Sunday, December 27, 2015

December 27, 2015-Week 4- Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy holidays everyone.
To make it ever so special and with a little assist from El Nino, I give you the blooming Christmas rose, right from our garden, this week. This snuck up on me. I knew that in the past we had a hellebore bloom at Thanksgiving. So in all that wonderful sunshine on Christmas Eve I looked very carefully around the base of the plants to see if there was a bud. Nope. Then 30 minutes later Julia called me over and showed me what had been right beneath my nose.
This is so much better than the New York Times Thursday edition having a picture of a blooming dandelion. I hope you have figured out that you can click on a picture and it should go right into a slide show.

We decorated the Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve. That included the tradition of decorating all the house plants on the same floor as the tree. The jade plants are now festooned with streamers and ornaments and even a few shrunken head pumpkins from the past. (Sometime I will tell you about the hanging pumpkins.)

I should tell you about one other Christmas tradition at our house. Some of you may remember it from previous years. We have a creche.  Our children decided many years ago that it should be an inclusive production. For that reason everyone gets to come. It is not just the shepherds, but also the penguins and wind up monsters, and the metal skittery things.

I remembered that I promised you a snowdrop picture. Here it is.

December 26, 2015
I think it will open if and when we have some sunshine.

But what about the contest?
In last week's voting the waterlily held on for a narrow win. It had been tied after about the first 40 votes. Here is your winner for week 3.

The full voting was as follows:
23     Waterlily
20      Pink Primrose
13      Hoya
12      Zazzle, the amaranth (which clearly had the best name)

and one write in vote for the waterlily with frog. (That was in the bonus section.)

Week 4- the last contest during 2015.

I have a really good group for your consideration this week. Vote your choice, and think about why you picked that particular picture.

Contestant #1
White Iceland Poppy
White flowers can be in a class by themselves. Some professional gardens will have sections with nothing but white flowers. This is another Iceland Poppy. You saw a red one in week 1. This picture is enough for me to go get some seeds. It really is getting closer to the time when I start the seeds inside. (Actually I went and purchased the seed on December 26.)
          I like the balance of this picture, which by the way was taken on May 15.  I find it a better picture with the flower off center. Speaking of centers, I find the  centers of flowers in general and poppies in particular to be amazing. One of these days I will get myself one of those close up lens. Remember when you had to get pictures "developed." Today you can just take many many pictures until you get the one you like.
This picture also makes me think about color combinations. The yellow with the white works so nicely. Then again the yellow with the deep red in week one was good too.

Contestant #2
Oriental Poppy
This is a closeup of an Oriental poppy. The seed pod looks like some jewel box. Of course the Oriental poppy flower group is in the genus Papaver. (See the educational section with the Asiatic Lily down a ways.) Somewhere in that genus is Papaver
somniferum, which is the opium poppy.
Poppies do that whole sequence thing in the garden. There are celandine poppies that bloom early in the spring. These orientals bloom in late May/early June. We grew a horned poppy this last year. It survived the winter and bloomed the end of May. It's foliage was the most interesting. I put a picture in the bonus section.
Back to sequencing. This picture of the center of the Oriental poppy was taken on June 4. Iceland poppies are annuals here, so they bloom sometime after you plant them. They will not survive the hot weather. California poppies, another annual, will bloom all year, if you get them started.

Contestant #3
Anemone blanda
This wonderful blue flower is an anemone. The variety is anemone blanda. This is another little spring bulb. The picture was taken on April 5. The blanda anemones also come in pink and white. Over time they clump up. Why not get a hundred and scatter them around.

Here is the the very best basic garden design. You start by planting a few perennials. They can be either the sun or shade variety depending on whether you will have sun or shade in the summer. In between the perennials you plant some bigger bulbs like daffodils. Then all around the daffodils you plant little bulbs. The little bulbs will be all done by the time the perennials are big. They will have plenty of sun before the leaves come out. They will provide you with a great show until the perennials are ready to bloom.
The anemones are one of the little bulbs.

Contestant #4
Sunshine Glory Asiatic Lily
This is an Asiatic Lily. I think it is called Sunshine Glory. The picture is from June 20. You should note the shadows of the stamen and pistils.
Education alert:
Asiatic Lilies are one of the flower species in the genus "lilium". Others in the genus include the Oriental lilies and the Trumpet lilies. There is also the plant known as the Easter Lily.
Daylilies are not in that genus.
I can never quire keep those terms straight.
This is from some authoritative source in the Internet. (It was not wikopedia.)
Kingdom Plantae

Don't ask me the details. As with so much information the more you learn the more questions there can be.
A few comment about Asiatic lilies. They are the first lilium to bloom. In my garden I think of them as blooming in June. They like full sun. They will tolerated part shade. This flower grows in parkway where it is shaded by our 100 year old elm tree. (One of the originals.)
They are pretty sturdy. What I mean by that is that they stay under 4 feet tall and really do not need staking.
They grow from bulbs.
I will write more about other lilium as the winter goes on.

There you have all the contestants for this last week in 2015.

Now for the ever popular bonus section.

First I give you more Oriental poppies.

Here are more Asiatic Lilies and anemones.

Finally I give you the rest of the Iceland poppies. The closeup of the white flower almost made the contest. Sometimes I think I could have team competition. You could have the best three pink waterlily pictures go up against the white Iceland poppy.

Here is that horned poppy I mentioned. I originally bought it in the fall of 2014 just for the foliage. After it bloomed it had lots of seeds. We shall see if there are many little ones in April.

That's just about it for this week.

As a final matter I have this new feature I will call "What we are waiting for."
The "right now" picture is right now. The "what was and what will come" picture is from June 5, 2015. That is our back garage, which sometimes goes by the name of the big potting shed. That is a barn square on the garage. It was made locally. It comes in all sizes. Barn squares are popping up around the neighborhood.
Once again I particularly recommend looking at these pictures with the slide show so you can go back and forth. Looking at pictures allows us to remember and anticipate all at the same time.
right now

What was and what will come
I hope you can have a quiet week. Winter Storm Goliath is out there somewhere.

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