Sunday, January 6, 2008

picture contest- week 9- January 6

Week 9
It is the new year. The temperatures are for the moment above freezing. Actually it got to 50 today. There is the sound of dripping. Most of the icicles have disappeared. At the same time there is still snow most places.
As you may know, in Iowa we have been in the middle of something this past week that may be very special. You have heard it here first, folks. It is a little difficult for me to think about the garden. But I will rise above the temptation to endlessly read google searches and move on to this weeks contest.


Last week, like the week before, produced a tight contest. The winner is the yellow orchid cactus, the first yellow winner this year. Before that we had 3 blues, 1 red, 1 peach, 1 pink, and 1 frog.
The voting this past week was as follows:
1- Blue Anemone 20+6=26 or 32.5%
2- Indy Charmer 14+3=17 or 21.3%
3- Yellow Orchid Cactus 19+11=30 or 37.5%
4- Twinkles 5+2=7 8.8 %
The first number is the electronic vote from the poll, the second number was the write in or email vote.

For those of you who picked something other than yellow this last week remember that 4 wildcards will get into the next round in a month. So far the highest finishing pictures that did not win were

Blue Anemone Week 8 .......... 32.5%
Daylily close-up- week 7 ....... 28.6%
Spider Lilies week 2 .......... 27.6%
Calla lily week 1 ................. 27.6%

White Iris week 7 ......... 25.4%- say good bye to that wonderful Siberian iris. Will there be a white picture in the finals? The question is not yet final.

This week’s contest features a theme of sorts. I had picked out about 50 pictures in October and started grouping them by fours. This set of round subjects got together and stayed together. Enjoy the pictures and of course vote. And get your friends to vote. Turnout is everything. Remember you can vote either by email or by participating in the poll on the blog.

1- This for those of you who can’t tell right off, is a close up of a purple coneflower. The centers or cones of these flowers can make many wonderful pictures. This one grabbed me for the water drops amidst the pincushion. Sometimes there can be wonderful spiral patterns.

2- Here is another wonderful calla lily with the dew. If you recall I planted some calla lilies late with the specific intention that they would bloom in August. It worked. This picture was taken on August 23, when many things in the garden were fading. Calla lilies like full sun and can hold up even in an Iowa summer.

3- Then there was this amazing spider web. I almost didn’t see it. It was in the front yard one morning in early August. There are trees in the front yard, including the old elm tree, which provided the background for the picture. In the morning the sun comes up and can backlight plants, giving them more sun then they will have most of the day. So as I walked around the yard that morning I looked up and caught this web in the sun with the tree in the background. I might have missed it but for that particular combination of factors. Just imagine how many of these wonderful moments are out there which we do not catch. The web was so intricate. Please check out the bonus pictures on the blog, if you can, for other pictures of this web. It was like a old fashioned record. The grooves were so perfect and so close together. And of course in a day or so it was gone. Just gone. Magnificence can be fleeting, perhaps made even more magnificent by being so brief. OKOK No more deep.

4- Finally there is this oriental poppy seed head looking a little bit like a perfectly round fifteen legged purple spider. I would refer you to week one, where I set out the life cycle of the Oriental poppy.

So there you have this week’s pictures.

It is bonus picture time on the blog.
First there are other coneflower pictures. Coneflowers are really up and coming. I have mostly the old purple ones. They self seed and then are everywhere. They are a good companion plant to the other flowers of summer, the lillium and daylilies. They transplant easily. Now on the garden market there are all these other colors, from white to yellow to orange. I am waiting to see how they do. Once they come down a little in price I will put a bunch in and see how they compare with their vigorous purple antecedents.
They do make for some wonderful pictures. The individual sticky uppy things make patterns reminding me of the way that a recently planted cornfield will make patterns in the spring- rows sometimes going different ways, or in the case of the coneflower, in spirals.

Here are more pictures of the spider web. You can almost count the number of perfect grooves. One of the things I sometimes do when I am gardening is flag down passer bys and tell them they must just come see something. I often put up a dry erase board on the walnut tree in the front yard, telling people what is blooming. (Footnote- I can’t find a good dry erase board that can stay outside in the elements. If anyone knows of such a thing please let me know where it can be obtained.) There is also a picture of the front yard so you can get an idea what I am talking about. The walnut tree is on the corner. The elm tree is right in front of the house in the parkway.

Here are more calla lily pictures. These bulbs are a keeper.

Finally there is a last picture of today’s pumpkins. This weather, which is now up to 50 degrees, is really hard on them. They are positively dripping. It will certainly be the big question for the week whether they can all stay on their hooks.

That’s it for this week. In the midst of our January thaw we dream on. Did I tell you about the new seed catalogue? How about that really nice trillium? And the variegated toad lily?
I wish everyone a hopeful new year.
Philip Mears
Iowa City

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