Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day -- December 2017

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day managed to sneak up on me this month. I usually have my post all ready to go first thing in the morning, but today I had to run around in the misty rain taking pictures of the few things that are blooming, with a short break to warm up inside the greenhouse. Today is our first day of rain after an unusual (for the PNW) 11-day stretch of dry, sunny, but cold weather with overnight frost. Call me nuts, but I prefer the rain and frost-free nights. During that stretch of dry weather I had been hoping to get all my bulbs planted. I did get some hardy Gladiolus communis ssp. byzantinus and Anemone blanda in the ground, but I still have a handful of Alliums sitting on the dining room table.

Anyway, I do have a few things flowering out in the garden.

What would I and our resident hummingbirds do without Mahonia flowers in the winter? This Mahonia x media 'Charity,' one of three in my garden, flowers right outside our TV room window, and the hummers that flock to it in the winter are not only a distraction from the TV watching that I do, but honestly, sometimes a lot more interesting and fun to watch.

The flowers are notoriously difficult to capture in closeup.

This one is always a bit behind in flowering than the other two, which is probably fine with the hummers, since it means the food lasts longer.

Still in bud

A few Cyclamen coum are still flowering, but most have gone past and the focus now is on their fabulous foliage

The same with Cyclamen hederifolium

Despite our week-and-a-half of frosty nights, this tall Acanthus spear is still stiff and trying to continue flowering

More buds waiting at the top

Fatsia japonica 'Variegata' aka Camouflage has lots of buds with just a couple of tiny open florets

Most of the flowers on Arbutus unedo 'Compacta' have faded to this sickly beige, although a few white ones are hanging on

Most of the "strawberries" have fallen off as well. Besides the leaf litter, you can see how the faded flowers are littering the ground under the shrub too.

There's not a lot of flowering going on inside the greenhouse either.

'Old Lady' Cactus often has flowers in her "hair" off and on all winter long

Begonias also continue to flower

Pregnant onion has produced one tall flower spike that has hit the ceiling of the greenhouse

My Adenium obesum aka desert rose dropped all her leaves once I moved her into the greenhouse, very much like my Pachypodiums do. They've produced new leaves by now, whereas she hasn't yet. She does have this one flower bud, though, which seems to be in a state of suspended animation. Is she waiting to see if she survives my winter care before she rewards me with an open flower?

Poor nekkid desert rose
That's all my blooms for this December Bloom Day. Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the fifteenth of every month. Check out her post here.


  1. This cold thing has been interesting but it's time for April now. Blooms may be few this time of year but yours are sure pretty!

  2. Cold and now wet here ! I'm giving the garden a rest from me , maybe till April .

  3. Another gorgeous Mahonia 'Charity'! Mine looks awful and there are no signs of buds much less blooms so maybe the Sunset folks are wrong about its range - or maybe our unusually dry, warm weather is the problem. I wish I'd had more luck with Cyclamen here too - the foliage is fantastic and the flowers are frosting on the cake. Happy Bloom Day, Alison!

  4. Always good to see blooms in the winter, or almost winter. we have several new mahonias which we hope will produce winter blooms for hummers. We still see them coming to fuschia blooms.

  5. You have such interesting plants in your greenhouse, Alison! That little Old Lady is just adorable.... I can't wait for my Charity to grow as tall as yours. Right now, it's just a 3' baby. I'm astonished that you still have buds on your Acanthus. Mine are long gone.

  6. Excellent placement of the Mahonia so you can enjoy the hummers enjoying the flowers.

  7. My mahonia experience echoes Kris' -- I remember Hinkley/Heronswood's enthusiasm for mahonia and tried some over 20 years ago with very poor results -- maybe that was pre-'Charity'? I'm guessing they'd prefer more humidity and nicer water than what flows through our pipes. It's certainly a rock star!

  8. I added that mahonia last this year but it is blooming. Michael said that the finches were on it yesterday.

  9. I wish my Mahonia x media 'Charity' was planted where we could enjoy the hummingbird show. Unfortunately it's out of sight unless I walk up the neighbor's driveway...

  10. Hummingbirds in the winter, what a dream that would be. You have so many gorgeous blooms, hard to pick my favorite. I'm sitting here tonight listening to two hoot owls out in the woods. It's a cold one, so their voices echo loud and clear. What a difference in our gardening worlds, thank you for sharing the beauty with me while I wait for spring in around 15 weeks. :-)

  11. I'm always reminded this time of eye that I need to incorporate mahonia's into my garden. One of these days..I'll be done with the space I'm thinking of revamping and finally put some it. Great photo of them in front of the window!

  12. That's great that you have something in bloom for the hummingbirds. The foliage of Cyclamen hederifolium really is beautiful.

  13. That Mahonia is most impressive, and a very distinctive-looking plant.

  14. I am here via Peter's blog, The Outlaw Gardener.

    Oh my goodness when I saw your header I chuckled about the kinky dang cheap hose. They bug me to no end.

    I loved your 'old lady cactus'. I am an old lady human and sometimes end up with flowers in my hair from the garden unbeknownst to me. I see them when I come in and look in the mirror. :-)

    I look forward to visiting you regularly.

    Happy Christmas to you and yours ~ FlowerLady


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