The last thing I expected to see at the pop concert. It was awesome and Selena is working with these people. Here is the video:

On the other hand you have ZZ Top. Just a "That Little Ol' Band from Texas" as they like to be known. To me Billy F. Gibbons is one of the best rock and roll guitarists America has ever produced. He went through several music styles with a smoothness that was stupendous. The look and feel of the ZZ Top concert was very slick with a minimum of equipment and tricks. I really wanted to support our local venue for having such a big rock and roll concert. The place was mobbed and I haven’t ever seen it that crowded (been to about 20 shows up there).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Eva Cullum Garden Phlox

Garden Phlox
Phlox paniculata 'Eva Cullum'
(floks) (pan-ick-yoo-LAY-tuh)

Well I have to take back what I said about this Phlox earlier on this blog. This was its third or fourth year in the garden and it didn’t get any Powdery Mildew. It again bloomed beautifully and the foliage stayed clean. The color is amazing, a really dark pink, and the plants seem to stay at a reasonable height and didn’t require staking. Garden Phlox is always a classic to me and when blooming it owns the back of the border.

We moved the four big Japanese Snowbell (Styrax japonicus) trees over the last two days. It was a big job but came out okay. Lifting them out of the 3 foot tall stone planters was the hardest part. Wow they were heavy. They look nice in their new home and hopefully will do well. I got the go ahead to plant five 8 to 10 foot tall Oriental Spruce (Picea orientalis) behind them. Which are some of the largest specimens I have ever seen for sale. Also going into the new garden is a Weeping Cherry (Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula'), some Knockout Roses and some sod. Since this garden already has one of just about every common landscape plant I will have to be a little creative about what else to plant. Sadly the new area is outside the deer fence, which cuts down my prospects by a lot.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Black and Blue Salvia

Blue Anise Sage
Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'
(SAL-vee-uh) (gwar-uh-NYE-tik-uh)
Synonyms: Brazilian Sage

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Shrub Rose ‘Peppermint Pop’

Shrub Rose ‘Peppermint Pop’
Synonyms: Radcarn

Here we have another new plant that seems to be lurking around the edge of the market. It looked familiar when I have seen it and now I know why. It is from the same breeder as the Knockout series of roses and it looks like a really colorful knockout type. The flowers are bright pink with a hint of a white underside. Introduced in 2011 by Conard-Pyle (Star Roses) it is sure to be a big hit.

‘Peppermint Pop’ is disease resistant and the dark green foliage provides a nice backdrop for the pink flowers. The bush gets up to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. The flowers have 25-40 petals and seem quite detailed. It is hardy to USDA Zone 5.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Echinacea purpurea 'Raspberry Truffle'
(ek-in-AY-shee-a) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)

It wouldn’t be summer if we didn’t get a couple new Coneflower varieties. When I say new it means new to me. I generally don’t think of a plant as ‘introduced’ until it makes it to at least a couple of the wholesale distributors we use. Then it is on the market and not just something you gawk at in a catalog. 'Raspberry Truffle' is a brand new flower for 2011 and it is already available for sale. The flower shape is a little weird but the color is stunning. We have laid off using too much Echinacea because a lot of it died out over the years. I think a couple of winters had conditions that were favorable to them not returning.

Since it is Sunday come join us at Today’s Flowers .

Bonus flower for Sunday.

White Coneflower
Echinacea 'Heavenly Dream'

This Coneflower was introduced in 2009. Its bright white flower and compact habit do make it a bit of a dream.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Shrub Rose

Shrub Rose
Rosa 'High Voltage’
Synonym: Baiage

This is kind of like the shrub rose I posted several days ago but this time I know the name. ‘High Voltage’ is a new member of the Easy Elegance class of roses and its subtle color and disease resistance are sure to have around for a long time. Obtaining a height of 2 to 3 feet ‘High Voltage’ is nice and small although the flowers are about standard size.

I didn’t buy the ‘High Voltage’ but was interested to see that the Easy Elegance roses come with a 2-year homeowner guarantee. I guess they think you are really going to like them. Here is a link to the guarantee it seems pretty fool proof.

Today is my birthday and my wife surprised me with some Selena Gomez tickets. The concert is at the PNC Arts Center in New Jersey. Recently on Facebook I posted some shots of the big festival/concert I attended. Someone sent me a note asking that their pictures be removed from the album. They were supposed to be at work and the boss saw their photos. Oops!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia hirta 'Sonora'
(rud-BEK-ee-a) (HER-tuh)

This seems like a new variety of Black-eyed Susan but may have been around for a while. I am thinking it is new since this is the first year I have seen it for sale at several places. I bought one for a container and it looked pretty mixed with some white petunia and yellow Lantana. One thing that is remarkable is that of the 20 or so flowers on my 6-inch pot none were the same. Each had their own striking markings around the center of the flower. Some also had larger brown cones in the middle. It is quite a feast for the eyes, Lucky it only grows to 18 to 24 inches, as the flowers look heavy compared to the stalks.

Black-eyed Susans add a nice touch to summer. The yellow flowers are produced in copious numbers and liven up the garden at a time when it needs it. There are more and more varieties coming out all the time. It is an easy perennial to grow and can colonize rough areas. It doesn't seem to need much in the way of maintenance or care. The spreading habit is good way to get free plants.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

White Japanese Anemone

Japanese Anemone
Anemone x hybrida 'Whirlwind'

This perennial has appeared on this blog before. It is once again blooming and looking great in the garden. Slightly different then most Anemone varieties 'Whirlwind’ features a double flower and a slightly smaller habit. The smaller part is helpful since it can’t flop over like some of the taller types. I would recommend this plant for massing or the border. It flowers in late summer and keeps going until the frost knocks it down.

Happy news at work we have scored a nice sized installation job. It is at one of our regular houses and should provide a nice challenge to complete. It is going to be a mixture of plants because not only does it have to present a nice picture from the street it will double as a continuation of some privacy screening.

There is one part of the job I am not looking forward to and that is moving four Japanese Snowbell trees from the rear patio out to the new area. Normally having some ‘free’ mature plants would be a good thing except the Styrax trees are planted in masonry planters. This going to make them a very tricky dig indeed. Oh well we will just do the best we can trying to move them out. I may try and document our progress as we do the installation.

Monday, August 15, 2011

WHite Butterfly Bush

Butterfly Bush
Buddleia davidii
(BUD-lee-uh) (duh-VID-ee-eye)
Synonyms: Buddleja davidii, Summer Lilac, Orange-eye Butterfly Bush

This is another photo from my prowling around the farm on Saturday. Buddleia has always been a favorite shrub of mine. It produces so any sweet smelling flowers during the summer and fall. I deadhead ours but it is really not necessary and can be a big job. It does seem to extend the flowering so it makes it worthwhile. This year our Buddleias seemed to have grown more enormous then ever. We usually cut them back severely in the spring but must have missed it this year. This white flowered one, which is a little more rare, was about 8 feet tall with an equal spread.

Buddleia is a wonderful shrub to have if you have children. They really do attract butterflies but also bees. The other day at work (sans camera) I was getting the butterflies to walk on my hands as they flitted amongst the flowers. My co-workers were laughing at me but bit a little jealous at the same time.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dwarf Chinese Delphinium

Dwarf Chinese Delphinium
Delphinium grandiflorum 'Blue Butterfly'
(del-FIN-ee-um) (gran-dih-FLOR-um)

The color of this flower caught my eye immediately. It is a super striking blue. Although I love Delphinium flowers it is a plant I would rather not grow. It is biennial at best and needs to be constantly refreshed and the plants are sometimes difficult to get. I am sure this table of “Butterfly Blue’ was sold out fast.

This is dwarf Delphinium and that makes it easier to manage. It only grows to about 18 inches and doesn’t need staking. It looks like the classic Delphinium in shape, form and foliage. It has average water needs and isn’t too fussy about soil type. The flower color alone justifies trying this one out.

Since it is Sunday come join us at Today’s Flowers .

Bonus Photo!

Yesterday I went up to rural Kent, Connecticut to play at the Hollowstock Festival. It was located on a rustic farm that was totally charming. After living out my dream of playing a Hammond Organ at a gig I was wandering around when I saw this wild Poppy. The color was fantastic and this picture was taken in the very late after noon. It was nice to see poking it’s head up along the fence line.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pincushion Flower

Pincushion Flower
Scabiosa columbaria 'Butterfly Blue'
(skab-ee-OH-suh) (kol-um-BAR-ee-uh)

There are certain flowers that I just can’t seem to get a good photograph of and this has been one. Over the years Scabiosa has seemed to resist every attempt to photograph it. One thing I have learned is to just go with the flow and stop trying to capture the resistant flowers. So here is an okay picture of Scabiosa and it is time to move on to other species.

Having Pincushion Flower is the garden is usually a short lived but rewarding experience. It is easy to grow as a perennial if given the proper winter drainage. The flowers do attract butterflies and bees. With proper deadheading it can bloom all season. In 2000 it was named perennial plant of the year .

Today I am going out to play some music at a local loosely arranged festival. It is the first time the digital Hammond Organ will be making an appearance and that is exciting. It is a monster instrument and hopefully all the hours I have spent practicing with it will pay off. I have been spending a lot of time listening to some of the great Hammond players including the The Incredible Jimmy Smith (as he was known).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Princess and the Frog

The Princess and the Frog

Here is the gorgeous Disney Princess Selena Gomez performing at sunset at Bethel Woods. The sunset tones really set off the great skin color she had. My experience meeting her and seeing the concert was one I am not likely to forget for a long time.

On the other hand I met this Green Frog (Rana clamitans) at work yesterday. He wasn’t nearly as pretty but beautiful in his own special way. I felt bad because his eye and leg were messed up a little, which made him an easy catch. Soon after being subjected to my nosy camera he was back swimming in the pond with his friends hopefully no worse for the wear. A detailed inspection revealed a beautiful animal with a lot of great markings and colors.

Yesterday was kind of wildlife day at work. We saw a family of three deer, a woodchuck, rabbits, frogs and a huge snake. The snake was about six feet long and twice the thickness of a broom handle. The largest one I had seen in many years.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hibiscus and Parrots Tiffany WIndow

Hibiscus and Parrots
Louis Comfort Tiffany
Leaded Glass 1910-20
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, New York

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Double Impatiens

Double Impatiens
Impatiens walleriana 'Fiesta Stardust Pink'
(im-PAY-shuns) (wall-er-ee-AH-nuh)

Monday, August 08, 2011

Nikko Blue Mophead Hydrangea

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

Since the ‘Nikko Blue’ Hydrangea had such a good year this year I thought posting this emerging flower was a good idea. There were several plants that had so many flowers they flopped over, which is something I hadn’t seen before. We really haven’t figured out the exact best way to cultivate this plant. My main course of action is to not cut the dead looking stalks in the spring until late May. That has seemed to increase our flower production. A little trimming after blooming is about all that we do during the season.

Hydrangeas are such a classic flower and are always a welcome sight when they bloom during the summer. ‘Nikko Blue’ is especially nice since it stays fairly compact (for a shrub) and lends its unique and beautiful color to the garden.

We were lucky to have a good rain over the weekend here. We must have picked up over an inch and everything that was wilting has snapped back, except the lawn of course. The grass will take a bit longer to soak up the water and put it good use. At least it wasn’t all dusty when cut on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Hairy False Goldenaster

Hairy False Goldenaster
Heterotheca villosa var. scabra
(het-er-oh-THEEK-uh) (vil-OH-suh)

It’s not too often I come across a flower around here that I have no idea what it is. This was one I spotted last week and was happy it had a tag for identification purposes. The bright, clear yellow was nice to see on a somewhat cloudy day. The plants were about 2.5 feet tall and the foliage had kind of a velvety down on them. I want to be sure to announce that this free seeder is considered invasive and is also considered a weed in some places. We could all use a few more weeds like this! This plant is good for xeriscaping as it is drought tolerant. If you don’t want any seedlings just deadhead the flowers to control it. This flower is mostly native to the Western United States and Canada.

Since it is Sunday come join us at Today’s Flowers .

Bonus Picture!

False Sunflower

Not sure exactly what this flower is but it seemed like Heliopsis is a good guess. It was also lighting up the cloudy landscape.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Bethel, New York

Here is part of the water garden from the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. The grounds of the venue were astounding to me. Everything looked perfect including the several acres of turf. There were a lot of flowers and overall it had a nice well cared for look. It is built on the site of the original 1969 Woodstock festival.

Christina Grimmie performing at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

The concert was amazing. Huge and vocal crowd was in attendance. Selena was a gracious host at the meet and greet. She is stunningly beautiful and has a very nice way about her. We Own the Night lived up to expectations with a lot of production and musicianship. Selena’s secret weapon is her band. They are all top quality players that can play together. Also of note at the show was opening act YouTube sensation Christina Grimmie. She is cute and has a huge voice. Her piano playing was also good. She reminded me of a little elf. I didn’t get a lot of pictures. I couldn’t find the Nikon P6000 and had to go with old technology a Nikon Coolpix 8400 and Cp5300. It shows the glaring difference which newer cameras can deal with lower light and digital noise so much better.

Selena Gomez performing at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Friday, August 05, 2011

Lotus Flower

Nelumbo cultivar

Here is the 80-200mm/2.8 lens exhibiting great sharpness and color rending on a very sunny day. Even though this lens is almost 20 years old (new for me at Xmas) it is still amazing to me. As someone who truly loves prime (fixed focal range) lenses this zoom lens has been a bit of a blessing. I wasn’t the guy, for a change, hanging over the lotus pool tying to get a shot with a 60mm lens. I was able to step back and enjoy the flowers!!

Tonight is going to be special as we are going to meet and see in concert my favorite pop star Selena Gomez. I can’t believe the day is finally here after the long wait from March when the tickets went on sale.

Here is a link to Selena’s latest platinum (over 1 million sold) single Who Says.

Partially inspired by the wave of hate that flowed Selena’s way after she hooked up with Justin Beiber. I read that she didn’t really want to walk barefoot in downtown LA but did it anyway.

Here is another Sel video from the album before last called A Year without Rain. It took me awhile to fall in love with the CD but I have. This is a mixed Spanish and English version. Probably my favorite TV performance by Selena and she is on TV a lot.

A Year Without Rain from George Lopez Tonight.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Garden Phlox

Garden Phlox
Phlox paniculata
(floks) (pan-ick-yoo-LAY-tuh)

This picture is from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. They had some amazing Phlox blooming although I couldn’t find the name of this one anywhere. It was interesting that they had the lighter pink planted in front of a darker pink types. It was very effective way to show off the lighter colored one.

The Sigma 24mm/1.8 lens and the D70s camera teamed up for this shot. I am not sure how many photos I have taken with the D70 but it has to in the 50 to 75 thousand range and it is still going strong. Of course the more modern D700 has several things that it does better than the D70. The noise control is much better on the 700 as is the viewing screen and of course the file size is almost twice as big. Having larger files is nice for cropping especially in cases where you don't get the composition exactly right.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Yellow Bush Daisy

Yellow Bush Daisy
Euryops pectinatus
(YOOR-ee-ops) (pek-tin-AY-tus)
Synonyms: Euryops sonnenschein

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Monday, August 01, 2011

Autumn Sunset Climbing Rose

Climbing Rose
Rosa 'Autumn Sunset'

When it came time to get new roses this year I dutifully went to about 7 nurseries seeking my prizes. By accident one climbing rose was included in the bundle. There are a lot of climbing roses at the house with the rose garden but the house staff takes care of them. The climbing roses are all either red or white. We stuck ‘Autumn Sunset’ in the garden anyway since it couldn’t be returned and it turned out to be a nice color and plant.

Sometimes a mistake can turn into a happy accident and in the case of 'Autumn Sunset’ everything has worked out. Other than a little extra pruning it has grown well and produced a good amount of flowers.