Sunday, January 1, 2012

Week 6- January 1,2012- Happy New Year

Welcome to week 6 of the Sixth Annual Mears Garden Picture contest.

Happy New Year everyone.
Goodbye 2011. Hello 2012.
It is a time to remember the old and plan for the new.

Actually I wish to take this week to remember.
2011 was the first year in about 5 that I had to water the garden, in any regular way. I used to water the garden all the time. I have a front yard hose. I have a back yard hose. They both got a work out this year from July on. But watering can be enjoyable in itself. Watering early in the morning is particularly nice. Watering gives you a change to engage your garden without much physical exertion. You can reflect on the day to come or leave your mind blank or better yet, quiet.
2011 was a year to rediscover hosta. I recycled some. I found some new ones. I am looking forward to seeing those new ones come up this spring, including Ice Age Trail.
In 2011 I extended some garden paths. I renewed others, with the addition of fresher wood chips.
I added literally about a ton of Iowa City compost to the garden. Actually it was about 1800 pounds. The City weighs it for you. I think it cost $9. It lasted most of the garden year.
It was hot for a while. I think that corresponded with it being dry. I seemed like the hot lasted about a month, but maybe it just seemed like it lasted for a long time. It was hot but I didn’t feel that I could complaint since it was always hotter where someone else lived. And the hot has lasted into the fall. We didn’t have a killing frost until early November. And we really haven’t had winter yet. Almost every weekend in November was in the 50’s. The pansies are still blooming on December 31. It was 50 degrees on December 31. While it is to get cold for a few days the forecast says the warm weather will be back to near 50 again the end of next week. I really would like someone to ask that politician from Texas who is spending time in Iowa if he thinks global warming is real. Texas of all places should know better. But lets not get me talking about politics or the 99%. This is a time for reflection, not a time to…stop…just stop.
I think the flower of the year for me in the garden was the cactus. I will include it in the contest this week. It bloomed for me for the first time this year. I do have to wonder about how that was related to all that hot I was mentioning.

In one last bit of remembering, I almost forgot the most striking change in the garden this year. We painted out house. We painted our house a different color. We had known this was going to be necessary for a while. In September we got a bid from someone who had done some painting across the street. It was scary high. The paint job was going to be complicated by the fact that our house is tall in places but then we have all those plants. We called some other painters and then talked to our banker. We found someone but it was the middle of October. The painter knew that fall was a better time to paint our house because most plants were going dormant. So they (it was a they since there were two brothers) decided to do the south side first this fall. The south side is where there are all the bluebells in the spring. So on November 1 they put the first color on that south side. Since the weather was holding they went ahead with the east side next. And so went the entire house. They even got the back garage, finishing right before Thanksgiving. It is all done. Here are pictures. In the sun it really glows.

In the voting this last week the winner was the water lily
The totals were
Water lily 29
Asiatic lily 15
The fancy daffodil 7
Little blue iris 5

I do wonder if any of you looked at the fancy daffodil website. Maybe you have to be way into daffodils.
How do you measure if someone is “way into” daffodils?
Here would be some test questions.
Do you have way more daffodils that you can count?
Do you have some daffodils where you know their names?
Do you have a favorite daffodil?
Do you have a map of your daffodils?
Do you maintain a database where you try to keep track of which ones you purchases which year?

I think you are kind of into daffodils if you answer “yes” to more than one question.
I think you are way into daffodils if you answer “yes” to more than three questions.


How about this week’s contest? The theme is new plants and flowers.

First up is this wonderful hearty hibiscus. It is called Luna Pink Swirl and it is a dwarf. I got it at the farmer’s market and it was worth the price just for the show it put on in early August. The picture was taken on August 6.

The second picture is the double bloodroot. I got this bulb several years ago. 2011 was the first year where it clumped for me. It is rather amazing and unlike its single cousin, the flowers last for 3-4 days. The single variety, featured in Week 1, will bloom and be gone the next day if it is a warm day. This picture was taken on April 13. For the progression of this little clump see the bonus section.

This third picture is a rarity for me in this contest. It is an annual. Its name is gazinia and I don’t know the variety. I grew it in a pot and brought the pot inside. We’ll see if it lasts the winter. I will order seeds. The picture was taken on October 22. Annuals are a way to get color in the fall.

The fourth picture is the cactus. I don’t know the name beyond that. I got a plant from a neighbor a few years ago. While it got big enough to divide it had never bloomed. Well this year it did. It was absolutely amazing; all the more so since it had never bloomed for me before. The progression on the bud on appears in the bonus section. In a way it is very reminiscent of the orchid cactus, which is probably why they are called orchid cactus. This picture was taken on August 16. It really did liven up August, which can be a challenge for gardeners.

That’s it. Enjoy and vote. Find a friend to vote. Support your favorite flower or color.

In this the bonus section there are more pictures of this week’s contestants.

First there is the full picture of the hibiscus plant. I included the picture of the label as a gardener tip. When you take a picture of a flower or plant you like, make the next picture on your camera be the label. On the computer you will then have the name right next to the picture.

Second here is the progression of the bloodroot over the course of a few days in April.

Third is the progression of the cactus.

I close with these honorable mention new plants in the garden. They are a couple of Louisiana iris that bloomed for the first time this year. They are keepers. I could imagine getting many more Louisiana iris over the next five years.

Have a great week.


Catherine Woods said...

I love the hibiscus, but just had to go for the cactus flowers this time. Thanks also for the series of photos on the bloodroot flowers. I loved seeing these in their various stages -- and bloodroot is one of my favorites too. This week was hard choosing . . .

It's fun to see your newly painted house -- nice color too!

Last, but not least, thanks for the contest! It helps keep me going during the short, dark days and is something I look forward to each week.

philip Mears said...

I do resolve to do more with sequences of individual flowers. There is nothing more magical than the progress from bud to flower to seed.