Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Searching for Life on the Darkest Day

Many gardeners survey their gardens for signs of life on the winter solstice.  I decided to join them on the twenty first and look for signs of life on the shortest day. In our climate, there's always something happening in the garden but things slow down a bit during the cooler months.We had some sub freezing temperatures earlier in the month but there was not much damage. With winter just starting, colder temperatures are possible although the weather prognosticators are talking about warmer than usual temperatures.  Time will tell.   Anyway, here's a bit of what caught my eye on the shortest day, a mash-up of leftovers from summer, evergreens, and new blooms.

First blooms of Kerria japonica 

Still a few autumn leaves clinging to the Corylus avellana 'Contorta' while the catkins grow a bit longer. 

The buds of this yucca drooped during the cold snap but now are mostly upright again.  Will it bloom?

Loving this foliage!

Pineapple sage didn't get the memo that it's winter. 

Hellebores will be in bloom soon. 

 They're coming up through organic mulch, not a lazy gardener's leaf litter.

Colchicum are popping their heads up  as are the snowdrops and iris reticulata. 

Viburnum × bodnantense 'Dawn' continues to perfume the air all winter. 

Random shot of one of the front parking strips. 

Garrya doing it's winter thing. 

Rhododendron 'Super Flimmer' Love that variegated foliage!

Of course, the hardy cyclamen foliage is a one of the delights of our winter gardens. 

Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata' is supposedly hardy to zone 8 but it's always come in for the winter before.   Time will tell. 

Jasminum nudiflorum

Buds are erect on many of the Tetrapanax bu most of the leaves have fallen.  I doubt they'll open during the winter.  Do you suppose they might hold on until spring?

Euonymus europaeus 'Red Ace' hangers on.

 Dried rose hip, bloom, and leaf buds waiting for spring to burst forth.

Hebe something or other with cool pink winter color. 

Lonicera fragrantissima just starting it's bloom season.  

Abutilon megapotamicum doesn't look like it's ready for a rest yet. 
Like the abutilon, I would be happy to skip right to spring.  Must remember how lucky I am to live in this mild winter area.  Back home in Alaska, things are frozen and will be covered in snow until spring.  Are you finding signs of spring in your garden this winter?


  1. I enjoy seeing what's blooming in your garden. You remind me to go out on January 1, the day I traditionally go out with camera in hand, to see what's blooming.

  2. I go out every weekend searching for changes in the garden. With each bit of discovery I squeal with joy (on the inside of course). Hellebores are covered with buds, especially the stinky one. Gorgeous leaf carpet of hardy cyclamen and the Mahonia ready to start blooming... there's lot to look forward to.
    The pineapple sage, isn't that suppose to be an annual? Just goes to show you how warm winter has been so far.

  3. What a great tradition, perhaps I'll remember to join in next winter solstice.

  4. I haven't been out lately to see what's showing signs of life in the garden. I've caught a little Christmas cold and the cough is racking me with spasms, and of course cold air does that no good. Your winter jasmine always shows flowers long before mine, mine doesn't even have leaves right now. It was wonderful seeing through your lens what's lush and flowering in your garden.

  5. All those things pushing up through the ground! I can hardly wait until it happens here.

  6. I love the Hebe something-or-other and the Garrya. My Garrya, still alive, is also still only about 6 inches tall. I don't think it likes my garden but I'm not giving up on it yet...

  7. You have lots of attractive foliage to carry you over the winter, Peter. As you know, there isn't much happening in my zone 5 garden except holly berries and various evergreens. Three months to go!

  8. We're having a mild winter so far, too--for us. Highs near 50 today, thunder, and lots of rain. But way too cold, most days, for blooms. Thanks for sharing your signs of life on the darkest day. I really enjoyed the picture of the rose in all its forms.

  9. We're about the same as you Peter,everything is waking up and starting to flower as winter has been relatively warm so far. First snowdrops and narcissus are flowering, hellebores now have plenty of buds, they will soon open up and Choysia and Vibernums are looking beautiful, with Daphne soon to start flowering too. Thank you for sharing yours.

  10. It's that time of the year when even the suggestion of the future is enough to tempt you out into the garden rooting around for shoots. I looked up from my travels to see the whole family laughing at me on Christmas Day from the dining room. You've got a lot showing even now!

  11. There is still so much to enjoy in the winter garden as your photos prove. I am not in a rush for spring as winter has subtler delights and plenty of shy blooms if you search for them.

  12. How great to have a fragrant Viburnum in December. I hope your Yucca does bloom. Happy New Year to you, Peter!


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.