I heard a bird sing in the dark of December
A magical thing, and sweet to remember
"We are nearer to Spring than we were in September,"
I heard a bird sing in the dark of December.
Everywhere in my garden there are signs that spring is coming, the light is returning. On Christmas eve, while I was walking through my parking strip to get to the car, the unmistakably sweet and clean fragrance of lonicera fragrantissima tickled my nose. What a delightful surprise.
Anne Lovejoy, one of my favorite garden writers had (and maybe still does?) a Christmas tradition of walking through her garden and bringing in a bouquet of whatever she found blooming there; a celebration of living in such a mild climate. I love the tradition but instead of picking flowers to bring in, I've decided to photograph them and some other interesting things from my garden this Christmas.
Walking down the sidewalk on the other side of the house, you can't miss the fragrance and cheery pink flowers of Viburnum x bodnantense 'Pink Dawn.'
Hellebores waking up for the season.
The tassels of Garrya elliptica are starting to lengthen
New growth on a peony whose old growth hasn't yet fully fallen.
Swelling buds on Camellia japonica.
Skimmia japonica will be adding sweet fragrance to the air along with Sarcococca confusa, daphne odora and the weedy but wonderful daphne laureola. These winter fragrances always remind me that the Northwest Flower and Garden Show is just around the corner.
Our autumn has been so mild that most of the leaves remain on the Stachyurus praecox. If I were not such a slacker, I'd go out and pull them off before these sweet buds which are covering the large shrub begin to open, they're much more dramatic on bare branches towering over the helleobores beneath.
On the other side of the same path is Stachyurus salicifolius with cooler foliage but smaller and, to my eye, less impressive blooms. Hopefully these will both be open for January bloom day and you can be the judge.
Speaking of mild weather (so far, may it continue for the rest of the year, knock on wood.) there are also some brave hangers on from summer.
This calla won't win any beauty pageants but can you believe it's still blooming at the end of December?
So the abutilons aren't so covered with bloom that you can barely see the leaves as they are in summer but the hummingbirds and I are sure thankful for the cheery orange color this time of the year.
Can you believe that Berberis 'Orange Rocket' is still holding on to a few leaves?
This lobeila is quite a surprise as I've never planted it in my current garden. It seems quite happy climbing through Yucca 'Bright Star' though.
Love this yucca!
Bright stems of Persicaria 'Red Dragon' looking especially cheerful.
Have I mentioned lately how much I adore Pernettya mucronata?
Chief Joseph Lodgepole Pine. Joey gets more yellow each day!
Doesn't everyone love lichen growing on the fence? No? Just me?
And last but not least, the brightest plant growing in my garden right now is this screaming orange slime. It looks especially bright growing on this blue gate.
The spring is a coming,
The sun is a rising,
The earth is a singing,
It's Christmas Morn.