For the last 4 years I have been counting the numbers of blooms in the garden on Boxing day, with the following results:
This year there are 28 (not including roses which are too wet and soggy to open or snowdrops still just in bud). It is always intriguing to compare from year to year and check back to see how different varieties have been performing – I was pleased, for example to have three witch hazels in bloom (Hamamelis ‘Orange Peel’ above, H ‘Jelena’ and H ‘Harry’ below), thinking they were quite prompt this year, only to be reminded that there were in fact seven of my little collection in bloom on Boxing Day in 2015 and six in 2016! Daily inspections of the not-as-yet-in-bloom ones take place, especially the new acquisition, looking for the tell-tale specks of colour which very quickly transform themselves into those lovely spidery flowers when a milder winter day comes along.
When I counted yesterday, assorted blooms in the garden were few: Viola ‘Cool Wave White’ and ‘Cool Wave Purple’ (seed grown)…
… rarely (sadly) pristine primrose and polyanthus…
… and occasional blooms of arabis, erigeron and campanula, barely justifying a mention…
Self-seeded Hellebore foetidus is the only hellebore evident and this seems to be fairly typical, whereas 2015’s bumper total saw seven in bloom on Boxing Day. The three winter flowering honeysuckles are all regular December bloomers but not the most attractive of shrubs and do not photograph well! Lonicera purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’ is shown below; L standishii ‘ Budapest and L fragrantissima are not. Also shown are two other regulars, Sarcococca humilis, not fully open, and always disappointingly sparse Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’
Adding a bit of brightness, but tucked away in the greenhouse/sitooterie, are overwintering Salvia ‘Amistad’, an unnamed pelargonium and fragrant leaved Pelargonium ‘Lavender Lindy’:
I could easily ignore this little heather because it only owes its place in the garden to the fact it was a gift, but it is flowering so should be included, and a sprig would not go amiss in a tiny Monday vase, I guess.
Bringing up the rear of the Boxing Day Bloom cavalcade are the snowdrops, and although there are a record 6 varieties in flower and a further 6 or so in bud (Galanthus ‘Mrs Macnamara’ and ‘Godfrey Owen’ shown below, what is even more unusual is the fact that more than half of my 70-ish named varieties have pushed their green spikes above ground already, usually not seen till well into January. It is certainly the snowdrops that have boosted 2017’s Boxing Day total.
As with other blogging memes I engage in, I find this a helpful record of the garden from year to year or month to month. Other bloggers make similar records – Chloris of The Blooming Garden records her starring blooms each month as well as Christmas Day blooms which are picked and shown off in some of her pretty vases, whereas Helen the Patient Gardener also does a Boxing Day count. Do visit their blogs too and see what is blooming in their gardens in late December.