A Few Boxing Day Blooms

For the last 4 years I have been counting the numbers of blooms in the garden on Boxing day, with the following results:
2013 18
2014 28
2015  37
2016 14

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.

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24 Responses to A Few Boxing Day Blooms

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Amazing that you have blooms this time of year. No blooms here. We just have snow, ice and cold. Only 9°F but not complaining, it is winter and the sun is shining. I will have to pop around and get some blooms to fill this cold void.

  2. Christina says:

    I was hoping to join in with a Boxing Day list here but we had friends for lunch which left no time and today the weather is atrocious, I haven’t put my nose outside the door. Hopefully tomorrow. It is a fun thing to do.

    • Cathy says:

      The variation from year to year is intriguing – 2015 was a very mild winter and 2016/2017 have been quite similar so far but the early snowdrops are a new feature altogether

      • Christina says:

        As I may have mentioned my ordinary snowdrops began flowering at the end of November. I don’t think that is usual even here. It is only their second year so I don’t have much to go on for what is normal

  3. tonytomeo says:

    More snowdrops! They seem to be quite the rage.

  4. Chloris says:

    A great total and look at your wonderful witch hazels out. Mine aren’t in bloom yet. But I forgot to look at Orange Peel, I must check tomorrow. Yours is lovely; they all are. What a pleasure it must be checking your fabulous collection every day and watching them unfold.

    • Cathy says:

      It is such an interesting activity to do and always throws up some surprises. The witch hazels change from hint of colour to fully out so quickly when temperatures rise – Jelena was a mass of colour soon after the photo was taken. I look forward to seeing yours soon!

  5. Cathy is great to keep track of the flowering plants on St. Stephen’s Day. I’m glad you have flowers. I live now in Madrid, but I assure you that in my country house with the cold and the snow, there is not a single flower. Greetings from Margarita.

  6. Loving the Witch Hazel..

  7. Alison C says:

    You found quite a collection then, in spite of the cold soggy weather. So good to see the Witch Hazels and the snowdrops popping up.

  8. Anna says:

    Oh ‘Orange Peel’ is a beauty Cathy. It’s intriguing to compare openings year by year. I did a Christmas Day morning count of snowdrops in the greenhouse where there were eight varieties that I can identify fully open, but nearly all the others are either at the point of opening or are showing white. I’ve never known them to be so advanced. ‘Godfey Owen’ is a mass of leaves but not single flower so will have to divide him this summer. There are none open in the garden although ‘Farringdon Double’ has already been and gone.

    • Cathy says:

      It’s an excitibg time, isn’t it? I did another comprehebsive check and about two thirds of mine are coming through with lots in bud – always a relief to see! I am awaiting news of Avon Bulbs opening their snowdrop list so I can spend my birthday voucher… 😉

  9. Helen Johnstone says:

    I have less this year than last although today I cleared and cut back a load of pyracantha that had been blown over by the snow the other week and I discovered flowering quince, flowering and a red salvia still in flower which means I actually have one more than last year – just

    • Cathy says:

      Salvias are amazing in their flowering capacity, aren’t they? Is this red one pretty hardy, or could it still succumb to cold and wet? Must check out my flowering quince..!

      • Helen Johnstone says:

        I don’t know which variety the red one is, I think I got it from an HPS plant stall so we will see.

  10. Joanna says:

    It must be so wonderful to have all those blooms this time of year! I love hellebores, and the pansies and primroses! It’s so cold here right now, but I do still have a few paperwhites on my windowsill. 🙂

  11. Cathy says:

    Wonderful list – and wonderful witch hazels! Looking forward to the snowdrop festival!

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