Sunday, June 04, 2017

Lipstick Lychnis

Lychnis Lipstick
Lychnis (LIK-niss)

This is a plant that clearly exceeded its ability to get named. There are many identities that this plant is masquerading under. Developed by Sunny Border Nurseries here in Connecticut this plant shows a lot of potential. The vermillion color is super and only partially represented here. The dark foliage tips add a beautiful background that is a nice compliment to the flowers.

Generally I think of Lychnis as a cooperative plant that grows well in lean soil and dry conditions. It often reproduces from seed but not in a bothersome way. This plant can be used in the cottage garden, perennial border and in tough rocky areas.

Here is another one from my non-flower photography tries. It is a conversion from a color shot because the D70s does not have a monochrome setting. It is a box car on the Housatonic Railway.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dalmatian Peach Foxglove


'Dalmatian Peach' Common Foxglove
Digitalis purpurea  
(dig-ee-TAH-liss) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)

This Foxglove is part of the ‘Dalmation' series. They are colorful and tall but still a biennial. I used to worry all the time about my Foxglove plantings but have lately taken to letting them find their own balance. All the careful deadheading, staking, pinching never really produced better results then just letting the plants bloom and go to seed. The mother plants will die and even if they live to a second or third year they are not very vigorous by then. If the patch starts to look at little dilapidated adding a few plants to the gene pool can be helpful.

I don’t think that these flowers were quite living up to their color potential on the nursery bench. They should gain better color after being planted.

Chocolate Cosmos
Cosmos atrosanguineus 'Chocamocha'
(KOS-mus) (at-ro-san-GWIN-ee-us)

This is an interesting species of Cosmos that certainly bucks the popular trend of pastels, washed out colors and yellows that seem to be dominating the color space right now. In this climate Cosmos is treated as annual but is a very reliable self seeder. The flowers of this particular species are sterile and the plant is extinct in the wild. All plants are from a single vegetative clone. It has been hanging on that way since 1902.

The slightly fragrant flowers appear in summer and keeps blooming until the frost. Like most Cosmos this species is a native of Mexico.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sunset on Candlewood Lake

Sunset on Candlewood Lake

Lately I have been trying to take pictures of anything besides flowers. Just as an experiment to sharpen my skills and take a different look at the things around me. I live close to this lake which is the largest in our state.

As part of my experiment all of the equipment I have been using is my back up kit. A Nikon D70s and the 18-135mm lens. At first I was kind of bummed about taking the back up stuff but then realized that if I can’t do it with that then I probably shouldn’t be doing it. The D70s despite being heavily traveled and used is still a fine camera. It took a few minutes to remember how to run it. The lens is sharp and gives a good overall performance. It has a good range but I like using it wide the best. It came as the kit lens on the D80.

This second shot was a boat driving off into the fog. It seems that I arrived just a minute late but still got a shot in the terrible light.

Here is a shot of my ultra bored photo assistant. It’s hard to believe that Juno is turning 10 this year.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Hardy Water Lily ‘Texas Dawn’

Hardy Water Lily ‘Texas Dawn’
Nymphaea cv.

Little did I know that this flower is actually the Official State Waterlily of Texas. I can see why they picked it. The color is unusually bright and warm. It blooms a lot too.

Texan Kenneth Landon developed this unique cultivar by in 1985. He almost single handily started the International Water lily Collection in San Angelo, Texas.

I took this picture last summer at the pond between the glass houses at the NYBG.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Jade Vine

Jade Vine
Strongylodon macrobotrys
(stron-GY-loh-don) (mak-ro-BOT-rees)

Wordless Wednesday

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Richard Wallace Canna LIly

Richard Wallace Canna
Canna x generalis 'Richard Wallace'
(KAN-uh) (jen-er-RAY-liss)

Recently I found a “roll” of black and white shots from last year. Shooting the picture in monochrome is usually always better than a software conversion of a color shot to me. Black and white photos of flowers can be interesting even though you lose one of the greatest properties of flowers, color.

Over the last several years we have pretty much stopped growing Cannas. That broke my heart since I truly love the vibe they bring to the garden. A big, bold plant that is still relatively well behaved. Now that a lot of cultivars are almost self deadheading it really is a good maintenance free plant. They are available in a wide range of colors and cultivars. The flower color for ‘Richard Wallace’ is not that appealing. Kind of a dusty yellow/orange. It is still a strong growing cultivar with good foliage.

Phalaenopsis Orchid

Spray of Moth Orchids, recently seen. I miss my days in the Orchid House. The 70/70 conditions (70 deg. F and 70% humidity) are not replicated anywhere else in my life. Also the smell of the orchid bark and the joy of coaching a spray of flowers out of an uncooperative, finicky orchid species. If you want to know more about Phalaenopsis click the tag they have been shown here many times. A lot of people find them to be pedestrian but I think they are beautiful and reliable.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Common Coral Tree

It’s kind of whacky picture day here at Digital Flower I was just going through some old shots and found a couple that I liked. The weather here today is terrible and it was fun to look back at some travel pictures. The first one is from the world famous Tucson Botanical Garden. The structure had some tender plants inside. I would recommend a visit if in the area.

Common Coral Tree
Erythrina lysistemon
Synonyms: Cry Baby Tree, Lucky Bean Tree

This is just an oddball shot of this tree blooming in San Diego, California. They were all over Hawaii too, especially the big island. The color contrasted nicely here.

Just a pensive chimp.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Hybrid Tea Rose ‘Brandy’

Hybrid Tea Rose ‘Brandy’
Registration name: AROcad
Breeder: Swim and Christensen
Introduction: 1981
Parentage: First Prize X Golden Wave
Awards: 1982 AARS Award winner

This has been a great variety of rose. The weather here somewhat cooperated with rose growing last season. By the looks of it the winter won’t be too harsh on them either. I will probably go out and check today as some of the bushes maybe waking up. I have noticed several plants whose buds are starting to swell. I like to remove the heavy mulch from roses as they emerge. There are a couple of Witch Hazels (Hamamelis) in full bloom now and they seem to be fairly reliable for February bloom here in Connecticut. The recent really cold temperatures didn’t seem to have a great effect on their floral show.

The second photo here caught an interloper on one of the petals. An adult spotted cucumber beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata), which I didn’t realize was such a pest. It chews up the flowers, leaves and pollen of many species of plants, particularly loving members of the Sunflower family. There is usually minimal damage unless present in large numbers.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Clematis ‘Diamantina’

Clematis ‘Diamantina’

Clematis is one of the vines we always get requests for but not many people know how to grow it.  After 30 years of trying I have to admit I am still a bit stumped but have developed some general rules for success. One thing that these plants seem to like is a ‘hot top, cool bottom.’ Which implies exactly that, the roots like to be shaded by other shrubs or mulch but the leaves need a lot of sun to flower properly.

Each type of Clematis seems to have it’s own likes about flowering on new wood or getting cut back completely. Often times the varietal names are lost so you have to guess what they want. My way is to wait until spring and see what part of the plant has been killed by winter and prune to that spot. It is also a plant that I install slightly deeper then most other plants. Covering one or two buds under the soil seem to help it establish stronger.

This 2010 introduction is from Raymond Evison, who has been breeding and introducing Clematis for over 50 years now. They have some very distinctive and showy types. Raymond seems to be one breeder that doesn’t rush varieties to the market, which is a welcome change.

Clematis is generally a pain in the butt to grow but is one of those plants if it likes the conditions it grows very well. If it doesn’t like them it struggles and eventually peters out. They are also subject to Clematis wilt, which often takes the plant out just before it flowers. The only way I have found to slow the wilt down is with a couple of well timed fungicide applications early in the season and that doesn’t always work. In general you can help the plants by watching your watering timing and keeping the area around the stems clean (good fall clean up). The fungus kills the top but usually leaves the roots alive.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sombrero Hot Coral Coneflower

Sombrero Hot Coral Coneflower
Echinacea x purpurea 'Balsomcor'
(ek-in-AY-shee-a) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)

I am actually starting to plan my spring now. I have been working for an organic landscaping company and learning about some different ways to take care of plants. One customer wanted their perennial border spiffed up and the owner loves bold colors. Echinacea is always a “go-to” plant for me and it does well in borders. It seems to be able to grow organically. 

This very blog has railed against all the Coneflower breeding that has been going on down in Atlanta, but the market seems to shake out the lame attempts at new cultivars. I really try to keep an eye out on gardening trends but my strategy is mainly to wait before adopting new ideas. This coneflower has been out for a couple of years now and seems to be sticking around. Most of the time it really gets to be about availability and this plant is available. It certainly meets the bold color specification. The color is one seldom seen in the garden.

Here is a link to a page with some new flower varieties for 2017. Can you see the color trend?  I guess I would try that PUFF Vanilla Coneflower. I have found the white ones a little harder to grow.

New Garden Flowers for 2017

I have a written work I’m finally trying to bring to market. That is taking up a lot of time but I will try and update this space a little more often.