Sunday, January 17, 2016

January 17, 2016-Week 7- how about a little yellow

As I give you this blog post this morning I glance at the temperature. It is 6 degrees on the wrong side of zero. This time we are having several days of very cold temperatures. This happens. We live in Iowa. We put on an extra layer, pull up the hood on the winter coat, wear the heavy mittens and laugh at the cold. Sometimes we even remember, and comment on, when it was even worse.
But it was close to 50 degrees and sunny on Thursday, and it is supposed to get on the better side of freezing in a week.

We do not laugh at the fact it is political caucus time in Iowa. The robo calls grow more frequent. We mute the ads on TV. We chuckle at the fact that TV stations sell back-to-back political ads, often to competing candidates. If you are a candidate, do you pay less if your ad has just been shown right before the ad attacking you?

But that will end. The cold will end. Right now we need flowers and growing things more than ever. Let me get right to the picture contest.
The winner last week was the solitary tulip. The primrose made a game of it, but finished second by some distance.

The full vote was
Tulip 30  or  44%
Primrose 22   or 32%
Daylily called Scarlet Pansy  8
Clivia 7

I talked last week about flowers that had names of other flowers. It turned out that the tulip in the winning picture was from a category of tulips called "Lily flowered".

Here is this week's contest.
I feature the color yellow. I also included a hosta picture. A picture of leaves will always be somewhat of a disadvantage, when compared with flowers. Let's see what you think.

Contestant #1- Hosta everywhere
Hosta Liberty closeup
Hosta may be my favorite plant at the moment. That could change by the time I start describing another picture later in this post. I do find my "favorite" label changes as the season goes along.
Hosta plants last all of the garden year. They are really nice in the spring. They have no blemishes in the spring. This picture was from May 7. Alas some times later there are the dreaded slugs. What a great name. You face just curls up into a sneer when you say the word. Trying saying the word "slug" with a smile on your face.
Hosta plants can have such wonderful patterns within the leaf. The plants come in such varieties. There are the enormous ones. There are the minis. This picture shows you the one hosta that you should have if you have only one. It is Hosta Liberty. It has only been around since 2000. It has been on my top ten hosta lists for about the last 4 years.
Here is the link to the 2014 blog post of my top ten hosta.
Please note that you may need to scroll down to get to the list with pictures.

                                                                Contestant #2 is the white/yellow lupine.
I fell in love with lupine in Greeley, Colorado about 1991.  There are more attractive places. There was some conference there. At the hotel there was a full bed of hybridized colorful lupines. There were reds and blues and yellows and whites. I have grown them ever since then.
They are tender perennials. That means they may come back the next year, depending on the weather. I have found the right location for them. It is a sunny spot, close to the house, where they get 2/3 day sun. They reseed themselves. There is always several generations growing at any one time. I will grow them from seed to add to the ones that are there on their own.  I get all excited in the spring when I find the newly sprouted seedlings.
But as with so many sunny areas in my yard, they have to share. They share with the lilies and the iris and the daylilies and the coneflowers and the castor beans and the elephant ears. Have I left anyone out? Maybe there are annuals that get stuck in there where any empty space emerges.
Lupines prefer the cooler weather. As such they bloom while it is still cool. This picture was taken on May 31.

Here is contestant #3- the dwarf bearded iris, with accompaniment.
Dwarf Iris with bluebells
What a wonderful picture.
I have had pictures in the contest that have exhibited the photographic feature "background". I have pictures that have featured "groups". Here you have "combinations." Sometimes I have thought that there could just be a grouping all by itself for pictures "with bluebells."
The colors just work for this picture.
Little bearded iris are wonderful. Look at the bonus pictures I have posted. I absolutely prefer the dwarfs to the tall ones because you do not ever have to stake a flower that is 6 inches off the ground.
These iris are pretty early in the Spring. This picture was taken on April 29.

                                                                    Contestant #4 is lilium Luminaries
There are Oriental lilies.
There are Trumpet lilies.
This is a cross between the two.
It is an Orienpet. Really. You can look it up.
One feature of the Oriental lilies is their fragrance. The Orienpets retained that feature. On an early July morning the scent is really something. This picture was taken on July 2.
They also are tall. This one gets almost to 5 feet.

There you have it. Vote early. Vote often. Call you friends.

Bonus Picture time
I mentioned that I have had time to go back and look at iris. Here are the little bearded ones from my garden this spring. They can be a great collection. In catalogues they fall two groups. There are the Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris and the Miniature Dwarf Bearded Iris. I don't make this stuff up.
Find yourself a nice little sunny slope and order yourself a few dozen. You will have to go to a mail order place. It will be worth it.

For your hosta enjoyment I give you my own leaf show. These are all from my garden in 2015. Sometimes hosta clubs do this. They pick one leaf from a plant and display that for judging. Kind of weird. But it is not like there are flowers to display.

The leaf at the top is Gunther's Prize. It was named after a person named Gunther. The others I believe are from left to right and top to bottom
Valley Glacier,  Beckoning, Winter Snow, Lady Isobel Barnett, and a somewhat bleached Liberty.
The story I heard about Gunther's Prize was that Gunther bought the plant at a Hosta convention auction and as part of the price got to name it.
It is a really neat plant but has yet to reach its potential in my garden.
I saw the leaf from Gunther's Prize at a leaf show in Chicago 3-4 years ago and had to try to find the plant. The only place it was for sale was in Dubuque Iowa, which is also home to the Dubuque Arboretum. That should be on your list of places to go if you are in the Midwest. They have lots of hosta and many other things.

I do want to show you some more lupines. I really like how water beads up on the lupine leaves.
Florists do not include lupines in arrangements because the flower does not all bloom at the same time.

I went back in time and found this one picture of the ideal lupine. The picture is from May 2005. We have a big framed copy in our living room. It is in a folder marked all time favorites. (I should share some of those in the future. I worry some that they detract from the contestants. This is called over-thinking. ) This picture also shows  how a digital image, from a not very fancy camera, holds up over time. I have never been able to grow another clump like this. I cannot even tell you how many plants this was.

Some of you might have been looking for more combinations with bluebells. Those pictures will come later. I promise.

I think I am going to stop now. I hope you enjoy the show. I do appreciate it when people comment or email be with their thoughts.

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