Monday, December 15, 2008

December Bloom Day

This is all I have blooming right now: some pansies that I picked up at
Lowe's. This one is hunkered down among the lavender and strawberry leaves.

Even so, the winter garden has a special beauty all its own -- the bare bones of the garden are in plain sight. Often we don't have "real" winters here in central NC, so we can have blooms all year with the right plants, and each of those flowers are to be treasured.

Purple muhly looks good for months after flowering.
The dried seedheads look like floss and glisten in the winter sunlight.

December is the one month that my garden doesn't often have any blooms, except for pansies. I am trying to remedy that -- I have a couple of Wintersweets that I grew from seed, and I would like to get Hamamelis vernalis (especially 'Christmas Cheer') and Hamamelis virginiana. Elizabeth Lawrence was a great pioneer of looking at the garden all year, and I love to look at her research and experiences with winter gardening.

I have set out Narcissus tazetta, in the hopes that they would bloom, but they never have -- they are one of the types that increases into a hundred small bulbs that won't size up to flower.

The Lonicera fragrantissima, now approaching the size of a small house, will sometimes bloom in December, although it often waits until January.

No other flowers right now, but we still do have fall color. Almost overnight, a number of plants that had some color early on are now brilliant spots in the landscape.

The leaves of rugosa 'Purple Pavement' are a lovely shade of red.

Rosa virginiana

Rosa rugosa alba

The swamp cyrillas starting turning yellow and orange weeks ago,
and are now finishing a vivid shade of red similar to blackgum.

Oakleaf Hydrangea "Dayspring' starts out very dark
and lightens over time, finishing a lacquered crimson.

Thanks to May Dream Gardens for hosting Bloom Days.


  1. Hiya Sweetbay,

    Wonder what your Virginia Rose flower looks like. What is its Latin name?

    It will all be so beautiful in a few months' time. When does Spring start for you in NC?

    Best wishes,

  2. What lovely shades your roses are showing, nearly as good as flowers. I love the little pansy hiding out among the lavender too. Bayse's Purple has been on my want list for years, but has always been sold out when I get around to trying to order it. I may have to try harder after seeing yours!
    Frances at Fairegarden

  3. Hi Sweetbay! Elizabeth Lawrence is one of my favorite garden writers...I wonder what she would think of our garden blogging world!

    You will love the witch hazels...they are such a treat..I have both virginiana and vernalis. The virginiana bloomed in October and I am eagerly waiting to see when vernalis will bloom. Have a good time on Bloom Day!

    December is a slow gardening month! But your garden looks charming!


  4. Pansies are my stalwarts in the garden at this time of the year too. But the colorful foliage can extend the season of interest right through spring. :)

  5. Hi Sweetbay, The pansy is beautiful to look at on a dull, dark day. I thought that was good, but then, it was a treat to view all of the red and burgundy shades you included as well!! Jan

  6. The foliage on the Bayse's purple is lovely. I hadn't heard of it before.

  7. I'd be happy with a single pansy bloom! Your Rose foliage is lovely and so colorful. It must be quite a treat to look out on that.

  8. Hi joco, the flowers of Viriginia rose (Rosa virginia) look much like those of Carolina rose, but I ordered this rose last fall when I read that it has excellent fall color, even better than that of R. carolina.

    The answer to when does spring start is: it depends. :) The natives usually start in March, so I guess that's the best answer. Occasionally we have very mild winters that are like spring. Today it's 70 degree F here. Tomorrow it may be 40, but that's winter in the Southeast -- very changeable!

  9. Hi Frances and Marnie,
    I messed up, what I first listed as Bayse's Purple is actually Purple Pavement. They're close to each other in the garden and they both have purple in the name, that will be my excuse. :) Bayse's Purple has fall color too; its leaves are burgundy now as opposed to the red of Purple Pavement.

    I've only had Bayse's Purple one season but I really like it; the color of the flowers is a rich velvety red-purple. I only got Purple Pavement this fall, after being sold on harryshoe's pictures on GardenWeb. I've had Foxi Pavement for about 4 years and it's been a wonderful rose.

  10. Hi Gail and thank you!

    I think Elizabeth Lawrence would definitely have blogged! lol Gardening and writing were such passions with her and she corresponded so much. I think she still would have had her core group of friends that she saw all of the time, and been in touch with people from all over the world.

  11. Hi perennialgardener, Thanks for 2 Day, and Mr. McGregor's Daughter. It is nice to have this very late fall color, especially since our fall trees weren't especially colorful this year. Even nicer since at first these plants didn't even look as though they were going to color much this fall and then all of a sudden in the middle of Dec. they did! The Swamp Cyrilla is almost always colorful, but the leaves usually turn orange and then fall; we've lived here about 10 years and I don't remember them ever being this red.

  12. You do have gorgeous colors in your gardens! My pansies are finished, now that it's down to single digits here in Nebraska.

  13. Pansy is pretty, you got to appreciate the fall color of the leaves though!

  14. Being in North Carolina, you must take great inspiration from Elizabeth Lawrence, one of my favorite garden writers. Though I can't grow all she grew, I enjoy her writings immensely.

    Thanks for sharing with us about your blooms and gardens here in December.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  15. Hi Sue! Single digits?! -- Brrrr. We lived in Pennsylvania for 3 years, and although that was zone 6b, it was about as cold as I could stand, and I was happy to move back to NC.

    Hi Darla, yes, it is nice to have some fall color this late in the year.

    Carol, when Elizabeth Lawrence wrote A Southern Garden she lived in Raleigh, which is only 30 miles from us. So not only do I love her writing (she's one of the half dozen garden writers that I read over and over again), I can benefit directly from her experience, which is doubly nice.

  16. The autumn colours of the rose shrubs are great - and how lucky you are to have pansies almost all year around! They are so pretty!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...