Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 26, 2014-week 6-More closeups-more excitement

Cold. Cold. Cold. As I write this on Saturday morning, sitting in the dark, I hear the sound of the wind. It is sort of a dull roar. It is also a cold sound.
Actually we are having a short break for this 48 hours from the bitterly cold weather. It was 30 on Friday. It is actually close to 40 as I finish this on Sunday early afternoon.
It is difficult to find any comfort in a forecast that has 2 nights in a row, starting Sunday night, where the lows are in the minus double digits. If those temperatures come anywhere close to reality, we will have had 13 nights in January in the negative numbers.

Other reflections on the cold.
Walking around on Thursday, with a high of 3 degrees, was painful. Mostly it was the wind.
Sometimes the wind can come at you from all four directions.
This coming Monday’s high is to be somewhere between -3 and -7, depending on which forecast you look at.
-20 is maybe coming. That is a really intimidating number.
We got out heating bill this week. It was scary, as we live in a big old house.
I spoke to a person last week who sells produce at our winter long farmer’s market. He said the ground is frozen deeper than it has been in a long time. I think that is good, from some prospective.
It would be interesting to predict now when that first snowdrop will appear. I suspect it will be late February at the earlies.

But sunset is now close to 5:15. The sky is brightening in the east on mornings when it is not yet 7am.
January is almost over. February is then short. That is not a coincidence.

Let me get right to the contest.

This last week’s voting the closeup of the night blooming cereus was the winner. Here is a picture of that winner.
The full voting was:
Night blooming cereus 24
Coneflower 15
Poppy 13
Daffodil 11

For this week's contest, as I told you last week, I have more closeups. I am just going to give you the pictures and let you guess what is the flower. I hope this works. I trust you will be able to put the pictures together with their text which appears below the pictures.

Here they are.
Picture #1

Picture #2

Picture #3

Picture #4

So now you get the explanation for the pictures

Picture #1 is a closeup of a waterlily. Waterlilies are pretty amazing. All of mine are cold hardy. They stay out all winter. This is in contrast with tropical waterlilies which are really amazing. Each year when we visit one of the several botanical gardens that are on our trips out of Iowa City I take picture after picture of those tropicals. I actually decided to include some of those pictures in the extra ones this week.
By the way those gardens include the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, the Chicago Botanical Garden in Glencoe, the Denver Botanical Garden and a new one for us these last five years, Longwood Gardens, outside of Philadelphia. All of these gardens are worth the extra time to get to them. They are all worth trips even in the winter. I think the operative term is “conservatory”. That is French for “inside.”

Picture #2 is the center of a fall blooming Japanese Anemone. The variety is probably Honorine Jobert. I love fall anemones. They bloom from late August to late October. In fact certain varieties can still be coming on with more blooms when the hard freeze occurs. That was this year. I should really cut some of the stalks, which can get to 3 feet, and try them inside. I have never been a bring flowers inside gardener. This is a rule that should be discarded

Picture #3 is a barrel cactus of unknown name. The origin was our neighbors across the street. They do make side shoots which are easily potted up. Before you know it you have 20. That’s my garden. Let me know when you want a start. At this point 4-5 are large enough to bloom. It is no coincidence that the first ones bloomed for the first time the summer of 2012 when it got so very hot-110 degrees. The buds are not much to start with, but do become quite impressive. These cactus are so very manageable inside in the winter.
By the way I believe you can see a similarity between the insides of this flower and the winner this last week, the orchid cactus.

Picture #4 and final contestant this week is one you most easily could recognize. This phalanopsis orchid must have had 50 blooms last winter. I think it will match that in the next 8 weeks. The poor plant was left outside in the fall of 2012, and got badly bitten by a freeze. (We had gone away for a 2 week vacation and not thought it would get that cold.)
So the leaves of this plant are not attractive, to this day. But that does not stop the flowers. Perhaps the mistreatment stimulated the flowering.

So how about those pictures. Just try to pick one.

Here are your extra pictures this week.

First here are pictures of tropical waterlilies, grown by professionals with real budgets. These are not from my garden.

Here are more fall anemones.

Here are more pictures of the orchid.

That’s it for this week.


No comments: