Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 16, 2014-Week 13- The playoffs begin

While Spring has not arrived the weather has certainly changed. Most of the snow is gone in the garden leaving some rather ugly debris. This means spring cleanup has begun. There are sticks and leaves all over the place. I do as much as I can in the fall. No matter how much I do in the fall, there is always still so much to do when the weather finally turns in February or March. It can be overwhelming. As with any big task, it is a matter of taking one step at a time. I fill up a trashcan at a time. I try to fill one each day. These containers will get picked up by the city to take to their composting center each week. I will pick that material back up in six months, all made into great compost.
The ground this year is way frozen. News stories put the frost line as down 5-6 feet. Despite the fact that the snow is gone, signs that spring will be very late are all over the place.
Usually by this time the hellebores have formed their bloom pouches that are already emerging from the ground. I find them when I start cutting back last year’s foliage which is suppose to remain over the winter. I have been cutting back those old leaves this week and there is nothing there.
There are some signs of activity. I have found a few snowdrops up about an inch. Surprisingly the columbine has little green leaf clumps down by the base of the plant. Here is one such snowdrop. I wonder how much farther it will have come in the next week.
Update as of Sunday. First it is a cold 23 degrees this morning, after about an inch of snow last night. Second I did find this little guy yesterday, when the temperature was a little warmer. As the weather people keep telling us, when it gets cold now, it will rebound soon.

On to the show.
In last weeks exciting team competition Team Orange was a runaway winner. Here was the picture that at least for one voter made it no contest.

The full voting last week was:
Team Orange 36
Team Blue 13
Team Yellow 9
Team White 6

I should tell you that Team Pink, which could not participate in last weeks team competition, because it had its own week, has issued a challenge to Team Orange. That faceoff will come in about a month.
I should tell you that I am searching for reasons to extend the season, after you pick the single picture winner. Maybe I will have an all star weekend, with a competition just with the winners of the five contests.
So now let us move on to Week 13. March is half over. It is time for the playoffs, with the semifinals pitting the winners of the first 11 week’s competition.(One week there was a tie, so we do have 12 entrees.) This will go on for three weeks, after which there will be the final vote for the one winning picture.
Here is your first entry in the final. It is of course purple crocuses. This was the winner in week 8. I love the fact that the stamens are different colors. How soon will this clump make its appearance. This picture was taken on March 15, 2012.

The second entry is the wonderful double hellebore. It was the winner in week 4. This picture was taken on March 17, 2012.

This third picture is the blue anemone bland. It was the week 3 winner. This picture was also taken on March 17,2012.Any guesses as to how soon we will see this flower this year. Three weeks? Maybe.

Finally here is the exquisite orchid cactus from week 8. It needs no further introduction. How this picture makes be long for August.

There you have it. Vote this week for your favorite team of pictures.
For your bonus pictures here are four pictures that never made it into the contest. Sometimes my choices are difficult.The crocuses are fall crocuses. The striped lily of the valley really is that. It is a mutation that survives but does not flourish. The hosta leaf is Earth Angel.

That’s it for this week. If you do not like the weather wait 24 hours. Unfortunately the reverse is almost true as well.


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