Sunday, January 5, 2014

Week 3-Little spring bulbs-January 5, 2014

Winter is still here. But I am not going to write about the snow or the cold or the dark. This is a flower blog, not a weather report.
It is a new year. A year to plan. But before you plan, you can reflect. What worked and what did not?

Here is Iowa City it was a year of extremes. Wait a minute. I was not going to write about the weather. But how can you not. Gardening is so tied to the weather. First it was too wet. Then it was too dry. I shudder to think about the water bills from the garden this last summer. After the really big one in September I just stopped watering.

Let me first get to the contest. Then I will reflect.

This last week’s voting for daffodils had Rip Van Winkle pull out a tie with Pink Wonder in the final day of voting. There was good support for all the contestants.
Rip Van Winkle does have the capacity to bring out a smile, when lined up with the really pretty pictures.
The full voting was:
Pink Wonder 18
Rip Van Winkle 18
Actaea 16
Modern Art13

Week 3 features small early spring bulbs. Here are the four contestants.

This first picture is Iris Katharine Hodgkin. The picture was taken on March 14, 2013. KH is in a group of iris called reticulata. They are iris that grow from little bulbs, as oppose to rhizomes (like bearded iris of all sizes), or just roots(like Siberian or Japanese Iris). Every once in a while I go all educational on you.
Iris reticulate bloom early in the spring. Some of these little iris come back more easily than others. I think this one comes back pretty well.

The next contestant is winter aconite or Eranthus hyemalis. They are the second flower to bloom in the spring, coming right after, and often at the same time as the snowdrop. This picture was taken on January 31, 2012. (Remember this contest covers the two garden years since I took a year off last winter.) To have anything bloom in late January was really remarkable. Normally flowers do not bloom in January or February. Mostly they start to bloom in March. Winter aconite does start to appear whenever the snow cover (if there is one) starts to disappear. While they are blooming they are about my favorite flower. Gardeners can be fickle like that. They do come back, with friends, or rather relatives. Sometimes you can see the second generation coming up right next to the parents. These little bulbs certainly spread over time. They then get out of the way when they are done. They are inexpensive. Sheepers lists them as 100 for $18. You really should plant them in lots of 100. Put them everywhere. Please see the additional pictures at the bottom of the post.

The third contestant is the single flower bloodroot. This native wildflower can be found in the spring in many woods that have flowers. Some woods have flowers and some do not. Ryerson Woods, just south of the Johnson County fairgrounds, has tons of spring wildflowers.
The Bloodroot is an exquisite flower, and does spread. At the same time, just when you think you have an established path, along can come a really hard year and then they are gone.
Of course, as I think about it, you do have to remember where they are. You like a bulb that blooms and gets out of the way. But you do not want to dig them up inadvertently, in some later in the year gardening effort.

The fourth contestant this week is the blue/purple anemone blanda. That is almost a plant joke. Blanda usually means white. I don’t think I need to spell it out anymore. These flowers are also called Grecian Windflowers. They clump up after a few years and I find them willing to come back each year.


There you have this week’s contestants.

Now for the reflection. Here are thoughts on the first several months of 2013.
We had snowdrops in January of 2013. I took these pictures on January 19. They showed snowdrops, aconite emerging and even some hellebore buds stirring.

At that point, unlike 2012, when there was really no winter, everything waited 45 days. We did jigsaw puzzles.

The first one took several months. It had 2000 pieces. There were some days where we found only 5-10 pieces.

We enjoyed indoor flowers. Sometime I will just have an entire discussion about how crowded it is inside in the winter. I try to keep the amaryllis dormant during the winter. Sometimes it is just their time.
I do grow orchids.I do not have the time or other resources to obsess about this group of plants. I just hang them in the trees in the summer and let them bloom inside in the winter. It is a nice arrangement.

Julia made this wonderful quilt.

And then it was March and April and the flowers began. Actually that was their correct time. It meant that April flowers bloomed in April. July flowers bloomed in July. That of course was different from 2012 when everything was a month early, almost all year.
I think that is about all the reflection I can come up with for the moment. I will do more next week.
To close let me give you more of these early spring bulbs.

Stay warm.

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