Sunday, February 28, 2016

Week 1 of the playoffs- February 28, 2016

Welcome to Week 1 of the Mears garden picture contest playoffs. 
Monday morning update on voting: After 44 votes there is a 3 way tie for the top.
Tuesday morning update on voting: After 64 votes the top 3 are 19-19-18. The outcome is very much in doubt.

        With our winner last week 13 pictures have advanced to this next round. There will be three weeks of friendly competition picking our final three contestants.  At that time you will pick the picture of the year.
         Kind of exciting, but it is nothing compared to the weather this weekend. It is going to top 50 degrees for 3 days in a row, with lots of sunshine. Yesterday (Saturday) it got into the 60's. The aconite as well as the snowdrops are blooming. One can find something new coming up almost everyday. One of the first plants to emerge in the spring is the fall crocus. Sometimes its a mixed up world.
         We smashed through the 11 hours of sunshine mark this last week. There is so much light in the morning that I went out and did some yard work before work several days this week. Sometimes that is called playing outside.

At the same time, this is the time of the year when there is just so much to do. At the start of the weekend the yard is maybe half-way raked. I need to get those leaves off the ground to make way for all the spring bulbs that want to come up now. I have little lupine seedlings that need bigger pots. I have Iceland poppy seedlings that need dividing. I have caladium to order. And I must not forget the houseplants. Sometimes that is hard. They have been inside now for over 4 months. Some of them are just limping along, waiting for another month or so to go outside for fresh air and a drenching rain. Some of them are breeding that awful inside condition known as fungus gnats.

Did I mention that I have a day job? It is also an incredibly busy time of year at work. I have another Iowa Supreme Court argument in a week. I have several clients I can get out of prison entirely, with effort. There is nothing like that responsibility.

So I come back to flowers and pictures of flowers. This helps with the cold and the dark and the responsibilities. I refuse to see this blog as one more thing on the to do-list, which has gone onto a second page.

In last week's contest  the winner was the hibiscus. This gives us the last picture to advance to the next round. The bracket is complete.

The full voting was:
Hibiscus  20
Tall Iris   14
Daylily  13
Pizzazz  10

I liked the fact that each picture received significant support.

So here is this week's contest.

You have seen these pictures before. In fact you voted them into this round.

#1 The single tulip from week 6

Tulips: they are coming. Actually I have not seen any emerge yet. My mother, who lives in Springfield. Missouri, tells me that her tulips are up 3-4 inches at this point. That is 350 miles south. I will give you a bonus treat this week with other pictures of tulips.

 #2   Bluebells with hosta from week 10

As I wander around the still quiet brown garden, I think about which flower I look forward to seeing the most in the spring. The color blue is right up there. In the spring there are two waves of blue that pass through the garden. The first will be the little blue flowers called squill or scilla. We should have them within a few weeks. Actually we may have the vary early arrivals by Monday if the forecast is true. After that there will be bluebells. Oh the glorious bluebells.
         I will make the effort to pot up 50-75 little pots with bluebells this year. I will try to have a plant sale maybe about the first of April. If you want to reserve some at $2/pot, get your orders in soon. What did I say earlier about my to-do list? I am up this morning at 4:15 which gives me time to get this blog done. I can last with that schedule until some time after dinner. Then I crash. Be cheerful, cheerful, cheerful. That is sometimes that I must sometimes remind myself. I just ordered those caladium. Big red ones. Big white ones. That helps. So does playing in the garden.

#3 Louisiana Iris from week 5
What a great picture. The sunshine is so warm. The color is vivid in the spotlight.The iris are coming. That is all that needs to be said. The first ones will be the little reticulata.

                                                   #4 Pink Waterlily from week 3
Waterlilies. Beauty. Raccoons. Why do I have that train of thought? Maybe the deer tracks in the backyard this last week have something to do with it. They were in the front yard too.
I will not build a fence. A garden must be open. But I do remember how fragile everything is. Balance.
Enjoy the color.

There you have it. Vote for which picture to advance to the final finals in three weeks.

Bonus Section

How about tulips over the years?

Here is an odd item of good news: apparently the Monarch butterflies had a great winter in Mexico and have started coming north. There will be many more of them this year.

You never know what will happen. As the temperature headed for 60 degrees, we went to the grocery store early. As we left the house, I saw our tree trimming guy down the street. He was...trimming trees. I had wanted to get a load of wood chips. I spread them on all my garden paths. I asked him if he wanted to dump the chips he had in his truck in my back driveway.
Guess what?

That is how something gets off the to-do list (obtain wood chips) and something which will take more time gets on the list(spread wood chips).
The day was gorgeous. The aconite bloomed. Snowdrops were all over the place. We went for a walk past the house that always has the very first crocuses. The crocuses were blooming.

Here are the signs of spring from our garden. The first bees were out today too. Some bee must have ventured out and found a flower. That bee reported back that it was time to go to work. Other bees followed.

That's it from your friendly overworked gardener. Have a good week. Find your spring flowers. They should be nearby. (Except for those of you in Minnesota and points north, and you have my sympathy.)

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