Monday, May 31, 2010

Creating Mixed Containers

Creating tropical mixed containers is one of my favorite activities in early spring. The possibilities are endless.

I like to start with a center focal point plant and two or three other plants in a 14 inch pot. Plants that I use for a center focal point are the dwarf cypress papyrus, a red cordyline australis ‘red star’, a striped phormium, lemon grass, a bamboo or even a black- stemmed sugar cane.

Here's a mixed container that I just started this past weekend. It has a dwarf Papayrus, aStrobilanthes, a Pelargonium and a variegated bougainvillea in the back.

An article in Fine Gardenin magazine a couple of years ago referred to the assembly of mixed containers as the Thriller, the Filler and the Spiller. Keep this in mind when you are assembling your mixed containers.

The Thrillers are the centerpiece plant. The Filler plants are some of my favorite accent plants. These are usually upright growers with lots of color or form. You can use short growing coleus,Nemesias. Begonia ‘Christmas Candy’, Angelonias, Heliotropes. I use Heliotropium aborescense alba. I love this white flower filler because of its vanilla scent. Heliotropium arborescense 'Iowa', a purple blooming plant with a slight wine-scent is another good choice.

Abutilons are also great plants to use, such as our Abutilon ‘Kristen’s Pink’ has wide open bells.

Our Summer Breeze collection is one of my favorites.

Finally, the Spillers or trailing plants can be plants such as Ipomeas. There are chartreuse green ones, black ones or even variegated ipomoeas that trail. I used Pink Frosted in my container that will bring out the colors in the other Pelargoniums balcon royale are good choices. Another great trailer is scaevola or fan flower or Plumbago auriculata 'Imperial Blue'.

Try two mixed containers of the same plants and balance a walkway or front entrance to make a dramatic effect! Like this Guardian Gate collection which boasts Cypress Papyrus, Begonia Christmas Candy and Scaevola

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Preparing For A New Greenhouse

Many of you know that we are preparing to build an energy efficient four bay greenhouse in our back lot. Many of our greenhouses are old and inefficient. We will keep the retail greenhouses that have been around since 1892 but we will be upgrading our production facility, thanks in part to a state and federal grant. This will make us more competitive in the market place. Plus, we will reduce our carbon footprint by reducing our fuel consumption.

The shear task of moving greenhouses, while keeping plants alive is logistically a challenge.

We call this temporary structure “The Dog House.”

Here our large Dragon Fruit Tree “Hylocereus species” is sitting outside of the “Holding House” waiting for a new growing place.

Inside the “Holding House” are many of our succulents. Here a Euphorbia is in a lunch crate waiting to get moved.

Our crop of Pelargonium “Mrs. Cox” is another group that will be moved in the upcoming week.

With good weather, we hope to grow many of these plants outside. Plywood boards are placed outside with temporary water lines.

Bags of soil had to be moved to achieve this space.

In the midst of everything happening down back Tiffany is still smiling, selling plants in Retail. She just finished labeling Kalanchoe 'Mirabella' (right) and Echeveria 'Black Prince' (left).

Amy, our retail supervisor, is talking to Sham our business manager, sorting out details. A sweet smelling plumeria is blooming in the forefront of the picture.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tropical Plants Photography At Logee's

Taking photos of tropical plants at Logee’s is a year-round task. The everbloomers are the simple ones to capture because they’re available anytime. The seasonal bloomers or fruiting plants require more attention and planning.

Recently, we had a customer and photographer visit from Marlborough, CT. His name is Stan Malcolm. Every time he travels to Logee’s he takes pictures. You can view his pictures at:

He took a picture of this Thunbergia grandiflora on one of his visits.
While Stan was at Logee's, he shared a few things about photography. Mostly, what I learned was don't be afraid to experiment with the F stop, shutter speed and distance. He first took some pictures of a Bougainvillea in bloom in the Big House. Bougainvillea ‘Barbara Karst’ is an everbloomer and loves to climb and vine around any support.

We moved into one of our greenhouses where our succulents grow. It was close to 90 degrees, overcast, rainy and humid, a true tropical feel. Once the camera lens cleared from the humidity, we shot a picture of a new Euphorbia and a new Adenium.

Both will be offered in our fall catalogue. Euphorbia punicea “Jamaican Poinsettia” and Adenium “Tawaiin Beauty”are everbloomers and need lots of hot sun.

The Euphorbia is the close-up shot and the Adenium is the full specimen shot. We used a piece of black card board to highlight the flowers, although Stan thought a piece of gray cardboard would be better.

We tried photographing a Hibiscus called Hibiscus schizopetalus “Japanese Lantern” but the image was not sharp enough for publication. I tried using the auto settings but for close-up work or creating the right depth of field, manual settings work better. Thanks Stan for new photography ideas.

Lastly, Byron Martin, is our horticulturist, photographer and one of the owners. Here he is working on a picture of our Theobroma cacao or Chocolate plant that now has three chocolate pods ripening. The yellow pod is almost ready to be plucked. Although, we are on a temporary backorder, this one is worth getting on a waiting list. Grow you're own Chocolate!!

He also, hybridized a Papaya that will be released sometime in the coming year. Here he is preparing it for a photo shoot by striping off the dead leaves. Our most popular Papaya is a dwarf variety called T.R. Hovey

As a small company, we try to learn everyone's job but clearly some of us are more gifted at photography than others. I think I'll stick to writing.