Tuesday, December 25, 2012

From the garden on Christmas Day

The venerable tradition of keeping tabs on what is in bloom in the garden on Christmas Day and New Year's Day is one I enthusiastically observe. The climate here, especially in the past, was not always supportive of this; but recent years have been so mild that local gardeners are turning in the sort of lists which in the past we thought were unlikely outside of the milder parts of England. 

I have my favorites among winter flowering plants, and one in particular, the Algerian iris, makes me feel that we are really in the running in the pursuit of this sport. And by "we" I mean those of us in the greater Washington, D.C. area. Many of us tried to grow this plant in the past, and few if any of us saw flowers. The developing buds evidently freeze readily, and although the plants survived from year to year, the flowers did not develop properly. But recent winters have been different, and it's a real pleasure to see it blooming each year now. That's it center right in the image above. 

The image above does not give the full roll call of today's garden: I had cut some Helleborus foetidus for this group, but they got lost along the way and I did not notice their absence until the images had been made. Winter honeysuckle has buds today but no open flowers. Helleborus niger, the Christmas rose, is in advanced bud only. 

Here's what's in the group above: how many can you pick out? Look for these: Camellia sasanqua, Jasminum nudiflorum, Iris unguicularis, rose hips, Narcissus tazetta, Chimonanthus praeox 'Luteus', Adiantum venustum, Adiantum capillus-veneris, Skimmia "Brookside", Ruscus aculeatus, Smilax smallii, Smilax laurifolia, Arum italicum, Galanthus elwesii, Rosa 'Safrano', Iris foetidissima, Hedera helix 'Manda's Crested', Viola walteri, Cyclamen persicum, garden hellebores and (mostly hidden) a leaf of Fatsia japonica.  

Merry Christmas!


ChrisU said...

Good job Jim, and Merry Christmas to you!

McWort said...

Thanks, Chris. I'll bet your Florida garden could easily put this little array to shame! Hope you're enjoying both of your gardens now.

John said...

Great collection! It's given me some thoughts for the future. I'm in Frederick, just a little colder to your north and the Algerian Iris has yet to show buds this year (last year it flowered on Dec 1st), but our Helleborus 'Jacob's have been in full flower. Oddly enough a double flowered Camellia japonica that I brought back on my lap from California years ago has been flowering up a storm, outshining the sasanquas.

McWort said...

John in Frederick? I think I recently stumbled on a blog - a nice one - by a John in Frederick. Is that you?

John said...

Well, could be. I'm not the only John in Frederick, but maybe the only one blogging about gardens at MacGardens for the last 4 years. I've been watching your postings for a long time, but even more so since I joined the PBS this fall. I'm having a blast with figuring out how to use my new greenhouse — I figure it's got to include growing some tender bulbs from seed. I've already looked over your postings on the cold frame in particular.

McWort said...

I'm not a greenhouse person. But I've long been intrigued by the UK tradition of alpine houses. By now I think I understand why they have not caught on over here. If I can make it happen, the next big step for me is going to be a hybrid between an alpine house and a pit house. Cold frames are great and I've learned a lot from them; but they are small. Here's a link to a cold frame post I did years ago - it might help nudge you in that direction: http://www.jimmckenney.com/a_protected_cold_frame.htm