GBBD December 2015

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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.


15 Comments Add yours

  1. AnnetteM says:

    Lovely to see so many blooms. I love that Gladiolus callianthus and have tried to grow it up here. I have never managed more than a couple of flowers out of about a dozen bulbs. I have tried leaving it in the ground and tried lifting it. In the end I had to give up until we move somewhere warmer or maybe less damp. Actually, you have got me thinking, maybe I should just try a dryer position. Hmmmm – watch this space.

  2. Brian Skeys says:

    Plenty of colour still in your garden, Helen. I hope we don’t pay for this mild early winter weather with more harsh weather later on.

  3. The Gladiolus callianthus seemed to be everywhere when I visited England in September and shoppers were snapping up the bulbs at the autumn show/sale at RHS Wisley. If I can find some here in spring, I would like to give them a try in a pot on the front stoop where I have a couple hours of afternoon sun. I think they’re stunning.

  4. fhowey says:

    Jasminum nudiflorum and Abelia are blooming inside here under lights but Daphne mezereum alba and a California Poppy are flowering outside. Winter here in London Ontario has been unusually mild so far this year. Frances

    1. Yvonne Ryan says:

      Lots of little treasures. Fhowey – How do you grow inside? A conservatory? Or what. Seems a lot of work! Tell me about your ‘winter garden’ – how long winter – snow etc. So different than ours in Auckland NZ with semi tropical conditions, wet in winter down to 10 degrees cel. and warm and dry in summer only up to 27/29 here in Auckland as we are surrounded by sea and have cooling sea breezes. Being a narrow country and particularly in Auckland with two large harbours/ Gulf and two oceans, Pacific and Tasman sea we get windy storms. SW over winter (cold) and Northerly (warm) from tropics – so get tail end of cyclones and WET rain then. Low 20’s here at moment as been very cool and windy spring. Iast year I was swimming from October daily but not until mid Nov this year. Pool 25 deg with solar heating. Sea down the road a bit cooler but nice.

  5. Lea says:

    Beautiful blooms!
    Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day!
    Merry Christmas!

  6. You’ve got Euphorbia rigida already blooming…indeed crazy weather!

  7. rusty duck says:

    Now there’s a Gladiolus a girl can love!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Its very glamourous in an elegant way!

  8. I don’t know what to hope for over the winter – the mild weather is giving so many pleasant surprises, and some gardeners I know are saying we really need a frost!

  9. Diana Studer says:

    Abelia I fell in love with as a child in my mother’s garden.
    My little plant is just beginning to flower.

  10. Amazing and surprising bloom collection. Jasmine looks truly lovely in your photo. Hope we don’t pay for this later in the season.

  11. joturner57 says:

    Really enjoyed your post…Gladiolus calianthus has been a late summer favourite for a while now, but like you, mine didn’t amount to much this year, As you say, perhaps too wet at the wrong time. Also love S. Armistad, and S involucrata. Shall look forward to future posts, now that I’ve discovered your blog : )

  12. It has been an unusually good year in the garden and it looks as though the winter will be a bit warmer than normal (whatever normal is now)…I have lilacs in a sheltered part of the garden that appear to be in the early stages of the buds opening.

  13. fhowey says:

    Yvonne – these indoor plants are in my basement on shelves under gro lights. Our outdoor temperature today was 10 degrees celsius – no snow and no freezing yet – very unusual here at this time of year. I envy the plants you grow outside in Auckland – like Tibouchina , bottle brush plants and those flamboyant gingers – even your winter (our summer) is not very wintery by our standards. There are some “tropical” gardens here but the plants are usually wintered over in a commercial greenhouse. Frances

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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