Before the bloom: Paphiopedilum Hsinying Lady Duck Lady Isabel ‘788’ x adductum v. anitum ‘#13’

3 03 2013

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

BeforetheBloomlorez





Wilsonara Tiger Brew ‘Pacific Holiday’ Oncidium orchid

2 03 2013

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TigerBrewPacificHoliday





Phalaenopsis Orchid (Moth Orchid), unknown variety

28 02 2013

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Yellow Moth Orchid





A few more Ginkgo photos

27 10 2012

Learn more about the beautiful Ginkgo grove at the Blandy Experimental Farm here.

The following narrative is excerpted from the brochure, “A Guide to the Ginkgo Grove,” published by the State Arboretum of Virginia at the University of Virginia’s Historic Blandy Experimental Farm.

The Story of the Blandy Ginkgo Grove
The Blandy ginkgo grove is one of the largest collections of ginkgos outside the tree’s native China. Given their autumnal glory, a visitor might assume that Blandy’s ginkgos were planted solely for their beauty. But this grove is the happy result of a scientific experiment.

Dr. Orland E. White, Blandy Experimental Farm’s first Director, began collecting ginkgo seeds in 1929 from a single “mother tree” on the University of Virginia grounds in Charlottesville. After these seeds germinated, Dr. White’s students planted over 600 ginkgo saplings to determine the sex ratio of this tree. Most plants are both male and female, but like holly, persimmon, and other species, ginkgo is dioecious, meaning a tree is male or female, but not both. Dr. White hypothesized the sex ratio would be 1:1. He did not live long enough to find out if he was right, but of the 301 trees that survived to maturity and for which gender could be determined, 157 were female and 144 were male. Statistically speaking, this does not deviate significantly from 1:1.

A Living Fossil
Ginkgo biloba is often described as a “living fossil.” It is one of the most primitive seed plants found today, and it’s the only surviving representative of its plant family (Ginkgoaceae) and order (Ginkgoales).

The earliest ginkgo leaf fossils date from 270 million years ago. During the Jurassic (200-145 million years ago), the era of dinosaurs, ginkgos were already widespread. And by the Cretaceous (145-65 million years ago), ginkgos grew in what is now Asia, Europe and North America.

Ginkgos disappear from the North American fossil record about 7 million years ago, and from the European record about 4.5 million years later.

Western scientists first learned of the ginkgo in the late 1600s, when living trees were found growing in cultivation near Buddhist temples in China. Thus, the sole remaining member of what was once a dominant plant group remains a link between the present and our geological past.

The Silver Apricot
The word “ginkgo” originates from a Chinese word meaning “silver apricot.” When mature the fleshy ginkgo seed—ginkgos don’t form fruits—has roughly the size and appearance of a small apricot. Historians trace the earliest documented use of ginkgo as a food and herbal medicine to 11th century China, and it is still widely used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. It’s important to remember that if eaten raw, gingko’s fleshy seeds are poisonous, and we ask visitors not to collect ginkgo leaves or seeds for this or any other use.

Research shows ginkgo extract has three important actions on the body: it improves blood flow to most tissues and organs; it is an antioxidant which protects against cell damage; and it blocks many of the effects of blood clotting that have been related to a number of disorders. Western medicine has recently focused on Ginkgo biloba to protect against memory loss, but clinical trials have not confirmed this.

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Bell Agapanthus

13 07 2011

Native to South Africa, the Bell Agapanthus (Agapanthus campanulatus) is commonly known as Lily of the Nile, although it is not a lily. This herbaceous perennial blooms in summer and is hardy from zones 8 to 10. Several cultivars and hybrids are winter hardy to zone 7. I photographed this emerging bloom yesterday at Green Spring Gardens.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Oriental Lily ‘Marlon’

6 07 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Knautia macedonica

4 06 2011

I think this might be the ‘Egyptian Rose’ cultivar, although the label at Green Spring Gardens didn’t identify it as such. Because it is closely related to the Scabiosa, it has been called Macedonian Scabious or Scarlet Pincushion Flower. This herbaceous perennial wildflower begins blooming in late spring and if deadheaded regularly, it can bloom until frost. Knautia prefers full sun but will bloom in light shade and may self-seed and naturalize.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Bumblebee on Bee Balm

4 06 2011

Bee Balm (Monarda), also called wild bergamot, Oswego tea and horsemint, is an herbaceous perennial that attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and other nectar-seeking creatures. Bee Balm flower colors include red, pink, white and lavender. Blooming early to late summer in full sun, Bee Balm grows two to four feet tall, multiplies readily and is easy to care for.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Daylily ‘Stella d’Oro’ Hemerocalis + bonus bug

4 06 2011

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Kniphofia ‘Sally’s Comet’ aka Yellow Hot Poker

4 06 2011

Perennial bulb, drought tolerant, attracts hummingbirds, thrives in full sun, grows 36″ tall

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

 





Oriental Lily ‘Pink Coral’

27 05 2011

When we visited Longwood Gardens yesterday, we were smitten by “Lilytopia,” the main Conservatory exhibit that will run until this Monday, May 30. More than 13,000 stems graced the Conservatory, including varieties that have never been seen in North America. The exhibit was inspired by the world-famous lily show at Keukenhof, a historic park in Holland. The show designer is Dorien van den Berg, a floral designer who designs the annual Keukenhof Lily Show. There were lilies everywhere—from tall towers covered entirely with the blooms to individual vases full of flawless specimens. There were several hundred types of hybrids and cultivars—some not even named yet. I shot several photos of the displays and will share them in a future posting, but in the interim, check out Longwood Gardens’ blog here to see behind-the-scenes of Lilytopia.

Over the past five to six years, I have been growing lilies in my garden and now have more than a dozen different types. I added two new ones from Longwood Gardens to my garden yesterday—Gizmo, an extra large white LO Hybrid, and Bonbini, a cream/white Orientpet with pretty pink accents. I was looking for “Eyeliner,” but they were sold out (take a look at the link for it and you’ll see just why! It’s a beautiful white LA Hybrid with thin dark outlines around the entire petal—making it look like it stepped off the pages of a coloring book, just waited to be filled in! Check it out here.

You can order directly from The Lily Store online here. Lilies have always been one of my top ten flowers because they are extremely showy, infinitely photogenic and so easy to care for. Demure, they are not. That—I can most certainly relate to.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Wild Iris Dietes grandiflora

27 05 2011

Also called Fairy Iris, Dietes grandiflora is a perennial evergreen plant in the Iridaceae family. Native to South Africa, it is drought and frost hardy.

According to www.plantzafrica.com: the name Dietes means “having two relatives” and refers to the relationship between this genus and Moraea and Iris. Grandiflora means “large flower.” This plant is occasionally called the “Fairy Iris” because the fragile white petals not only look like fairy wings, but also have a tendency to disappear mysteriously overnight!

© Cindy Dyer. All right reserved.





Blooming in my garden: Rose Campion

24 05 2011

Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria) is a hardy and drought-tolerant perennial with silver-gray leaves on 2- to 3-foot tall stalks. Vividly intense magenta flowers bloom late spring to mid-summer and frequent deadheading keeps them blooming longer. A common flower in cottage gardens, they seed everywhere and are suitable for xeriscaping. Partial shade to full sun, zones 3-9, colors: pale pink, pink, fuchsia and white/near white (And yes, they are this intensely colored!)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blooming in my garden: Italian Bugloss

24 05 2011

Herbaceous perennial Anchusa azurea ‘Loddon Royalist’, from the Boraginaceae family; common names: Italian bugloss and Italian Alkanet. It is called “agoglossos” in Crete, where the locals eat the tender stems boiled, steamed or fried. Blue flowers resembling forget-me-nots bloom from May through June on three foot stalks in zones 3-8. This plant prefers full sun, although it’s in partial shade in my front yard garden and is still blooming profusely!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Blooming in my garden: Rose Campion ‘Angels Blush’

23 05 2011

This is one of the most prolific self-seeding plants I have ever grown and one of my favorites because it is happy to grow when and where it wants! I have this pink and white variety as well as the intensely-colored deep pink blooms (which are actually harder to photograph because the color is so intense!). It self-seeds in the front garden sidewalk cracks, sprouts out of the stone wall border around our garden, and even shows up halfway across the garden (where I certainly didn’t plant it!). This disease-resistant perennial is very easy to grow. Deadheading spent flowers ensures blooms through the entire summer! The velvety texture and silvery gray-green leaves and stems remind me of Dusty Miller and Lamb’s Ears. Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria), also called Mullein pink, prefers sunny, well-drained soil (but I’ve had it grow in partial shade, too, when it self-seeded!). It can be propagated by seed or divided by basal cuttings in early spring. One inch flowers bloom profusely atop stems that reach 18-24″.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Blooming in my garden: New England Aster

23 05 2011

New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae), a hardy perennial native to the northeastern U.S.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Spiderwort

23 05 2011

Spiderwort (Tradescantia)

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Ornithogalum Magnum (closeup)

20 05 2011

Ornithogalum Magnum is a perennial plant native to southern Europe and southern Africa. Belonging to the family Hyacinthaceae, it is a member of the ‘Star of Bethlehem’ family. Grown from bulbs, they bloom in late spring into June. The stalks can reach 24″ high with dozens of perfectly spaced white flowers that open as they circle from the bottom of the stem up to the crown.

© Cindy Dyer. All right reserved.





Japanese Iris

20 05 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





‘Wild Watermelon’ Salvia

19 05 2011

I photographed this Salvia microphylla ‘Wild Watermelon’ at Green Spring Gardens. Couldn’t have picked a better name for this flower myself!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Broom

19 05 2011

Broom (Cytisus pseudoprocumbens; C. diffusus; native to Europe). Brooms can be either evergreen or semi-evergreen and are deciduous shrubs that tolerate (and even thrive in) poor soils and growing conditions and need little care (how many plants can you say that about?!). They are native to Europe, north Africa and southeast Asia. I photographed these buds against a backdrop of deep purple Siberian Irises at Green Spring Gardens.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Clematis

19 05 2011

Vivid pink Clematis flower photographed against a backdrop of purple Columbine blooms at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All right reserved.






White Spiderwort

19 05 2011

I think this is the Tradescantia x andersoniana ‘Innocence’ cultivar.

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Star of Persia (Allium christophe)

19 05 2011

Earlier this month I photographed this plant just as it was beginning to bloom, which is a far cry from the “visually busy” bloom I photographed today. Check out this plant in early bud stage on my previous post here. Aided by my macro lens today, I could see scores of tiny bugs navigating the interior stems—making it a veritable insect superhighway!

Star of Persia (Allium Christophe) plants grow 18-24 inches tall and sport a globe-shaped flower approximately 10 inches in diameter with clusters of amethyst-hued star-shaped blooms. The bulbs are hardy in zone 4 to 9 and after the blooms are spent, the ‘dead heads’ make a great architectural element in the garden. The bulbs are planted in the fall and bloom in late spring to early summer.

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Milk Thistle

19 05 2011

Milk Thistle or Blessed Thistle (Silybum marianum) is flowering plant in the daisy family (Asteraceae), although the blooms bear no resemblance whatsoever to daisies! The name is derived from the leaves, which are mottled with white splashes and contain a milky sap. The leaves of this particular species are variegated, so it is also known as Variegated Thistle. The plant has medicinal properties, health benefit claims, and has been used for food. Learn more about this plant here.

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Love-in-a-Mist

19 05 2011

Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena) is a beautiful Victorian garden annual blooming in soft shades of blue, pink, white, and lavender. Because its fern-like leaves look similar to fennel, it has also been called fennel flower. This annual herbaceous plant is in the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), readily self-seeds, and is common in old-fashioned cottage gardens. It grows in full sun to partial shade and blooms from late spring through fall. Nigella is short-lived, so for continuous bloom, repeat sowing every four weeks. You can cut and deadhead this plant to keep it flowering longer.

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Foxglove (Digitalis)

19 05 2011

As a biennial, Foxglove plants will only flower every other year. Biennials need more than one season to complete their growing and seed-producing cycle.

This plant is as poisonous as it is beautiful. The entire plant is toxic (roots, sap, flowers, seeds and leaves). The leaves of the upper stem are particularly potent—just a nibble is enough to cause death. I read that some people have been poisoned simply from inhaling the spores exuded by the seed pods that form in the fall. As much as I love the stately blooms, I wouldn’t plant it in my garden. It’s highly toxic to people and pets—and just brushing up against it can cause hives. Yes, many plants have some level of toxicity—but this is one that you really need to learn more about. I’m happy to just photograph it in public gardens (and keep my distance)!

Learn more about this plant, including details on its toxicity, here. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





‘Butter and Sugar’ Siberian Iris

19 05 2011

Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica) ‘Butter and Sugar’—don’t you just love that name? Makes me hungry for sugared toast! Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Japanese Bleeding Heart

19 05 2011

Japanese Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) is a perennial that prefers partial sun to full shade. A good plant for naturalizing, it works well in woodland settings and should be divided every three years. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Yellow Wild Indigo ‘Screaming Yellow’

19 05 2011

Yellow Wild Indigo ‘Screaming Yellow’ (Baptisia sphaerocarpa), sometimes called Horsefly-weed, is native to the south central U.S. This smooth, bushy perennial has elongated clusters of yellow pea-shaped flowers that bloom from May to September. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.