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The mild Autumn is certainly causing some surprising combinations in the garden this December.  There are a number of flowers which seem to have been in flower for months and it is almost as though they have been frozen in time like Sleeping Beauty. Here we have Gladiolus callianthus which are putting on an excellent display at the top of the garden. They are a welcome surprise this year as I tipped a number of pots of bulbs out on to the top border as there was no sign of life and they had hardly flowered last year.  Then lo and behold lying on the top of the soil they started to grow and they have been wonderful for months.  They are meant to be moderately hardy but I think I will risk them outside over the winter and see how they get on.  I suspect as they come from the mountainous regions of Africa that they might be a bit hardier than we think especially if they have good drainage and don’t get too sodden.

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Salvia involucrata boutin has also been flowering for months and like the Gladiolus seems frozen in time.  The plant which is some 4 years old is huge now so I won’t be lifting it this year but am relying on cuttings and a thick mulch around roots.  I’m glad I decided not to lift it as it means I have enjoyed the flowers for a lot longer than normal.

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Alongside the hangers-on are the usual seasonal delights.  The number of shrubs, especially those that flower outside of Summer are increasing in my garden.  They often have small delicate flowers which come into their own when there isn’t much showy competition.  Here we have an Abelia, variety unknown, which is very popular with the pollinators when we have a sunny day.  I enjoy the combination of the pale flowers with the burgundy stems and calyx.

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The  Jasminum nudiflorum seemed to come into flower early last month and the flowers are just started to go over, no hanging around for them like the Gladiolus and Salvia.   I think this rain soaked bloom looks almost transparent in some lights.

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Euphorbia rigida, albeit a small and young plant, is already illuminating the front garden.  I really like the combination of the glaucous leaves and the acid green flowers.  Just behind this plant is Salvia armistad which I haven’t lifted and is still just about in flower and the deep blue/purple flowers contrast wonderfully from afar with the Euphorbia.

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Finally an unknown Primula.  There are a lot of primulas in my garden, with the numbers increasing year on year as I am a sucker for the Barnhaven Primrose website.  This one is a straight forward lilac Primula vulgaris and probably due for dividing in the Spring.  It is one of the first real spring flowers to open and makes me feel optimistic that Spring isn’t really that far away.  I have a couple of different snowdrops that are producing flowers but not open enough yet to include and the Iris unguicularis which I featured a few weeks ago is still producing flower after flower which is making me very happy after waiting for a few years for it to establish.

So those are my floral December highlights.  For more Garden Blogger Bloom Day posts visit May Dreams.

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