Saturday, December 8, 2007

picture contest- Week 5- December 9

Welcome to week 5.
It is cold in Iowa. It is snowy. This is all getting old and it is not even the middle of December. How can we get through it all?
Well here are some more pictures. They are from a warmer time. That time will come again.
We started this contest a month ago. I think we have made some progress in getting through this black and white time. I hope you are enjoying it with these splashes of color.

With each week’s email or blog post I do three things.
First I tell you about the vote totals from last week.
Second I tell you about this week’s pictures.
Finally I give you the bonus section, with a few extra pictures on the blog.

The vote totals for Week 4 were
Week 4
1-Blue Iris 34+18=52 for 69%
2- Red daylily closeup 10+2=12 for 16%
3- Purple crocuses 6+3=9 for 12%
4- Red Iceland poppy 2 for 3%
The first number was the electronic vote. The second number was the write in or email vote total.

Last week’s big winner was the blue iris. It not only had an unprecendented margin of victory, 69%-16%, but its vote total of 69% was also a first. I really don’t remember any single picture last year getting that kind of overwhelming support. I guess it must just be a blue year.
If you think about the winners so far, you might just imagine the Iris against the Pink Waterlily in the finals. Well just you wait for some of the pictures yet to come.

This week’s pictures

So I guess you like blue, judging from last week’s vote. In the springtime our garden goes through two blue seasons. First there is the little squill, or scilla, covering the ground near the very beginning.
By mid April there is another blue. That is this week’s first picture.

1- The Virginia Bluebell. This flowers on this amazing plant actually starts out pink. As the flowers get bigger they turn blue, creating a carpet, only taller than the scilla, a month earlier. This picture captures very nicely the sequence of these wonderful flowers. By mid May they will have all but disappeared, with the foliage drying up, allowing one to plant annuals right on top of them. The plants grows from a tubor, growing straight down, getting to be the size of a small carrot. And like the scilla they spread. If you just look at the number of flowers on each plant you understand why they spread. I always welcome people in the spring to come and weed by garden paths, digging up both the scilla and the bluebells.

2- This is an Oriental lily called Carnival. It is certainly a splashy flower. You can just about reach out and touch the pollen. Some of these lilies are fragrant. It can be sort of a garden joke that people will smell them and then get pollen on their nose, or is it noses. This picture was taken at the very end of June. Last week I talked about different iris blooming in sequence from March to July. With the lilium you have that sequence over much of the summer. The Asiatic lilies are first in early June. There will be something else blooming all the way through August.

3- Then there is the garden frog. I thought about the question of unfair competition. Could or should a picture of a frog compete with the gaudy flowers of high summer or early springtime. I decided that this was not just a flower competition. Instead this was a competition for the best garden picture of the year. And this frog, or its twin, certainly played a continuing role throughout the year.
Most of the time the frogs are very shy in the pond, jumping in the moment a person, particularly a person with a camera, comes near. This frog this year had much more tolerance, or else it was just a ham at heart. It would stick around and let its picture be taken.

4- The twin poppies. So we come back to Oriental poppies. This picture shows them in full bloom. It carries the kind of detail that you just don’t see in some flowers. There is the crape paper petals, the mane like fur around the seedheads, and of course the seedheads themselves, looking kind of dark as if they contain something mysterious. They, like the bluebells, bloom and then get out of the way. The foliage will be all gone within a month of blooming.


So have at it. Votes are due by Saturday at midnight.
Here is this week’s bonus section. The first pictures are dedicated to your overwhelming response to the color blue this last week.
I talked about the blue seasons.
The first picture of the silla or squill is from April 12, 2006, on the east side of the house. As you can see, the squill (Is squill singular or plural Pat? I guess it is probably both) fill up a bed making almost a solid blue.

In the the next two pictures from late April you can see the blanket of bluebells. They really do become an accent color for the other plants or flowers coming up at that time. In the bed on the south side of our house, shown in the one picture, you can see the hosta emerging at the same time. I do have to make sure that only big hosta are in that bed. Little hosta or other plants like epimedium will just get lost in the sea of blue.

You can get some wonderful pictures of other plants with the blue background. In this last blue picture from several years ago, (or else it would be a contestant in this year’s contest) there is this wonderful trillium with the blue accent.

And finally there must be the pumpkin update. They are all now frozen solid I assume. As there is not above freezing temperatures in the immediate forecast I assume they will remain in their present stasis for some time. They are pretty adorable at the moment. The first pictue is just so cheerful. The second one is just managing to hang onto its nose. You can also see the ice helmet some have at the moment.

Have a great week.


Shady Gardener said...

You have to know that I LOVE those bluebells! I received some from my mom a 3 years ago and they are increasing in number (as does my joy) when they bloom each spring! However, I'm nuts about frogs and toads... so, I had to cast my vote for the amphibian! :-)

Judithio said...

the poppies. I like all of them, and the bluebells almost got it, but overall--composiition, wow factor, color, it's the poppies this week. (last week, crocus, sentiment won over other criteria)