Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pansies and Primroses in Primetime

After all the rain this week, it looked like this weekend was going to be our only chance to get out and do some work in the gardens, and once again, reality had to butt its in head again, so we didn't get anything accomplished today. Granted, it was a bit on the chilly side (low 50's for highs), but it was sunny and at least helped out to reduce the mud in the beds so we can work a bit tomorrow outside, along with our new little weeding helper ... so wish us luck!

No, the big. expensive distraction this Saturday involved a refrigerator that just decided to give up the ghost late last night! Right around midnight (just after our weekly James Bond fix on TCM), I went to get a few ice cubes out of the freezer and discovered to my horror that they were melting ... yep, our aged (mmm ... Harvest Gold!) refrigerator that we inherited from my sister several years ago had finally definitely gone kaput suddenly. Though the timing was anything but convenient, we really couldn't complain because it had served my sister quite well for at least 30 years before we got it, so we really should have expected it sooner ... but still. Luckily we have our old fridge (a really ancient one we bought used when we still rented) downstairs for storing beer and soda and such, so we got most of the lower compartment items down there for safekeeping and stuck a big bag of ice in the freezer (which has been keeping things frozen so far) to hold us over until Sunday when we can defrost downstairs and get the frozen meat and such down there until we get the new one.

So, this afternoon it was off to Sears (who happily was having a big appliance sale, just in time) to see what we could get to replace it without breaking the family bank. We ended up deciding on a slightly smaller (18.2 cu ft) black model that should fit better in the space we have for it (the old one really cramped our already tiny kitchen) even though Fernymoss is going to have to rip some of the overhead cupboard out to fit that extra inch in height. Anyway, we plunked down our money and arranged for it to be delivered on Monday, and best of all, they will haul the old one away to the great fridge graveyard in the sky (or wherever it is). Actually, this was a bit of a blessing in disguise ... the old one was impossible to keep clean due to its age, and the door didn't quite close right, so we know it was using a lot of power. The new one is an Energy Star rated one and should eventually pay for itself in saved utility bills ... and it has no drip glass shelves, so it should be much easier to keep clean as well.

So, despite my worries about the expense, it turned out pretty well after all and soon we'll have a nice, clean and quiet refrigerator to spruce up the kitchen a bit ... it just seems that the past couple of years we've been replacing big things around the house ... first the furnace (that was big!), then the washer and dryer in January and now the refrigerator. Just in case, today I glanced at stove prices while we were at Sears, figuring that will be the next thing to go or (goddess forbid!) the air conditioning. We know it's all part of being a homeowner (we've already had to replace the water heater too), but when you're working on a limited budget to begin with, it does get a little scary when these things happen! At least, the current crisis is solved and by Monday night, we'll be admiring and enjoying our new fridge ... one more thing for Hanna to want to investigate thoroughly ... she already knows full well what goes in there and when the door is opened she's always ready to check out what we've got inside!

Now on to the main attraction, more pretty blooms from out front ... with all the rain this week we haven't been getting any pictures, so these are from May 8, and though these are blooming even more, these should give you a good idea of some of the color going on currently as the perennials continue to leap out of the ground with all this rain....

As I've mentioned in previous posts, these Primrose polyanthus 'Elite Hybrids' have been thriving the past few years and currently going great guns, and with any luck, they'll likely last through mid June at least before they take a rest and maybe bloom again in fall. They don't do that often, but have been known to put on a quick second blush of bloom when it starts cooling down in the early fall before going dormant for the winter. I actually really like this shade of pink (horrors!) and their detailed yellow centers and think they're quite lovely. But it's hard for me to pooh pooh any Primrose flowers, no matter what color ... they're welcome in this growing stand of plants that I'm more than willing to pamper during the drier months of the summer, which I think has been the secret to their success so far.

Definitely take a click through (or open in new tab) at this close up, and you can see just how distinctive these centers are to this particular variety ... to my mind, Primroses are all about those luscious yellow centers and all the rest of the color is just the icing. Of course I also find the foliage really attractive too, but the flowers are surely the main attraction for most people, and for those blooms that have an actual fragrance (mostly the pure yellow ones), it's heavenly as well ... a bit like a lighter rose fragrance, but all its own. You'll just have to get down close sometime to experience it for yourself if you get the chance....

It's no secret that reds are one of my favorite shades of flowers, and this variety really delivers on all levels! Just look at that deep, rich red with its delicate white edging around the petals ... a designer could hardly come up with a more elegant accent to this bloom. And again, the yellow centers provide a lot of contrast and interest to the overall blooms ... and if you look closer, you can see the delectable whites in the background ... I'm going to try to get some good shots of the yellows and whites this weekend, as they have been a bit behind the others so far.

Here's a close up shot of the reds so you can take an even closer look at just how intricate each flower is ... there's a more almost fuschia colored one blooming behind it that I'll also try to get soon, so stay tuned....

Since the weather has been cooperatively cool lately, the pansies are continuing to thrive and we're happy they're still growing and happy. Here's another variety we planted several weeks ago, and after a brief pause, they are doing quite well now that most of the bulbs have left or are departing the scene right now....

Another sun soaked shot showing off its best colors on a sunny day ... as most of you know, it's hard for me to resist deep yellow flowers and when they're mixed with deep reds, I'm hooked. These previous two shots were my picks when we bought these (along with some of the "Black" ones that are taking a break right now), so I had to include them as well.

So, once we get some garden work done today, I hope we can get some pictures as we work to keep up with what's going on out in the garden ... it's getting hard to keep up with everything popping and growing up so quickly right now ... it's been a great spring so far and let's hope it continues without any flooding this June! Just as an aside, the Dragon Arum now has not five, but eight offshoots up right now and it's shooting right out of the ground, so we're hoping that Mr. Stinky has company this year (even if we may have to keep the dining room windows closed for a couple of days)! You'll definitely know when it happens....

Update on previous poll: I've had this poll up a couple of weeks and it seems to have run its course, but I thought I'd report on the rather interesting results. Top scorers were The Godfather (6) and All of Me, (6) which kind of surprised me. Not that I thought those were obscure, but that a Lily Tomlin-Steve Martin film would tie Coppola's masterpiece, so those results pleased me. Even more surprising was Dinner at Eight coming in at 5 votes ... I was glad that others appreciate this classic does seem to have an audience out there, even if only among Urban Oasis readers. The real surprise to me was that Iron Man, with all its positive reviews and commercial success only scored 4 ... after all, I was recommended this by other garden bloggers! (You know who you are, Mr. McGregor's Daughter and Annie in Austin !) Despite what you may think of Robert Downey, Jr., it's a great film and lots of fun and comes up 4 barks up from Hanna and us! I was gratified that 3 people chose Gods and Monsters, one of the finest semi-biographical films I've seen in a long time about Frankenstein director James Whale, a fascinating character in his own right. With stellar performances from Sir Ian McKellan, Brendan Fraser and Vanessa Redgrave, this is an engaging and touching drama that deserved to be seener by a much wider audience when it came out ... it's stil not too late, thanks to the miracle of DVDs! And finally, I really didn't think anyone would choose Persepolis ... because it didn't get wide exposure, but whoever chose it, I'd like to hear what you thought about it, because we both thought it was a remarkable film to be coming out of Iran these days. No surprise that no one chose That Obscure Object of Desire, since Luis
Buñuel is one of my particular pleasures (I've been a student of surrealism for years) and is his beautiful swan song as far as I'm concerned ... even after all these years, I don't have Fernymoss converted to Buñuel's work, but I keep trying ... I'm just too much of the literary critic and film historian at heart to completely win him over. But he does enjoy these when he sees them, problem is, he can't remember them. And that's probably something that would make Buñuel proud, because he always wanted his audience to rediscover his works whenever they saw them, and he worked hard at that. Bless you, Buñuel, wherever you are ... I still revere your memory, as do many others of film scholars over the years. You are missed!

By the way, there's a new poll up about summer blockbusters, so don't forget to vote! I've already weighed in, so you can see how I voted....


Mildred said...

I love your primroses. They look quite hand painted which is astonishing.the darker red ones look like cutouts with the white borders - no wonder you love them.

Gail said...

Dear IVG, Good morning! The best ever primrose photos...really. They are often muddied, these look ao lovely. I can see why folks like them~~they perk up a spot.

It's 54 degrees here...another cloudy day; but the pansies in my garden are still blooming, too.

We had to replace our washer and dryer recently...appliance shopping is quite the adventure! A totally clean refrigerator sounds good!

Have a great day say hi to Fernymoss and please give Hannah a nice pet!



Good Morning!! Lovely, lovely primrose and pansy photos. I'm glad you posted the dark red ones. I was looking at the enlargements of the "PINK" ones and was thinking the pistil looked odd being only one solid circular post. Then in the red ones, I could see that opens up to show separate stamens. (Not sure of the correct terms.)

My favs would be the dark red. Incredible!!

Pansies and always lovely....they were my mother's favorite flower.

But I have to wonder how I will make it through to the next post when Hannah will reappear. She WILL reappear won't she? Please?

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Mildred,
Thanks for visiting, and stop by again any time! If you use the labels on this post, you can read my past posts on Primroses ... I have quite the long, involved love affair going back with them since I first discovered them in France (in the wild) back in 1978. Since then, I've made it a goal to have them happily growing in my garden.

Thanks for the cross reference too!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail,
Thanks so much for the kind comments on the photos ... these little flowers just seem so photogenic for us for some reason. Too bad they probably couldn't grow for you to join all the lovely other stuff you have going!

It was another chilly and damp day here too ... we mostly spent it cleaning up after the old fridge and getting ready for the new one. Took much longer than we expected, since Fernymoss had to tear out an upper cupboard to make it fit! All is ready now, so hopefully it will go quick when they show up tomorrow afternoon!

Everyone has been greeted and petted, according to your instructions! :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Coneflower,
Glad you liked these little guys ... they came from your neck of the woods, remember? I'm really partial to the reds too, but I love them all, as long as they grow and bloom!

You won't have to wait long for Hanna photos ... we improvised a few just for you a few minutes ago. Just a preview of more to come (along with an explanation)!

Cheers ...

Shanster said...

Such beautiful primroses!! Thanks for the recomendation of High Country Gardens... it will come in handy for sure!

I had a little instant gratification this weekend with a whiskey barrel insert and some water hyacinths... at least there is SOMETHING green that isn't a weed at my house! ;)

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