Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Cattleya Orchids

Cattleya Orchids

A couple of flowers from my favorite group of Orchids. It is hard to match the brilliant colors, aroma and stateliness of the Cattleyas. They can be slightly tricky to grow but in general they are not as fussy as some Orchids. Both of these Orchids have kind of an unusual color. The light purple was delicately shaded and the other flower reveled in its tropical color.

Today is pretty much a wash out here with 1 to 2 inches of rain expected. At least it's not snow. It is a really big storm that is pelting the island today.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Dwarf Spike Speedwell

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

One of the reasons I like this plant is it stays shorter and is less rampant then the other cultivars. It can really fill a bright, sunny, dry place very well. After blooming a light shearing will help clean up the look and give a nice uniform ground cover. This isn’t the best flower picture I have ever shot it does give that forest of blue look that this plant can give. It is really a lovely color.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cactus Dahlia

Cactus Dahlia
Dahlia cultivar

Well the Dahlias are done for the year with the last couple of nights toasting them black. I don’t usually pull them out right after the frost because there are other gardening chores to be done. They can stay out another couple of weeks, if necessary, because we are right on the fringe of the area where they would be hardy. In my 30 plus years of gardening experience Dahlias have actually lived in the ground all winter here twice. Normally that takes a combination of conditions for that to happen including a very well drained planting site, warmer than usual weather conditions and a warm microclimate space in the garden. I don’t plan for that perfect storm to happen so I remove the tubers and put them in the root cellar for the winter, usually packed in peat moss.

This Cactus type was really beautiful in the garden this year and was producing nice flowers up until a couple of weeks ago. The tubers got mixed up this year so I don’t know the variety.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Mercedes-Benz 300SL

Wordless Wednesday
Mercedes-Benz 300SL
Showroom Condition

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Three Sacred Lotus


Sacred Lotus
Nelumbo nucifera cultivars
(nee-LUM-bo) (noo-SIFF-er-uh)

This picture is from a summer trip down to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The Lily Pool Terrace area is always a highlight for me. The long pools feature many different Lotus and Waterlily plants as well as a great fountain. There is also easy access to the Palm House and Garden Café. The long Perennial Borders flanking the side usually feature some interesting plants. On one side of pools there is a large featured border of annuals that is loaded with spring bulbs, very colorful!

Although the trip to the BBG is a little more difficult for us it always seems to be worth it. This was shot with Karen's D80 with an old style 24-70mm Nikon lens.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Bougainvillea


Monday, November 03, 2014

Boston Ivy Fall Color

Boston Ivy
Parthenocissus tricuspidata
(par-then-oh-KISS-us) (try-kusp-ee-DAY-tuh)
Synonyms: Japanese Creeper

Not a flower but Boston Ivy never fails to deliver in the fall color department. This is a plant that a lot of people find undesirable but here on Long Island it is a popular Estate plant that is used to cover both large and small masonry structures. It has taken me a little getting used to but it has won me over with its energetic growth in sometimes very tough areas. I personally don’t like to grow it on painted wood surfaces as it can degrade them fairly substantially. This picture was taken in Brooklyn.

This is a clinging vine that can grow without support. The roots secrete calcium carbonate on the adhesive pads and that allows it to stick to walls. Now one problem I used to have was the damage it caused removing the roots from surfaces but I have learned that by cutting the vines first so they die the process is much easier. There are several different types available now but I like the species for best growth. The gold form ‘Fenway Park’ is striking and a DNA match to the ivy on the walls of the ‘Green Monster’ at the ballpark.

Just to keep things honest here is a rose covered with dew. Roses are great this time of year as they bloom very late. I just keep deadheading them and hope for the best. Quite often there still some flowers and buds on the plants when they get heavily mulched and covered for the winter. I am not sure of this variety but it looks familiar can any one guess?

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Yellow Garden Mum

Garden Mum
Chrysanthemum x grandiflorum 'Donna'
(kris-AN-the-mum) (gran-dih-FLOR-um)
Synonym: Chrysanthemum x morifolium

Here are two Chrysanthemums that have been brightening up the landscape here. You may not realize it but when you go to the nursery or pick up a couple of mums at the supermarket you are practicing an age-old tradition dating back centuries. While the mum you plant may look like any other flower it is actually the product of years of scientific research and breeding work. ‘Donna’ is a bright yellow member of the Yoder brothers Prophets Series. It was introduced in 1991 and has shown remarkable staying power by keeping on the available varieties list that long. Most varieties are changed out every couple of years.

A new trend for my mums is the actual regrowth of them in the spring. Most of these mums have always been sold as “hardy” but failed to come back. The last couple of years, despite harsh winters, they have appeared in the spring. This is what I have learned about this process. I move the mums in early spring because they have been planted in our seasonal display areas. It is an easy job since they don’t really make a root system during the fall. I usually place them in the perennial border or in the rock garden for the rest of the year. Since we often plant a lot of mums at once in the fall a selection process takes place in the spring where we only take the healthiest and strongest plants for replanting. That way we don’t get overrun with any particular variety. If the plants warrant it division of the roots is okay at this time. A full sun area with adequate water is needed for placement. We usually pinch the mums several times during the season to promote bushiness and later flowering. A Chrysanthemum left to its own devices can bloom as early as July 4th depending on the type (early, mid or late season).

This next picture shows an unknown name that has a different flower type. Chrysanthemums are broken down into 13 different classifications by flower shape.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hardy Hibiscus 'Southern Belle'

Hardy Hibiscus
Hibiscus moscheutos 'Southern Belle'
(hi-BIS-kus) (mos-KEW-tos)
Synonyms: Rose Mallow, Swamp Mallow

A dramatic and tropical flair for borders and mass plantings Hardy Hibiscus is a perennial for the ages. A definite “What is that?” type of traffic stopper plant that blooms in the summer with little care. 'Southern Belle' is listed as growing up to 8 feet tall but in northern gardens it seems to get to 3-4 feet and is a little more compact than the species. Since it can grow in moist conditions it can do well at the ponds edge (not waterlogged) and bottom land.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Bush Lily

Bush Lily
Clivia miniata

Clivia cultivation is easy but I must admit the time from when they go into the greenhouse in the fall until they bloom in the spring can be a little agonizing. Like most years I didn’t water these plants at all. As a gardener I find it hard to withhold water from any plant for that long. It just doesn’t seem prudent. This plant may have received a tiny bit of overspray from the watering of other plants around it but it hardly amounted to anything over the period of the months. The way I get through doing a gardening task like this is to say to myself that I am trying to recreate the conditions the plant sees in nature and we all know nature can be weird!

After we started to water them again we were soon rewarded with the brilliant orange unbels of orange flowers. It is quite a striking color and very showy. There are also yellow and primrose types available but they can be harder to find.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Zygopetalum Orchid

Zygopetalum Orchid

This is an unnamed cultivar of Zygopetalum Orchid that displays all the dramatic traits of the species. The beautiful colors, fragrance and sharply pointed petals are all apparent. They are easy to grow and like to bloom. The waxy flowers can last up to 8 weeks and can be used as a cut flower.

Not a fussy grower Zygopetalums like warmth and light during the day and cool nights. This one started blooming in the middle of the greenhouse with a regular watering and feeding schedule. These Orchids have been in cultivation for a long time and many varieties have been developed over the years.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Neostylis Orchid

Hybrid Orchid
Neostylis Lou Sneary ‘Bluebird’
Synonyms: Vandachostylis

This cute compact Orchid bloomed most of the winter in the greenhouse. It is a hybrid between Neofinetia falcata and Rhyncostylis coelestis. The fragrant flowers are small but show a rich rare blue/indigo color. Every time I thought it was done blooming it would throw a few more flowers. Expect up to three blooming cycles per year under bright light and warm conditions.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Little Lemon Goldenrod

Little Lemon Goldenrod
Solidago ‘Dansolitlem’

I don’t often find myself in a position to be recommending Goldenrod for garden cultivation, as the nonhorticultural types are an invasive coarse weed. This little fella as proven to be an interesting and useful cultivar of the native wildflower. It grows somewhat compactly and blooms late and for a long time. Introduced in 2005 it seems to be getting some traction in the market but is probably still suffering from its cousin’s bad reputation. The pollen from Goldenrod does not cause hay fever as it is not windborne (too heavy) although it is often blamed for it.

Saturday while attending the Oyster Bay Festival I slipped into a rough area near the shore and found this wild Aster blooming. It’s pure white flowers and short stature added to its appeal.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Broadway Lights Shasta Daisy

Shasta Daisy
Leucanthemum x superbum 'Broadway Lights'
(lew-KANTH-ih-mum) (soo-PER-bum)
Synonym: Leumayel

When people ask me what my favorite flower is they often seem disappointed when I say Daisy. I guess they are expecting me to say some exotic orchid or something but Daisies just seem to be an elemental flower whose beauty is in its pure color and geometric simplicity. Besides you can’t play a game like loves me loves me not with an orchid.

This cultivar of Shasta Daisy was introduced in 2006 and was kind of riding the wave of yellow tinted Shastas that were coming out at the time. This one’s flowers start out yellow and then fade to white on a sturdy plant. Shasta Daisies are nice to have in the garden and are easy to grow. I think they like full sun but can grow in partial shade. The more shade the stringier the plants get. If you deadhead your plants they will reply in kind with another round of blooms.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Hairy Wild Petunia

Hairy Wild Petunia
Ruellia humilis
(roo-EL-ee-uh) (HEW-mil-is)

This little flower began showing up in a rock garden I take care of and it took awhile for me to identify it. There are several species of this flower that grow in this area but I think it is identified correctly here. It has become a happy “accident” in the garden growing in the cracks of the rock borders and brick walks. It has also provided some color under the dwarf evergreen population. It’s short stature makes skirts around the plants. Since it is a wildflower that often grows in fields and rough areas it has found a home and been a good garden citizen with only the occasional misplaced seedling needing to be pulled out. This plant can grow in dry conditions and part shade, which is good since the rock garden has it’s own irrigation cycle that is much less than the rest of the gardens at the house.

Not really related closely to the petunias (Petunia) that we grow as annuals they do share some of the same botanical characteristics and ancestors. They are just not as long or showy blooming.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Spanish Flag

Spanish Flag
Lantana camara 'Luscious Citrus Blend'
(lan-TAN-a) (kuh-MAR-uh)

In keeping with the random theme that developed here this post deals with another tough and not thirsty annual flower. Lantana is a dependable plant that is native to the tropical areas of Africa and the Americas. It has spread as an introduced species in many other areas and is considered a weed in some places. We grow it here as a seasonal plant and have never had any trouble with it seeding. Lantana has many uses including display plantings, containers and butterfly gardens.

This cultivar exhibits a common trait among Lantanas as the flowers change color as they age leading to a multicolored display on the same plant. This cultivar is also said to have color variations due to the amount of heat the garden gets. They like to grow in full sun and don’t need much water. Some Lantana I have grown have been completely wilted and after application of some water have returned to form barely missing a beat. They don’t need much attention but I think they taller varieties benefit from a quick snipping the long branch ends to promote bushiness. The metallic berries are said to be poisonous but there is some debate about that. The birds seem to relish them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Moss Rose

Moss Rose
Portulaca grandiflora
(por-tew-LAK-uh) (por-tew-LAK-uh)

This is a flower that has never been featured here at Digital Flower Pictures.com. My experience with this plant has been either you like it or you don’t. I do like it especially when I consider it is a colorful problem solver than can grow in sometimes almost impossible conditions. It is a low growing, mat forming annual that can grow in masonry cracks and very hot and dry conditions. It freely self sows and comes in a mixture of bright colors, including some striped and spotted types.

Portulaca can grow without regular watering but flowers better with a little bit of added moisture. It is native to hot and dry areas of southern Brazil, Uruguay and northern Argentina. It does well in the front of the border, between stepping stones and as a spiller plant in containers.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fan Flower

Fan Flower
Scaevola aemula 'Purple Fan'
(skee-VO-luh) (EM-yoo-luh)

This is a plant that seemed to take the botanical world by storm several years ago. It doesn’t seem quite s popular now and I am not sure why. Used as an annual in most climates it is actually a tender perennial. While it needs water it can thrive in the hottest locations and provide a ground covering mat of blue flowers. A white form and rarely a pink colored version is available.

Hailing from the hot and dusty Australian Outback this flower grows well in containers providing a nice spilling accent in pots. I have been going through this site and trying to remove some of the broken links and get it up to date. That is going to take awhile.

Bonus picture! A rather strangely colored version of Sunrise Coneflower. I don’t know if this is just an anomaly of the season or some Coneflowers are just revolting against the overbreeding they have been the subject of.

Sunrise Coneflower
Echinacea 'Sunrise'

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Miltonidium Orchid

Miltonidium Fall in Love 'White Fairy'

Here is an orchid that combines two of my favorite genera into one beautiful type called Miltonidium (Mtdm). They are a combination of Miltonia and Oncidium orchids that often retain the desirable characteristics of both genera.

I know this blog has gone dormant for a long time but now that I have two young grandkids that live with me full time it is difficult to have time to do anything unrelated to them. I am going to try and start posting a couple of times a week because I miss getting the feedback from the photos and learning new information about the flowers I have been photographing.