Articles for the Month of December 2011

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day for December 2011

New Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)

Well in contrast to two weeks ago there is actually very little blooming outside for this months Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  So that’s why I chose to lead off with a spectacular new little Phalaenopsis which graces our kitchen counter at the moment.  This is a recent purchase but all the old orchids are coming into bloom right now so we’re in the midst of kind of an orchid frenzy which may go on for weeks (one of the nice things about orchids).  The red Cattleya is another especially striking specimen — and it has a marvelous fragrance as well.

Red Cattleya Orchid

Outside one of the few flowering elements is the red Camellia sasanqua which can be found in flower just about every year at this time.

Red Camellia sasanqua

There’s also a Verbena hanging on in a pot by the driveway that doesn’t realize it should have died back long ago.

Verbena hanging on in a pot

What I find particularly remarkable are a patch of Allium that we are growing here for the first time.  The Allium thunbergii ‘Ozawa’ did not bloom until October but they were absolutely striking when the appeared.  Now, two months later we still have the pleasure of their pink blossoms.  They are more like dried pink blossoms but lovely nonetheless.  This is a real winner.

Allium thunbergii 'Ozawa'

There would also be pictures of the Snowdrops to share, but some critter (I suspect deer) chopped all the snowdrop flowers off.  In addition they are chewing on blueberries that have never had any animal damage in the last thirty years.  I’m contemplating building a new house that is of Roman design with a totally walled exterior and a large central atrium, say about 7 acres in size, that is not accessible to deer.

I would also like to note that the Calendula in the herb garden are poised, buds at the ready, waiting for the slightest thaw.

Calendula in bud

And as a final farewell to this day let me share the Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ which still has it’s seed heads waving in the wind.  It’s another plant with a long season of delight.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light'

I encourage you to visit the center point for all Garden Blogger’s Bloom Days at May Dreams Gardens and see what other gardeners have to share.

My Very Late Post-Thanksgiving Post

Double Pink Camellia japonica

When I got back from a Thanksgiving holiday in New York City (Macy’s Parade and all) I was startled to see how many things were flowering or about to flower.  I guess after playing in the sunshine in Central Park I shouldn’t have been surprised, but it was truly amazing to see how winter was playing a delaying game.  The Double Pink Camellia shown above is a spring flowering plant, not even an early spring flowering plant, and it’s covered with buds.

The Algerian Iris was also fully in bloom.

Iris unguicularis

This is at least a very early spring flowering plant.  But it’s still surprising to see it in December.  I had planted it in 2010 and this is the first time I’ve seen it in flower.  This works much better than the reticulatas for us which rarely give much of a show.  The clump looks vigorous and seems to be spreading.

I also saw a Shasta Daisy out front.  A Shasta Daisy!  Come on, these guys should have packed up there bags and moved south long ago.

Very late (early) Shasta Daisy

The Japanese Quince was well budded up and ready to flower at the slightest provocation.

Japanese Quince budding up

I also like the look of the fern-like foliage of the Columbine which shows green against the Japanese Maple leaves.

Persistent Columbine against the maple leaves

And in the woods I discovered why the Narcissus ‘Grand Soleil d’Or’, a tazetta variety, is not really hardy in our region. Its fully budded up and ready to flower.  Notice the animal damage.  I haven’t seen that with daffodils before.

Narcissus 'Grand Soleil d'Or'

In the house we found the Orchids are having a field day.  Apparently we did well by them outside on the porch this year because they all look fat and happy.  The fragrance of the White is absolutely wonderful.

White Cattleya Orchid

Yellow Cattleya Orchid