Sunday, January 18, 2015

January 18, 2015-Week 5- Past the half way point

My goodness. It is Week 5 already. January is over half gone. I think of winter as being from November 1 to April 1. That is about the time when the garden is down. I realize that is not entirely accurate. There are some flowers almost always until Thanksgiving. I can start finding early signs of life in March, most years.
Nevertheless by that five month measure we are now past the half way point.

The days are longer. Here in Iowa City we can leave work at 5:30 and there is still light in the sky. Maybe the days are warmer. Today (Saturday) is over forty degrees. If it were not for the snow cover I would do yard work. I realize that is not saying much.
Edit- I actually did some yard work Saturday in part of the yard where the snow had melted.Today, Sunday is sunny, blue sky and again it is 40. I am going to publish this post and it will be outside for me.

It is getting to be time to look ahead. I ordered some caladium this week. I thought about elephant ears. I should think  about seeds. That will take some energy.

In the picture contest this past week the winner you picked was the yellow(ish) waterlily. It was a pretty good picture.

The full voting was
Yellow waterlily 24
Pink top view  14
Perfect white  9
Pink lily hiding   8

Having spent some time in the summer with waterlilies I thought that for this week I would come back to spring. That is really what we anticipate all winter. I know there are some people who just say I can’t wait for August. That is not me.

This week I thought I would feature the familiar spring bulbs.

The first picture is the crocus. The picture was taken on April 7. Remember that last year, spring was late. Snowdrops and the aconite are the early bulbs. But when the crocuses arrive so does real color.

This one is actually called Tricolor. How many colors does this actually have. I guess that partly gets into the question of whether white really is a color?
I should go do something else.

The second picture is this grand yellow tulip. It might be one named Mrs. John Scheeper. Imagine being memorialized with the name of a really pretty flower. As with many spring photographs, when this was taken, on May 8, the brown background from the previous picture of the crocus,  has turned to green with sprinkles of blue, from the bluebells.

I have mixed views of tulips. They seem like so much work. You have to plant them every few years. You have to have places to put them. Most of my yard is already full of stuff. There is stuff both over and under the ground if you know what I mean. Even in the summer where there are bare spaces those spaces already have something invisible planted, either bluebells or crocuses or daffodils and the list goes on and on. I want it that way.
But tulips can be so great. I hope you can find someplace that plants them in quantity. The Chicago Botanical Gardens is one such place to visit in the spring. (see bonus section) But there are tulips that do come back year after year. I have a few such dashes of color. This piece of yellow is one such permanent occupant.

And then there are the bluebells. They need little introduction. I struggled picking the picture to include in the contest. They really are best in quantity. Please see the bonus pictures for a better appreciation for what they can do for a garden.

Bluebells are actually the second wave of blue in the garden. The first wave comes with squill or silla. See the bonus picture taken on April 11. That blue is short, maybe 3-4 inches. Bluebells can be more like 12-18 inches. This picture was taken on May 4. Bluebells can actually crowd out some spring plants that you want to see at that time. But that is why trowels were invented. Bluebells grow from bulbs that look like carrots. They bulb can get to be 4-5 inches long. If you dig them up when they are one inch out of the ground you can actually transplant them or pot them up.

The last picture is this daffodil. The variety is probably Modern Art. The picture was taken on May 8. Daffodils will bloom a long time. Since temperatures are cool in the spring, an individual flower can last for days. If you plant different varieties that range from early...just wait for late, you will have blooming daffodils for at least a month. Last year the first one bloomed about April 13. The last picture I have was taken on May 8.

There you have it. These are my classic spring bulbs. Let me know which picture you select this week.

Bonus pictures

This picture lets you see the nice combination of bluebells and hosta. Bluebells work with hosta as long as the hosta are the bigger ones.

Here is the transplanted white bluebells plant I wrote about several weeks ago.

Those were the bonus pictures related to this week's featured contestants.
Here is a picture of the earlier blue phase of the garden, the silla, or squill. It was taken on April 11.

I told you about mass plantings of tulips. Here are pictures from the aforementioned Chicago Botanical Gardens last May.

That's it for this week. I hope you have some sunshine. It is outside to me.

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