Friday, 14 December 2007

Garden Bloom Day December 2007

December flowers are pretty thin on the ground in my Scottish garden but surprisingly I do have a few to share for this month’s Bloom Day post and for a change I am early! Carol at May Dreams Gardens must be delighted to have had so many participating blogs during this first year of her initiative in posting what’s in flower on the 15th of every month. I have really enjoyed taking part and look forward to browsing the other gardens through the comments on Carol’s December Garden Bloom Day post over the weekend.

In my front garden I found a few surprises, shown above. My bright orange osteospermum has decided to open a few flowers - silly thing! The real surprise though was that I found a caterpillar inside it! We have yet to have a real hard frost so I expect that is why this plant still lives on. However I think I will lift them over the weekend, pot them up, and put them in my greenhouse. I might also try rooting some cuttings in water – I wonder if that would work. I have never grown osteospermum until this year and I have to say it has been a bit disappointing.

The coral red penstemon has still a few bells hanging on there too and the pink aster also has a few clusters of flowers and some buds to open. The nepata has just the hint of purple blue on a few stems but I think it is perhaps time to cut it down as they are starting to die back. But in contrast there are a few new clusters of flowers emerging on my euphorbia. Ahh but the biggest surprise in my front garden is the leaves of allium growing up through the gravel. This I suspect is the pale pink flowering one shown in my allium post last week. I am looking forward to seeing what will happen next with these young plants – they have seeded themselves so I doubt they will flower next year anyway or could they?

In my back garden I had to look a bit harder to find flowers and this is indeed a mixed bag in the photo selection above but yet I still had a surprise there too. The very last photo shows a tiny alpine strawberry! Can you imagine that at this time of year - in Scotland?

I found a few deep orange calendula flowers – again trying to open. The black grass ophiopogon was still holding on to a few berries butI will leave these ones to drop themselves. The fluffy seed heads of the ornamental grass Klein Fontaine catches my eye as I look out my window – I will leave them through the winter.

The last white Japanese anemone flower is now finally on its way out – this plant has given a great show this year and I am about to add a few pink ones that I picked up as bargains at the garden centres in the last few weeks.

Polygala, shown in the centre of the selection above, has probably given the longest flowering season by far in my garden and has been flowering since March with its cream/lemon and purple pea-like flowers. It has grown into a wonderful carpet in my rock garden. My sulphur heart ivy growing up and over my pergola has also had flowers on it this year which will provide food for the birds. I have to say I had never noticed these flowers before but there are quite a number of these cluster balls which actually look quite pretty.

My sulking skimmia was moved earlier this year as it wasn’t showing berries. Now of course I cannot see it from my window and yes the picture above tells all - third row, first photo. Okay so let’s go back to the rock garden for another long flowering plant beginning back in April. These little white clusters of flowers are borne on short stems from mat forming cream splashed foliage and have lit up this area practically all year. I think this is perhaps a variegated arabis.

So finally, this month’s selection is brought sweetly to a close with the alpine strawberry! Mmm I wonder what I will have for next month – perhaps some snow scenes?

The photos above were taken in my garden on December 14th 2007.

26 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I am not posting until tomorrow. I have a kalanchoe that is about to bloom. I hope it performs tomorrow. It is my only hope.

You are so lucky to have so many things still blooming in your garden. I love seeing the color.

Barbara said...

I can hardly believe that all these wonderful colours/flowers still exist in your garden at this time of the year. Scotland must have milder temperatures as I always thought. Lucky you!! Here the weatherforcast predicst snow...again!
Have a nice weekend, Shirl!
Barbara

Pam/Digging said...

Pam @ Digging says:

Nice photos and a pretty selection of flowers for December. In fact, your garden looks to be in nearly as temperate (in winter, but not summer of course) a climate as mine. It seems we both have long-delayed freezes. My Bloom Day post is up too, by the way.

shirl said...

Hi again, Lisa, Barbara and Pam :-)

Lisa – I look forward to seeing your post tomorrow and I hope kalanchoe makes it in time! I really don’t have a lot of colour except in shades of green – but then again I love foliage so that’s okay. What riots of colour some of the other blogs have don’t they :-D

Barbara – Thank-you. We are just lucky that we haven’t had a hard frost yet and only the odd days of frost at all. This can vary from year to year but more increasingly we are having it milder at this time of year with the odd good flurry of snow until it comes in earnest in February :-D Thank-you - I’d say enjoy your snowy weekend in Switzerland but I am guessing you want it to stop :-D

Pam – Thank-you. My selection is small for December and the colours just dots but your garden looks a real riot of colour with all your roses and other flowers in your Austin garden. Yes, our climate has become milder at this time of year where the South of England has had hard frosts and some areas had minus 6 deg C last night. We do get it cold with frosts and snow here too and it would be nice to get a flurry of snow on Christmas Eve as we have had in the past :-D

Best wishes to you all for 2008 :-D

Frances said...

Loved seeing your flowers. You do have a diverse group. I will read more of your posts to get a feel of your whole garden. About my blog, I do wish to have comments, very much so, but there is a large space between the end of the bloom day post and the comment button. Don't know what happened but do visit again, and I will reciprocate.

Steve said...

What a really great Blog shirl - some fsntastic photos too. Thanks for your recent comment on my blog as well.

steve www.newhythe.blogspot.com

Nickie said...

mmmmmmm...Penstemen :) I Love love love it! :) You are lucky to have so many blooms!

We are getting over 6" of snow today so I wont even have green outside to look at after this!

Carol said...

Shirl, coumt me as surprised, too, at how mild your weather has been and how many blooms you still have in December. You are right, it isn't lush like summer, but to still have blooms outdoors sounds nice! Thanks for participating again.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

David in Greensboro, NC said...

You've got a lot blooming for December, Shirl! I love the asters-they are my favorite autumn flower. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Jayne said...

Those are all so beautiful Shirl. So lovely for us to see blooming flowers in December!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

How great that you have flowers that bloom for 8 months! I'm interested to see how your new pink Anemones compare to the white. I'd like to get a different pink Anemone to replace the floppy 'Party Dress.' Thanks for posting that video of the squirrel obstacle course. All of us here really enjoyed it. (My daughter asked to watch it again.)

Melinda said...

Wow, a strawberry! Mine surprised me when they held out until November - I guess that's why they're named alpine! Your calendula is a beautiful orange.

Thanks for visiting my second Bloom Day post. I'm fascinated by your bird photos, and plan to come back to look at them when I have more time!

Melinda, Elements In Time

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Well Shirl, it seems that you have quite a lot of blooms outside too. It's nice when the hard frosts stay away. We both have Penstemons in flower I see. :-)

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Another one here who is surprised by your mild weather and December blooms. I brought my Osteospermum inside and it hasn't disappointed me.

Bonnie said...

Beautiful photos, so interesting to see what is in bloom in your part of the world. Thanks.

jodi said...

Shirl, these are absolutely wonderful photos, especially for December. I'm impressed that you've not yet had a hard frost (I can lend you some snow if you need some!)

Salix Tree said...

Hi. We do indeed have similar weather, with both our gardens trying to produce a strawberry or two.
I completely forgot to take a pic of my own euphorbia, it surely must have the beginnings of flowers as well. Yours looks lovely.

shirl said...

Hi there, Frances, Steve and Nickie :-)

Frances – Thank-you, I do enjoy a wide range of plants but many do grow in partial shade – hence the foliage plants. As suggested already you need to go into the html code of your post to loose the extra spacing in your GBBD post. I look forward to seeing more from your garden :-D

Steve – nice to see you on this post! Thank-you - I enjoyed seeing your bird photos and look forward to seeing the results of many more trips you make and also a longer browse through your blog too. I have two teenage daughters so I completely understand your time difficulties in getting out with your camera :-D

Nickie – Ah the penstemon! I bought three plants of ‘Etna’ the one shown and have taken many cuttings to bulk up my numbers and guard against any winter losses but they have been fine with our milder winters over the last few years. So my garden now overflows with it and I have been giving them away! I have bought two more varieties and seeing as it is so late I think I will try rooting some cuttings of them in water to see if I have luck there. Do visit again at the end of next week and I’ll share some of my green garden with you – unless I get snow of course :-D

shirl said...

Hi again, Carol :-)

I have to say that in past winters it has been much colder here in December but now it is usually sometime between January to March when we get our snow and again only for a few weeks – but that’s in my part of Scotland which is just North of Edinburgh. The higher grounds of the Highlands get much more and longer spells of snow. They have had some already but it is not widespread even there at the moment.

Funnily enough, Carol my foliage is still looking lush and I plan to post on that at the end of next week – my bamboos still look freshly out from the jungle!

Thank-you, I always enjoy taking part and thanks once again go to you for organising GBBD :-D

shirl said...

Hi there, David, Jayne and Melinda :-)

David – Yes, I certainly more flowers than even I expected! However the one I did expect didn’t - my cirsium which had a second flush of flowers last December. The cirsium did re-flower but ended in November this year. I too love these asters and cannot believe a few plants are still holding on to a few flowers – it again has flowered for so long nestling beside pots and under other plants. I do enjoy discovering new blogs on GBBD and will visit again :-D

Jayne – Thank-you! Yes it is nice to see a few spots of colour at this time of year and you certainly have plenty too with the purple finches in your garden. I see you have no snow in your area either at the moment but it is getting a little colder with you too :-D

Melinda – Yes I went WOW when I saw the strawberry too! That calendula was a beautiful orange and I had hoped to collect seed from it but I have yet to see it go to seed! Once again thanks go to Carol as it has been great to discover so many other blogs – I am sure you will continue enjoy taking part in GBBD. Thank-you I am now managing to get better photos of the birds than I did when I started my blog but I do know of other blogs with really great photos – see my links if you are interested :-D Oh yes and Jayne above has great photos too :-D

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Wow-what a lot of flowers blooming for December! I have found that I don't get along too well with the osteo's myself... they seem to like a lot more regular watering and feeding than I am willing to give.

I can't wait to see those alliums bloom next year, whenever they may be. I love the idea of them pushing up through the gravel.

gintoino said...

shirl, I too have osteospermuns but they guive a beautifull display here during the warmer months, I love your's, hed never seen it in that orange colour. Interesting that you euphorbia is starting to bloom, mine is not even near!

shirl said...

Hi again, Mr McGregor’s Daughter :-)

Yes, if it wasn’t for posting for GBBD I would probably never noticed how long some plants have actually flowered this year!

Ah my new Anemones – I really should get them out of their pots and into the garden. There are many varieties of pink and I think the one I have is September Charm.

I am delighted to hear that you all enjoyed the squirrel video – it was very entertaining and I have watched it a few times myself :-D

shirl said...

Hi again, Yolanda and Robin :-)

Yolanda – as I said above I really have been surprised at what is still in flower. I never expected the penstemon to still be in flower a week before Christmas :-D

Robin – Yep surprises all round – the biggest now being that these flowers have survived one night of hard frost and our weather went mild again although a widespread frost for Scotland is expected tomorrow night. I really must lift my Osteospermum tomorrow and maybe it too will be happier inside – have you ever taken cuttings from it?

shirl said...

Hi there, Bonnie, Jodie and Salix Tree :-)

Bonnie – Thank –you! I‘ve just had a quick look to see what you have had in flower in Austin and I see you’ve had a lot too. Do you get snow in Austin? Yes, it is very interesting to see gardens in other parts of the world to see the weather there as well as the plants :-D

Jodie – Thank-you! Since my posting I have had a hard frost – for one night only and the plants survived. A widespread frost is expected tomorrow night so I think I should plant out my plants sitting in pots tomorrow. Thanks for the offer of snow!! However, it would be a shame to cover the plants at the moment when they are looking so well :-D

Salix Tree – Yes, I thought our seasons would be similar – perhaps you’ve had a night of frost too. I will need to visit you again to compare :-D

shirl said...

Hi again, Kim and Hello Gintoino :-)

Kim – Thanks! That’s an interesting thought on the osteo’s – I have never fed them at all and as they have a gravel mulch they get very little extra watering from me. Although in saying that we have had a wet summer! Mmm maybe they need a more open sunny situ – maybe the grasses have shaded them slightly. I can’t wait to see the alliums myself Kim! After seeing my some of my older pics of my front garden I am planning in taking out completely the two remaining miscanthus zebrenis grasses which will give the alliums more light – and I’ve a ‘few’ more to add too :-D

Gintoino – I enjoyed seeing your December garden in Portugal and look forward to seeing your winter garden. I have to say I didn’t pick the osteospermun – I picked this plant for its flower colour and I like daisy flowers :-D Yes, my euphorbia I too was surprised that it was trying to flower – there are only a few heads so I expect it is because the weather has been milder :-D BTW I tried to make a comment on your GBBD post but I don’t know what happened.