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 23, 2011

The Second Day of Winter

Today was a gorgeous day here in Tidewater, and it was the first one where I felt somewhat normal after catching some sort of crud last week.  I took the opportunity ride my bike downtown and enjoy the sparkling sunshine and warm temperatures. While I was there I rode by Waterside, which is one of those Rouse Company "Festival Marketplaces" that were built back in the 70's and 80's in downtrodden downtowns all across the country in the hopes they would resuscitate urban life.  High expectations indeed for what were basically shopping malls with expanded food courts. These days Norfolk city life is encouragingly vibrant, with or without Waterside, and the future of this place is in debate at City Hall right now. Anyway, today I found it surrounded by a surprising number of blooms, including German bearded iris, lantana, Knock Out roses, winter jasmine and still colorful Setcreasea pallida. We have had such mild weather here this month, especially compared to how it was last year when things were flash frozen. This year things mellowed nicely.

Lantana x 'New Gold' and Setcreasea pallida

Lantana x 'New Gold' and Setcreasea pallida 2

Delosperma cooperi 2

Delosperma cooperi

Iris germanica (3)

Jasminum nudiflorum

Rose Knock Out (2)

I took these pictures at work yesterday of a remarkably large flowered, very late blooming Camellia sasanqua.  So late, that we rarely see it bloom, as really cold weather has normally already occurred before the buds are ready to open. So perhaps this variety would be better suited someplace warmer, but we do get to enjoy it when conditions are just right.  Unfortunately the name of this Camellia has been lost to poor record keeping. Even when it was labeled it was just listed as a seedling number.

Camellia sasanqua - unknown seedling (2)

Camellia sasanqua - unknown seedling

About the time I was ready to head home the wind picked up considerably and shifted to the north making my ride home much colder and very difficult, but at least the sun was still shinning.   I hope all of you have happy and safe holidays, with good weather and minimal drama.


  1. It looks almost tropical there with everything blooming! Just gorgeous! Love the camellia - what a big, beautiful bloom. Have a very Merry Christmas!

  2. Wow. Beautiful and shocking for the second day of winter! Merry Christmas Les~glad you're feeling better. gail ps the word veri is ailing!

  3. Les,

    That is a big camellia, until I saw it in your hand I was thinking Kanjiro. Irises that is wild... We have seen lots of maples blooming here, my bees are bringing in 3 different pollens on the first 2 days of winter. Merry Christmas and happy New Years to you and yours.

  4. Really beautiful blooms!
    Good job capturing the 'feel' of the place!
    Merry Christmas!

  5. This was a warming post without the typical nippy December weather. The beautiful blooms brightened the day. I hope the holidays are good to you and yours and your New Year brings health and happiness.

  6. I am still wondering about those irises. I didn't know there was a yellow re-bloomer. Do you know it's name? Happy New Year, Carolyn

  7. Hi, Les. Just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas since I've been following you rather quietly lately.

    Kelly (formerly the Sorry Gardener)

  8. I love the blog-o-sphere, Les. Everything from the bitter cold (-11C here) to the very hot Australia.

    You seem to be in a very lovely mid-climate spot.

    Merry Christmas

    Nova Scotia

  9. Beautiful! I wanted to drop by and wish you a Merry Christmas!

  10. Thank you for sharing -- I wish our setcresea here in Petersburg were as undamaged as that you pictured (we've had many nights in the 20s). The blooming impatiens (more sheltered) still persist, loropetalum is blooming like crazy, and most of the C. japonica Feb-Mar bloomers have flowers -- as well as all of the camellias that ordinarily bloom now. The flowering shrubs are providing delightful Christmas bouquets.

  11. Hi Les,

    I’m not sure on what to compliment you first; the terrific job you obviously did in your garden which resulted in such fabulous blooms or on this incredible photography. Either way, congratulations and thanks for allowing me to enjoy your blog.

    I too have fairly large Camellias but their colors are not quite a vivid as yours.

    Happy New Year 2012!

  12. That IS quite a large camellia. It doesn't even look like winter there at all. Happy holidays to you. Glad you are feeling better.

  13. Holley,
    We are warm, but not quite tropical. I know at some point winter will get here for real.

    How appropriate for your word verification.

    Chris Bonney,

    The camellia does resemble Kanjiro, only twice the size.

    You do have a home in the south, south of NYC that is.

    Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you had a good Christmas too.

    I am glad you enjoyed the post, and I hope that your Christmas was also good.

    My best bet on the iris is 'Harvest of Memories', but I am not sure. This landscape is managed by the city crews and there are several places around town where this iris has been planted.

    Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you had a merry Christmas as well.

    We are still a little warmer than what could be considered seasonable, but I am not complaining.

    I have been enjoying your Christmas in Charleston posts. It was always a special time of year down there for me.

    This planting is right next to the Elizabeth River, so I am thinking it may have been a degree or two warmer when we had our first freeze, otherwise much of it would be mush now.

    I can only take credit for the photos. The garden belongs to the city. Thanks for stopping by.

    Yes the camellia was huge. I hope your holidays were happy as well and that you have a good new year.