Friday, August 30, 2013

Rocking the Garden Pt 3 - Garden 'Stones'

Well for those Stones fans who, after reading my Beatles only listing of plant names and wondering "Where's the love for my Stones?", here's a Stones only version. See, you can get "Satisfaction."
As before, the song comes first, followed by the plant.

"Play with Fire" - Kniphofia 'Fire Dance.' Funny, "slender and fiery" fits both Jagger and this red-hot poker.
"Get Off My Cloud" - Gaura 'Pink Cloud.' One of several 'cloud' names, this Gaura is a pretty choice.
"As Tears Go By" - Baby's Tears. Don't worry, Jagger's tears will keep this plant well watered.
"Paint It Black" - Colocasia esculent 'Black Magic.' This black taro is cause for celebration not a reason to lock oneself in the bedroom.
"Lady Jane" - Tulipa clusiana 'Lady Jane.' For those not familiar with these woodland tulips, they offer an abundance of smaller but colorful flowers year after year, even in our mild climate.
"Ruby Tuesday" - Dianthus 'Ruby Tuesday.' A vivid ruby-colored carnation and, one surmises, named by a Stones fan.
"Mother's Little Helper" - That would a be a kneeling pad and a good spade, right?
"Sympathy for the Devil" - Devil's Claw. This S. African plant is also known as Wood Spider for its seedpods that have twin hooks that attach themselves to animal passersby.
"She's a Rainbow" - Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow.' There would be lots of choices for 'rainbow,' but since I just planted this variegated Euphorbia in my back yard it's front & center in my mind.
"Parachute Woman" - Ceropegia sandersoniae (Parachute Plant). This odd S. African succulent vine produces little green 'parachute' flowers.
"Love in Vain" - I immediately think of any number of plants that I nurtured along, fretted over, heaped with TLC, only to have them die on me!
"Let it Bleed" - Haemanthus coccineus. Also known as Blood Lily. Of course I could have gone another direction and chosen any number of plants with razor sharp thorns (like certain Agaves). Let it bleed indeed!
"Monkey Man" - Monkey Puzzle Tree. Too easy.
"Dead Flowers" - Nuff said ....
"Brown Sugar" - Protea repens, also known as Sugarbush or Honeybush.
(I Can't Get No) "Satisfaction" - Don't we all have those days/weeks/months in our gardens?

Okay, now the photos. There's a few pretty ones, including the colorful Schizostylis, one of water beading on my coral aloe and one of a honey bee foraging in a Calandrinia blossom.

Cypella peruviana. Just about the most gorgeous bulb out there! Too bad they stay open for less than a day. Arghh!

Hibiscus trionum. Though this shot is a bit dark, and you can't really see the cream color of the petals, this photo gives you an inkling of the beauty of this freely self-seeding hibiscus.

This broad-leaved fern, planted in my newly renovated back yard raised bed, is commonly known as Virginia Blue. Lovely.

In that same bed, I added this finely reticulated Shiny Bristle fern. A new favorite.

Plectranthus Zuluensis. This is one of the tall plectranthus species, with the new leaves a lime green color. Here the new morning light is just high enough to illuminate the flowers.

Staghorn fern. It may look like it's nestled in the branches of my Brugmansia but for now it's still in a pot.

Begonia rex flower. With rex begonias it's all about the foliage and here we see the dramatic red branching on the undersides of the leaves. The flowers are sort of sweet in their understated simplicity.

Hedychium gardnerianum. Here's a flower spike about to open. It looks kind of cool, as if it were a metal sculpture. One of the showiest of all gingers. Open flower spike photos to follow.

Euphorbia Ascot Rainbow. Though shot in filtered light, it's pretty patterning still comes through.

Schizostylis coccinea. One of my favorite bulbs -- love that color! -- and very easy to grow.

Here's a less common Crassula (C. alba var. parvisepala). That little mound is a cluster of tiny flowers that are either white or pink. It looks like a miniature forest.

Another shot of my wild Ipomoea 'Sunrise Serenade.' It just screams "Come pollinate me!" (Oops, did I say that out loud?)

While this posting has several of my favorite bulbs -- and that's really true -- my "number one and holding" is the utterly charming Bessera elegans, shown here. Seeing them here in their unopened phase, you can understand why they're called Coral Drops. Not only does Bessera have possibly the prettiest flower of any bulb but it's prolific and reliable. If only gardening were always this easy ...

Looking at the huge flower spike on Verbascum nigrum from this computer, one could almost imagine it to be 20' tall but in reality it's a modest two and a half. Still, one of the more spectacular mulleins.

I thought the little drops of water beading up on my Coral aloe (Aloe striata) made for a nice photo.

The Commelina coelstis flowers here almost look like blue Micky Mouse hats!!

Speaking of flaming orange flowers (oh, we weren't?), here's a Canna flower that certainly stands out in a mostly green bed.

Couldn't resist taking a shot of a honey bee gobbling nectar on a Calandrinia flower.

Finally a picture of my King protea forming (slowly) it's first flower. I love the bud, in part due to its organized geometrical form.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Just the Snaps ma'am

So, no pondering just photos this third day of my three day weekend (this could get addictive, 3 day weekends).

I finally got a shot of my fab Datura Blackcurrant Swirl while open and in perfect form (which only lasts for a few hours).

Begonias White Dove and Escargot. I'm so happy that the White Dove is back from the dead. And here's a very, very bad joke about the Escargot begonia. Someone's car is broken down at the side of the road. A car pulls over and and a Frenchman who doesn't speak much English comes over. What does he ask the driver? Answer: "Es car go?" Save your applause till the end.

Thanks to Barb Siegel for this fabulous new Impatiens (I. auricoma 'Jungle Gold.' Just so showy and I brought it home in full bloom. I'm hoping I can overwinter it.

Here's another shot of the Jungle Gold. Incidentally these kind of Impatiens are known as "Touch-me-Nots" because the ripe seed capsules have a habit of "exploding," sending their seeds far afield.

Here's a shot of my Sedum Sea Urchin on the left and my silvery tillandsia on the right.

Vinca '1st Kiss Blueberry.' Not perfectly in focus but that color! And I want to know what drugs these people are on that come up with variety names like this? (And where can I get some?)

Verbascum nigrum. One of the loveliest (and most vigorous) of the Mulleins. A bee magnet.

Can anybody ID this wasp? It's about an inch long with an golden-orange rear.

Here's my Datura again, a closeup before it unfurls, showing off its rich tones.

My favorite Passion flower vine (Passiflora 'Blue-Eyed Susan). Love that color! and it's proving to be prolific.

Rose. The photo can't unfortunately convey how incredibly fragrant this rose is, one of the most fragrant I've ever smelled. I inherited it so don't know its name.

Cool green berries on my Amorphophallus kiusiana.

I love the vivid red rib on this red banana plant. That's a Hedychium greenii ginger flower spike in front and a black bamboo in back.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Beatle's Garden

Yes, that would be Beatle's, not beetle's. Continuing on with the Rocking the Garden entries from my last post, here is a special edition featuring all Beatles songs. As before, the listing starts with the botanical name (or common name) and then the Beatles song it references. I have of course taken creative license in  a few of these (it's creative license, someone has to use it).

Croton 'Revolution' -- "Revolution." The question here is: the slow or fast version. BTW, this variety of croton, which features twisting leaves, is pretty fab.
Aralia 'Sun King' -- "Sun King." Kudos to you if you recognize this song that's part of the Side Two medley on Abbey Road.
Pachira, aka 'Money Tree' -- "Money (That's What I Want)." This rock 'n roll classic, not written by the Beatles of course, first appeared on the Beatles album titled The Beatles' Second Album,' a confusing title since it was either their 4th or 5th album, depending on how you count them.
Brunfelsia aka Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow -- "Yesterday." You may have heard of this song ...
Mimulus 'Eleanor' -- "Eleanor Rigby." This Sticky Monkey flower variety doubles as a Turtles reference, being the exact title of their smash hit.
Delphinium 'Blue Jay' -- Okay, you're way ahead of me on this. Harrison's Blue Jay Way was a great four minute slice of hazy psychedelica from Magical Mystery Tour.
CA poppy 'Strawberry Fields' -- I'm pretty certain whoever named this CA poppy was a Beatles fan. Count yourself as a real Beatles fan if you know that there's a 2.5 acre area in Central Park NY to commemorate Lennon's legacy. It includes a beautiful tile mosaic with the word 'Imagine' at its center.
Euphorbia 'Blackbird' -- "Blackbird" One of McCartney's songs from the White Album of course.
And I'll add to this the one Beatles entry from the last posting, Impatiens sodenii 'Madonna.' (Lady Madonna).

So there you have it, those damn Beatles are everywhere, even "Within You Without You."

And now the photos.

Canna sp. I keep track of all my plants in my computer but thinking this canna had given up the ghost, I deleted it from the list. It's a dwarf and a saturated red. It's holding down the front of my tropical corner.

Caryopteris 'Hint of Gold.' This new variety with its golden foliage and soft purple flowers is pretty fab. It's mostly upright but this trailing  branch looks quite pretty dangling in front of the burnished pot.

Oxalis sp. Once you get over your knee-jerk reaction to the word 'oxalis,' you find there are many great species out there. It may surprise some to know that most oxalis species are bulbs (in the inclusive use of that term) and hail from South Africa.

Lilium 'Black Beauty.' I thought this shot of them dangling over the sidewalk was kind of fun. It's my most prolific lily, with one stem holding 22 flowers and the other 17!

Streptosolen. I've taken lots of photos of my exuberant marmalade bush but this one was a little unusual, being an arching branch weighted down by flowers.

Crossandra. This Firecracker Flower (the subject of an upcoming column) isn't so named for its color but rather for the fact that its fallen seedpods can "explode" when stimulated by rainfall or humidity, casting the individual seeds far and wide.

Grevillea rosmarinifolia 'Dwarf Form.' This low growing 'rosemary' grevillea has exceptionally lovely flowers. I have it at the front entrance of our walkway to greet visitors.

Datura 'Blackcurrant Swirl.' Proof that people in the gardening world are obsessed with food (doesn't the variety name sound like a kind of ice cream?), this has been a real find.The deep purple/black stems add another level of interest.

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Filifera Aurea.' This dwarf false cypress will be added to my Japanese Garden plot. I fell in love with it at first sight.

Snapdragon 'Canary Bird.' Pure lemon yellow! What's not to like?

Impatiens irvingii. My exploration into the wide (and sometimes wild) world of species impatiens continues. This one is very vigorous, semi-scandent and has those intense fuchsia-colored flowers.

Hedychium gardnerianum (before the glory). This unopened flower spear looks kind of cool and the diffused lighting gave it a certain unique appeal.

Tricyrtis hirta variegata. A cool, more white than purple toad lily.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rocking the Garden

Recently I've been exploring the meanings of certain species' names, referring to certain traits that they convey. There's a lighter side to the use of names in the nursery business and that shows up mostly in Common names or in Variety names. I once thought of doing a feature article on categories of these names and one of them was on Rock n Roll or musical references. So, here's a few to amuse you (and maybe to bring back memories of your favorite groups or songs). In no particular order, here are examples with the botanical name followed by the musical reference:
Impatiens sodenii 'Madonna.' "Lady Madonna" by those Liverpool lads.
Ceanothus 'El Dorado.' "El Dorado" (album + song) by Electric Light Orchestra.
Platycodon 'Sentimental Blue.'  "Sentimental Blues" by Ray Charles.
Nicotiana 'Only The Lonely.' Someone had a Ray Orbison fixation it seems ...
Adenanthos sericeus. Commonly called Wooly bush. "Wooly Bully" by (who else) Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs.
ZZ Plant (I won't bore you with the botanical name as it's a mouthful). ZZ Top. As they say, too easy.
Geranium 'Rozanne.' All right, all you Police (or Sting) fans, sing along -- "Roxanne."
Syringa 'Miss Kim.'  L'il Kim. Fitting that both plant and person pack a big punch in a small package.
Sedum 'Angelina.'  "Angelina" by Hall & Oates.
Ipomoea 'Sunrise Serenade.' "Sunrise Serenade" Chet Atkins.

Okay, that's wot I got for the moment. I'm sure you plantophiles could come up with more.
And now the photos ...

Stachys albotomentosa. The 7-Up plant is famous for that distinctive scent but the flowers are also pretty.

Tricyrtis variety. Not only are the flowers exceptionally pretty but the stigma are pretty cool too.

This fern was incorrectly ID'd as Adiantum 'Ocean Spray' but in any case it's unusual and lovely. Didn't quite get this in focus but thought I'd include it anyway.

Hydrangea quercifolia. One of my favorite four season plants, it's run wild in my tropical corner bed. Here's a simple shot of a flower panicle just beginning to open.

Tradescantia 'Sweet Kate.' Tradescantias, being so common, are often overlooked. This variety has the deepest purple flowers plus interesting stamen.

Tecoma x smithii. This vining shrub is called Orange Bells for the lovely tubular orange flowers. Now, I have to find a nice sunny spot for it ...

Lilium 'Black Beauty.' I love the green "ribs" on this showy lily.

This aforementioned Wooly bush (Adenanthos sericeus) has slowly taken over my Aussie Natives bed. Its common name owes to its super soft foliage. Love the color too!

A bit shaded but here's my Petunia 'Phantom.' One of if not my favorite petunia and it's also an homage to a nursery cat we lost two years ago.

Eryngium + honey bee. Just a cool shot, made more so by the contrast in color and species between the purple flora and the golden fauna.

Felicia amelloides variegata. This 'Blue Daisy' is simple but oh so charming.

Another shot of my new Echinacea 'Harvest Moon.' Love the peachy-golden hue.

Dahlia 'Bishop's Children.' Once again, umm, aren't bishops supposed to be celibate? That aside, this dahlia features the darkest foliage and red flowers (shown off nicely when backlit).

I'm not generally a fan of annual type verbenas but this Lanai Peach is quite lovely.

One last shot of my red Painted Tongue (Salpiglossis). It's made itself at home in the bed beside the Dicentra scandens and Daphne odora 'Marginata.'

Here's a better photo of my newest rave, Ipomoea 'Sunrise Serenade.' Extravagant!

Finally, one last shot of my exuberant Canary Creeper nasturtium. Here the individual flowers look like little yellow flames dancing down the stem.

01 09 10