December Blooms, For the Record

IMG_6391There was a time when I would have considered myself rather negligent not posting several times a week or keeping up with my favourite blogs as soon as a new post appears – and not posting for popular memes would be unheard of! I was aware of the December Garden Bloggers Blooms Day when somebody else posted – but did I have time to take Blooms Day photos? or write a post? or see what was blooming in other bloggers’ gardens? No I did not. Did it trouble me that I hadn’t? No it did not.

For the first two years of blogging I posted every day but then made a conscious effort to post less frequently as it was taking up such a lot of time because I was interacting with so many more people. It was hard to wean myself off daily posting, but I managed it, and perhaps this is the next step, posting because there is something I want to say and not because I feel I ought to.

Regardless of any memes, I wanted the blog to be a record of the garden from year to year, so recording monthly views and noting what is in flower at different times will always be an integral part. In future years we can then look back and marvel at what was blooming in this exceptionally mild December here in the UK, like this pot of lavender (‘Little Bee Purple’) outside the sitooterie – which leaves me with the dilemma of whether to trim it back. The same dilemma surrounds the still very fresh and leafy Diascia personata and various penstemon.

Various roses are still hanging on, like a perfect ‘Madame Alfred Carrière’ against a temporarily blue sky, one of several ‘Queen Mother’ blooms, one of a dozen or more promising buds on ‘The Poet’s Wife’, and an out-of-focus bud on ‘Munstead Wood’, moved from its large pot to the shrub border:

GBBD.Dec15.3Some blooms seem to appear sporadically throughout the year, like bidens and especially this comfrey which is rarely not in flower:

GBBD.Dec15.2The native primrose also flowers in its own time but peaks in spring with its brightly coloured cousins tending to appear in early spring too, but here they are in December, tempting the local wildlife:

GBBD.Dec15.4The usual winter flowering sarcococca and honeysuckle are a little early too – providing the first whiff of fragrance as I rambled today:

GBBD.Dec15IMG_6371Most obviously early are the special snowdrops, green spikes appearing several weeks earlier than normally expected, and I have been out with a revised snowdrop map ticking them off as they emerge – sadly not yet near enough 100% for my liking but unfortunately that’s something snowdrop lovers have to learn to live with. ‘Faringdon Double’ is the only one to have fully opened yet, but ‘Mrs Macnamara’ (right) is nearly there.

Several of the hellebores are close to blooming too, with ‘Harvington Double White’ far more advanced than the supposedly earlier flowering H niger ‘Christmas Carol’, and H ‘Ellen Picotee’ full of pink promises:

GBBD.DEc15.5Absolute stars this month though are the first of the witch hazels, also a few weeks earlier than might be expected – Hamamelis ‘Orange Peel’, ‘Jelena’ and ‘Magic Fire’ are all in full flower (below).  Alarmingly, the first specks of colour on ‘Ruby Glow’ appear to be yellow rather than the – um – glowing red they should be…watch out for an update in due course!

GBBD.Dec15.6A very strange December indeed, with temperatures up to the mid teens and the mild days providing ideal gardening conditions if only other things hadn’t been getting in the way – hey ho! Perhaps January will see the return of more seasonal weather and a chance to read all the blog posts I have missed recently…

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24 Responses to December Blooms, For the Record

  1. rusty duck says:

    Glad to hear more of the snowdrops are coming up now. Plants are fickle things.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes indeed, and despite their fickleness I would rather spend my money on them than on all sorts of other things that don’t last

  2. rickii says:

    It’s that time of year when blogger burnout hits many of us. Too much going on, too many obligations. No worries: we are a forgiving lot. Just have a happy and joyous holiday season!

  3. If you trim your Spanish Lavender the first couple of years you have less problems with the base stems becoming woody and barren…I love Spanish Lavender, I always have it growing somewhere in the garden.

  4. Pauline says:

    At this time of year everything is more important than blogging! The garden has to take a back seat for a few weeks but soon we will be into January and snowdrops once more.
    You have lots of lovely flowers which makes it worth while having a wander, these flowers are so precious.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Pauline – just feels a little odd not to be missing it when I do blog less 😉 And yes, always good to have a ramble and see what’s new!

  5. I live with a daily blogger, it takes up all his day almost, therefore I am frequently involved and spend a fair amount of time avoiding the camera lens on outings, and waiting around while several million photos are taken.I am also aware that any outing has to be over in time for the blogger to blog, hopefully before midnight! On occasion I have dared to suggest that perhaps a blog every other day would suffice or possibly once a week, the response is nothing short of shock and horror at the very thought! And so I applaud your decision to wean yourself off the ‘dailys’ learn to live again, and I will enjoy your outpourings just as much when you are moved to bless us.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for such an interesting comment, Jackie – so unusual to hear the point of view of someone who lives with a blogger, especially a daily one. It was when I realised at the 2 year or so mark that the blog was controlling me and not the other way round that I knew I had to cut down – especially as blogging was only one of the things I fill my retirement with! Post-Christmas I may be back to a few times a week , but only if there is something I feel motivated to say (or ‘pour out’ as you call it!). Thanks for your support

  6. Lavander, snowdrops, roses and hellebores in flower is just plain bonkers. It is 15 degrees here today. My thermals haven’t been needed yet. It is all very bizarre.
    Good for you not posting everyday. There is a whole world of other things to do with your free time.enjoy.

    • Cathy says:

      Bonkers indeed – and I have a huge roll of bubble wrap sitting in the house that I was going to use on the greenhouse but it may end up sitting inside all winter instead!

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    A lot happening in your garden…I vote to spare the lavender! 😉 Enjoy your holidays!

  8. What a lovely array of colour you have in your garden – and in December too! I am VERY jealous!

  9. Wonderful to see all your blooms…and like you I am weaning myself from have tos and memes for the sake of memes. I like to document the garden and my observations in nature. I have surprise blooms too this late in the month…even a few snowdrops up but not fully opened but with the warm weather this week, I bet they open!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Donna – yes, the snowdrops sometimes take ages to actually open outside, don’t they? Mrs Macnamara seems to have been in bud for weeks!

  10. Brian Skeys says:

    Plenty of seasonal colour in the garden Cathy. Does your French Lavendar survive a ‘normal’ winter outside?

  11. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Strange weather indeed! Your witch hazels are ahead of mine but everything else in your garden seems to be on the same schedule as my plants. Your words about weaning yourself from daily posting spoke to me. I’ve been wanting to slow down a bit but am afraid if I skip a day in my five post a week schedule, it’ll turn into two days then three and so on. Your bloom day post is welcome any time!

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