Friday, September 30, 2011


Garden Mum

Chrysanthemum x morifolium

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

Yesterday despite the pouring rain I was out looking for the 130 eight inch Chrysanthemums we need at work. The color scheme we would like to use is a bright orange and bright yellow. Nobody had anything with the right color and stage of bloom. This nice pink mum caught my eye as the color was a bit unusual as was the daisy like flower. It was in absolute full bloom.

Even though I love the D700 camera it does take large files, which really have to be crushed down to appear on this blog. There is a setting for taking smaller shots but what happens if I take a nice picture and want to enlarge it to its fullest extent? I try and keep the photos on here to around 100kb. I know some people out there use a dial up connection and nothing is more frustrating than waiting 5 minutes for every picture to load. So the end result is using the JPEG setting at 70% in Photoshop with a certain loss of color and quality.

Since it suppose to be really cold here over the weekend (no frost warnings yet) we are going to start moving some of our most tender tropical plants inside for the season. The small Orchid collection is going inside too.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bloomerang Dwarf Lilac

Dwarf Lilac

Syringa 'Penda'


Synonym: Bloomerang

Okay every once in awhile a season bender plant appears and this little lilac is one. A mixture of several species of lilac including patula x macrophylla x meyeri x juliana it blooms heavily around regular lilac time (around here Mid-May). It then takes a rest period and starts blooming again with a smaller crop of flowers. This picture was taken this week and the plants offered for sale each had a couple of flowers on them.

When you combine the dwarf habit, fragrant flowers and the reblooming Bloomerang is quite a package. One house we care for has a large collection of what I think are ‘Miss Kim’ dwarf lilacs and they are in constant need of pruning to fit in their dwarf spaces. That doesn’t really fit the definition/use of a dwarf plant for me. The problem is not the plant but the planter in that case (I inherited the care of those plants and did not install them). Bloomerang looks to be a much dwarfer and less course plant than ‘Miss Kim’ but only time will tell (Bloomerang was introduced in 2009).

Fall lilac flowers what will we see next?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Garden Mum

Garden Mum

Chrysanthemum x morifolium 'Wilma Yellow '

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

Synonym: Button Mum

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Japanese Windflower

Japanese Windflower

Anemone hupehensis 'September Charm'

(uh-NEM-oh-nee) (hew-pay-EN-sis)

Synonym: Japanese Anemone

Monday, September 26, 2011

Scared Lotus Bud and Flower


Nelumbo cultivar


This cherry red Lotus flower was spotted earlier this summer. I liked being able to catch both the bud and flower. Shot with the 80-200mm/2,8 lens. The lens is a very good one even though it was bought “used”. It really came to me in mint condition and kind of proves that old lenses and new digital cameras do mix well.

From what I can tell the 80-200 was manufactured in the early 1990’s. It features the old Nikon push-pull zoom system, which is a little weird since I am really used to the two ring modern system on the other lenses I own. It is really a minor thing and easy to use once you get the hang of it. One thing about the lens that is a little hard to deal with its physical size. It is huge and heavy but hand holding it for a good shot isn’t too bad but I wouldn’t want to do it all day long. People often do a double take when you are out in public and that is against my incognito policy for picture taking.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hardy Ginger

Hardy Ginger

Roscoea auriculata ‘Spice Island’

(ross-KOH-ee-uh) (aw-rik-yoo-LAY-tuh)

This is a plant that I saw for the first time a couple of weeks ago at a local nursery. The first impression was that it was some tropical that got mixed into the hardy shade plant display. It turns out this plant is considered hardy to USDA Zone 6. Here is a page on the hardiness zones (including Britian).

Zone 6 is pretty far north in the US and I have my doubts that this plant would make there but don’t have any direct experience with it. A heavy layer of mulch is recommended and the plants sometimes don’t emerge until late May. I guess I would try a few to see if it works. The flower and foliage does give off a tropical flair. The price was really high at $22 for a 1 gallon pot.

Since it is Sunday come join us at Today’s Flowers . Sunday means a bonus snapshot.

I didn’t say it was going to be a flower picture. This was taken at the New York Aquarium at the Jellyfish Tank. It was shot with the Nikon D700 and 50mm/1.8 lens in what I would describe as very dark conditions.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Harvest Moon Coneflower

Hybrid Coneflower
Echinacea ‘Harvest Moon’
Synonym: 'Matthew Saul'

This marks the third time ‘Harvest Moon’ Coneflower has made it onto this blog. This little patch had a lighter color scheme then most ‘Harvest Moon’ and I have to confess I have been enjoying some muted colors in the garden’s palette. Don’t get me wrong I still love bold colors but have become fonder of the subtle color displays too and might even start designing with that in mind.

You can see a Bumble Bee was about the flowers and I was pleased to see some Honeybees around too. There seems to be more and more Yellow Jackets and fewer Honeybees then ever.

It was wildlife week at the Estate or so it seemed. Upon arriving for work on Monday a group of several Coyotes were in the woods raising a heck of a racket. We couldn’t see them but the calls were a little nerve wracking. It reminded me not to bring my dogs to work. They would have been running to see the source of the noise.

We also had a Red Tailed Hawk swoop in and grab a Chipmunk. The Chipmunks have had a population explosion and it was nice to see a predator take one. It all happened in a blur and took a couple of seconds to actually figure out what happened.

Yesterday I decided to prune the male Winterberry Holly because it was hiding one of the females that has a good berry crop this year. Right next to me was a super big Butterfly Bush at eye level. I am not sure what happened but the Butterfly Bushes got bigger than ever this year. Most of them are grown from seedlings and that maybe the reason some got to 20 feet tall. While chopping the head of the Holly a Hummingbird flew in to feed on the Butterfly Bush. It was about 2 feet in front of face and I marveled at its flying and feeding techniques. It was visiting every flower on the stalk (which is hundreds of them) with such precision. The bird never seemed to notice me and flew off after a few minutes. It looked to be on some sort of route.

To top it off we have a large Orb type spider leaving in the front of the shed. Bugs don’t usually bother me (I have seen my share) but this guy gives me the creeps. He is quite industrious completely rebuilding his complicated web several times already. I did notice quite a few flies and mosquitoes in his web so it’s beneficial insect for now.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bigleaf Ligularia

Bigleaf Ligularia

Ligularia dentata

(lig-yoo-LAR-ee-uh) (den-TAY-tuh)

Synonyms: Leopard Plant

This perennial flower was spotted brightening up a somewhat moist shady area a couple of weeks ago. The coarse foliage and bright yellow/orange daisies were really helping the otherwise drab area. It is a 2 to 3 foot tall plant but also gets very thick. A nice plant for tough areas like the shade garden. It has been a good garden citizen not spreading or seeding and returning each year.

I have been toying with idea of not updating this blog on Fridays. Right now I am writing another story and it seems to be taking up a lot of my time. Also I haven’t been out to take many pictures partially because of the crummy weather (rainy again today).

"The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many."

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Marmalade Coneflower


Echinacea purpurea 'Marmalade'

(ek-in-AY-shee-a) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)

Another new Coneflower for 2011 Marmalade has a truly unique color. The large flowers are fully double with a lot of petals. This is a flower that can look several different colors depending on the lighting with tangerine, yellow and pink overtones. It seems sturdy and the stalks can support the heavy flowers. This plant was developed as part of the Cone-fections series by AB-Cultivars in the Netherlands. The flowers are fragrant (I didn’t notice that) and work well as cut flowers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shrubby Cinquefoil Goldfinger

Shrubby Cinquefoil

Potentilla fruticosa 'Goldfinger'

(poh-ten-TILL-uh) (froo-tih-KOH-suh)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Black and White Shrub Rose

Shrub Rose

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunny Knockout Shrub Rose

Shrub Rose

Rosa 'Sunny Knockout'


Synonyms: Radsunny

In order to finish the new area we have been working on we needed to have some more roses. This Sunny Knockout was looking so good it made it into the garden along with some Carefree and Easy elegance types. This rose is a standout amongst the others and comes with the ease of care the Knockouts have. This is the newest Knockout and it is sure to be a hit, in my opinion. The bright yellow flowers fade to a creamy color, which provides a nice contrast to the newer brighter yellow flowers.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Royale Chambray Superbena

Royale Chambray Superbena

Verbena hybrid


Synonyms: 'AKIV5711'

When this plant was purchased we had no idea it was a new variety for 2011. The name is appropriate since this plant does grow and flower with a royal habit. First the color is great. Probably not dark enough for true purple lovers but it is a very pleasant shade of purple. The habit is like Verbenas in the fact it is a bit of a sprawling mound. ‘Royale Chambray’ seems to have a little better depth than most varieties.

Since it is Sunday come join us at

Bonus picture for Sunday! This Dahlia has me wondering if the plant I grew last year under this name was an impostor. The colors were not nearly as vibrant and warm. This one has been a star in the cutting garden.

Decorative Dahlia
Dahlia 'Tahiti Sunrise'

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Summer Snowflake Viburnum

Doublefile Viburnum

Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum 'Summer Snowflake'

(vy-BUR-num) (ply-KAY-tum)

Synonyms: Japanese Snowball Bush, Fujisanensis

This is an amazing shrub and I was surprised that it is actually a type of Doublefile Viburnum. It is so dainty compared to the larger cousins like ‘Shasta’ Viburnum. Although it does reach 8 to 10 feet tall it seems to get there slowly and can be easily maintained at shorter heights. I do think that Doublefiles are one of the most graceful and beautiful shrubs except they are often planted with not enough room and get a slightly hatcheted appearance due to heavy pruning. Luckily ‘Summer Snowflake’ doesn’t usually need that so it can be used in a foundation planting. This shrub often blooms sporadically throughout the summer. I am always surprised to see it with some flowers long after the spring Viburnum season has ended.

One thing I learned about Viburnum plicatum while making this post was they were discovered in a Shanghai garden by Robert Fortune and introduced to the west in 1850. No known specimens are known to exist in the wild and they are all considered of horticultural origin.

We have our monthly gig at the local coffeehouse tonight. After taking a couple of months off I am really looking forward to it. I have decided to take my 1957 Fender Stratocaster out for the first time in several years. After having a conversation with a friend last week in which I said that I don’t like to take it out of the house these days. He asked me why even have it? That made me think about it and he is right. What is the reason for having a classic car and never driving it? I guess I am a little worried about something happening to it because it is certainly irreplaceable to me at this point (lucky I bought it 1985 before prices soared but it was still a stretch at that point). The coffeehouse is okay but I certainly wouldn’t want some drunk tripping over it or spilling a beer on it at a bar/club gig (both have happened to me before). Back up will be my 1991 American made Telecaster. It is virtually indestructible.

You are my date tonight, old friend. Do you remember that old Jimi Hendrix song we used to play?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

First Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum morifolium cultivar

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

Here is a picture of the first Chrysanthemum we bought for the season. I thought the color was wonderfully autumn like. The grower has 1000’s of them getting ready to go but this and a white flowered one were the only two that were showing color. I had to push my way past the Poinsettias to get to the mums. That wasn’t as bad as the nursery that had their full Christmas display out when I visited last week. Seeing that was a bit stomach churning because we need to have a big fall at work. As a side note many of the mums from last year lived and are getting ready to bloom in the borer. They have gotten huge and should be putting on a nice “free” show.

Today we have a storm related cleanup to do in Pound Ridge. A large Oak tree feel over into someone’s pond and has to be removed. Since it is still connected to the stump it will be a little tricky and a friend with a backhoe is coming to help drag it back onto land so we can cut it up and dispose of it. All in all the gardens fared pretty well with the hurricane so I am not complaining about this tree. It seems it is nature’s way of cleaning out the forest and I am sure on closer examination there will be some fault proven with the big Oak.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shasta Daisy

Shasta Daisy

Leucanthemum 'White Mountain


New Introduction for 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan

Rudbeckia hirta 'Denver Daisy'

(rud-BEK-ee-a) (HER-tuh)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Apricot Candy Hybrid Tea Rose

Hybrid Tea Rose ‘Apricot Candy’

Rosa ‘Apricot Candy’

Synonyms: Meibedull

This was a rose spotted at the local nursery. The color is fantastic and the fragrance is strong too. It seemed like a vigorous rose that was trying to outgrow its pot. Bred by famous French breeder Alain Meilland it was introduced to the US in 2007 by Star Roses.

I don’t usually recommend Hybrid Tea roses for casual growers but the color on this one would sure blend into a pastel or a collector of this color garden. It gets 5 feet tall with glossy foliage.

This past weekend was a busy one. After seeing Erika’s soccer game and attending a classic car show on Saturday (I did love the real Shelby Cobra there) we went on Sunday we went to the Taste of Danbury festival. We didn’t eat too much but enjoyed the concert by Brian Howe. I was a little skeptical that he was being billed as the “former lead singer of Bad Company.” The show was great with a lot of the old Bad Co. songs well presented. I couldn’t believe that within two weeks our little town had hosted ZZ Top and this rock concert. The guitar player for Mr. Howe was really good and it was refreshing to hear a vintage Les Paul guitar plugged into a Marshall stack. It doesn’t get more basic than that. I bought his new CD and got it signed afterwards at the free meet and greet. I don’t think Karen appreciated his wry British sense of humor but he had me cracking up several times during the show.

Brian Howe and his band performing at a Taste of Danbury festival.

This was the first time I had used Karen’s old 18-135mm lens, which produces a smaller image with the D700 camera. It is sharp and it was nice to be able to go to a really wide 18mm

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Phalaenopsis Orchid

Phalaenopsis Orchid
Phalaenopsis cv.
Synonyms: Moth Orchid

Since there hasn’t been an Orchid posted here in a while here is a close up of a white Phalaenopsis type. It is one of the most popular species of Orchids and one that has under gone massive breeding and cross-fertilization to produce many new colors and hybrids. The plants now available are generally better adapted to growing in our houses and gardens then their natural cousins. The common name was given as some of the flowers look like a moth in flight.

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

Here is the bonus picture for Sunday. It was obviously taken several months ago, as we don’t have any snow right now. This picture doesn’t really show the brilliance of this piece of art. It really does look like a fluttering flag when driving by. I looked around for a signature or sign but couldn’t really find who had made it. Of course it is the gruesome 10th anniversary of the terror attacks on the United States. It doesn’t seem to have been 10 years since that terrible day but the calendar says so. Originally I thought this area would never fully recover from the destruction but it has. I drive by ground zero a couple of times a month on the way to tend to the Manhattan garden we keep and it seems almost normal again. Although the events that happened there have wrought more death and destruction around the world and that is still going on.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mexican Aster

Mexican Aster
Cosmos bipinnatus
(KOS-mus) (by-pin-NAY-tus)

This flower was growing in the cutting garden and the light seemed right yesterday. Cosmos is a great annual that is easy to grow. The only problem I have with it is that it gets too tall and needs to be staked or cut back. There are some shorter strains available now and I would recommend them for ease of cultivation. Here is a link to a post on this blog with a little more information on Cosmos.

The cutting garden is doing 100% better this year since we changed the soil in the spring. More flowers and less sickness amongst the plants. There is an area in the front of the house that we plant Impatiens every year and I have begun to notice a lack of vigor with the plants. So after the mums are done this year we will change that soil too. When the cutting garden was redone we put a couple of layers of fertilizer in as the soil was replaced and that has worked out nicely. It was a bit of a job to change the soil but totally worth it.

Today is our granddaughter’s first soccer game so I will be out there trying some sports photography. That is one of the hardest genres of photography for me but I am looking forward to the challenge. With the new (this year) 80-200mm/2.8 lens it should be a little easier.

I want to second to thank all the people that followers and subscribe to this blog. It’s nice to know there are people out there that like what is posted here.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Red Shrub Rose

Red Shrub Rose

This was one of the few roses left after the hurricane. Since the rose garden is located in a windy and open area most of the flowers and foliage were affected. Already there are some new signs of life but I doubt it will get back to normal before the end of the season.

Luckily most of the other plants in the surrounding gardens came through without much damage but you could see that things had been whipped around and in general looked pretty bad. This estate is located in an elevated area, which saved it from flooding but also exposed it to more wind. Oh well, all we can do is wait for nature to repair itself and gently encourage the roses to come back.

Being a rose gardener is filled with a lot of ups and downs. Often times it seems just when we get things to where we want them some outside force acts on the garden.

This shrub rose, which I think maybe ‘Home Run’ has been a good citizen in the garden. It is a repeat bloomer that doesn’t seem to get too much disease. It is colorful and shapely.

This blog has taken on a mind of its own, publishing in a larger and different font. I guess that makes it easier to read.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Samantha Variegated Lantana

Variegated Lantana

Lantana camara 'Samantha'

(lan-TAN-a) (kuh-MAR-uh)

Synonyms: ‘Lemon Swirl’

Here is an annual that combines two of my favorite things. A free flowering habit and great looking foliage. Lantana seems to be making it on to this blog a lot lately and that is mainly since it has looked so good this year (most other years too). A heat and drought tolerant annual that keeps going until the hard frosts put it away. It does make into the conservatory for the winter sometimes and it kind of struggles to make through under glass but come spring it leaps back to life and looks great in no time.

Ugh, more rain here again. It’s making it almost impossible to get things done outside. We have already had 5.28 inches for the month and the tail of the remnants of tropical storm Lee still has to drag over us.

The first fall bulb catalog made it to our door yesterday. I need 500 Daffodils for the new area we are trying to complete. I don’t like the company but will use the catalog pictures as a reference guide with the client. Being able to add bulbs is one of the joys of making a new garden in the fall.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Dwarf Canna Lily

Dwarf Canna Lily
Canna x generalis
(KAN-uh) (jen-er-RAY-liss)

I thought this bright sunny flower would be nice for the people of the eastern coast of the United States seeing how it's a dreary, rainy and for this time of year cool day. I don’t have the name of this Canna but it has been growing nicely with some ‘Tropicanna’ types in a container. We didn’t plant any Cannas as bedding plants this year. After several years of getting infected (Canna virus) and looking bad we have pretty much given up on that. This Canna has kind of dullish bronze leaves, which gives a nice back drop to the flowers.

We are expecting several more inches of rain here and I doubt the rivers can handle that. It was the wettest August in history here with 12+ inches and the pattern looks to be continuing. That much rain is amazing for this time of year. I doubt we had even a couple of inches last year during the whole summer. At least we don’t have to drag hoses around the garden this year and the newly transplanted material must be happy.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Starshine Japanese Aster

Japanese Aster
Aster ageratoides ‘Starshine’
(ASS-ter) (ad-jur-rat-OH-id-eez)

This is a picture of the Aster we planted last week. It is a quite pleasant perennial. I do love Asters and this one seems like a winner with its erect habit, clear white flowers and heavy bud set. The foliage is super dark green and a bit glossy. You can never quite trust these perennials when they come from the nursery, as their growth has probably been somewhat manipulated. We mixed the white ‘Starshine’ with some ‘Purple Dome’ Aster and are hoping for the best. The other Asters in the garden haven’t started blooming yet but we have been pinching them pretty regularly through the season. It is time to stop that now and let them blossom.

Today is Labor Day in the United States so we are enjoying a leisurely holiday. It is the unofficial end of summer although there are still a couple of weeks left on the official timetable.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Grace Austin Rose

Austin Rose
Rosa ‘Grace’
Synonyms: AUSkeppy
Bred by David Austin, UK, 2001
US Introduction: David Austin Roses Limited (USA), 2005
Parentage: AUSleap × Seedling

This is another great Austin Rose. Although you can’t tell it from this photo it has a beautiful apricot color and a strong fragrance. To me the petal count of 76 is the amazing part. Packed into a relatively small flower all the petals make for a great design. Another beautiful, hardy and disease resistant rose from David Austin.

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

Bonus Flower for Sunday. Another black and white rose. This rose was featured on this blog a couple of weeks ago in color. I had another opportunity to shoot it in black and white and it shows a little more drama than the colored one.

Shrub Rose
Rosa 'High Voltage’
Synonym: Baiage

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Mauna Loa Daylily

Hemerocallis 'Mauna Loa'

Out of the 150 different Daylilies in my home garden there are only 3 named cultivars that I am aware of. 'Mauna Loa' is one and its bright, huge flowers are hard to ignore. It is also one of the few rebloomers out there as this picture was taken yesterday. All of the other Daylilies finished blooming months ago. The buds even made it through the hurricane, which was nice to see.

Normally I would shy away from orange colored Daylilies since they remind me of the species that blooms along the roads here. 'Mauna Loa' is different in the fact that it has much bigger flowers and has better color variations on the flower itself. Orange flowers in general are not my favorite but are getting more and more attractive to me. I would have to recommend this flower for growing as a mass or in a Daylily border.

All the plant material got delivered and installed on Thursday. It came out nice and got a lot of comments from the neighbors. The final test is when the owners come home from vacation next week. I think they will like it but will want a little more heavy screening in the back row.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Cardinal Flower

Cardinal Flower
Lobelia cardinalis
(low-BEE-lee-uh) (kar-dih-NAL-iss)

It was nice to see the patch of Cardinal Flower still standing tall after the hurricane. The color is amazing on this perennial and I feel after years of referring to this plant as a biennial it is safe to call it a perennial. This plant has returned for its third year now. Cardinal Flower is best in the back of the border since it is a tall flower. It can take moist conditions and likes full sun.

This picture shows a little of the Hurricane Irene damage and the long road to recovery from the storm. We will be cleaning up for years. Close call for that van!

This is the plant list getting delivered for the new garden today. It is very exciting. There are still several items we are looking for but this will get us started.

5 Oriental Spruce (Picea Orientalis) 8-10 feet

17 Knockout Rose 3 gallon pot

1 Fastigiate Japanese Plum Yew (Cephalotaxus h. 'Fastigiata’) 10 gallon

2 Spreading Japanese Plum Yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonia var. drupacea) 3 gallon

1 Dwarf White Pine (Pinus strobus ‘Nana’)

1 Mellow Yellow Spirea (Spiraea thunbergii 'Ogon') 2 gallon

3 Flaming Silver Pieris (Pieris japonica 'Flaming Silver') 3 gallon

3 Lo and Behold Dwarf Butterfly Bush (Buddleia hybrid) 3 gallon

6 Variegated Japanese Iris (Iris ensata ‘Variegata’)

2 Sheffield Hybrid Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum koreanum 'Sheffield' 1 gallon

3 Starshine Aster (Aster ageratoides ‘Starshine’) 1 gallon

3 Purple Dome Aster (Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome') 1 gallon