Sunday, December 20, 2009

Picture Contest- Week 4- December 20, 2009

Dark- It is so dark. As I compose this it is overcast, just a few days from the solstice. But the streets and sidewalks are clear of snow and ice for the moment, which is about all that a person in Iowa should hope for in the second half of December.
On a much more cheerful note I wish Happy Holidays to everyone who receives these ramblings. The garden here is asleep. But during that time I can reflect and dream. I hope you enjoy this little taste of reflective color.
Let me go back to dark for a minute. As I think about it, just about the best time of the day is dawn, particularly when there will be a sunrise. First comes a little light, and then comes color. In order for that to happen it must be dark.

I should add that while we have a snow cover that looks like it is here to stay, I have my seed catalogue in hand at this point. I am reviewing seeds for lupines and columbine and poppies and violas. With a few trellises, the sky is the limit.
In last week’s contest the Dr. Seuss entry was a surprise winner. Maybe whimsy trumps majesty. I suppose it should, at least most of the time. Maybe they actually meet in a plant with the name Crown Imperial.

The voting was
Dr. Seuss Fritillaria 26 votes for 41.3%
Pink Orchid votes for 25.4%
Iceland Poppy votes for 23.8%
Tiger Kitten daylily 6 votes for 9.5%

We have a colorful display in the contest this week, Week 4.

First up is this very nice daffodil. Daffodils are so reliable. They come up each year, mostly in the same place. They play well with friends. You can plant them with small bulbs. In fact you can even plant small bulbs on top of them. You can plant them with hosta. They will bloom before the hosta. The hosta will then mostly cover the old foliage, that needs to stay around to absorb nutrients for the next year, but isn’t all that attractive. Please take the time to see the daffodil pictures in the extra post below this one. Maybe you can even post a comment about your daffodils.

This next flower is a tree peony called Seidei. It is on a plant that is about ten years old at this point. It is one of those focal point flowers that dominate its past of the garden. This will last for anywhere from a few days to a week depending on the temperatures. Spring can be wonderful when it stays cool for a few weeks. Time practically stops at a good point in time.
I should say a few words about tree peonies. First they are called tree peonies because they develop a shrub like structure that does not die back in the winter. That means they grow bigger, theoretically that their herbaceous cousins. They can get to be 4-6 feet tall and can hold up even bigger flowers. They also can live for a long time- several hundred years in some cases.
I have 6 plants. I think because they do not get as much sun as they would like they have not grown as much as I would like. They are still fun to have.

The third picture is of the tulip Monsella. Red and yellow are a great combination. Add a little blue in the background and you are done. I like tulips even though, unlike daffodils, many do not come back many times. This tulip is good for maybe two years. As long as you understand this you are not disappointed.

The final picture is an impatiens that I grew from seed this last year. There is something satisfying about plants from seed. I thought impatiens were difficult. I tried a package and was pleased. I got decent germination and the flowers were interesting and mostly different from each other. I am ordering some more of this variety, called tutu red bicolor.

Have fun with this week’s colorful group.

For your bonus enjoyment here are more tree peony pictures.

There is an entire post right below this one with lots of pictures of daffodils.
Enjoy this Holiday season.


Catherine Woods said...

How lovely -- memories of the light!

Flowers said...

Gorgeous! Really light up my day. Merry Christmas to you and to your family!

Judith C said...

Maybe I asked you this last year: do tree peony peonies smell like old fashioned herbaceous peonies? One of the cherished scents of my childhood.

philip Mears said...

Judith- I do not find my tree peony's fragrant, probably because I do not cut them and bring them inside. What I am told is that they "often have good fragrance." I can tell you ants do not particularly care for the tree peonies, but that is probably not related to scent.