Sunday, March 2, 2014

March 2, 2014-Week 11-Spring is 3 weeks away?

More snow… more cold…In the song line that won’t get out of my head.
When will it ever end? When will it eeeeeeever end?
Actually those are not quite the words of the song. They sure do fit this winter however. The actual words are When will they ever learn. Quick Quick Who can be the first to email me with the name of someone who sang that song?

If ever there were a time to look for positives, it is now. There is so much more light every day. You see it at the end of the day. You see it in the morning. It arrives in such a nice balance. Wait a minute. That balance is about to end. I will try something else.
Spring training for the baseball teams has started. There are games being played in much warmer places. It must be time for spring. But some of us are Cubs fans. I will try for something else.
It is finally March. February is done. January is a memory. In 30 days it will be April. Remember April? April is when there are bluebells and flowering trees and lupines and tulips. There are the real positives.
On to the show.
Here is a picture of that winner you picked during an additional week of big pictures. It was the mass of crocuses. A good choice which pretty easily defeated the alum cluster. I actually liked that picture because it was a surprise. I walk past that cluster in the spring without being much impressed. That closeup picture illustrated how a flower can be so much more interesting when closely examined.

The full voting was:
Crocuses 27 Alium 17 Orange lily 9 Lilum Black Beauty 7

Week 11 presents the final contestants in this year’s contest. But do not despair. That does not mean the contest or your weekly fix of color will end.
We will take an interlude next week for a special battle of the colors. That will be a special team competition featuring pictures from the same color group. After that week there will be the 3 weeks of finals. That will be the competition between the winners that you have picked. At the end we will pick the one that you liked best.

The first picture this week is this great group shot of a columbine from the Winky series. This name is just a reminder that I do not pick the names for flowers.
Columbine are interesting plants. I put them in the group of not hardy perennials.They come back strong for a second year but do not last much longer than that for me. But they do seed themselves so they can last much longer.
They do come in a remarkable range of color and shapes. This double one is quite nice. A picture of just one of these flowers is in the bonus section. That picture gives me pause as to the choice I make to pick the contestants.

The second picture is another potted plant, a hoya. It is inside plant in the winter. There must be places where it can grow outside all year. That is somewhere far away. We had this plant for years without any flowers. This last summer it bloomed several times. It is really rather exquisite. Sometime you should look at google images for hoyas. With enough space you could decide to just grow a few dozen varieties.
But I have this one and I am content. (Actually I have a second one, another cutting. Maybe I will make more.) Just look at each flower, so marvelously put together. There really is a star within a star.

And speaking of newcomers here, for your third contestant this week, is another picture of the barrel cactus of some variety. You saw a closeup of this flower/plant in an earlier week. This plant, like the hoya, is a somewhat recent player in my garden. It bloomed for the first time for me in 2011. It really is almost a perfect plant. It blooms in late summer, when other plants are finished. It makes side shoots so you can share it with friends. And it comes inside and enjoys a sunny window sill without any fuss. In the bonus pictures I will give you the entire growth cycle of this flower.
I now have about a dozen of these plants, not counting all the side shoots still living with their parents. Can you imagine all of them blooming at the same time?

The last picture is Hosta Liberty with the bluebells. What a combination they make. Of course bluebells make a wonderful combination with about anything. I do love host. They are really the backbone of my garden. They have a hard time competing with flowers when photographed.

There you have it. Vote away. Come see them in the garden this summer.

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

Here are pictures of the cactus. They start as a little fuzzy bump. They then remind me of orchid buds, in that they sit there for what seems like a very long time without doing anything. Then they finally grow and grow. They open at something like 4 am. They will be fully open by the time I can come outside with a camera by 6.

Here is that single winky columbine I was talking about. There more I look at the picture the more I like this one, maybe better than the group shot.

That’s it for this week. April will be around the corner.


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