Sunday, February 16, 2014

February 16, 2014- Pink week-Week 9

So is the end of winter in sight? I briefly saw a 50 degrees in the ten day forecast. Thursday was 39 degrees and sunny and at least the roads were melting. It felt really good.
But we did have 2 nights this week of -16 and -17. We then had a nasty and unexpected two inches of snow Friday morning. That was a day when I had to go to a court hearing 75 miles away. I particularly dislike driving in bad weather. That morning I started to shovel the driveway. I got 10 feet out and fell backwards and hit the back of my head. I do not remember ever doing that. It did make for a wonderful (poor use of term) story in the snow. You could just see it all right there. Shovel-shovel-fall-struggle to get up. I made sort of a bad snow angel. But I got right up, brushed myself off, and…and stopped shoveling. I felt like the football player who just got up and went in for the next play. I have no effects other than a sore neck.
Update: As mentioned we had snow Friday. We had another 2-3 inches Saturday. We are scheduled to get 3-5 inches tomorrow morning. This is getting old old old.

The days are longer. Melting is such a wonderful phenomenon. One of my favor places to visit is Colorado. (I do wonder how many people have added Colorado to their places to visit in the last six months.) We visit the Estes Park area. Rocky Mountain National Park is right next door. We mostly visit in late June. At that time you can pick the elevation where you can hike. You can almost always find the melting line. There is a flower called Marsh Marigold. It blooms in that melting zone. The snow pulls back and there it is. Here are some pictures.

On to the show.
Here is a particular orchid cactus that was the winner last week. It was the marvelous red/purple orchid cactus. One of the ways to propagate an orchid cactus is from make cuttings. When it is time to bring in the plants in the fall sometimes certain branches are too long and the plant has become lopsided. (Where does that word come from Pat? What is a lop?) I just trim it up, harden the cuttings, and put them back in the pot with the original plant. I did that with this plant this past fall. One of these years it will be even more grand.

This week’s contest features the color pink. This seems appropriate since Valentines Day was this past Friday.
The first picture is lilium Anastasia. Lilium is the flower grouping that includes Asiatic lilies, Oriental lilies, Trumpet lilies, and a few more types and many combinations. Sometimes the combinations combine the names of the types. Anastasia is an Orientpet. That is a cross between and Oriental lily and a Trumpet lily. Trumptal was an alternative that was rejected.
They bloom in some form or another from June to August. They are entirely different from daylilies. They are bulbs. Some come back bigger and better. Some divide. Some fade away, even though that is probably the fault if not enough sun. They do not need full sun. I have a lot of filtered light from the big trees in the yard. That is quite enough for most of these.
Anastasia does hang down. As the stalk is 4-5 feet tall, down is not the same problem as with hellebores. (which are only
18 inches tall.)

The next picture is this mature tree peony, called Seidei. Tree peonies, unlike their more familiar herbaceous cousins, come as a bush. The woody structure does not die back to the ground every year. It theoretically can get bigger. I have had this plant for about 15 years. I went through a peony phase in the late 1990’s. The plant would probably do better if it had a little more sun. You do need to remember that sun can be a relative term. This plant gets full sun in the spring. It then gets shaded from the afternoon sun in the summer. Tree Peonies bloom earlier than the herbaceous kind. (Maybe 3 weeks) This picture was actually taken on April 14, 2012. Last year, 2013, it was blooming on May 19. I told you in an earlier post that 2012 was about a month earlier than usual.
If you ever can get to the Baha’i temple in Chicago (Wilmette) they have good tree peonies. The mature bushes can get to 5-6 feet tall and can live hundreds of years. They are plants that will probably outlive the gardener who planted them. If you are in Iowa City there are 5-6 large specimens on Court Street about a mile east of Hoover school. They come in colors from pink to red to white and to yellow.
Actually there is a good plant story about yellow peonies. Most peonies come from China. Yellow was the imperial color. No one else could grow/have yellow peonies but the emperor. I do not think anyone but the emperor could have anything in yellow. For that reason the plant developers in China, probably monks, did not develop yellow plants.
I like the idea that there are colors out there that the present day emperors have not let us have or even see.

This third picture is a picture of the annual, which is widely planted, call impatiens. I actually grew most of my impatiens in 2013 from cuttings from the previous year. I also discovered that I could get a fancy plant in the spring, and chop it up for parts. Impatiens root easily. Soon I had many plants. This picture really does look like a rose. I do not grow roses. Every gardener has to draw some lines somewhere.

The last picture is the lupine.I love lupines. They are a little tricky to grow. They seed themselves if you have enough of them. I have found there are just certain areas in the garden, with good sun, at least before June, where they will thrive and spread by seed. A little pampering helps. That actually is good advice for almost anything. Except Jade plants as I think about it. They can die from too much attention.
Lupines come in lots of colors. 2013, for whatever reason, was a good year for lupines. I assume it was because we had a wet and cool spring. It did mean they had survived the awful heat of 2012.

There you have it. Vote away. Come see these plants in the garden this year. The garden is always open. If no one is there the tree falling in the forest really makes no noise. My garden exists so that people, not just me, can enjoy it. It makes my day when I come home and find people just wandering around by themselves.

So now for one of my favorite parts of the weekly post. Here are the bonus or extra pictures.
Here are more lupines. I hope you all like these extra pictures. It is always good to hear from you by way of reply email or comment.

Here are more pictures of the tree peony. It is one of those focal point plants when it blooms.

Here are more impatiens. These annuals do give life, assuming some rain, in August and September. They are toast when the first frost comes. That is when you can bring in plants or make cuttings of the best colors.

I will close with a few more pink pictures. I was going to give you more cilium, but there were so many pictures I realize that I will just make that a separate post.

That’s it for this week. February will be over before you know it. Warmer weather is coming. Baseball is starting somewhere south of here. The snow will stop at some time.Stay warm.

By the way I have posted bigger pictures in terms of some measure having to do with something. We will see if that improves the viewing.


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