Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day for December 2010

Camellia Sasanqua frozen in place

Well it is indeed another opportunity to check the progress of the garden and to search for flowering survivors against the cold weather of December.  I bundled up yesterday and went into the subfreezing cold to look for the hardiest remnants of our garden.  The Camellia shown above sits against sheltering wall but has only the one bloom hanging on and, truthfully, that bloom has seen better days.  There are many other buds hoping for a January thaw since there are not many signs that the temps are coming back up again in December.  I looked back to last year’s posting and see that this very same Camellia is the lead flower for that edition of GBBD as well.  Note to self:  A White Camellia Sasanqua should be on the shopping list.

Now I rather expected the Camellia to be flowering.  What I did not expect was to see a Chrysanthemum  bloom still hanging on long after its compadres had packed their bags and planted their seeds for next year.

Last vestige of Chrysanthemum

A bit bedraggled yes.  But we who are in the begging profession (as all North Eastern gardeners must be at this time of year) can not afford to be too picky.

What did strike me — in addition to the freezing winds yesterday — was the number of plants that still make a beautiful green contribution to the landscape.  There are lots of plants that we assume will come to the fore at this season — like Yews or Boxwood — but there are others like the Hellebores and Epimediums that seem be contributing above and beyond the call of duty.  Given that they both will put of lovely flowers in the springtime.

Epimediums defy the cold

Epimediums, in particular, seem so delicate but are at the core just as sturdy and determined a ground cover as you can imagine.  Like ferns they are much more reliable than their appearance would seem to call for.

And the Hellebores are becoming one of my favorite flowering plants.

Hellebore x sternii 'Hot Flash'

They are incredibly hardy, reliably deer-proof, and increasingly the hybridizers are bringing new colors and styles to the market.  The above ‘Hot Flash’ has a silvery cast and interesting markings to the leaves as well as pretty green flowers in the spring.

As far as plants still doing their thing despite the 20 degree temperatures I need to take note of the Swiss Chard in the garden.

Swiss Chard still surviving

What a great vegetable!  Thanks to son Josh, we now stir fry this with maple syrup — yum.

And yet another survivor, though nearly done, is the last of the lettuce.

Buttercrunch in the cold

I somehow never realized that the lettuce could tolerate such low temperatures.  Needless to say, I will take fall gardening more seriously in the future.  I only really planted the fall garden this year because the drought killed off our summer production so badly.  There is a world of discovery right there in the backyard…

To see other gardens on this GBBD please go to May Dreams Gardens where the event is hosted by the originator.

5 comments on “Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day for December 2010

  1. Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens

    Nice display for GBBD. You asked about zones: I am zone 6b here in PA. The fall-blooming hellebores, fall-blooming snowdrops, and grasses/seedheads are doing what they normally do this time of year. The camellias got frozen since the photos, but only a few nights ago. Not sure if the viburnum is supposed to bloom now, but the whole plant is covered. The others are just in sheltered micro-climates. I have intentionally planted for the last 15 years to have winter flowers and interest. Carolyn

  2. Cat

    John, I see your garden is beautiful in looking through your recent posts! My husband would kill for a sighting of a hawk hanging out in our yard like that! Thanks for stopping by my blog today and leaving your nice comment – appreciate it.

  3. Christina

    Thanks for leaving such a nice comment on my blog. I do like you Camelia, I’m not so keen on the Spring ones, but I’ve been seeing lots of these lovely flowers on other blogs so as you say the shopping list gains another plant (I would have to plant in Autumn to give it any chance of surviving the summer heat. Christina

  4. Les

    My vote for white sasanqua is ‘Snow Flurry’. It’s not too tall and a heavy bloomer.

  5. Rose

    At this time of year, all of us northern gardeners are happy to see any remnant of blooms–your camellia and chrysanthemum are delightful finds. Hellebores are becoming one of my favorites, too; so nice to see their green foliage perk up just when everything else is withering away. Thanks for visiting me and a belated Happy Bloom Day!