Friday, August 31, 2012

Tequila Sunrise Variegated Tickseed

Variegated Hybrid Tickseed
Coreopsis 'Tequila Sunrise'

For the second time this month a Hybrid Coreopsis is featured here. ‘Tequila Sunrise’ is a hybrid of Lanceleaf Coreopsis (C. lanceolata) and Bigflower Coreopsis (C. grandiflora). The first thing that you would notice about this plant is it’s variegated foliage. The clear, deep yellow flowers with their hint of red kind of complete the package. Also of note is this plants relative compact habit. It is easy to keep looking neat.

The trio I play with once a month is on for tonight. It will be fun to be out performing although my brother Jim can pull some tricks on me at these gigs. He will turn around and say “remember this song?” and just start playing it right off. In a way it is better since I don’t have time to think about it too much. Play or die :lol: Mystery Girl will probably be there (she has been every other time) and I may try to clandestinely take her picture. I am torn about what gear to bring and have decided to go as small as possible. Of course this is one piece that will always go with me. This guitar has completely charmed me.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Easy Goin' Floribunda Rose

Yellow Floribunda Rose ‘Easy Goin’’
Rosa ‘Don Quichotte’
Synonyms: Zonta Rose 98, HARflow

This little rose seems to manage to look good most of the season. The color is awesome and the plants are disease resistant. This  is certainly a low maintenance rose and easy to grow.

There has been just the slightest hint of autumn in the mornings here. It starts off chilly and then turns into a nice day and we have been getting a lot done in the gardens. It has been a little dry but thankfully not like the rest of the country. According to this map we have a D0 drought status, which means abnormally dry. The summer had pretty good moisture and the temperatures were not that bad.

Introduction: UK introduction by Harkness & Co. Ltd., 1998
Petal Count: 26-40 Petals
Fragrance: Moderate, honey
Parentage: Sport of Livin' Easy

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Digitalis purpurea
Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Variegated Kousa Dogwood


Variegated Kousa Dogwood
Cornus kousa 'Gold Star'
(KOR-nus) (KOO-sa)

These pictures are from last year. It was the first year that ‘Gold Star’ has had any blooms. That is my fault as the tree is planted in heavy shade. Even with the shaded location this tree has become a graceful and handsome subject and even without flowers the foliage alone makes it worth growing. It has been planted for about 10-12 years and gotten up to about 12 feet high by 8 feet wide. It does get once a year pruning to maintain the shape and get any stragglers but that is probably not even necessary. This tree is a nice accent and seems to be small enough to fit into a corner or small space in the garden.

 Group shot of Cornus kousa 'Gold Star'

I need to take a moment and complain about our Border Collie dog. She is just too smart for her own good. Now she has figured out how to open the interior doors in the house. She simply walks up to it and head butts it in precisely the right spot to have the door fly open with a big noise. She then proudly marches in the room to investigate what you are doing. Yesterday she came into my office with a great flourish and knocked over three guitars at once (you should have heard that sound :lol:) Another thing she has learned to do and I think he is teaching her Siberian Husky cohort this trick is to open the cabinet where the garbage is stored. I tightened up the latch but since it is double cabinet she simply uses the other door and reaches around to get what she wants. I certainly have met less smart people.

For the first time in a long time no wordless Wednesday on Tuesday. Have a great day.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Floribunda Rose ‘Honey Perfume’

Floribunda Rose ‘Honey Perfume’
 Parentage: Seedling × 'Amber Queen'
Petal Count: 25-40
Introduction: 2004
Height: 42 inches
Synonyms: JACarque

This rose went from a ‘meh’ to a ‘thank goodness I have got it’ in one year. It has been in the garden ever since I took over stewardship of it five years ago. This year ‘Honey Perfume’ has been outstanding and really living up to its name. It is one of the best smelling roses in the garden.

Rose gardening always seems need a bit of luck to be blended into getting a beautiful show. The weather, insect populations, watering and spray cycles all have to combine in a wonderfully cosmic way in order for the endeavor to be successful. Choosing the right varieties is an important first step in the process but quite often we are reduced to getting what they have and not what we want. Buying roses has become a bit of a game around these parts. You have to time your purchases just right. Several changes on the wholesale rose market have further tightened supplies. The emergence of the landscape roses like ‘Knockout’ has really affected the hybrid tea and floribunda sales.

Here is a full shot of the ‘Honey Perfume’ goodness. Both of these shots were taken with the D70s back up camera and 60mm/2.8 macro lens.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Great Masterwort

Great Masterwort
Astrantia major
(ast-ran-tee-a) (MAY-jor)

This is a perennial that you don’t see all that often. Why that is I m not really sure since it seems reliable and can grow in some rough conditions. Masterwort can grow in shade or sun (as long as there is adequate moisture available). They aren’t great for borders but can work there if they have to. It is a quite hardy plant and slowly increases in size. The flowers are now available in several colors but overall it seems hard to find at the nurseries.

Since it is Sunday here is the bonus snapshot. It is a cute little daisy that has several medicinal functions as well. Its use dates back to ancient Egypt and among other things was thought to be able to revive wilted plants placed near it. The flowers are fragrant.

Roman Chamomile
Chamaemelum nobile
(kam-AY-mel-um) (no-BIL-ee)
Synonyms: Garden Camomile, Ground Apple, English Chamomile, Whig Plant

Saturday, August 25, 2012

White Lychnis

Silene coronaria 'Alba'
(sy-LEE-nee) (kor-oh-NAR-ee-uh)
Synonyms: Rose Campion, Lychnis coronaria

We finally got around to harvesting the last seed from the Lychnis, Primula and Foxglove and though it was little late we still scored a big bag of seed. Over the years I have learned a lot about seed production and harvesting. Since all these plants and flowers are biennial it is important not to remove too much of the seed or the original planting areas will suffer. One little thing I have learned is there are quite a few insects that seem to make living on perennial seeds. Several times on Friday I broke open seedpods only to have some sort of insect pop put with the seed. You probably would have been laughing at the startled reaction and quick shake of the hands when that happens.

This flower has been a joy to have in the garden. It is self-seeding but stays in its place for the most part. This one is from a patch of almost pure white ones, which I haven’t seen too often. Some of the plants in that area sometimes produces flowers with the slightest of blush pink on them and the others are white. There is a nice color range of pink and white through the other plantings. They have colonized some rocky and dry ground and not much would grow there otherwise.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Red Passion Flower

Red Passion Flower
Passiflora caerulea ‘Grace Ann’
(pass-iff-FLOR-uh) (see-ROO-lee-uh)
Synonyms: Passion Vine

Isn’t this an amazing flower? The color alone was so striking and when inspected closely it had all of the otherworldly shapes and bits that a regular passion flower has. This specimen was growing in the water garden/fountain area of the New York Botanical Garden. I have to admit at marveling at their ability to grow this plant indoors. Mine always do poorly in the greenhouse and usually lose vigor completely after a couple of winters. This seems to happen even with an adjustment of the growing conditions and while I haven’t given up hope completely it is close and this year’s specimen will probably be sacrificed to the frost gods.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vanda Blue Orchid

Vanda Orchid

Vanda ‘Patcharee Delight Blue’

This Orchid seems to have stumped Google. There are basically just a couple of pictures of it and not much information. Vandas are one of my favorite Orchids and seeing their bold colors, large flowers, fragrance and semi-coarse foliage is always a pleasure.

This Orchid was a blue beauty that stood out amongst hundreds at the show. The fifty species that make up the genus Vanda are considered to be some of the most important florally in the family. It is also considered  to be one of the highest evolved Orchids. They have contributed greatly to breeding and are especially prized to add a bluish-purple color to other Orchids. They are somewhat easy to grow with providing consistent conditions as the key to success.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lobster Claw

Lobster Claw
Heliconia sp.
Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Canna Lily

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

Another yellow Canna.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Canna Lily

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

We are once again enjoying having some Cannas in the garden, well in containers actually. This one (sorry it came without a name) has been really cheery and bright up against the white house walls. The foliage is good and has a nice pattern of gold stripes. More than half the fun in cultivating these plants are in the leaves although I have noticed that the newer varieties seem to be very good at self cleaning and don’t really need deadheading. We do continually groom these particular specimens just because of their central location.

The country fair was interesting yesterday. Erika had a good time seeing all the animals and riding the various rides. I enjoyed the Border Collie demonstration and the tractor pulls. The musical entertainment was a little lacking and there should have been a couple of bands. We had a good time and there will probably be a few pictures coming up this week.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Coelogyne Orchid

Coelogyne flaccida
(koh-el-LAW-jin-ee) (FLA-sih-duh)

Very rushed morning here today. Over nothing really but we are trying to get out the local fair. This picture is from one of the two flash cards that are now found. This one has been missing since spring and was presumed lost a long time ago. Among the photos are the 2012 New York Orchid Show so there will be some Orchid pictures coming up this week.

Today's Orchid didn't have much information about it on the Internet but it was remarkable in the long, pendulous spikes that were just loaded with flowers. I don't remember it but these flowers are fragrant. What I do remember thinking was the petals kind of looked fleshy and alive. Coelogyne flaccida is native to mountain forests in northern India through south China. It enjoys cool to cold growing conditions.

Since it is Sunday here is another tropical flower. This flower seems more truncated then the outdoor growing types. This particular vine is a year round resident in the NYBG Conservatory.

Red Jade Vine
Mucuna bennetti

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Waxyleaf Privet

Waxyleaf Privet
Ligustrum quihoui

In a true case of life imitating art this picture showed up in my desktop slideshow last night the same day of our tri-annual pruning of the Privet Hedge. The hedge lives in White Plains, New York and is about 150 feet long. We have been managing it for four years now. When we took it over it was in poor condition and I got the brilliant idea (at the time) of feeding it with some Scott’s Super TurfBuilder. Ever since then it has grown expeditiously. What really needs to be done is a heavy dormant pruning of a couple of feet off the top and some thinning and it is very easy to remember that now. The hedge is on a steady slope and is 4 feet tall (after yesterday) at the start ranging all the way up to 8 feet tall at the other end.

Ligustrum quihoui is considered very invasive in certain areas of the country (like Texas) but is more like an accidental in this area. It is rarely seen and doesn’t seem to present that problem. The Common Privet (Ligustrum vulgare) can be a beautiful and rewarding shrub if left to develop its large and gracefully arching frame. The late fragrant flowers are nice and a great addition to the summer garden. The flowers on the Waxyleaf Privet are much larger (3 or 4 times) than the Common types. They are much showier and somewhat stronger smelling. Overall Waxyleaf Privet seems to present a superior esthetic in the landscape.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hardy Hibiscus

Hardy Hibiscus
Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Turn of the Century’
(hi-BIS-kus) (mos-KEW-tos)
Synonyms: Swamp Mallow, Rose Mallow

The hardy Hibiscus seems to be having a good season and are always a welcome sight this time of year. This one has a little extra coloring in the flowers and has been a stalwart in the garden for several years. I recommend these plants for gardeners that want a little tropical flair in their gardens. It almost always elicits a “what the heck is that?” type of statement from people.

As most readers here know I am a guitar player and the other day I decided to break out and restring two guitars that hadn’t seen the light of day for a couple of years. I bought them as a super package deal I the early 90’s from a dealer here in town that was going out of business. They were super cheap and have proved to be good instruments. Without getting too technical they have a different pickup type then the guitars I usually play (humbuckers vs. single coils). They are fun to play and are a knock off version of the venerable Gibson Les Paul model. As a matter of fact they were produced in the same factory in Korea as the lower priced Epiphone (owned by Gibson) Les Paul models. The orange one did see a lot of gigging time when I was playing with Johnny’s Last Chance and stood up to professional use. Both of these guitars have had the electronics upgraded. The sunburst one has a nice flame maple top and the finish seems to glow nicely under the right type of stage lighting. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Maltese Cross

Maltese Cross
Silene chalcedonica
(sy-LEE-nee) (kalk-ee-DON-ee-kuh)
Synonyms: Lychnis chalcedonica, Jerusalem Cross
Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Arizona Sun Blanket Flower

Blanket Flower
Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun'
Synonym: Indian Blanket
Wordless Wednesday

Monday, August 13, 2012

Gold Medal Grandiflora Rose

Grandiflora Rose
Rosa 'Gold Medal'
Synonyms: AROyqueli, Golden Medal

We had an order for 18 long stem roses for somebody’s garden and after looking at several places gave up trying to procure them. Sometimes it is just better to wait until the supplies catch up with the demand. ‘Gold Medal’ was the only rose we found that was blooming but there was only one and after getting home and doing some research I am glad we didn’t buy it. You can see from the picture the foliage was loaded with disease and the flowers weren’t that great of a color. Apparently they wash out to this cream color in hot weather and don’t have much of the pink/orange blending they can have during cooler temperatures.

Introduced in 1982 by Jack Christensen it is a tall, fragrant rose that is grown on its own roots (not grafted). This makes it hardier but weaker growing in my opinion. All in all I am glad I passed on ‘Gold Medal’ and we will just have to wait to spring for some new stock.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

White Star Gazer Oriental Lily

Oriental Lily
Lilium 'White Star Gazer'

Most of us are probably familiar with Stargazer Lilies but I had never seen the pure white ones before. Several years ago we ought some ‘Golden Stargazer’ and they have been doing well ever since. It was a little weird seeing these for sale last week as our Lily season seemed to come a little early this year and didn’t last too long and is long past. The white variety seems to have all the nice habits and characteristics of the typical Stargazers. The heavy fragrance, large flowers, hardiness are all there and the additional benefit of being a little shorter growing (24 inches tall).

Since it is Sunday here is a bonus flower snapshot. This lily was much more traditional looking and it’s red was blazing in the afternoon sun.

Oriental Lily
Lilium 'Olympic Star'

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Gilded Grape Wishbone Flower

Wishbone Flower
Torenia fournieri 'Catalina Gilded Grape'
(tor-EN-ee-uh) (for-NEER-eye)
Synonyms: Bluewings, Dancat266

This was a new flower for me. Of course I am familiar with Wishbone Flower but this looked so different that didn’t even cross my mind until close inspection. Its not new to the market (introduced in 2008) but Torenia has never been real popular around here. I have very limited experience growing Wishbone Flower and only in containers. The velvety blue and purple are eye catching and fun to have.

This color combination was a little odd to me at first but the more I looked at the several flats sitting together the more I liked it. They have a trailing habit and were trying to exhibit that in the pots. It is a nice flower for shady somewhat moist locations. It is heat tolerant and gives good color throughout the summer.

Since I feel a little guilty about not posting yesterday (out late rehearsing) here is an extra picture. Normally I wouldn’t have taken this picture because the plant is just a wild growing weed but the light was nice and the super washed out color attracted me.

Morning Glory
Ipomoea sp.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

New Hybrid Coreopsis

Coreopsis 'Salsa'

This flower is new for 2012 and it is stunning. It wouldn’t be summer around here if a couple of new Coreopsis didn’t come out. The color is super rich on this compact hybrid from breeder Darrell Probst. ‘Salsa’ is part of the new Coloropsis series, which is a funny play on words but delivers a colorful punch. The first thing you will notice is the really deep colored burgundy eye. It goes nicely with the yellow fringe on the petals. Previously some of these new hybrids have been rated to Zone 5 for hardiness but it was soon discovered that they were really hardy to Zone 7 (much warmer than 5). This one is rated for Zone 5 but only time will tell if that is true. We don’t have any problem growing the ‘normal’ Coreopsis is in Zone 6 and hopefully this one will follow suit.

Yesterday was a tough day at work. We were working on the big farm when the lone pony decided to try and break out of his stall. It didn’t end well for him and it was sad. I will omit the gory details of what happened but it wasn’t pretty.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

White Cattleya Orchid

Cattleya Orchid
Cattleya Sierra Blanca ‘Mount Whitney’
Introduction: 1985

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Golden Lotus Banana

Golden Lotus Banana
Musella lasiocarpa
(mew-SEL-uh) (las-ee-oh-KAR-puh)
Wordless Wednesday

Monday, August 06, 2012

False Sunflower

False Sunflower
Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra 'Summer Nights'
Synonyms: Rough Heliopsis, Orange Sunflower

This plant seems to be a very reliable mid and late summer perennial. It has returned for several years and has increased in a way that is manageable. I often forget about it until it bursts out in bloom during a time when almost nothing else is. The deer have pretty much let it alone and that is another big plus. This is a tall perennial that can reach up to 5 feet. I have noticed that the weather can cause it to get a little floppy but it seems to throw it off and just keep blooming in a compressed state. The stems are a nice burgundy color, which is an added bonus.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart
Dicentra 'Candy Hearts'

This new Dicentra has really been holding up well during the heat waves and we had actually planned for it to go dormant during the summer. This plant is a hybrid of Dicentra peregrina and the old garden stalwart Dicentra eximia, which after series of seedlings gave us ‘Candy Hearts’. It seems a lot of the best traits from both parents were retained with a splash of hybrid vigor. The foliage is just beautiful too. It’ a nice mix of shape and color and is worth growing on its own. This picture is not my most famous moment with a camera and I wish I had taken a couple more shots with a little more setup. Here it is anyway and you can the foliage is nice looking and it is a bit more powdery blue in the garden.

Last night I watched the movie, Marley on the Palladia HD channel.   It was riveting to me and feel a little affected today. It is quite a story cumulating in his 1981 death of cancer at 36 years old. He seemed like a much more complicated character then I remember of his public self. I might even buy the DVD (shocking, I know). I love watching Palladia. They have all sorts of concerts and types of music.

Since it is Sunday here is the traditional Sunday Snapshot, although this rose really deserves a post on its own.

Large Flowered Climbing Rose
Rosa ‘Don Juan’

I like roses that are sure what color they are and this one knows it  is red. A deep, rich red. The color combined with the strong scent and habit make it a truly great rose.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Senorita Rosalita Spider Flower

Spider Flower
Cleome 'Senorita Rosalita'
Synonyms: Inncleosr, Grandfather's Whiskers, Spider Legs

This flower was featured on this blog on Thursday, July 10, 2008 and at the time it was new to me and everyone else as it was introduced in that year. It performed well as a mid-season container replacement without some of the common problems of Cleome culture. It doesn’t smell that bad (like the species) and is also thornless. They also are more heat tolerant and don’t need deadheading.

'Senorita Rosalita' has really stormed the market as far as I am concerned. You can see it planted now and growing all most anywhere. I really didn’t think it would catch on that big but it has. Plant breeding is so amazing to me. Annuals have come so far since I started my career. It’s kind of like watching history and if you do not keep your eyes open it just assimilates into life. Cleome 'Senorita Rosalita' is a flower that has joined the ranks of being a well-bred good garden citizen and that is something the Species could never (or it would take millions of years) do.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Chicago Apache Daylily

Hemerocallis 'Chicago Apache'
Introduced 1981 by Marsh-Klehm

This seems to be the last blooming Daylily in the garden. While a couple of the rebloomers are struggling to produce a few ragged flowers 'Chicago Apache' is full bloom. I tried to resist photographing a lot of Daylilies this year having done that to death here over the last few years. This red one was too vivid to ignore and you could see it from various vistas in the garden.  I have included a group shot of one of the whole scapes having taken a step back after doing the close up version. It seemed the Hemerocallis were especially vivid this year and I enjoyed having the private collection of various seedlings and cultivars here at the house. They also grew amazingly and need to be divided now.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Japanese Ladybug

Japanese Ladybug
Harmonia axyridis
I was happily clicking away when this fella was spotted walking on a giant Miscanthus grass blade. It was a little funny because at first he ran down the blade away from me. I dutifully shot a picture of his butt and figured that was it but in a couple of seconds he came running back towards the camera, which is unusual when you are photographing insects. The 60mm macro was on the camera and I really wish it were the 105mm. That is a much better lens for bugs.

A little research provided the fact that this is an introduced species in the Americas originally hailing from eastern Asia. It was introduced (in the 1980's) for controlling aphids in Pecan orchards and has been hanging around ever since. It goes by several names. Here is an excellent website for ladybug identification:

I was able to identify “my” bug very easily from the key system they use. It is a beneficial insect in the garden and only becomes a pest when it tries to overwinter in the house.

Just to keep it real here is a flower picture. This miniature rose had grace and style far above its diminutive size. It looked exactly like a large rose shrunk down to a couple inches wide and tall.

Miniature Rose cv.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

White Daisy

White Daisy
Wordless Wednesday