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, 2015

Bloom Day - Christmas Wish

     This month's Bloom Day finds me wishing for something I've never wished before - freezing weather. Like much of the country we are experiencing unseasonable warmth, which normally I wouldn't mind. However, we have only had one slight frost, so many plants that should be fully asleep at this point aren't quite there yet, while at the same time others are waking up too early. It's all a little confusing in the plant world, but I guess there could be worse things to deal with.

     The mild weather has meant that the paperwhites (Narcissus 'Ziva') are having a chance to bloom this year.
Narcissus 'Ziva'

     You can't see them because they wouldn't stay still for the camera, but the local honeybees were busy working my Fatsia 'Spider Web' and Mahonia x 'Winter Sun'.
Fatsia japonica 'Spider Web'

Mahonia x 'Winter Sun'

     After being buried by careless roofers under a mountain of debris, my Algerian iris (Iris unguicularis) seems to have recovered. It blooms sporadically from late November through March, unphazed by any of our seasons, nor by asphalt shingles.
Iris unguicularis

     One group of plants I am most concerned about are the local Japanese camellias (Camellia japonica). With the warm weather their buds will swell and open, and I am afraid they will at some point get zapped, turning the blossoms brown. Colder temperatures would keep them tight until the more normal time for them to open arrives.
Camellia japonica 'Les Marbury'

     Most of the fall blooming camellias (Camellia sasanqua and hybrids) are still blooming but are close to finishing. The later blooming 'Yuletide' is on schedule, and right now, is what I love the most in my garden.
Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' (3)

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' (1)

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' (2)

     To see what other gardeners are experiencing, just head over to May Dreams Gardens where Carol hosts a monthly party called Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Be sure to send her Christmas wishes.

Once the holiday hoopla has settled down, I hope you can spend time looking back at your favorite photos from 2015. I will try to gather my favorites soon, and should be able post them in the next few weeks. I invite you to join in.


  1. Beautiful! I must say I'm jealous, we're downing out here under heavy rainfall and continual dark skies.

  2. Beautiful blooms!
    This warm weather is a bit worrying
    Merry Christmas!

  3. I am experiencing some plant weirdness, too. We haven't had much snow, but we did get some lows in the teens before this latest spate of warm weather, and some plants seem to think winter is over.

  4. I don't think I would ever get tired of camellias. Any of the other blooms would brighten up my own dreary Northern garden, but the camellias are the ones I covet!

  5. Oh gosh, I'm drooling over your Camellias. I tried growing one as a potted plant a couple of years ago and failed. I might try again (bringing it inside during the winter), but maybe I should simply enjoy them virtually on blogs like yours, and when I travel to the south. Our plants are confused up here in Wisconsin, too. I have many spring-flowering plants making big progress already, and some folks in town still have Roses blooming! Crazy weather year.

  6. Les, I love those camellias. Love them. I wish I could find a warm spot for Yuletide here.~~Dee

  7. Happy GBBD! Your garden does look unseasonally lush. It's unusually warm in Maine too. By now we should have snow but we've had days of rain. The grass is still greenish. My pleasure is cut by my fears of global warming.

  8. We are having unusually mild weather here in London too, and some season confused plants – in my garden I have lilies emerging, 3 months too early! Snowdrops and hellebores are flowering already and crocuses are about to. I have had one camellia japonica in flower since November, one has fat buds and one is an April flowering, still with small buds. We have had one frost night, that’s all. I really don’t want any more :-)
    Love ‘Yuletide’, it’s on my wish list!

  9. I love to vicariously watch your garden. Thanks for posting.

    But I thought camellias were supposed to be blooming between late October and Christmas. But I've only known them in Louisiana and Texas. It was always the azaleas we had to worry about.

  10. Beautiful camellias. I am trying ever so hard to get some to take at the new house but so far no luck. Meanwhile back at the old house I have one that has reached the second story of my house and blooming its heart out. I just can't figure it out. Anyhow Happy Holidays!