The colder-than-normal temperatures have taken their toll--there's very little in bloom outside.This little coneflower--hardly a bloom--is nevertheless a surprise--the dark red of the seeds is still welcome color.
Normally the violas provide most of the color in winter, but when we (and most critically Ranunculus) were gone over Thanksgiving, well, I sort of forgot to spray the Liquid Fence--and without dog or deterrent, the deer had a lovely dinner of their own. As in just about every pansy in the garden. They left one tiny viola on the deck:
The strangest bloom is this Weigela bud, from a sale plant at a home improvement store. It was a late season sale, and the plant was seriously root bound--maybe the plant was so glad to be stretching its legs that it forgot the sub-30 temps.
There are still some tiny late season blooms on the tea olives (Osmanthus fragrans)--and if you're very close, some tiny fragrance.
And some early season promise as well--these buds on the sarcococca (which looks weirdly like the tea olive in these photos, except that the sarcococca at its tallest is ankle high, and the tea olive is about 7 feet)--will turn into flowers as fragrant as the tea olive's were in late summer.
Pieris japonica is my favorite plant. It's an evergreen that loves Virginia conditions--as much as azaleas, nandina, and Japanese maples do--but for some reason it doesn't seem to show up as much in commercial landscaping. I'll post more on this plant when it does its big show in the spring--it's in rehearsal now.
The oak leaf hydrangea are still spectacular, even with dried flowers and waning leaves.
What color there is in the garden is provided mainly by foliage--here, heuchera, holly fern, and ivy.
The hellebores are more prominent now that the trees and taller shrubs have lost their leaves. This is Helleborus orientalis (Lenten Rose):
And this is Helleborus foetidus--which doesn't really stink, and is a wonderful shade plant:
The only other "blooms" are after-blooms--the December berries. Most are red, like these on this cotoneaster(whose purple foliage provides its own winter color)
The pyracantha are still going strong--
--and the Burford Holly berries signal the holiday season--
--along with their native cousins, the American hollies:
(Well, I think these are American hollies--they're native and all over the property.)
Not nearly as showy, but lovely nonetheless, are the barberries on their naked stems.
And the bayberries are just coming out. These berries are fragrant in large clusters and are used for candles. People sometimes pull off the leaves and use the berry-covered stems in dried arrangements (warning to the non-crafty--pulling the leaves is kind of like plucking a turkey, or so I imagine, having never actually plucked anything feathered).
The true blooms these days are indoors. This is a contrary one--this bougainvillea bloomed once all summer. Since I brought it indoors, it's been budding like crazy. Maybe even with our dry summer, it was still too humid outside?
And one of my little holiday arrangements--some paperwhites and poinsettias--
And my stalwart Euphorbia lomi, everblooming in the sunshine through the back window. Ranunculus looks kind of like he's smelling the flowers, doesn't he?
Umm, he's not. This Euphorbia isn't fragrant. Actually, Ranunculus is at this moment mesmerized by the reflections from the disco ball Christmas ornament we hung on the plant.
Or maybe he's just tired from chasing them around.
Animal cruelty? I hope not. Human amusement? Oh, yes. Happy Bloom Day.
Oops, almost forgot the link love--to see what else is blooming this December, check out May Dreams Gardens--as always, thanks, Carol!
Foliage Follow-Up for March
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