Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Brrr! It's December!

I'm afraid it's going to be one of those winters--cold and foggy. I haven't counted but I bet we've had at least twenty foggy days since October and it isn't even winter yet. We've had several frosts, none below about 25 degrees though so it could be worse and I shouldn't complain. 

One of the ways I can tell how cold it's gotten is by the looks of my hardy banana. I'd say it could and probably will get colder before spring. 

Musa basjoo (Hardy Banana)

Yes, the garden is a mess but there are still a few flowers and foliage to keep things interesting. 

The below Correa (and the white flowered one that I forgot to photograph) have been blooming since September. They're so pretty, sitting in my covered patio.

Correa x 'Dusky Bells'

On the cold nights I've been covering my patio potted plants with blankets. This Impatiens is continuing to bloom. In fact it's blooming more now than it did all summer which leads me to believe that it prefers cooler weather. 

Impatiens sodenii 'La Vida Rosa'

The same thing can be said for this Bacopa. In summer I was constantly watering and fertilizing it and although it thanked me with pretty blooms, it didn't look nearly as nice as it does now! 

Bacopa 'Rosea'

I'm hoping the temps don't drop too low because these flowers really do help stave off the winter blues.

Bacopa 'Rosea'

This Abutilon is situated in a sheltered spot and continues to pump out blooms.


Check out this winter-blooming Clematis 'Freckles'! The weather hasn't discouraged it in the slightest!

Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurscens 'Freckles'

Aren't these the cutest flowers?

Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurscens 'Freckles'

Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurscens 'Freckles'

Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurscens 'Freckles'

I even trained a few of its stems to cling to this makeshift trellis thingy on my patio's ceiling.

Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurscens 'Freckles'

Another winter blooming Clematis is a species called urophylla. I think it is a bit more temperature-sensitive though because the blooms haven't opened. They just sit there teasing. Yes. It has really gorgeous foliage too!

Clematis aff. urophylla

These tough, easy to grow Daphne are the best! They bloom almost continually and seem to be impervious to the temperatures.

Daphne transylvanica 'Summer Ice'

The one drawback, however, is that they don't really have much fragrance when the temps are in the 30s or 40s. 

Daphne transylvanica 'Eternal Fragrance'

Daphne transylvanica 'Eternal Fragrance'

The Mexican Orange has also been blooming off and on since early fall.

Choisya ternata (Mexican Orange)

Choisya ternata  (Mexican Orange)

This little Callirhoe flower is a pleasant anomaly. 

Callihroe involucrata var. tenuissima

Neil Bell is happy and that is good  because I don't have a hummingbird feeder proper. Just flowers like these for the hummers.

Grevillea 'Neil Bell'

Reliable both in its winter-blooming and in its inability to photograph well, (Okay, maybe it's the photographer.) this Viburnum has a few blooms and tons of buds. Clematis 'Freckles' clamors up its mossy branches.

Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn'

Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn'

Here's another tender plant that I have been covering with a blanket. I really hope I'm successful in keeping it alive.

Anisodontea x 'Tara's Pink'

Reseeders like this Feverfew are tougher than they look!

Tanacetum parthenium aureum

There is an interesting story about how I came by the rosebush (below) but I won't share it here. Suffice it to say that it is a winner! I've moved it around so many times and it still rewards me with this... even in December!

Rosa 'Adelaide Hoodless'

Rosa 'Adelaide Hoodless'

Who doesn't love a tough and long blooming Penstemon?

Penstemon 'Garnet'

Speaking of tough, my Gardenia apparently didn't get the winter commencement memo and is trying to bloom!  See that fat, white bud there?

Gardenia 'Frostproof'

A few surprise blooms on this Armeria too. 

Armeria juniperfolius

And check out my Sarracenia. I know you're supposed to cut them back, but why?

Saracenia sp.

Sarracenia sp.

I'm going to have tons of baby Nicotiana seedlings next year. This plant is a blooming fool!

Nicotiana 'Mutabilis'

 I was surprised the Crinum wasn't killed back by the cold.

Crinum x powelli

Seriously, I'm not kidding. The cold weather is preserving these Clematis blossoms. They've looked like this for over a week. 

Clematis viticella 'Venosa Violacea'

More hummingbird food!

Mahonia x media 'Charity'

And this:

Arbutus enedo 'Compacata'

And lastly, I was so happy today when I saw tiny flowers appearing AGAIN on this Osmanthus. This is another plant that blooms intermittently throughout the year and it's quickly becoming a favorite. Hopefully the weather will allow me to get a whiff of its fragrance.

Osmanthus fragrans aurantiacus 'Apricolt Echo'

Winter foliage:

Hebe albicans 'Pink Elephant'

Hebe albicans 'Pink Elephant'

This Geranium, so far so great!

Geranium harveyi

With a Japanese maple towering above my patio, you can see what I have to contend with every November.


Pathway leaves!

Patio leaves!

Most of the leaves are now where they belong, in the beds where they will break down and feed the soil and its critters. 

Patio leaves gone!

That's the update for now. Keep warm, peeps. Spring is right around the corner.


  1. So much to see in your garden! How old is your Daphne 'Eternal Fragrance'? I am curious to see how large it will get. Your Osmanthus is fantastic, glad you got some blooms. That Clematis urophylla - our very large, old specimen at Joy Creek blooms in January usually and is quite the show-stopper. Definitely on my wish list. Thanks for the tour, Grace!

  2. You certainly have a lot going on in your winter garden, Grace! Even here in warmer SoCal, I don't think I have as much variety of plants in bloom. Roses in December! I love that Hebe too.

  3. Wow you have so many things still thriving there. It has been colder here but around 32+ So nothing has really frozen yet. I love the Freckles Clematis. That is so cute. I have a few things still blooming though. We have a major wind/rain storm here now so probably nothing left after that.(-: Merry Christmas!!!

  4. No fog so far here thank goodness Grace but we have had a few sharp frosts. The flowers and foliage of 'Adelaide Hoodless' caught my eye. Will have to see if she's available on this side of the pond.

  5. Its so nice to see your garden still in bloom, while here in CT mine is resting under a blanket of snow.. Oh how I just love Daphne, the scent is one of my favorites.

  6. Love your late fall garden! Beautifully done.

  7. Love seeing all this Grace. It's fabulous--and inspiring. I need to get out there and get thinking.

  8. Love that Correa... and so many other lovelies, too. My banana looks far worse than yours. It succumbed to those chilly winds we had over a month ago. I always wonder if I should leave it, or cut it back. Leaning towards leaving it as is, for now. Like yours, my C. urophylla is covered in fat buds too. I really love that plant! Can't wait for it to bloom.

    I've been working on an article for an upcoming HPSO issue about aging in the garden. My friend and client Marian, whose garden the article is about, offered this kind of sage advice... She said "Choose only plants whose litter you can live with". Your Japanese maple is a case in point. I love that lush carpet of orange leaves. Makes me wish I had one.

  9. Happy New Year 2020
    I really like reading your blog :)


Thank you for being here! Your comments feed my soul.