Sunday, January 15, 2012

Week 8 January 15,2012- Winter is here

Welcome to week 8 of the Sixth Annual Mears Garden Picture contest.

Winter is here. We had 5 inches of snow on Thursday and the temperature Saturday morning was in the single digits. It feels better and certainly more normal. Then it feels cold.

It is a time to remember and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King. He was a voice crying in the wilderness. There were other voices then. Gene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy come to mind.
Dr. King said the following many years ago:
There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we now have the resources to get rid of it.

On the same theme he also said
There is no deficit in human resources; the deficit is in human will… The well-off and the secure have too often become indifferent and oblivious to the poverty and deprivation in their midst. The poor in our countries have been shut out of our minds, and driven from the mainstream of our societies, because we have allowed them to become invisible. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these.'

How those observations ring true today.
OK everyone. Just pause for a few moments.

Now I will talk about flowers and gardens and colors.
My seed order came in yesterday. I intend to start some Iceland poppies for display this spring. Iceland poppies, which have been absent from my garden for a few years, were always good for several pictures a year in the contest. They are annuals that occasionally come back a second year. They rebloom but only until it gets hot.

I also took care of my caladium order this week. If you order them early, you can get jumbo sizes. It seems that an increasing number of caladium are able to be grown in the sun. The City of Iowa City grew some wonderful red ones a few years ago in planters downtown in full sun. They really prospered in that sun. Elephant ears like sun as well. Really big elephant ears are good.

In the contest this last week the easy winner was the hellebore. The full voting was:
Hellebore 30
Red Poppy 19
Yellow tulip 7
Daylily 4

Here are this week’s contestants.

First up is this wonderful Iris. I must confess I don’t know its name. That will be a recurring theme today. This Iris bloomed on June 26, 2011, which probably makes it a Japanese iris. They are the last ones to bloom in the Iris sequence. I will give you that sequence with pictures in the bonus section. Certain iris bloom in April and others continue right through early of July. Some the bearded variety rebloom in the fall.

This next picture is one of my peonies. This picture is from May 30. Most of my peonies have struggled over the years because they do not get enough sun. I am moving them around at this point getting them to places with more sun. This one is a single, which I find attractive, particularly in contrast with the double pink that seems to be in every fifth yard in town. I will tell just a few peony facts. Peonies were bred in the 19020’s to be cut flowers. As a cut flower they last a long time when they are in bud. You can cut a bud, just when it is showing color. If you put it in the refrigerator at that point, it will remain as in that bud state for 4-6 weeks.

This wonderful lily is probably some kind of trumpet lily. It bloomed on July 9. I really liked the picture because of all the different curves. There are curves going all different ways.

Finally here is a fall crocus, one named sativus artabir. It bloomed on October 22, 2011. Fall crocuses are a must, as you look for color in the end of the garden year. I must say however that I have not found them to be tremendously reliable at coming back. What that means is you just have to keep planting them.

Vote away.

For your bonus viewing I have iris. The Iris season starts in April with the little reticulata. There was one in the contest a few weeks ago. They will bloom in April.

In late April for about a month there are the bearded iris. Some are short ones, called Dwarf Bearded Iris. Here is a surprise. They are the first of the Bearded Iris to bloom.

Then come the Intermediate Bearded Iris and finally, the tall Bearded ones. Bearded iris have a rhizome that will rot if it is too wet. I try to plant mine on slopes. A little yellow one was a contestant in week 2.

For me then come the Siberian iris in June

followed by their Japanese cousins in early July.

Both of these varieties have more traditional roots. For that reason they can grow in damp areas including right in water.

I have been discovering Louisiana Iris the last few years. They also like damp areas and come in some remarkable colors. They seem to bloom in June, with the Siberians.

Finally there are all the other iris, and there are still quite a few. There is a group called Spuria iris. Here is a picture from two years ago. It did not bloom last year as it did not have enough sun. I trimmed the trees a few months ago so we will see this year.

There are also little ones called cristada. They are wildflowers even at some level almost all flowers are wild somewhere. I have several of these at this point and resolve to get more.

As a final picture I took this picture today of the snowdrop from last week. I will keep you informed as to how it fares in the winter.

Have a compassionate week.


Catherine Woods said...

Thanks for sharing your ruminations and for the invitation to pause. I did.

I get such a lift seeing your lovely, vibrant flowers -- great set of photos this week! Plus, the center parts, in the three flowers where these showed, were splendid!

I love iris. They, with all their different varieties, spotlight very well!

And last but not least, thanks for showing the snow-covered snowdrop. Yes, I wonder how it will fare.

philip Mears said...

I have always thought that certain plants/flowers such as snowdrops had the equivalent of antifreeze in their makeup. (I was gong to say veins but that is not right)
The hellebore leaf is like that. I expect the snowdrop will just go into some sort of suspended animation for however long it is cold. Certainly the snow will act as an insulation.
I will keep you posted.