Sunday, December 6, 2015

Welcome to the Picture Contest -Week 1- December 6, 2015

Welcome to the Mears Garden Picture contest, this one for winter 2015-2016. 
Most of the previous contests can be found in the webcite archive on this blog. The blog and its archive goes back to July, 2007. I think the first contest was in the winter of 2005-06, when it was all by email. I missed one year, back about 3 years ago.

I will put up pictures every week for the next 3 months. You can vote if you wish on which picture you like best that week. You can find the voting poll on the right side of this page. The weekly winners will compete at the end of 12 weeks to see which picture is the overall winner.
You can also comment. I really appreciate the comments. If you would like to receive an email of an image for your desktop or anything else, let me know by email. My address is in my profile, found on the right side of the page.

In the winter in Iowa it is mostly grey and kind of cold. (Yesterday was sort of an exception.) Even that grey is late arriving each morning. Before grey is dark. It then seems like it is dark, grey and kind of cold for a long time. That is winter in Iowa. Check you watch. Winter is just about here.

This is from November 20, just several weeks ago. This snow is all melted and there is still green grass. But it is December. That is a long way from April.

So let me brighten up you winter with a few pieces of garden cheer from this last year. Mostly that is pictures. But I find that writing about Springtime makes that gray and cold seem less formidable.

Let’s get right to the first week’s competition. It will feature  a glimpse of springtime.

Here are your four contestants for this first week.


           Remember daffodils?  Remember spring? One early morning this week was sunny and rather warm. It just felt like April. It was unsettling, precisely because I knew it was a long way to go to get to April. I tried to just enjoy the moment.
            I actually noticed several daffodils poking their way out of the ground the other day. They do that in December. I remember that from 15-20 years ago. It is not just climate change.
           I find daffodils a very majestic spring flower. Partly they are just bigger than many of the other early spring flowers, such as snowdrops and crocuses.

           I really like this picture. It is the pink dogwood. Sometimes I select the pictures because the flower is pretty or the colors vibrant. Here I liked the composition of the picture. You have the flower of course. You also have the sprouting leaves, along with the branches.
            Iowa is mostly too far north for dogwood. When we drive south to southern Missouri to see my mother in the spring,  the wild dogwood appears in the woods once we get to Missouri.
But dogwood will grow in town in Iowa City. Our pink dogwood is on the south side of the house, sheltered from the cold winds of the winter. It is a great tree, for a short tree. I got it for Julia for her birthday 25 years ago. This picture was taken on May 1. The tree is now about 15 feet tall and gives us these blossoms out our kitchen window. Two years ago a pair of cardinals built and used a nest right there, out the window.


This is Tricolor, the crocus. It positively glows. Just thinking about crocuses makes me feel better. When they bloom I always want more, particularly when it is too late to plant them. This picture was taken on March 28. In reflection that was about the average time for crocuses in Iowa. I now have about 12 years of pictures stored on the computer. It can be fun to go back and compare the dates when those first crocuses emerged. Then again I do not get out much.

Iceland Poppy

This is the Iceland poppy. It was a good year for Iceland poppies.  I started them inside in January. I had good germination. By the time the weather warmed up I had more seedlings that I had places for them to go. They like sun of course. I have many trees in the yard. For that reason plants compete for the sunny places.Pictures of Iceland poppies, as you can see, are almost in a class by themselves. This particular color is pretty good. The picture was taken on May 28.

So there you have it. The first week of the picture contest. I hope you enjoy it.

Each week during the contest I also give you bonus pictures. They will mostly give you pictures related to the contestants.

There you have it. Week 1 is now done. I can now think about week 2 and go rake some more garden debris. I am always amazed at just how much there is to rake up and give the city to make into compost for next year. People sometimes ask when is the time to do that. The best answer is when you can get to it. Yesterday (Saturday) was sunny and 50 degrees. That was one of those days.

I hope you enjoy the pictures.


Larry said...

Just discovered your blog and enjoyed seeing your photos.... I also garden extensively and am located in Wisconsin.... our gardens are 44 years old and if you are interested, my blog is at

We travel through Iowa City a few times each season as our children live near Pella... wondering if you allow visitors?

Take care.... Larry Conrad

philip Mears said...

My garden is on a corner lot, on the eastside of Iowa City. I garden down to the curb in both directions. Anyone walking or driving by can see a good deal of the garden.
One of the reasons I garden is so people can enjoy.
Visitors are encouraged and I certainly do not have to be home.
Let me know when you are coming and I would be glad to show you around.

Judith said...

if the photo of the dogwood against blue sky had been in the contest, I would probably have chosen it. Were I still a language person, I could tell you what type of conditional clase that was. or is. glad to see the contest back.

Larry said...

Thanks Philip.... when we are passing through in the spring I may well e-mail you.... I still am looking through and enjoying some of your past posts! Larry