December 2010 Bloom Day

All I can say is thank goodness dear Carol of May Dreams allows indoor plants to be featured on Bloom Day, the fifteenth of each month that is set aside to feature what is blooming in our gardens the whole year around. Normally the pickings are better in southeast Tennessee than this December.

Paphiopedilum ‘Starr Wars’ ( Full name Paphiopedilum (Starr Warr x Maudiae) ‘Pisgah’ x Paph. Dark Spell ‘Wolf Lake’ )

But 2010 has seen a one-two punch combination from the Snow Queen and Old Man Winter, before it even is actually winter on the calender. Now, the pickings are slim and none.

It is just sad when the best you’ve got to show is a dandelion, a drippy daisy and a crinkled up Gaillardia.

That is why we take the camera for bloom day, and ourselves every day for the plant fix, into the sunny but cool sunroom/greenhouse.

When the renovations began on the main house in 2000, my drawings included a dedicated space at the southeast corner that would have two skylights, a sink with hot and cold running water and a tiled floor with a drain. As many windows as could be fit in, two on each outside wall and one on the wall that creates the vestibule by the back door give enough light in winter when the silver maple nearby is naked of the shade giving leaves allowing maximum candlepower. It is enough power to energize the orchids and other tenders brought inside the space for the winter into blooming on cue, during those same cold months. The Bulbine frutescens at the bottom left and the Salvia elegans ‘Golden Delicious’ on the right, are tender perennials that have been saved to populate the summer garden in 2011 through cuttings and divisions. The Bloom Day flowers are gravy.

Thanks goodness.
Cattleya ‘Pumpkin’ [Full name Cattleya Slc. (Pumpkin Festival ‘Fong Yuen’ x Naomi Kerps ‘Fireball’)]

Although the pink muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris is still faire to middlin’.


This entry was posted in Garden Bloggers Bloom Days. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to December 2010 Bloom Day

  1. Frances, your sunroom plan was inspired! It must provide a lovely place to linger in winter. Your Muhly shines, I love the contrast between its soft form and the regimented row of conifers behind. Simple but so effective.

    Hi Janet, thanks! The sunroom is a sanity saver in winter, but usually isn’t called into service for that until January and February when no gardening can be done outside. Right now, outside is frozen solid, so not the usual here at all. The Muhly still is lovely, slightly pink even in the right lighting. Thank goodness I can see it from my kitchen window over the sink. 🙂

  2. Bernieh says:

    Fabulous sunroom … great idea! The Cattleya is gorgeous and so is the Salvia, but full marks for that spectacular drift of Muhlenbergia! It makes a marvellous display.

    Hi Bernie, thanks so much. The Muhly is hanging in there this year, despite the horribly cold and wintry precipitation so early for us. It does get better each year, now that I am not dividing it so ruthlessly. 🙂

  3. Carol says:

    I envy you your sunroom. Mine does not have a south facing window, but does have hot and cold running water. No floor drain, though. And no lady slipper orchid! Thanks for joining in once again for bloom day!

    Hi Carol, thanks. You could grow the paphs and some others, they like the eastern exposure since they grow in nature in the leaf litter under large trees. They are not epiphytes like the Cattleyas. I believe you need a Paph pronto! 🙂

  4. Les says:

    The fact that Old Man Winter and the Snow Queen are dancing in many Bloom Day Gardens does not make it any easier to watch.

    Hi Les, I agree. It is difficult to put a good spin on anything about the weather. It makes those orchids and other inside things that much more precious when we are experiencing this sort of winter, so soon too!

  5. Elaine says:

    Your sunroom is such a burst of color! That pink muhly grass is gorgeous and that first orchid bloom – magnificent!

    Hi Elaine, thanks so much. Winter is when the sunroom earns its keep around here, and the orchids. The Muhly is surprising in how good it still looks. 🙂

  6. Happy Bloom Day F. So nice to have the dedicated space in your home. I love the photos from that room. H.

    Thanks Helen. That room is a blessing, light and flower filled in winter. Sometimes I kvetch about the orchids, dragging them inside in September, but this is payoff. Well worth the effort. 🙂

  7. Great idea for the sunroom. Gardeners must have a space to play and plan when old man winter comes a knocking.

    That first image is a real stunner in the sunroom. My office is a sunroom, and I am so crowded out by tender plants now and will be until spring weather hits in the upper 50’s. I have asked my plumber husband for a sink in there for fifteen years and I am still sinkless. Your spot is wonderful.

    Hi Donna, thanks so much. I am happy to hear that you too have a sunroom, but have always heard that the plumber’s wife has to wait forever for the pipes to be fixed, or sink installed!!! You need to cultivate that gentle but ceaseless nagging. I have it down to a high art form! HA 🙂

  8. Eileen says:

    Frances, the sunroom is great. I could use one of these right now. The winter is a hard time for gardeners when their garden goes to sleep. It is fun to plan, but not as much fun as planting!


    Hi Eileen, thanks. The sunroom is great, even though we could have used the space for a larger living area in our small house. It is only 8×12, but all that light makes it a palace in winter. 🙂

  9. gail says:

    Dear Frances~ A one-two punch is the perfect description of our winter and what an end to this year! I am pretty sure there aren’t even dandy-dandelions in my garden! Love your garden room and the delightful orchids we get to see on cold winter days! xxoogail

    Dear Gail, thanks. What a winter we are having, and to think it is not yet ever really winter, well, it is scary. The dandelion was a total surprise, blooming in the gravel, of course. It might be that the stones hold in heat from the sunny days. The sunroom makes winter more bearable. 🙂

  10. One says:

    Maybe I should have a Cold Room for some of plants. Your grass is really lovely.

    Hi One, thanks. Maybe you should! 🙂

  11. Rose says:

    The cold seems to have gripped so much of the country right now, but your Pink Muhly is still looking like eye-candy to me! How nice to have a sunroom to enjoy some winter blooms–the orchids are gorgeous.

    Hi Rose, thanks. What a winter already, what will the rest of it bring, if the prequel is like this, she wonders? The orchids are a delight, many more are budded as well. 🙂

  12. LOOK at that Muhly grass! Gorgeous! And your orchids are to die for!

    Hi Kylee, thanks so much. I am going for quality over quantity this bloom day! HA This winter has been tough on us Southern gardeners!

  13. I love your plant room with the orchids. It must really lift your spirits.

    Hi MMD, thanks. The orchids we have now, the Paphs and a couple of Cattleyas are easy and like it in our conditions. We finally have figured out how to keep them alive and reblooming after thirteen years of trial and error. And more orchid deaths than I care to list. They do bring a smile. 🙂

  14. noel says:


    i love your phap, you captured so well
    yes thank god for indoor plants, you can keep spirits up this time with your beauties.


    Aloha to you Noel, and thanks. Getting that back lighting on the orchids really makes them shine. Waiting for a sunny day helps too. 🙂

  15. Jennifer says:

    Your orchids are amazing especially that show stopping photo that you open with.

    Hi Jenn, thanks so much. The orchids earn their keep through the winter months, their time of blooming. Backlighting is the name of the game with all the photos of the garden. 🙂

  16. p3chandan says:

    I love the Pumpkin cattleya with its striking colour, not too bad for a winter blooming day!

    Thanks! Pumpkin will turn more orange as the bloom ages. It has already been blooming for over a month. The cool outside temps keep the sunroom much cooler, allowing the orchid blooms to last and last. 🙂

  17. Love your photos, here I have nothing in bloom at all, we were all caught out by an unusual and prolonged period of heavy snow and i missed bring the more tender plants in from the cold greenhouse and most of them have perished in the cold. However looking at you beautiful pictures does help to make up for it.

    Oh, I am so sorry for your losses! That is heartbreaking. The weather has been dreadful here as well, so much colder than normal for us, and for too long and it isn’t even officially winter yet. Thank you for those kind words. 🙂

  18. chuck b. says:

    Oh, I never got around to planting any ornamental coles. Love those things.

    Hi Chuck! I have been thinking about you! 🙂

  19. Leslie says:

    I am so coveting that room! How very cool!

    Hi Leslie, thanks. It isn’t perfect, there are plenty of things I would do differently, but it works and the orchids love it. 🙂

  20. Whoa! That ‘Star Wars’ flower (that I don’t want to spell) is as imposing as Darth Vadar — quite a photo! I think your dandelion is my favorite, though. Kudos for including it!

    Hi Eliza, thanks. Starr Wars is quite dramatic! I am glad you like the dandelion. If it were difficult to grow, everyone would clambor to have it in their gardens. 🙂

  21. VW says:

    Your kale are as pretty as any flower! No dandelions will dare bloom in a Spokane winter, much too cold even for them.

    Thanks VW. I like the white kale, but the purple photographs better. The dandelion was a total surprise, in the gravel in a sunny but protected area.

  22. Andrea says:

    Hello Frances, my first time here. Thanks for picking my grass posts. That grass you have there is mystically shining with the light, awesome. And that Paph in first photo is lovely too.

    Hi Andrea, thank and welcome. The pink Muhly grass is a magical mystery tour, that is certain. It is having a good year, holding the pink color much longer than is usual. The Paphs are my favorite orchid by far, and the easiest to rebloom in my experience. 🙂

  23. Kathleen says:

    You know I love your orchids Frances! It looks like you have two buds on one plant?? That’s going to be a beautiful display. You were so right when you told me a couple years ago I would soon be addicted. I went from one to twelve in nothing flat!

    Hi Kathleen, thanks. Yes, two buds on Starr Wars! It happens sometimes when I hold my mouth just right. Twelve? You got it bad, my friend! HA 🙂

  24. Janet says:

    Thanks for the pictures of your lovely orchids! I have one that is starting to open– my Cymbidium. Will try to get some good photos of it. Your Cattleya is Gorgeous!!

    Thanks Janet, good deal on your cym, those are so pretty. I have 5 more paphs with buds, possibly 6 and a 2nd bud on Starr Wars. I would like to get rid of that catt, it is too large, but it keeps reblooming, dang it! HA HA HA I have one other little catt. 🙂

  25. Town Mouse says:

    Wonderful blooms, and great to see the sunshine. Happy bloom day!

    Hi Town Mouse, thanks. Isn’t the sun a wonderful thing? Wish we had it today! Happy Bloom Day to you too! 🙂

  26. Lola says:

    Hi Ms Frances, I’m having trouble leaving comments. I hope I can straighten it out soon.
    Love your pics. Sure wish I had a sun room for my tender plants. I’ve already lost some from this horrid cold.

    HI Lola, I am so sorry you have had trouble, but this one made it through the blogdom okay. So nice to see you! Sorry too for your losses, this extreme cold has been a surprise, and not a good one. Thanks for the kind words, and let us hope the weather turns more kind as well, and soon!

  27. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I have always longed for a sun room and your photos have reinforced this. Happy GBBD.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. Everyone needs a sunny room. Already this winter I have had some moodiness with the cold and dark, so unusual for here. People and plants both need sun and light.

Comments are closed.