Sunday, March 11, 2012

Week 16 March 11,2012- Explosion

Welcome to week 16 of the Sixth Annual Mears Garden Picture contest.

This coming week should be the break out week for spring. One could even say there is and will be, a veritable explosion.
There are 70’s splashed across the 7 day forecast. More importantly the low temperature is to stay above 45.
This is in contrast with this last week when Monday morning was 9 degrees. Tuesday’s high was 71. We then had several gorgeous days with highs in the forties. The emerging crocuses weren’t quite sure whether to open up or not. They just sat there looking like tiny Dale Chihuly creations (He is the glass artist, who sometimes put his installations in gardens).

Already this week we have reached the stage where there is something new every day. I just have to wander around until I find the one for that day. One day I discovered the lupine waking up. I love lupine. I have little lupine seedlings inside that I took outside today. I will need to harden them up a little before I put them in the ground.
The first iris reticulata bloomed this week. It was purple. Some yellow ones should bloom any minute now. They are not as hearty as I would wish. There is a variety called Katharine Hodgkin that someone has in the neighborhood. We have watched it for years. It does clump up which is the goal. I planted some this last fall and we shall see.
Actually Tuesday was the first real day for crocuses. I have enough so I can provide a few for the local rabbit population.
One day there was the first pulmonaria bud. I sort of forget about pulmonaria. They are good, with a few being spectacular. Raspberry splash is one such variety.
We have daffodil buds. I am going to predict that we will have the first flower on Wednesday.

But on to the contest.

Last week was one of the more exciting weekly contests we have ever had. After the first day, the Water lily had a 5-6 vote lead, in the electronic voting. The purple pasque flower caught it on Monday, only to fall behind by 2 votes. That lead was only temporary. The purple flower came back. In the end, when the several email votes were counted, the two pictures were dead even. I will advance them both to the finals and just give you 5 contestants in one week.

The full voting was
Water lily 25
Purple Pasque flower 25
Daisy 6
Red Poppy 7

In the contest this week you get the last group from which to select a finalist

First there us tulip Monsella. Red and yellow are always solid.

Second there is the amazing cactus, which bloomed for me this past year for the first time. It is only fitting that a winter indoor plant should make an appearance in this round. Can it make the finals?

Third there is the bluebell. I wonder how soon there will be bluebells. The picture was taken on April 24. Will there be bluebells in March this year? I would not be surprised.

The last of this group of four is the Peony. I saw the first red shoots of a peony just yesterday.

Vote away. You are doing a fine job so far.


I have a great example this week showing the sign of the times.
Was this an Onion story? On Thursday the Des Moines Register ran a story I have to tell you about. The headline started with “Moo Juice problem.” Did I mention the legislature was involved? This is all about something known as “stray electricity.” I am not making this up. Whether someone else is making it up, of course, is always the big question. I am going to give you some quotes from the article because I cannot improve on this text.

“Something known as stray electrical voltage is zapping thousands of the state’s dairy cows, giving them jolts that can affect milk production and interfere with breeding schedules.”

“Grounding electrical systems results in some current being absorbed into the earth. When that current reaches levels at which it can affect animals, it’s often termed “stray voltage.”

“Even low levels of stray voltage can cause dairy cows stress and discomfort. Effects include the loss of 20 percent or more of an animal’s milk production and longer intervals between calving, said Sen. Joe Seng, D-Davenport, who is a veterinarian.”

That’s it. We always need stories like this to remind us who we are. This is truly a “sign of the times”. The next time you cross the Mississippi River coming into Iowa think about stay electricity.
But was it from the Onion?

For your bonus viewing here are this week’s pictures.
The crocuses really first came out on Tuesday, March 6. For those of you interested last year the first crocuses were on March 13.

Notice the two different varieties of snowdrops. Here you have the single and the double.

On Tuesday it was quite the day for the bees. I think almost every flower group had at least one bee. The only exception was the yellow aconite. Maybe they were tired of yellow pollen.

In this last picture there is the first of the squill, sometimes called silla. I 2-3 weeks there will be an all blue carpet of these lovely flowers.

Enjoy the week. Come by sometime.
Just wander around.


1 comment:

Catherine Woods said...

I love springtime; snowdrops, crocus, aconite, and beds of squill delight.

Here's a sign of the times. Today, an Indian (India) woman friend posted a photo of an "auntie" (a middle-aged Indian woman) wearing a sari and sitting astride a slightly-too-big-for-her-frame bright red motorbike. My friend said the photo made her feel like singing.