Sunday, February 19, 2012

Week 13 February 19,2012- The finals are here

Welcome to week 13 of the Mears Garden Picture contest.

February is winding down. It will be over before you notice. The cardinals are louder in the morning. In fact the morning is earlier and brighter than it has been for a while. If you think about it we are now about two months from the winter solstice. Two months before the solstice was October 21. That was even before out first frost.
Then again it has been the winter that never really happened, at least in Iowa.

Friday morning at work Julia called me into her office. Out the window there were a whole bunch of geese flying by. There must have been at least 500-1000 of them. Their procession went on and on and on. These were not the groups that have taken up permanent residence here in Iowa. This was the truly migrating group heading…well they were heading west. I remember a day two years ago when they came through on a day when I was in the garden with my camera. They were so far up in the sky. Here is the picture from March 10, 2010. There were aconite blooming that day too. Since the aconite are blooming now, maybe aconite is the key to bird migration.

The garden is coming alive. There are snowdrops and aconite. The hellebores are showing their buds. I expect an early crocus soon. Many mornings we walk past a house over on 7th Avenue that has the earliest neighborhood crocuses. They are sheltered next to the house. They have started to bloom this week.

But how about the contest.
In last week’s voting the winner was the bluebell picture, which was strong throughout the week. The close-up of the poppy ran a strong second.

Here were the final voting.
Bluebell 30
Close-up of poppy 17
Pink crocus 11
Yellow iris 7

Here is what happens next with the contest. The first round is over. The bluebell picture became the last entry into the field of 16 for the finals that begin this week.
There were 12 weeks since we began. That gives us 12 winners. Actually it gave us 13 “winners” since there was a tie in week 6. I have then filled out the rest of the field of 16 by adding 3 wildcards. They were the 3 second place pictures with the highest percentage of votes that week. I will let their selection remain a secret. You will see them as these next 4 weeks emerge. It is a great group of finalists, and you have picked them.

So here is the first group of four. Pick the one picture to advance to the final final showdown in a month.

First up this here is the pink poppy from Week 2. This picture was taken on May 30.
The date-of-the-picture breakdown for the 16 finalists is interesting.
April 4
May 9
June 1
August 2

May is certainly an amazing flower month. I actually would have thought that June or July would have been stronger. For whatever reason none of the four daylilies were able to make the finals.

The second picture, from April 2, is a group of white crocuses. You can’t have enough crocuses. They are coming to the 2012 garden soon. I should remind you that our garden is always open. Just come by and wander around. Right now you can see the anemone and the snowdrops.

The third picture, and the first wildcard entry, is Shirley, the tulip. The picture was taken on May 7.

Finally, and representing the antic picture subgroup, is this little blue baptista. The picture was taken on May 22.

There you have it. You should select one picture to advance to the actual finals in a month. I expect it will be a difficult choice.

Answer to Trivia question.- Who said “I love daisies”? Well probably lots of people. I remember that Meg Ryan said it in the movie You’ve got Mail. Google will get you to the clip.

Sign of the times- I have always liked the newspaper called the “Onion.” They mostly make stuff up. I particularly like the occasional story they publish that gets into the regular media as a “real story,” only to find out it was an Onion spoof.
So of course I have a category of news stories that “could be from the Onion.” This last week I ran across a story about a new product called “Geckskin” attributed to the University of Massachusetts at Amhurst. The story contained this sentence as a starter. “For years, biologists have been amazed by the power of gecko feet.” Well Geckskin is an adhesive that allows heavy things, like flat screen TV’s. to be fastened to flat places, like walls. Can you imagine having to write the warranty for that product?

You all know that one way to get through the winter is to follow the pictures on the garden blog.
Another way to get through the winter is to have a few orchids inside. Phalanopsis orchids are a rewarding plant that will does well inside. I grow them just in a sunny window. I let them be outside during the summer. I bring them inside in October and they soon start to set their bloom stalks or “spikes” as they are called. It takes forever for them to bloom. But they give you blooms in January and February and are really not that hard to grow.
Here are some in bloom now.

That’s it for this week. I close with an update on the snowdrop from our front yard. Here it is yesterday, February 18. Here it was on December 31. It is finally faded. Mind you this is the same plant. 7 weeks for a particular flower is pretty good, particularly understanding the conditions.

Spring is right around the corner.

1 comment:

Catherine Woods said...

I love your bonus phalanopsis photos. They complement those lovely "winners" we have to choose from this week.

I also read that "Geckskin" story and was left wondering whether it was a hoax or not.

Lastly, thanks for showing that wonderful snowdrop -- 7 weeks is amazing!