Sunday, January 29, 2012

Picture Contest- Week 10-January 29, 2012- Garden Excitement

Welcome to week 10 of the Sixth Annual Mears Garden Picture contest.

Garden excitement is coming. I can feel it in the mild air. I can see it when I look at the seedlings that are finally sprouting in the plant trays down under the lights in the basement. They are so tiny. I think they are little Iceland poppies. It almost makes me laugh to see the one place where something like 6 seedlings are coming up in the same place. I could have been more careful putting down the even tinier seeds.

Yesterday I went into the backyard. It still has a few inches of snow cover. In this one bed I found these emerging snowdrops.

They had come up a few weeks ago. When I looked Friday morning, the snow seemed pushed back the littlest bit around each one. One could imagine that the snowdrop plant was a little warmer than the surrounding area, creating a small melted area. (I would have added a picture of the snowdrop in the front yard I had showed you before. Since it is near the sidewalk, the shoveled snow has it still covered completely.)

Looking through garden catalogues is a little less academic now. I should order these columbine plants and get them delivered soon. Well, maybe they should ship them on the first of April. That is not that far away.

And there is the light, the glorious light. While it is not yet here when I get up in the morning, it is here after work sometimes. I noticed that one day last week there was actual sunshine a little after 5. The other afternoon, in the twilight, about 5:30, there was a crescent moon with some planet nearby. They both were bright and for a while they had the sky to themselves. The western sky was still that rainbow of sunset colors of blue and white and orange. You wanted to freeze that moment, that sky.

But there will be other moments like that- when you find the seedlings emerging or the snowdrops melting back the snow, or the moon dancing across the colorful sky.

So how about some picture contest stuff.

In last week’s voting the winner was ….the tulip. Red and yellow are hard to beat.
The totals were
Tulip 26
Asiatic lily 16
Epimedium 11
Anemone close-up 5

Here are this week’s contestants.

First is this Siberian Iris, probably one named Jeweled Crown. What I like about this picture, taken on May 23, is the background of Cypress Spurge. Spurge is another name for euphorbia. I got to wonder about the name ‘Spurge.’ This variety of spurge is a vigorous ground cover. The line between vigorous and invasive is small. I draw the line between the two based on the depth of the root system. It is not invasive if it can be weeded easily.

This picture is the second and last daffodil picture in the contest this year. I think it might be a daffodil from a group of daffodils called Poeticus. The picture was taken on May 7. Poeticus daffodils are suppose to be one of the last to bloom. As the coming spring approaches the yearning for daffodils does begin. One dreams of the fields of daffodils that must be somewhere. In the bonus section this week I have given you the breadth of the daffodils selection from my garden this past year. (This is not meant as an inventory. Not every flower presents for a good picture each year.)

This next picture, taken on April 11, is a flower making its first appearance in the picture contest. I like to give you some new flowers from time to time. This picture is fritillaria “raddeana”. It is a cousin of the crown imperial fritillaria that has been a strong contestant in the past. Sometimes these flowers that are color challenged are striking in their simplicity.
I still am waiting to see about these bigger fritillaries. I have not found them to come back year after year like some other bulbs. They do come back but hardly ever bloom after the first year. It is a puzzlement. Is that a word?
The catalogue includes in the description of this flower that it has “umbels” of up to 20 flowers. How about that word scrabble fans?

Finally here is the old fashion coneflower or echinacea. Boy was that hard to spell. I couldn’t even get close enough on google for it to ask me if I didn’t mean the real spelling. So I resorted to ‘cone flower’ and that worked. I do find this flower amazing. It is hard to think of any other flower that in our time has seen the explosion of varieties. (Well maybe coralbells could be its equal.) There are now yellows and reds and whites and ones with tufts on their heads. I am still waiting to find any of those new varieties as hearty as the original. For that reason the original shows up in several places in the garden as a companion to everything from daylilies to hosta. The picture was taken on July 3. I really like the patterns that the center of the flower makes. It reminds me of cornfields when the corn plants are small. There can be patterns going several different directions depending on the angle of observation. Then again maybe I like the picture since it is purple.

Vote away. Let me hear from you. It is going to be a sun shiny day. Bye bye January. It has been fun.
Before I give you daffodils I thought up a new feature. We will call it the “amusement of the week.”
It will be any observation I observe or hear about-from you all- which speaks to the condition of our world at this point. It will need to be amusing and I will rule out right here at the beginning, any observation about Republican presidential candidates.

So my first observation is the following:
At the grocery store this week we noticed that some company was marketing yogurt containing M&M’s. For real. Top that if you can.

Here are daffodils.

Have a good week. Garden excitement is coming.


Bob S said...

The evening planet by the crescent moon is Venus. She is in the far eastern sky in the early morning. In the evening, Jupiter is the big "star" in the east. Mars is also quite prominant at night in the SW sky.

Judith said...

what I most love about coneflower--not trying its Latin name one-handed (holding baby no hardship) is the way looking into the center is as deep and dark and profound as looking into the night sky, but in your hand (garden) beneath you and robed with purple

Catherine Woods said...

Thank you for the snowdrop photos as well as the daffodil series! Splendid! I feel faced with a hard choice this week with the contest photos as each one is so very special in and of itself. I truly enjoy all your flower photos; they are so cheering. Which reminds me . . . hurrah for the return of the sun! Have a lovely week.

philip Mears said...

Bob- What I like about the occasion when a planet)or two) is lined up with the moon is how they follow each other across the sky. They do that throughout the evening. They do that every night, only just further along across their path.

Anne said...

Phil, check those snowdrops again. My first one bloomed this morning--Jan. 31!

philip Mears said...

Anne-The snowdrops are blooming today (Tuesday) as are the aconite. There will be pictures with the next post. This voice in my head keeps saying "this is wrong."

Catherine- I always thought the usual pattern in the winter is that it is cold when there is sun and warm when cloudy. Not this year. It was sunny and 60 degrees each of the last two days.

Judith- I will not be able to top that description. Can you work a baby reference into any sentence at this point? (Judith is a new grandmother for those of you who may not understand the context.)