Well, this post is two days late as the holidays have kept me busy, but it seemed a shame not to go ahead and post for December's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Not surprisingly, given the mild weather, there is plenty to choose from!
Most of the bloom is from long-flowering plants enjoying the cool temperatures, not to mention a bit of much-appreciated moisture. (A little more would be even more appreciated!) I have put in only a few cool-season bedding annuals so far. The most noticeable are certainly the pelargoniums, scarlet and coral, very standard hortatum types, though the coral one has pretty burgundy foliage. Much as I would like to consider these perennial, the summers are a little much for them so they are put in their spots in autumn and should do well until really hot weather hits next May or June.
Similarly, autumn-planted chrysanthemums, in bronze and yellow, are finally showing some nice bloom.
My seeded and self-seeded annuals are coming up in the borders, but they are nowhere near blooming stage yet. I expect rapid growth and bloom once the coldest weather is over. Cerinthe is furthest along and has already formed handsome silver rosettes.
Bulbs are showing here and there; more bloom has been supplied by Rhodophiala bifida, which is making a good stand for its first season.
For some plants this is the beginning of the main bloom season. This includes Calliandra californica (unfortunately no picture), as well as Justicia californica...
...and an assortment of Salvia greggi types.
On the other hand, summer-flowering Hamelia patens is still supplying some bloom as well, even in December.
And then there are the stalwarts which appear in almost every bloom day post.
It looks like Cuphea ignea "Vermillionaire" may be turning into one of the old reliables.
Also deserving a place in this category is Eremophila hygrophana, and perhaps even Catharanthus roseus in front of it. I expected cooler temperatures to take the latter off. Lantanas and Ruellia have had their blossoms crisped by several nights in the 30s (+/-3 C), but the Catharanthus remains unfazed. Perhaps a drop all the way to freezing will do it, but we haven't had that yet this winter. Meantime, it remains an excellent source of color.
And with moister weather, Leucophyllum frutescens has had a regular sprinkling of blooms for weeks, though no heavy flowering.
Then there are the roses. At the lower corners of the Central Bed, William Shakespeare 2000 and The Alnwick Rose have bloomed strongly this month. Sadly, the luscious crimson flowers of WS often brown before fully opening; I'm not sure why as it can't be from too much water! It certainly keeps putting out blooms. No such disfigurement occurs on The Alnwick Rose, which is proving one of the best for this garden.
There have been only occasional blooms from the larger shrubs in the Rose Border, among them James Galway and, more recently, The Generous Gardener, looking very autumnal in the photo.
The hybrid tea "Sterling Silver" has another flush of buds; it has proven quite floriferous in this garden. And the miniatures are doing well, with the best bloom at the moment from the pink and cream mini.
Lastly, a "Tuesday View" which I was unable to post in turn this week, showing the plumes of grasses Muhlenbergia capillaris "Regal Mist" and Pennisetum setaceum rubrum in the South Border.
Temperatures have dropped a good deal today, but it appears we are still expecting them to remain well above freezing. I expect the plants to continue blooming about like this until we do get cold weather, when the tropicals, such as Hamelia and Catharanthus, will surely be over for the season, and narcissus and other spring bulbs may decide to think about flowering.
Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this monthly look at what is blooming in gardens around the world!
Weather Diary: Light haze; High: 59 F (15 C)/Low: 45 F (7 C); Humidity: 17%-68%
Cathy (Sunday, 18 December 2016 07:46)
Lovely - especially the Tuesday View!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Sunday, 18 December 2016 09:47)
Thanks so much, Cathy! I had all the pics ready, but just couldn't manage to put a post together :/ I'm hoping to start again after the holidays! Though nothing is changing much in that border at the moment... ;-)
danger garden (Sunday, 18 December 2016)
Lots of beauty here, I especially enjoy seeing the Gaura, and must remember to plant it in my front garden come spring.
Kris P (Sunday, 18 December 2016 19:12)
Your winter garden is really coming into its own, Amy. Your Cuphea and Eremophila are both much more robust than mine and I think you must have the ideal climate for Catharanthus - mine have done me the service of not dying but I can't say much more about their performance here.
Andrea (Sunday, 18 December 2016 22:36)
It's great you have blooms and colors despite the winter. Now i am searching, i always forget which country is Sonoran dessert located, hehe!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Sunday, 18 December 2016 23:32)
Loree - Thank you :) I can't praise Gaura enough - other than the fact that rabbits decimated my second one... which is now making a comeback - very sturdy plant!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Sunday, 18 December 2016 23:38)
Kris - I'm surprised about the Catharanthus. Mine are in soils ranging from gravelly to a bit heavy... The lavender-colored ones have been more robust than the magenta and white ones for me. They are tropicals and there's no doubt they like the hot weather, but you got plenty of that this year!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Sunday, 18 December 2016 23:44)
Andrea - Thanks for stopping by :) No wonder you can't remember which country - the Sonoran Desert is in both the US and Mexico! My bit of it is in Arizona, just northwest of Phoenix, so this is the colder end of a hot desert...! For us, this is a good period for flowers; summer is the hard time, when temperatures soar and humidity goes down to single digits and there is no significant rain for four to eight months - most plants have a hard time, even desert natives. But autumn, winter, and spring are lovely!