Boxing Day Blooms and an Apology

For the eighth time, I have made a count of what is blooming in the garden on Boxing Day or thereabouts, always an interesting exercise and one that highlights the differences in winter from year to year. Not surprisingly, with the relative mildness of this winter so far, the 2020 count is one of the highest.

Starting with snowdrops, two thirds of my ‘special’ named varieties are already poking above ground, the highest number ever at this stage with 6 currently in flower: Faringdon Double, Fieldgate Prelude, Gabriel, Three Ships, Snow Fox and Peter Gatehouse (above). I am only including this one photo, with Peter’s distinctive long slim pedicels, because unless fully open on a sunny mild day the others are little more than white blobs with no clear distinguishing marks. Elsewhere, the common snowdrops are emerging too, a sight not usually seen at Christmas.

There is invariably at least one witch hazel sporting blooms on Boxing Day; this year there are two in full bloom, two with a fair sprinkling of blooms and the first sign of colour on a couple of others. Below we have from left to right Hamamelis ‘Orange Peel’, ‘Diane’ and ‘Magic Fire’, with ‘Jelena’ in the two lower pictures. When Orange Peel first came into bloom this year I found myself thinking it may be my new favourite – until Jelena bloomed and I fell head over heels in love with her abundance all over again!

Fragrant and reliable stalwarts of the winter garden are winter honeysuckle, viburnum and sarcococca, all tough to photograph successfully with a compact autofocus camera – clockwise from top left Lonicera ‘Budapest’, Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, Lonicera ‘Winter Beauty’, Sarcococca (humilis?). The distinctive hint of pink on Budapest is still noticeable despite the poor quality photo.

Hellebores seem to vary considerably in their flowering period but invariably no more than a few would have begun flowering in December. This year there a number in bud, but it can take weeks to go from bud to bloom, so I have only included those with open flowers. Clockwise from top left  H foetidus, Anja Oudolf, Double White Ellen Spotted, White Beauty:

In flower for far more months than not are comfrey Symphytum ‘Hidcote Blue’, Campanula portenschlagiana and fleabane Erigeron karvinskianus:

And a special mention must go to equally long flowering Erodium manescavii which is just about hanging on:

Bedding plants to brighten the winter months are violas and the cultivated form of Bellis perennis. Along with two different bright blends of viola from Aldi are seed sown ‘Cool Wave White’ and ‘Cool Wave Frost’. Germination of the latter two was really poor this year and the resultant few plants have not yet been planted out.

Elsewhere in the garden is Salvia ‘Amistad’ (will it overwinter this year?)…

Several blooms on Rosa ‘Nathalie Nypels’ and the odd few on ‘Mme Alfred Carrière’…

Primroses here and there…

Chrysanthemum ‘Clara Curtis’…

Keeping dry in the Coop are pots of cyclamen and fantasy Chrysanthemums ‘Kiyomi No Meisui’ and ‘Salhouse Joy’…

And finally, nearly forgetting they are flowers, are catkins of silver birch and twisted hazel Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’…

That makes 37, equalling the total for 2015:

2013 18
2016 14
2017 28
2018 16
2019 18
2020 37

And the apology? So many of you were concerned that I should only be offering Santa cold tea on Christmas Eve that I have become a victim of my own honesty – if I had just called it ‘sherry’ instead of the cold tea it was meant to represent then I might have got away with it! But now we have another problem: when Tony was informed that the carrot was for Rudolph he quite rightly asked about the other reindeer, so not only did I fob Santa off with cold tea but his posse of reindeer has been having to fight over one measly carrot between them for all these years! Perhaps not surprisingly the cold tea and the single carrot were ignored, but the mince pie had gone by the morning and it must have been especially nice as there were some presents left under the tree. Nevertheless, an apology to Santa and his team is still in order – sorry... 🙄

This entry was posted in Boxing Day blooms, Christmas, Garden Bloggers Blooms Day, Gardening, Gardens, Winter. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Boxing Day Blooms and an Apology

  1. johnvic8 says:

    I would have to say you have a bloomiferous garden. Wow. Have a safe and delightful new year. My best to you and The Golfer. A hole in one, perhaps?

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks John, and best wishes to you both as well. I shall mention your suggestion to the Golfer – the course has been closed a few times recently because it was waterlogged, but it’s still 2020!

  2. pbmgarden says:

    Cathy, you have an impressive number of flowers for this time of year. Hope your Christmas was jolly. The witch hazels are amazing.

  3. Paddy Tobin says:

    It’s good to have the snowdrops and other things in flower at this time of year!

  4. tonytomeo says:

    What?! They probably just left the single carrot in a stocking hung over the fireplace next door, along with a lump of coal.

  5. susurrus says:

    Your apology made me laugh!

  6. Alicia says:

    So many flowers in bloom in mid-winter! I love ‘Jelena’ too. She isn’t in my garden but a yellow flowered seedling of hers is and it’s delightfully fragrant. Winter honeysuckle is a great plant too.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes indeed there is, Alicia. Most of my witch hazels have no discernable fragrance outside unless it is a very mild and sunny day (which of course is rare in winter!), but some will be noticeable if cut and brought inside.

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    Your best year yet! Love the Hamamelis, Violas and frilly mums especially.
    I think Santa will forgive you, after visiting millions of homes, I expect he was pretty well fed. 😉

  8. Anna says:

    It’s certainly early in the land of snowdrops this year Cathy. Your Aldi violas are both beauties as is helleborus ‘Anja Oudolf’ . I did think that was a rather generous glass of sherry and was wondering how Santa was going to steer his sleigh after consuming it.

    • Cathy says:

      Indeed, although even with two thirds energing that means there are a lot still unaccounted for – but there’s no reason to suspect the majority are not going to emerge in due course. Now, querying a drink drive rule for Santa is most definitely a good reason for offereing him cold tea instead of sherry!! 😉

  9. Heyjude says:

    Impressive number of blooms! And don’t worry about the carrots, the reindeer will have had their fill by the time they reached the UK, my Aussie grandsons had a huge pile of them in their house! And a glass of milk! Milk? What’s that all about?

    • Cathy says:

      Well, that’s a relief about the carrots, Jude! Younger Daughter put milk out too, so perhaps it is something else that has crept in from America

  10. Kris P says:

    I’m envious of those witch hazels and the early hellebore blooms. Your apology to Santa and his reindeer was wonderful.

    • Cathy says:

      Being able to grow and witch hazels and hellebores more than makes up for the beauties we see on your blog that we can’t grow here 😊

  11. Chloris says:

    I enjoyed your Boxing Day blooms Cathy. I love the way witch hazel and hellebores start at different times so the enjoyment is spread over a long period. It is amazing how it changes from year to year. Last year the winter aconites were in bloom on Boxing Day. You have a fine collection of early snowdrops.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Chloris – yes, my witch hazels as a whole are definitely not as far on this year as last. I still forget how stunning they can be when in full bloom…

  12. the running wave says:

    Crikey! What a fantastic array of flowers blooming in your garden at Christmas! Absolutely beautiful – varied, fragrant, colourful, joyous. What better present can you ask for at this time of year! Just lovely. Thank you for sharing these beauties with us Cathy. I hope you have had a happy Christmastime, and very soon we will be ushering a new year – thank goodness – so let’s hope it is an improvement on 2020! Amanda

    • Cathy says:

      It never ceases to amaze me how many blooms there can be, Amanda, and although I have worked to make sure there are a lot of winter flowering plants, it is the lingerers and the early spring flowers that are the most surprising

  13. Cathy your garden is full of wonderful and divine flowers this time of year, it is fantastic. I especially love snowdrops, witch hazel, hellebores, violas, bellis perennis, primroses and catkins – they are all wonderful. I love all the flowers in your garden. I am very funny about the apology to Santa Claus: he has forgiven you because he has left you gifts under the tree 😀 !!! Cathy wish you and the golfer a Happy New Year 2021. Have a better year. Take good care of both of you. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      Flowers over winter are are a special joy, Margarita, and it is good to share them with others. My best wishes to you and your mother for a better 2021

  14. That is quite an impressive assortment of blooms! Wow! Oh, I so love hellebores, but unitl we build our house next year and I can somehow keep them away from my curious dog, I am going to have to wait. And thanks for the giggle with your apology. 🙂

  15. Cathy says:

    What a floriferous Boxing Day garden! The witchhazels are wonderful, and your hellebores too, especially the spotted one. I am sure the reindeer will forgive you… they probably have to eat some of the mince pies that Father Christmas can’t manage! 😉

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, and it is merely a taster of what is to come, Cathy! I am surprised Santa and his team ever make it all round the world if they take advantage of all the edible gifts left for them…

  16. Pádraig says:

    Winter is about looking for the little things to add cheerfulness, and you’ve got a multitude, Cathy. Such a great idea to do a headcount. Yes, every year is different! Beir bua, a chara.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, thank you Padraig, planning for winter colour and fragrance means there is always something of interest to find in the garden, whatever the season

  17. Brian Skeys says:

    You were saving Kevin the carrot Cathy and the cold tea could have been fortified with something seasonal.

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