Sunday, March 18, 2012

Week 17, March 18,2012- Spring in one week

Welcome to week 17, the final week of the contest.
It is been one strange week, following one strange winter, which never really happened.
It had promised to be a warm week. I predicted that the first daffodil would bloom on Wednesday, and it did. It then got warmer and warmer. As I write this, on Saturday, it was into the mid 80’s. The temperatures this week read like temperatures for perhaps June. They read 64,60,71,76,79,81, topped off by an 83. Imagine, 83 degrees on St. Patrick’s Day.
So I could talk about how almost every plant in the garden emerged this week. The bloodroot just showed at the beginning of the week, and bloomed yesterday. The little squill created their blue carpet across the yard by the end of the week. A few daffodils became daffodils all over the place.
We have this nice little patch of Dutchman’s breeches. They were nowhere to be seen on Tuesday but were blooming by the end of the week.
I have started taking houseplants outdoors; as the ten-day forecast shows it will cool off so that the highs will only be in the 60’s.
I have started transplanting bluebells, which should bloom in a week.
In the neighborhood the forsythia came out Saturday, as did the saucer magnolia (tulip trees).
At the beginning of the week I would have said that we were 2 weeks ahead of last year. Last year the bloodroot bloomed on April 5 (3-31 in 2010.) The first windflowers bloomed last year on April 9. The star magnolia bloomed last year on April 12. We have now moved so that we are closer to 4 weeks ahead of last year. And it will be 80 today.

If you were to list the things blooming today it would include daffodils, crocuses, pansies, scilla or squill, blue and pink chiondoxa, both red, white and pink pulmonaria, hepatica, iris riticulata, Dutchman’s breeches, bloodroot, windflowers (or anemone blandas), hellebores, the star magnolia, pushkinia, pink corydalis, and I suppose there are a few late snowdrops and winter aconite.

Sign of the times- garden version- Pella, Iowa has a tulip festival scheduled for May 3. Well, they have announced that they are in trouble. Some tulips were up 4 inches already. (We saw one blooming today.) They are hoping for four inches of snow.

I try not to think about trouble. We just put away the flannel sheets and take houseplants outside. I have started watching the ten-day forecast about 6 times a day. What about that 39-degree temperature out about 9 days?

How about the contest. We are almost done.

In the contest last week the winner and final entry in the final four was the Peony.
The full voting in the most even vote in this last final round was:
Peony 19
Monsella Tulip 14
Cactus 13
Bluebell 12

So that gives us a final four, well a final five (because of the tie last week.)

And here they are:
First here is this pink poppy, conjuring up visions of Francois Truffaut. (An explanation would be too complicated.)

Second is the brightly colored primrose. The primrose plants are looking good, but something will have to bloom at Easter. (April 8)

Third is the water lily. The pond remains quiet. I have started getting the winter leaves out of it. This will be followed by a cleaning in two weeks. I really did think I heard a frog far away the other night.

Fourth is this great pasque flower. I just ordered more pasque flowers, including one that is white. Since I could only find one source for this color I expect it will not do well.

Finally there is the colorful Peony. The peonies are up, with their red shoots. I actually think the tree peonies will bloom before April.

Until I put the poll up on the blog I didn't realize the predominance of final pictures with the letter P. What is the explanation for that preference? I suppose many answers are possible or predictable or preferred or painful. I should stop this. But it is so much phun.

Vote away and enjoy the weather. Summer could get long this year.

Here are the extra pictures this week.

Warm weather is here. It might be here for a while. As a friend once said, find the breeze.

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