Boxing Day Roll Call

BoxDay1Helen at Patient Gardener posted a Boxing Day count of what was flowering in her garden yesterday, the third year she has done this and thus beginning to build up an annual comparison. Although I post on Garden Bloggers Blooms Day every month  it never includes everything that is flowering, even at the times of year when there is a paucity of blooms, so I was curious about what Boxing Day (or the day after, in truth) could muster. Excluding things only in bud (so no snowdrops or hellebores yet) or flowers closer to death than life (no ‘Rural England’) roses, the garden produced 18 different blooms.

We felt the effects of the UK’s wind last night and today, so no going up the ladder with the loppers as planned, and the gentler pursuit of photographing the 18 blooms was still hampered because of it – hence the hand steadying a clutch of ‘Pink Perpetué roses on the left and windswept Astrantia ‘Shaggy’ on the right, whilst the primroses in the middle clung to their niche between the rocks. Below, a flowerhead of Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ maintains its freshness, flowers of felicia look set to brave another winter in their exposed pot and a lone ‘Danse de Feu’ rose had me clambering on a chair to get close enough to do it justice.


Fatsia flowers are so easily overlooked particularly if, like ours, they flower above head height. None of the witch hazels have reached any great height yet but are establishing nicely and Hamamelis ‘Orange Peel’ is the first to follow up on its hint of colour by opening up its shreds. Delightful! Tucked under hellebore leaves in the woodland edge border is a bright pink cyclamen, the survivor of a batch of what must have been bedding cyclamen, not hardy enough to get through last winter.


It is odd that despite a certain prejudice against many yellow flowers I have some affection for bidens – grown from seed, there a number of these still in flower in their baskets and show no sign of giving up. The bright polyanthus were bought in and look a little less weather beaten than a few weeks ago – and keep producing new buds too. The large flowered bacopa on the right started as a tiny plug plant and has flowered its socks off for months, surrounded by dense dark green foliage – another that has earned its keep.

BoxDay4Below are the delicate looking but hardy flowers of Clematis ‘Jingle Bells’, followed by another dependable astrantia and a stray flower on a fairly ordinary hardy geranium.

BoxDay5It seems a bit like cheating to include bought-in pansies/violas, but perhaps it will remind me to have a go at sowing them from seed next year, not something I have done with pansies before but at least I could then choose exactly what colours I wanted. Finally, having rambled round the garden adding to the roster of blooms, I am back at the house and can finish with a plant that must have featured in every Blooms Day for months – that amazing Campanula poscharskyana ‘Lisduggan’. I wonder if it will be flowering on Boxing Day in 2014?


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17 Responses to Boxing Day Roll Call

  1. rusty duck says:

    Wow. That is quite incredible Cathy. I have a witch hazel, but my astrantias have long since degenerated into heaps of dead twigs.

  2. Helen says:

    Oh I forgot the Fatsia which makes it 13 for me. My witch hazel isn’t showing any sign of flowers although it flowered last year so I hope it will be ok. Glad you enjoyed the ‘challenge’

    • Cathy says:

      I am glad it’s not just me that forgets their fatsia! ‘Orange Shred’ is the only witch hazel of mine that is properly flowering but they are all further advanced than last year. Hopefully yours will be fine – the first ones I grew I lost as they were too dry where I had planted them so I am chuffed that their replacements are beginning to establish themselves. Thanks for the prompt to do a count

  3. croftgarden says:

    OK! I continue to impressed and it puts my my brave and resilient primroses in the “must try harder” corner. So what the secret – a retractable glass roof, under-soil heating or as I suspect a pact with Uncle Nick?
    In desperation, can I count Helleborous bocconei which has now stopped whispering and is flowering in the polytunnel?

    • Cathy says:

      Hmm, well, there’s no retractable glass roof nor under-soil heating, so I fear I may have inadvertently done the latter…. However, you know yourself that primroses can pop up at any time of year, even (and maybe particularly) in your relatively remote part of the UK, so perhaps he’s tricked the lot of us… Oh, and of course you can count your chattering H bocconei – and perhaps bring it into the croft temporarily to feature in a post on Monday?

  4. Annette says:

    I’m thoroughly impressed and wonder what I would find if I had a close enough look. Guess not as many flowers but then this garden has only been started. Violas, Campanula, Forsythia, Viburnum flower and others are about to so let’s hope the mild weather will continue. Ah, forgot Helleborus foetidus!

    • Cathy says:

      I know I didn’t expect it to add up as it did Annette, and the list did include some late flowering annuals and winter bedding plants – certainly if I didn’t ramble through it every day I am sure there would be things I would miss altogether. You’ve already got a good start on your list before you have had your ‘close look’, and I look forward to hearing what else you will add to it. Which campanula is it, by the way?

  5. Liz says:

    Hi Cathy,

    You seem to have plenty going on, I imagine the walls in your garden really help keep things blooming well into winter? I thought I had a relatively sheltered garden, but it would seem yours is far more so 🙂
    I can’t imagine I’d reach 18 blooms here, but there is plenty of green around…

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Liz – I was surprised the list was as long too. In fact the walls I built are only internal and the outer boundaries are fences or the 200+ year old hedge down the one side. The garden is completely enclosed by other gardens though (the land ownership is a real historical mish-mash!) and probably is relatively sheltered because of this, but it would still catch a north wind I think.

  6. Anna says:

    Your astrantia deserves a place in ‘The Guiness Book Of Records’ Cathy! Had to chuckle at Croftgarden’s comments 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      The astrantia still looks completely fresh too, not dried as they tend to do in time. Yes, Christine at Croft Garden always raises a chuckle with her pithy wit, and I sometimes struggle to give her equal pithiness in return! One of the reasons blogging gives me so much pleasure, Anna 🙂

  7. bittster says:

    Not bad! Some of those blooms look almost spring-ish. What can I say? We have almost had enough warmth to melt off the snow, but without its protection next years sprouts and shoots will have a tough time. Good for you that things are still coming along so well.
    ( I did see a few pansies fighting through the ice here so all is not bleak:)

    • Cathy says:

      If you just looked at the pictures they could look almost spring-ish, but in real life they are mostly only odd single blooms, other than the bidens and pansies – and the witch hazels which are adding new shreds every day. Enjoy those glimpses of your own pansies!

  8. Pingback: A Less Floriferous Boxing Day | Rambling in the Garden

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