Sunday, February 2, 2014

February 2, 2014- the uncommon beauties-Week 7

I was having a little writer’s block yesterday. The words- they just wouldn’t come. This morning however, I just started looking at pictures. While I mostly had the 4 contestants picked out, I was looking for those bonus pictures.
The process of just going through the pictures brought the words back. I just wanted to tell you about fritillaria and the other flowers for the week.

So let’s get to it. Time is marching on. The sun is coming up.

Let me get right to the contest.
This last week’s voting the closeup of the waterlily was the winner. Here is a picture of that winner.

The full voting was:
Waterlily 25
Cactus 16
Orchid 11
Anemone 5 (my pick)

And now, bidding a fond farewell to closeup pictures, let me get right to this week’s contest.

The uncommon beauties

Which flowers appear the most often in gardens around town?
Particularly in peony season I drive around town and look at people’s yards. I often wonder which plant or flower can be found in the most yards. The old pink peony would certainly be one choice. I actually think peonies would be found the most often, perhaps because they live about as long as any flower I can think of in the garden.
Another possibility would be daffodils. Daffodils would be my candidate for the flower that most people should have in their gardens. I have always marveled at the projects where towns or cities plant daffodils by the thousands. St. Louis had a mayor who had that as his legacy. I think that is not a bad legacy.

Which flowers would be the most recognized?
This would be a very different list. Most people would recognize a tulip, an iris, a daylily or a marigold.

This week, for your viewing pleasure, I want to present four flowers that are not so recognized. Maybe after you have seen these pictures you will be inspired.
The first picture is the double bloodroot. Actually double doesn’t begin to describe this flower. It is way beyond even triple. I planted a little root in 2008. I added another root in 2009 when the first one didn’t bloom. I had 3 flowers in 2010 .There were 6 shoots in 2012 and there must have been 11 this last year, 2013.

It is now at that awkward stage where it has made a wonderful clump and it is time to think about dividing it. Do you just divide it in half and have 2 really nice clumps. Or do you take a few off the edge and maintain the original big clump?I will let you know in late spring.
I also had difficulty picking the double bloodroot picture for this competition. Sometimes I think about having a week for team competition. There could be team bloodroot or team cactus. Look at the bonus pictures for double bloodroot at the bottom. I went back and forth several times thinking about whether the single flower was a better picture.
I obviously wound up thinking I liked the group photo better. What do you think?


The second picture this week is the yellow crown imperial fritillaria. These crown imperials are the Doctor Seuss flower number 1 in the garden. I struggled for years trying to get one started. I finally gave up on that particular bulb and tried more, in different places. Eventually I found the right places with the right sun. They come up early, in April, so they get the sun before the big sycamore tree in the backyard starts to do its shade thing.
I also read somewhere that they like fertilizer. I give them some bulb food right after they emerge in the spring.
So whatever I have done, I now have 6-8 in several places in the yard that have rebloomed for 2-3 years.
Go fritillary plants. I hope I have not jinxed you for this spring.

The two colors that work for me are yellow and orange. Check out the bonus pictures at the bottom. The pictures looking up at the undersides of the flower are wonderful.

The third picture is Trillium cuneatum. Trillium are wildflowers that behave well for me in my urban garden. They reliably come back every year. There are many varieties. There are 3-4 common ones. If you start looking you can find many more. When you get beyond the 3-4 you do find the ones that are harder to grow.
I like this picture since you can see the flower both open and closed.
Cuneatum comes up a little earlier than the other varieties. You can tell from the bonus pictures that they bloom along with the scilla (little blue flowers) and the pulmonary (other little blue flowers that can be pink or white.)

The last picture is one of the hardy orchids, a cypripedium called Gisela. This orchid blooms in the spring, and is one of 3-4 varieties of these slipper orchids that can bloom in Iowa. They are not the easiest to grow. Did I mention that they were expensive. ($35-45 from the right grower.) I keep waiting for them to really clump up. It hasn’t happened yet. I should follow my fritillaria advice and really feed them right when they come up.

Don’t you just love that pouch and the curls?

Don’t you just love that pouch and the curls?

There you have it. Vote away. Come see them in the garden when it warms up. And maybe, just maybe, think of finding room for one of these uncommon beauties.

So now for one of my favorite parts of the weekly post. Here are the bonus or extra pictures.

First let me present the other double bloodroot pictures. Actually first you can see the double right next to a picture of the single.
Let me say something else about the two varieties. The single flowers bloom several weeks earlier than the double. The double flowers last longer. The singles might only bloom for 1-2 days. I think I can get 3-4 days out of the doubles.

Here are other double bloodroot pictures.

Here are other fritillaria pictures.The first two are pictures of the bulbs just coming up. Even at that stage they are rather exciting. In the one picture you can see the different colors of the emerging plants. The orange ones are darker.
Here are more.

Finally here are the wonderful undersides of the flowers.

Here are more orchids and trillium.

That’s it for this week. It is now February. This will be a short month.
Stay warm. Share the post with your friends.
Let me know if anyone else would like to receive the weekly pdf.

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