Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas colors

The only "snow" we might see here on Christmas would be
fluffy white seeds. Plenty of silver and gold though.

Goldenrod and broomsedge.

What's that flash of color amongst all of the brown stalks in the big bed?

The leaves of Virginia rose, which range from luminous gold

to shiny crimson, and everything in between.

A swamp cyrilla shining gold in the sun on Dec. 4th. The leaves turn pumpkin orange and then a festive shade of red if they stay on long enough. This year they made it to orange before the wind stripped them off.

In late November 2012

My wild aronias are very tall and slender and do not sport a full complement of
leaves in the fall. Their main appeal lies in their delicate white spring flowers

and the silver dappled bark. Then, very late in the year,

a few leaves turn a pure lacquered red. They look like splashes of paint.

Strawberries in Christmas green and red. I think some if not all are 'Sweet Charlie', although I am not sure of that as they produce a few berries all summer. We have strawberry shortcake for dessert every night in June until the berries run out. The recipe book that came with our bread machine has an excellent recipe for yellow cake that's perfect with strawberries.

A third to half of the leaves of these geraniums turn cardinal red in the fall. I got this purple-flowered geranium at Powell Gardens in Selma a few years ago and it's a star.

Blueberries look like a party on a bush in autumn. These are young black highbush blueberries that I grew from cuttings and planted next to the driveway.

All of the blueberries below are our wild blueberries except the one on the bottom left, which is the dwarf Southern highbush blueberry 'Sunshine Blue'. Its fruit is sweet and delicious right off the bush.

My Christmas cactus is not Christmas red, but it is blooming at Christmas time thanks to the cold spell in November. This is an actual Christmas cactus, not the much more common Thanksgiving cactus that is available in the trade in a rainbow of colors, including true red. Christmas cactus has smooth stem cactus rather than hooked ones and typically blooms in January, but not this year!

Happy holidays!


  1. Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas and a happy healthy New Year.

  2. The Christmas cactus is spectacular, sweetbay - huge and obviously very healthy. Your colder temperatures certainly bring out the color of your foliage. I also have a 'Sunshine Blue' blueberry but neither it nor my 'Bountiful Blue' blueberries are showing anything like the red color of yours.

    Stay warm and enjoy your holiday!

  3. Beautiful colors of your beautiful world :) Happy holidays, dear Sweetbay !!!

  4. WOW!!! What wonderful Christmas colors.

    That is one beautiful Christmas cactus too.

    Have a wonderful joy, peace & love filled Christmas ~ FlowerLady

  5. That is an impressive Christmas cactus, what a size! By the way, over here in Britain we don’t distinguish between the different types of Schlumbergera, both S. truncata and S. buckleyi are called Christmas cactus as both are flowering from late November to late January.
    The Christmas colours in your garden are lovely, thanks for sharing your photos.
    Happy Christmas!

    1. Most people call Thanksgiving cactus a Christmas cactus here too, but they typically bloom well before Christmas unless manipulated to bloom later by temperature or hours of darkness. I get the best results in amount of bloom and overall health of the cactus by just leaving them on the porch, so then in our climate Thanksgiving cactus typically blooms between in late Nov. - mid December and the Christmas cactus would typically bloom in January. Except for this year!

  6. Wonderful photos...Happiest of holidays to you, too.

  7. Thanks for distinguishing Thanksgiving from Christmas cactus. I never knew! Your flashes of red among the silver and gold colors are lovely. I have never been able to successfully grow strawberries. Lucky you; I envy your strawberry shortcake! I wish you the best and happy gardening in 2015!

  8. I will trade you some real snow for your kind SB!! It already seems like a long time since we've had any color outdoors except for white. Today our high is zero! Looking forward to getting back to freezing!! Hope you had a good Christmas. Did you do all your usual holiday baking?? Wishing you a good 2015 too ~ in the garden and life!

  9. Thank you everyone! Kathleen I did do Christmas baking this year, but the last two years it's been a bit easier because DH told that that the gingersnaps were the favorite. So I make about 800 of those, which took about 5-6 evenings. People really love them. One person took the recipe and won at the State Fair with it! It's a recipe out of Betty Crocker. :)

  10. I'm not sure if my cactus is the Thanksgiving or Christmas type but it bloomed in Nov so it's probably the former. Yours is a beauty! Mine is still quite small. How wonderful to still have some bright leaves in the garden. Mine is a boring dormant blob of blah.


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