An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

December 15, 2011

Bloom Day - Does Anyone Need a Rake?

This December's weather has been much more conducive to blooms than what we had this time last year.  We have only had a couple of light frosts, and our first killing freeze is a little overdue.  However, not being a cold weather lover you won't hear me complain.

One result of the extended fall has been a few summer bloomers getting a second wind. I have Echinaceas budded, but don't think the weather will last long enough for them to open.  Though,this little Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Goblin' is not hesitating.

Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Goblin'

My only Quince (Chaenomeles x 'Hime') actually started blooming in November, which is its nature. This particular variety never seems to be completely covered in blooms, but it starts in late fall and carefully doles out its blossoms until late spring, whereas most other Quinces spend all their effort in one showy shot.

Chaenomeles x 'Hime' (2)

Last year my Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) where cut down by the early freeze before they even had a chance to open. This year they are perfect.

Narcissus papyraceus

A regular player in the December garden is my Winter Sun Mahonia (Mahonia x 'Winter Sun').

Mahonia x 'Winter Sun'

The mild-so-far weather has been really good to this area's Camellias. The Sasanquas have been blooming with a vengeance, and even some of the Japonicas are starting to show.

Camellia sasanqua 'Showa-No-Sake'
Camellia sasanqua 'Showa-No-Sakae'

Camellia sasanqua 'Mine-No-Yuki'
Camellia sasanqua 'Mine-No-Yuki'

Camellia sasanqua 'Kanjiro'
Camellia sasanqua 'Kanjiro'

Camellia japonica 'Les Marbury'
Camellia japonica 'Les Marbury'

Recently, I have had some unusual things popping up in my garden. Sometime around Thanksgiving I found a rake had been placed in my garden. At first I thought my neighbors left it out, and a passerby put it in my yard thinking it was mine, but it did not belong to my neighbors. Then about a week later I found two more rakes in the same place. I always wait until the last leaf falls to do any raking, so maybe someone was trying to drop a hint. On Monday of this week I found another rake not far from where the others were left.  I now have four new rakes, on top of the two I already own. So I am either being pranked, my yard is some sort of lost and found area, or someone is up to no good. I just wish they would quit with the rakes and leave me a pair of 30" Felco bypass loppers or a Hayauchi 16' telescoping pole pruner. These I could use.

One gardener who knows a thing or two about collecting tools is Carol of May Dreams Garden.  Each month she hosts a gathering of gardeners from around the globe where they show what is blooming in their gardens that month. Stop by for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, and while you are there please thank Carol, and if you are really nice she might show you her collection of hoes.


  1. lots more blooms for me this year, too. it was 10 degrees this morning last year, but near 70 today. i'm not complaining either. good raking weather. ;)

  2. Too funny about the rakes. What an intriguing garden mystery. Your Camellias are sublime.

  3. Lovely blooms! You've got me wondering how the Camellia that I got rid of is doing this year.

    I hope you'll share the answer to the rake mystery with us, should you ever solve it.

  4. Oh my, your Camellias remind me how lovely winter is! LOVE the Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Goblin'! How gorgeous!
    Happy GBBD :)

  5. Great pictures and funny story on the rakes, Les. In my yard, a few rakes popped up too, but I found out it was the city kids going around raking for money. I was betting they swiped the rakes somewhere else and just left them when they were done raking my neighbor's yard. I am with you on the Felco's. I think the kids make off with a few of those too.

  6. Lovely post...we've had pretty mild weather so far here frosted a few times...but not quite enough to be a game-ender yet ;-)

  7. Lovely pictures. Those camellias are drop-dead gorgeous.

  8. Wonderful post, Les. Perhaps you can tie the rakes together in some fashion to support holiday ornaments or garland -- I say mess with the prankster!

  9. Oh those Camellias! My neighbor chops and bags his leaves to use as mulch next spring. But he lines them up in a row all along my flower bed next to his property to keep the late leaves from blowing into his yard. I would not mind so much but most of them are from his late maples. So no rakes but a clear message! Let us know the conclusion to your rake story if you discover one.

  10. Mahonia madness! I always forget how much I love it until it starts to bloom. Stunning pics!

  11. les, No one in my neighborhood cares about leaves~Evidenced by how many of theirs blow on my borders! I am feeling such camellia envy. 'White By The Gate' died in the drought and I want to find another that spoke to me like it did! Yours are gorgeous. gail

  12. Mine-no-yuki has been on my want list after seeing it in front of the old Johnston County Ag. Building. So fragrant too. I need to just order it. Life's too short to go without fantastic camellias.

  13. Hi Les, How strange about the rakes! Sounds like someone is having some fun to me. I would be happy about all this mild weather, if I wasn't aware that pollution was behind it. Still, it has been nice to have warm temperatures as an excuse for wandering out into the garden. The camellias are all just beautiful Les!

  14. Les, I hope there is a chapter II to the garden rake mystery. I love a good whodunit! I have a suspect in mind.

  15. beautiful Camellias and hope it's not too late for indoor paper whites.

    Happy Holidays!

  16. Les,
    Great post. I hope Santa brings a pair of loppers or a pole pruner. Happy Holidays!

  17. I love the goblins, they are like little flames, very cheerful, nice shots Les!

  18. Daricia,
    Fine weather for sure!

    Thanks about the Camellias. I couldn't imagine a garden without them.

    No clues yet.

    Yes the Goblin has been a complete surprise. For something that is listed as taking the heat, it looks its best right now.

    Stealing Felco's? Makes me re-think my capitol punishment stance.

    I think we finally got our game ender last night, or at least we are in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

    The camera does not do them justice.

    Maybe I could spray them with festive paint too.

    My neighbor is nice enough to rake his pine straw into clear bags and put them on the street for me to pick up. Only thing is, he doesn't do it for me, but for the trash man. I just intercede.

    It is mahonia madness! I wish I had room for another.

    I have one neighbor with some sort of oak, possibly a pin oak. Its leaves are large and persist through the winter shedding a little each day, and they all end up in my garden. One day that tree might have to come down.

    I love Mine-no-yuki, mainly for its sprawling free-form habit.

    Last year at this time I was ready to believe that global warming was a myth. This year's warmer weathers suits me better.

    My rake drama is unfortunately not a work of fiction.

    It may not be too late to pot up some paperwhites, but it may be too late to find any.

    I hope so too. I have tried to be a good boy.

    Thanks for stopping by.


  19. Very funny about the rakes, but who would want to give up their's? Since I did my post my hybrid hellebores are coming into bloom with flowers fully open on two plants. That's never happened before. Love the camellias.