Sunday, March 06, 2016

White Waterlily

Nymphaea cv.

Considering I shot this waterlily picture indoors with Karen’s 35-70, 2.8 Nikon lens it came out pretty good. I could have probably used a little more exposure.

This flower kind of represents a growing trend of indoor water features that seem to keep popping up. Previously confined to greenhouses or conservatories they are now merging into people’s houses. We were taking care of two of them last year and had a bit of a learning curve on them. When this flower bloomed it was a small personal victory and despite the environmental conditions it was growing in.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Aspen Dahlia

Semi Cactus Dahlia
Dahlia 'Aspen'

We grew this Dahlia a couple of years ago and last season it was again a good performer. It looks a bit like a pinwheel especially with some wind. The twist in some of the flower petals is somewhat variable and that adds to their charm. ‘Aspen’ was taller than advertised peaking out about 36 inches (91cm).

I haven’t been crazy about white flowers lately but these Dahlias are really a pure and bright white.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016

Dusty Red Rose

Dusty Red Rose
Try as I might to remember and keep the naming of the roses in the big rose garden straight they always seem to get mixed up. I thought this one might be ‘Hot Cocoa” but there isn’t enough orange in it. It also grew and flowered better than that variety. Even with the confusion we enjoyed the dusty red flowers this bush produced.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Perky's Bat Tower

Perky’s Bat Tower
Mile Marker 17
Lower Sugarloaf Key, Florida

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Black-Eyed Susan

Black-Eyed Susan
Rudbeckia fulgida
(rud-BEK-ee-a) (FUL-jih-duh)

I decided to post this flower since it reminds me a little bit of the sun, which we need around here. After getting an extended snow and ice storm last night it is raining hard now with up to an inch expected. That’s after our weekend battle with sub zero temperatures.

Black-eyed Susans are a wonderful true perennial that gradually increases it size in the garden. It’s not fussy but needs a good amount of sun to do best.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Wall Rock Cress

Wall Rock Cress
Arabis caucasica
Synonym: alpina subsp. caucasica

An alpine perennial Arabis is especially good for rock gardens and the edging of borders. It forms a nice mound of foliage and a early spring a carpet of flowers. The flowers are fragrant and remind me of Sweet Alyssum. There are many species available but this one seems to be, in my experience, the most available.

Like most alpine plants there is a requirement for good drainage. The winter drainage is most important for keeping a patch going but it will not tolerate poor drainage in the summer either. It’s low maintenance only requiring a light shearing after blooming and we raked it out at the end of the season.

In this picture on the timbers that forms an edge of a rock garden. The Rock Cress has grown right up to the wood and formed a carpet.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Happy Patch of Daisies

Shasta Daisy
Leucanthemum x superbum
(lew-KANTH-ih-mum) (soo-PER-bum)

Remembering encountering this patch of daisies is easy since it imparted a warm and happy feeling. Some of that was the struggle over several seasons getting them to cooperate. This year I decided to feed them in the early spring while I was literally fertilizing hundreds of different trees and plantings and it worked out well. The flowers seemed more numerous, sturdier and there were no pest problems. I can see the patch is headed for dividing in a season or two.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Golden Bleeding Heart

Golden Bleeding Heart
Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart'
(dy-SEN-truh) (speck-TAB-ih-liss)

This plant is always a treat to see in the spring. It exhibits a modern twist on an old classic. The color of the foliage is a little variable, which I haven’t been able to figure out if that is related to parentage or the amount of light it gets in the garden. It’s handsome even when it is in full chartreuse shady glory. The flowers are large and traditionally colored.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Japanese Kerria

Japanese Kerria
Kerria japonica
(KER-ee-a) (juh-PON-ih-kuh)
Synonyms: Japanese Rose, Easter Rose

It’s not often that this blog covers a plant that hasn’t been featured here before but today we have one. Japanese Kerria was off my list of fun, good stuff to grow for several years now. After several tries at getting a nice patch of this going I pretty much gave up. Then a funny thing happened to me. We were working at a house in Scarsdale, New York and I happened on a specimen growing on the side of the yard. There were a lot of yellow flowers covering the weak wooded canes and it looked great. The stems of this plant are lime green, which I am finding is becoming a desirable trend for the garden and landscape now.

This shrubby perennial is best planted in an spot where it can fade in and out of the landscape. It can crawl over rocks and other plants but is not invasive in this area. Kerria flowers well in part shade and will grow in full shade if it has to. There are three basic forms of Kerria, the most popular and usually easiest to obtain is the double flowered, 'Pleniflora’ type. There is the single flowered one (pictured here) and a kind of uncommon white flowered form also.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pale Tropical Hibiscus

Pale Tropical Hibiscus
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis cv.
(hi-BIS-kus) (RO-sa-sy-NEN-sis)
Wordless Wednesday

Monday, January 25, 2016

Syrphid fly and Daffodil

Syrphid fly 
Toxomerus geminatus

This photo was from the spring, which after that last snowstorm is something I can only dream about. This type of photo is kind of what I call a commando photo. The opportunity presents itself very quickly and you have to shoot from the hip. The 60mm macro lens was already on the camera and the settings were for the available light around the little patch of Daffodils. So luckily the camera auto focused fast enough to catch this little guy as he alighted on the flower.

The Syrphid Fly is a frequent visitor to the garden and is treated as a beneficial insect. They don’t seem to bite or bother with humans but at a certain stage of development they have a voracious appetite for Aphids.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Ballerina False Sunflower

False Sunflower
Heliopsis helianthoides 'Ballerina'
(hee-lee-OP-sis) (hee-lee-an-THOY-dees)
Synonyms: Rough Heliopsis, Orange Sunflower

This flower was featured here several years ago and this shot is from the same patch this year. That makes it a true perennial for gardens around here. With a slightly coarse and rambling appearance this plant has been a stalwart in the border. It has deep yellow golden color that can appear almost metallic in the right light. At a height of 2-3 feet it works well in the middle of the border or the back.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Blue Cape Plumbago

Blue Cape Plumbago
Plumbago auriculata
(plum-BAY-go) (aw-rik-yoo-LAY-tuh)
Synonym: Cape Leadwort

This plant always shows up here in the winter. They are quite often used for containers and grown as annuals around here. One of my favorite flower colors just the right shade of blue. It is recommended, due to variations, that you buy them in flower. The plant and flowers are graceful looking and can tolerate shearing.

Well it’s relatively warm out again and the weather roller coaster seems to running again full force. The broad leaf evergreens seem to be loving it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Well not exactly a wordless Wednesday or flower pictures. The first image is from the MOMA

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Head of a Sleeping Woman (Study for Nude with Drapery)
Oil on canvas
African period, Paris, summer 1907

New York by Gehry
8 Spruce Street
76 Stories (870 feet)
Manhattan, New York

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Yellow Rose Bud

Yellow Rose Bud
Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Autumn Damask Rose

Autumn Damask Rose
Rosa damascena semperflorens

Today’s rose falls into the category of Old Garden Roses and was introduced around 1810. It is a strong growing, highly fragrant rose that blooms once a season. One of the remarkable things about Autumn Damask Rose is the high degree of disease resistance it shows in the garden. The foliage can remain clean even during a big outbreak of blackspot and Japanese Beetles seem to ignore it.

If you like Heirloom Roses I would recommend Autumn Damask Rose. There is a reason it’s been around for 200 plus years. It is known by numerous synonyms.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Toothache Plant

Toothache Plant
Acmella oleracea
(ak-MEL-uh) (awl-lur-RAY-see-uh)
Syns.: Spilanthes oleracea, Eyeball Plant, Para Cress

Happy New Year!!

This is a flower you don’t see very often. I have been struggling with how describe a plant that is not used or seen often. I have been using ‘rare’ but that doesn’t really describe it very well. It is also a term that is vague and a bit ambiguous. Rare can mean rare in cultivation, rare in the wild or rare in the trade. From now on I decided to use ‘less common’ to describe some of the unusual flowers I encounter.

So this less common flower is a medicinal powerhouse and has been used to treat toothache for a long time. The leaves can also add a spicy touch to salads. I don't have any experience with the numbing sensation this flower produces so please be careful when trying it.

Acmella oleracea is a tender perennial herb that is native to Brazil and parts of India. It likes to grow in sun to partial shade (out of the strong afternoon sun) and is usually grown from seed.

One thing I learned while making this post is that the species name, in this case oleracea, means edible vegetable.