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 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.