Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week 1 of this year's picture contest-December 21, 2014

Welcome to the Sixth Mears Garden Picture contest, this one for winter 2014-2015. Many of the previous contests can be found in the web cite archives.

I will send you pictures every week for the next 16 or so weeks. You can vote if you wish on which picture you like best that week. You can find the voting poll on the webcite. The weekly winners will compete at the end of 12 weeks for see which picture is the overall winner.

It is grey and kind of cold. Even that grey is late arriving each morning. Before grey is dark. It seems like it has been dark, grey and kind of cold for a long time. It must be winter in Iowa. Check you watch. It is winter and at least I am in Iowa.

So let me brighten up you winter with a few pieces of garden cheer from this last year.
Let’s get right to the first week’s competition. It will feature early spring bulbs.

The first picture appropriately is the first outdoor garden picture of 2014. It of course is these two, at the time, lonely snowdrops. They finally made their appearance on March 15. That seemed kind of late. A big reason for that was the winter we had last year. To dark and cold and grey we added snow. The picture of the front yard on March 3 appears below the contestants.

The second picture is these two winter aconite, also called eranthis. They showed up on April 5.

In 2012 they had emerged in late January. That was quite unusual. The first snowdrop was in the first week of January, in 2012. I love aconite, as many of you will recall from my ramblings from previous years. Like snowdrops you can’t have too many. Aconite and snowdrops do have the early spring dance floor mostly to themselves. They also have an amazing capacity to withstand cold temperatures.
     Think about plants for a second. Think about the end of the season. The foliage of many plants is destroyed by the first frost. Certainly a real freeze will do in many more. But then there are the kales and the spinach that can last well into December. There is something in the fiber of their leaves that just withstands the cold. Early spring bulbs are much the same. That bud and leaves will just hunker down and survive the very cold. But then again I guess that is our old friend natural selection. All the whip snowdrops and aconite were lost many millennium ago. (What is the plural of millennium?)
    Another reason to love aconite is that when they bloom you know that it won’t be long then before the real flower explosion. Thinking about that or looking at pictures of February turning into April, can get  you through the grey and the cold.

The third picture is a spring bulb you may not recognize. This is chionodoxa. The picture was taken on April 11. Like so many bulbs,  wikipedia tells me that it comes from Turkey. It comes in white and pink. There are actually so many bulbs that are blue.

The final picture of the week is a pink tommasinianius crocus. Tommasinanius is latin for “it doesn’t taste good to squirrels.” This April 5 picture shows an early grouping of color. These crocuses spread slowly which is good, as I have missed the opportunity to plant more the last several years. 

So there is your Week 1 contestants. I hope you enjoy the contest this year.

A few extra pictures.
As I mentioned here is why the spring was late in 2014.
This was the front yard on Marcy 3, 2014.

Here are more snowdrops, eranthis and of those crocuses that squirrels do not like..

Enjoy the show.

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