Sunday, January 25, 2015

January 25, 2015-Week 6

Welcome to Week 6 of the Mears Garden Picture Show/contest
What a couple of days for January. Yesterday, Saturday, was sunny with temperatures getting to 51 degrees here in Iowa City. Friday I am told, was about as nice. I was inside working.
But yesterday Julia and I went down and walked around the lake at Terry Trueblood Park, a new park south of Iowa City at an old quarry. The trip around the lake was just a 2.6 mile loop. But on a January sunny afternoon, with no wind at all, it was fantastic. There were runners, bikers, and others, just like Julia and myself, the slow walkers. There even were some people ice fishing, walking right out on the lake. No thank you.

Both before and after our trip to the park I continued with the garden cleanup. There certainly are things coming up.
All sorts of bulbs are making their appearance. Snowdrops will be here any day now. Sure it early. Sure it will still be cold. But we should just enjoy those moments and remember we can be out of the house and getting some low in the sky sun.

It is suppose to snow a little today. OK.

Nevertheless this is beginning to look a little like 2013, when we had a very early spring.In fact that year the entire garden year was about a month early.

In the picture contest this past week the winner you picked was the tricolor crocus. It was a good picture. I can't wait for it to bloom.

The voting totals were
Crocus 25
Tulip 13
Bluebell 12
Daffodil 9

This week I thought I would feature wonderful centers of flowers

Here are your contestants this week.

This first picture is the Iceland Poppy. What a great flower. What color. Well, what is this color? Is it red or is it orange? And the center of almost any poppy is so fantastic. Actually I remember the anemones from week 3. They were pretty good too. I guess the centers of many flowers can be special.
The picture was taken on May 31.

There are so many different poppies. It seems like they are mostly named after places or parts of the world. There are Oriental poppies and California poppies. There is the blue Himalayan poppy. Here is a link to other poppy pictures on the Internet.
Poppy link
Different poppies of course have different characteristics. This I suppose is not always true for a type of flower. Different columbines seem all to be tender perennials. California poppies are annuals. Oriental poppies are perennials. Iceland poppies are listed as tender perennials. I don't believe it. I have to replant them every year. Fortunately I can grow them from seed.
I have just discovered a new poppy called a horned poppy. I obtained it last fall from a local garden center. I got it just for its foliage. What is amazing is that the foliage has held up so far all through the winter. The ornamental kale did not do that. The picture is in the bonus section.

Here is a columbine, or aquilegia. Who calls it aquilegia? Who can easily pronounce aquilegia? Even those people who don't remember many plant names can remember columbine. They don't remember aquilegia.

This variety in this picture is sold under the descriptive name double red and white. It is in the winky series. I mostly don't make this stuff up. Reading about the winky series, a great thing to do at 4:30 in the a.m., you learn that  'Winky Red-White’ and ‘Winky Rose-Rose’ were awarded the Fleuroselect Quality Medal and ‘Winky Double Red-White’ was awarded the Fleuroselect Novelty Medal.
The picture was taken on May 15.

This is the purple pasque flower. It is a wildflower found in the west. We can see it when we visit the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. It is the state flower of...South Dakota.
I bought a bunch of these plants when they were on sale at the Hy Vee when we had that really hot summer in I think 2013. No one was that interested in gardening in July that year. I am hoping that they will get to be a nice size clump.
The flower also comes in red and white varieties.

I have grown this plant for quite some time and never appreciated (noticed) the little bit of purple in the center.  I have taken the unusual step of presenting this flower in two pictures. What I really want to feature is that wonderful center with the purple thing in the middle.

This picture is a little out of focus but I think you can see what I noticed.

Finally here is the old fashioned purple cone flower. I love the patterns made by the center of the flower.

Coneflowers have been one of the most popular and diverse flowers in the last decade. This old wildflower that is just purple (sort of) is now joined by so many colors and varieties. The is even one called Tomato Soup. (It is red.) I think in most cases there are more coneflower pages in the catalogs that any other flower.

There you have this weeks featured pictures. Vote for the picture you like the most.

Bonus picture section 

Here are other pictures of the pasque flower.

The foliage is quite wild and rather early. This picture below was taken April 13.

Here is a picture of the horned poppy when I got it last fall. This picture was taken on September 8. I bought it just for its foliage. I look forward to seeing the flower.
By the way I am using the little colored straws as plant markers. They are a color upgrade over the alternatives.

Here is the same plant this weekend, after the snow had mostly melted in the garden. The foliage is certainly holding up through the cold temperatures.

Now let me show you more columbine. They bloomed this last year during the second half of May.That is sort of in between time in the garden. The spring bulbs are mostly done. The riot of color of all the lilies has not yet started.

This is probably another winky plant.

These are different flowers, but probably cousins. I find the plants not that reliably perennial. But they seed themselves, inevitably changing. Some are prettier than others.

I put this group of 3 pictures together, including the contestant itself. I thought this group could tell you something about photographs.

Sometimes you like the picture of just the subject flower.

 Sometimes you can get the entire life cycle captured in a single picture. Here you can seen the bud, the bud opening and the flower itself, all in one picture.

Then again sometimes you like the whole family.

You can get wonderful silhouettes.

I cannot close a discussion of columbine with reference to the fact that columbine is the state flower of Colorado.

We like Colorado for one reason because it is so different from Iowa.

We try to go there each summer. We go to the Estes Park area. In Colorado you hike around and can go from 5000 feet in elevation at Denver to 10000 feet or higher in parts of Rocky Mountain National Park. Going up or down in elevation is it like going back and forth in time, as to flowers. The higher you go the earlier in the plant year you get. It seems like somewhere in Colorado the columbine is always blooming.

Before I forget it I want to show everyone this nice orchid that bloomed for me for the first time.
Here are pictures. You saw some of the earlier pictures a few weeks ago. It is called Angreacum Sesquipidale.

This was December 20

You can see the tail of the flower unwind and grow long. This was January 1.

 The flower opened greenish. This was January 9.

And then turned yellow. This was January 14. It still looks just like that on January 22.

The flower wilted on Friday January 23.

Have a safe and warm week.

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