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.