Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Need Identification plus One Weird Plant per Year

I added these photos to help with the identification. I thought plant in the first photo which has now bloomed was the Anemonella thalictroides because the leaves looked similar but the flower sure doesn't resemble A. thalictroides. In fact the flower resembles the one people think is the A. nemorosa.

The other two photos are of the A. nemorosa? today. Anonymous wanted to see the back of the flower and as one of my books indicated it has no calyx. The sepals are the petal like structures. I thought it could also be a A. rivularis but the leaves are much more deeply cut and irregular on A. rivularis. So the search goes on.

All right you plant identification experts par excellence I need help IDing a couple of plants. These plants appeared in shady areas of our yard and I don't know what they are. They are quite tiny but interesting.

This flower popped up through a bunch of crocus leaves. I know we didn't plant it and so far I see only a solitary plant. I have no idea what it is. Interestingly the petals appear in two layers in groups of three so this may be a clue in identification.

This one appears in three locations. One was under a Japanese maple I planted a year ago where I removed a large Japanese maple that was misshapen so I know I didn't plant it. Besides, this plant is exceedingly small only a couple of inches tall and I don't think I would plant such a tiny flower. I will add a picture of the flower as soon as it opens.

Now the weird ones. Each year we seem to acquire one strange looking plant. This year we found two. Actually the second is not all that weird but rather strange the garden center would try to sell a plant with sparsely spaced small flowers. But they sold it to us! So what does that say about us? I guess we had our sucker shirts on that day.

#1. This is a petal-less flower. I guess a plant equivalent of a hairless dog or cat. I liked the red bulls-eye in a dusky yellow surround. A fun flower and not so gaudy as to be garish. This is a Peek a Boo plant, Spilanthes oleracea aka, Toothache Plant, Eyeball Plant. Here's some information from the Magnolia Gardens Nursery website: "This annual is used in salads because of it’s pepper like flavor, and is also chewed for toothache because of it’s anesthetic properties, this is how it gets it’s other common name of Toothache Plant."

#2. This is supposed to be some kind of cloud plant. Well, the name is actually, Euphorbia 'Sliver Fog'. What a high falutin' name for a rather plain plant. Well again, we bit so they had our number. Silver Fog indeed...fogged our eyes and brain.

Since we're into weirdness, guess what this is?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ok Hank, This is for you...dogwood trees.

Hank, aka The County Clerk wanted to see some pictures of whole dogwood trees rather than just the flowers alone. So here they are Hank.

I haven't been very successful in photographing trees mainly because when shooting from afar everything is in focus and I mean everything from neighbors' cars, trash receptacles, houses, bikes, toys, hoses etc. and even things strewn about our yard. I've had to judiciously try to eliminate the distracting elements by taking photos from unusual angles all while doing a contortionist's dance.

I only have point and shoot cameras so I don't have too much control of the lens aperture and the resultant small(short?)depth of field which would help in blurring the background somewhat and isolating the subject. So I did the next best thing. Today was a gloomy wet day so it was perfect to photograph a light colored (white flowering dogwood) against some darker foliage especially since the wetness saturated the dark colors making them even darker.

Anyway after this long winded explanation here are the pictures. Still not good but the best I can do at the moment.

The trees are still rather small because we've only been at this house for 6 years and the earliest planted dogwood is only about 4-5 years old. There are some gorgeous, large dogwood trees covered with blossoms in the older homes around our neighborhood though. Hopefully, I will be able to take some photos of them before the flowers are gone and post them if I'm successful. It is a dicey proposition sometimes ... I was taking a photo of a big leaf magnolia tree once and the woman who owned the house brusquely slammed the upstairs window shut, probably thinking I was some kind of pervert trying to get a photo of her ;)

White dogwood, Cornus florida with Acer Japonicum 'Otaki' in the foreground and red weeping Japanese maple on the right with newly emerging leaves on bald cypresses in the background.

Same tree different angle.

A white dogwood next to our pond.

A small pink dogwood next to an azalea, a couple of rhododendrons, a peach tree on the right, arborvitae and cedrus atlantica on the left and no name red Japanese maple to the rear all topped by the neighbor's red plum. Feeling a little claustrophobic? The telephoto lens or rather the telephoto feature on the point and shoot camera foreshortens the perspective so everything looks crammed together. There is actually more space between plants than it appears in the photo...but not much more ;)

Another view of the white dogwood in the first two pictures but set further back. You can see the Fothergilla on the right, a redbud just coming into the picture on the left and in the near foreground a Magnolia virginiana which I'm happy to say has many buds forming after having bloomed the first time last year with only a solitary flower. I love the smell of this native magnolia flowers so I'm ecstatic that it is producing a lot of flowers this year.

Friday, April 25, 2008

What's Blooming Now?

These Anemone blanda, Grecian windflower, popped up under some birches. We've never seen them in the 6 years we've owned the property and I don't ever remember planting them so how they got there remains a mystery.

I believe this is a Berberis thunbergii 'atropurpurea', B. vulgaris, Japanese barberry, Common barberry which is blooming now. The flowers are tiny but noticeable especially in the large numbers blooming. In all the years we've had this plant I didn't ever notice it blooming. Surprising how clueless one can be in what goes on about you.

Our 'Prairie Fire' crab apple. This small tree we planted last year is literally covered with flowers on every branch.

A slightly better picture of the Epimedium 'shrimp girl'.

Surprisingly the Magnolia 'Vulcan' still has a few flowers yet to open. I may have to change my opinion about this tree even if the flowers are not red as advertised. This was the first year it's bloomed so I expect more flowers will be on the tree next year.

The Fothergilla gardenii, Dwarf Fothergilla or Dwarf Witchalder, Family: Hammamelidaceae is blooming again. The ball-like bottle brush look is fascinating and quite lovely.

This yellow Columbine, Aquilegia is the first one to bloom in our yard. It seems to be about a week earlier than the rest of the Columbines which are almost ready to bloom.

I'm happy to report the Tradescantia in a previous post seems to be happy where I planted it and has opened many more flowers. Thank heavens the stamens have not turned pink which may be an indication of an increase in gamma rays.

I don't know the name of or if this is a Rhododendron or Azalea but I love this delicate plant and flowers.

Leaf shape of the Acer japonicum, 'Otaki'.

Several of the Viburnums are blooming. Here are pictures of two.

I planted this white Rhododendron in too sunny a place. The Rebud tree that was supposed to shade the Rhodo. died leaving the Rhodo. in full sun. It managed to survive for a year in full sun but the leaves were scorched unmercifully and several large branches dies. I finally moved it last week and it rewarded me with these few blooms. Now I feel terrible I didn't move the shrub sooner.

Variegated leaves of a Red Twig Dogwood, Cornus stolinifera.

The Daphne x burkwoodii 'Carol Mackie' I bought last year is blooming for the first time. I acquired this plant because of the variegated leaves and its supposed cold tolerance to zone 6. The flowers are not very fragrant and the smell is a bit stinky to my nose but I do like the yellow, green, leaf variegations.

A lilac colored azalea.

The Helleborus niger is still blooming.

Bleeding heart, Dicentra spectabilis. This plant was so vigorous it crowded out several other plants so we relegated it to the hinterlands. Despite the dry location it happily proliferates.

This is a mutation of the 'Kwanzan' Japanese flowering cherry. The leaves are a dark purple instead of green in the original 'Kwanzan'. I like the look of this tree much better than the regular 'Kwanzan'. However, it doesn't seem to be as robust nor as floriferous as the original. We like it so much we planted two in front of the entry to our home.

Original or normal flowering Japanese cherry, 'Kwanzan'. The flowers are just a bit lighter in color than the mutation above. It's not that there's more light on these flowers. If you held both up to the light the mutation would look darker.

The Blueberries, Vaccinium are starting to bloom.

Redbud, Cercis canadensis.

And last but not least the common Dogwood, Cornus florida.

First Bloom of the Tree Peony, Paeonia suffruticosa

This photo was too nice to be lumped in with a bunch of other flowers. Unfortunately I don't know the name of the variety other than it's a white tree peony. When I first saw the flower in the morning I was a bit disappointed it was not open. But I think the colorful center of red and yellow would have been a distraction in this study of whites. The early morning raking light brought out the sculptural quality of the petals and I was extremely lucky to take the photo at that exact time. 5 minutes later and I would have missed the shot.

The flower reminds me of Marilyn Monroe standing on the subway grate with her white dress billowing about her in "Seven Year Itch".

Please click on the photo to see an enlargement.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Super Abundance of Spring

I believe this is a species tulip, Tulipa clusiana but I'm not sure. I bought a bunch a few years ago but this is the only one remaining. A shame because it is a rather beautiful one.

New leaves of the Japanese maple, Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku'.

Rhododenrons are doing wonderfully this year. I think the wet winter had a lot to do with the abundance of flowers this spring.

This is the species Brunnera macrophylla. I thought I lost it since it died back in early summer but fortunately it's a lot tougher plant than thought.

A delicate yellow Rhododendron.

The Osmanthus barely made it through the winter because the plant was heaved out of the ground by the frost and was lying on its side until I replanted it. Surprisingly it is blooming now but I don't smell much of a scent.

I love this delicate, almost translucent, tiny, white flowered Rhododendron. We bought it at an American Rhododendron sale but the bargain plant didn't have a name.

A white Rhododendron. The buds are pink and turn white when the flower opens. It gives a nice two toned look to the shrub.

Red dogwood flowers.

Solomon's Seal, Polygonatum shoots looking like they are being charmed by a fakir.

One of the many Phalaenopsis, moth orchids blooming now.

The redbuds are blooming profusely this year. They are quite a sight to behold.

The Jacob's Ladder, Polemonium I planted last year is just starting to bloom.

White dogwood, Cornus florida.

Pink dogwood.

The long awaited Epimedium Alpinum 'Shrimp Girl' is starting to bloom. I'm a little disappointed the flowers aren't a little larger. I thought the shrimp part of the name referred to the cooked shrimp like color but it may actually refer to the size of the blooms! :) Hopefully in a few days the flowers will fill out.

The multi-petaled Kwanza cherries are just starting to bloom. It is nice that these bloom after the Yoshino so the flowering season is continuous and extended.

The white Rhododendron again.

An early Viburnum.

Another photo of this primrose. I'm more impressed each time I pass by. The plant seems to be covered with more flowers each time and the heady fragrance is very lovely.

The 'Angelique' peony tulip.

Our small but beautiful Japanese maple 'Beni Kawa'.

One of our large coral bark Japanese maples 'Sango kaku'.

Japanese maple 'Katsura' showing off its fine new leaves.

Finally a yellow leafed form of barberry or I guess gold leafed is more correct. Berberis thunbergii 'Aurea'.
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Location: Zone 6, New Jersey, United States

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