Not just in the greenhouse either, although the large Cattleya Slc. (Pumpkin Festival ‘Fong Yuen’ x Naomi Kerps ‘Fireball’) never fails to bloom each year at this time. As you can see, the plant as a whole is quite homely and it is really much too big for my small sunroom/greenhouse. But it forms buds each fall after being totally ignored outdoors all summer, not watered or even looked at, so it gets to come indoors after the dip of death that kills any insects that have taken up residence, to brighten the winter’s wait for spring.
…Under a roof on the front porch, two planters have been packed with violas to help bring cheer. The blue pot is new this year, planted with a Clematis ‘Etoile Violette’ to bring symmetry with the one planted in the ground on the other side, we hope. Maybe there will be a photo of purple blooms on both sides of the porch later on.
The number of violas planted this fall was doubled in hopes of an even better showing as bleak bends to bright.
Some most have hunkered down, but a few are bravely blooming. They must know we depend on them for the Bloom Day posts in winter.
An experiment in the gravel garden has proven successful. I love the black violas, but they disappear in most spots, needing contrast to excel. The bronze Carex waterfall and the tans of the pea gravel seem to fit the needed contrast coloration nicely.
Up against the house at the back entrance, a self sown red clover, Trifolium pratense is bravely in bloom. It is too cold for any bees to visit, sadly. South facing protected spots in the garden provide just enough warmth for this sort of thing to occur. (And the gravel, don’t forget the importance of those warmed by the sun stones in cheating the thermometer.)
The most surprising, if not downright shocking flower is this grocery primrose, with even more buds!, growing under the birch trees along the fence. More of these are added each year when stores begin offering flowers for Valentine’s Day. The flowering primrose plants are held in the greenhouse/sunroom until early March when they are planted outside to brave the elements. They love the cold, moist soil of winter and the blooms are so very welcome. Those don’t normally show until late January or later. But the weather gods are shaking things up for everyone, it seems, so nothing is impossible anymore.
Not that surprising is the lone wolf, gone rogue Salvia x sylvestris ‘May Night’ flower. It is not in a protected spot, at home with many others of its own and slightly different kind in the Fairelurie where some mysterious combination of circumstance has prodded this one to produce a pretty posy. It happens.
There are stalwart subjects of the winter garden, those things that have been shown every Bloom Day in December since the blog began. The unknown mum cultivar, a passalong from dear neighbors that is referred to as the yellow button mum is a late bloomer, tall and impervious to ice, snow and cold. The outer petals are so short as to be almost nonexistent. Also in flower but not shown are a few other mums of Sheffie descent and some wild white asters. The sweetly scented Osmanthus fragrans has some flowers hidden down amongst the shiny green foliage, but decent images were not obtainable. Besides, the sharing of ratty blooms lost out to what is happening under the stand of tall Loblolly pine trees at the Eastern edge of the property.
In ground ten years and the slowest growers ever seen, the three Camellia sasanqua ‘Chansonette’, (Little Songs in French) are music to our eyes. Biblical rains in late summer fueled the buds this time, encouraging them to develop to their full potential rather than dry up and turn brown as is oft the case. The pine trees are massive moisture suckers so that while the boughs offer protection, times are tough under them.
Growing under the pines, some right up against the trunks, are seeds airlifted by the birds from the many Mahonia media growing in our neighborhood. The pointy leaves are unmistakeable as babies pop up hither and yon. We have taken to moving them closer together now for more of a mass planting after pulling them as weeds for many years. Go with what grows seems wiser than doing battle anyway. The yellow blooms of winter will give way to large blue berries that are quickly devoured by birds to keep the reproduction assembly line lubricated.
…while some buds still hold the magic. The Edgeworthia chrysantha did not bloom last year, perhaps it was the harsher winter after a droughty summer. The two small trees, also under the pines, are decorated with more of these furry animal looking buds than ever this time around. Fingers are crossed for them to fully develop.
There are many more buds showing now to excite a gardener’s heart, both outside and indoors, with a pledge to provide blooms for upcoming months of sharing on or abouts the fifteenth of each month, thanks to our friend Carol of May Dreams Gardens. Do dash over there to see what else is in flower all over the world.