GBBD – Blooms in December

Last weekend we woke to our first hard frost, which seems to have stopped the unfurling cardoon bud in its tracks, although the fully opened flower soon recovered its composure.

After a cold bright weekend, for the past couple of days we have been plagued with violent torrents of hailstones and wild winds, accompanied by occasional streaks of lightning. The pellets of ice scatter across the ground after each shower, in an imitation of fallen snow; lingering in drifts and corners long after the majority have melted and restored the earth to its true colours.

Barely an hour after taking the snapshot above of a scattering of hailstones on part of the kitchen garden from the warmth of the house, I slipped into the garden in a brief sunny interlude between hail showers to take a closer look at what is still in bloom, and found a few surprises.

The snapdragons are still putting on a brave show, along with a few last stems of flowers on the Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’, neither of which have stopped flowering since the summer. The late-flowering Echinacea purpurea is looking rather ragged, most of its petals torn apart by the wintry weather. I was more surprised to find that the Knautia macedonica has pushed up a new scarlet button, with two or three still forming

Knautia macedonica, blooming mid-December

And one of the Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’, resolutely holding onto its last leaves, is covered in pale ivory clusters of buds unfolding at the end of its blazing red branches.

Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire'

On the other side of the garden, the primroses continue to flower haltingly amid the rattle of hailstones.

Primuls vulgaris

Above these sway stems of the last pale pink Larkspur flowers, their petals washed out almost to translucence; nearby, Eryngium planum ‘Blue Glitter’ is also departing quietly, its once vivid flower-heads a pale lavender fading to soft brown, although the plant is almost horizontal after the onslaught of recent winds across the open fields.

Eryngium planum 'Blue Glitter'

The frost has finally seen off the last nasturtium flowers, turning them into brown slime, and flowers on the strawberry plants have been similarly caught.

Along the side of the drive at the front of the house is rather an unusual pairing of blooms: the sunny yellow flowers of winter jasmine are accompanied by less seasonal creamy white clusters of flowers on the pyracantha that it grows through.

pyracantha and winter jasmine flowering together

More in keeping with the season, one of two Cyclamen coum ‘Maurice Dryden’ given to us by my mum, which still sit in pots on the patio, has produced its first beautiful delicate flowers.

Cyclamen coum

Winter has made a late but emphatic appearance in the past week, and while the mid-December garden still has a few odd components caught somewhere betwixt and between the seasons, it is beginning to succumb to convention at last.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this monthly roundup of the garden’s blooms.

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12 thoughts on “GBBD – Blooms in December

  1. As you say even though there are flowers from most seasons in our gardens it is the structure. form and texture that make the view from the window a pleasant one. Very unusual to find the Cornus in flower, it will be a lovely splash of colour when the stems take centre stage.
    I do hope you’ll join in GBFD next week (22nd) with some of the folliage from your garden. Happy GBBD, Christina

    • Hi Christina, Happy GBBD to you too! Our Cornus are quite small but already their blazing stems draw my eye against the dark soil of the rather bare young border when I look out of the window. The splashes of flowers at the tips of one are an added element! Will try and find some foliage for the 22nd, if I can find a moment in the maelstrom.

    • Well, tempting though it is to sit on cold wet wood furniture when the air temperature is a few degrees above freezing and the sky keeps pelting ice missiles… I think no! :-). We’ve been meaning to pull the chairs and table up onto the patio for the winter, and cover them, but haven’t had a chance yet… perhaps this weekend!

    • Yes, lovely Knautia. I hope to propagate it through the garden. And you already know how much I love the Eryngium! It is a strange month here, but I can’t fault the flowers!

  2. The weather has been alarming down here too. Bright, blinding sunshine followed by deep black skies, torrential rain and hailstorms. Then bright sunshine again. I’ve taken most of the week off to do my accounts. Yawn. You’ve much more flowering than at the Priory. Knautia is a super plant I think, So hardworking.

    • ‘Tis most odd. We’re back to blue skies and blazing sunshine again this morning (though by all accounts there is snow some way north of us). Ah I envy you your week off, but not your accounts. 😉 I love Knautia, those crimson buttons are stunning. One plant is just not enough…

  3. I did laugh as I read about the hailstones etc as there are snowflakes falling across the page (I have this on my blog too). We have got off lightly weather wise so far with just a crust of snow on the cars this morning that only took minutes to clear.

    • 🙂 The hailstones came down much thicker and faster than the pretty wordpress snowflakes on our pages. The gutter on a sloping roof quickly filled up with them, after which they started cascading out of the end of the gutter in a rather spectacular arc. We seemed to escape all trace of the overnight snow – our windscreens needed scraping but no white stuff.

  4. You have much more hanging on in there than us. Snapdragons always amaze me how long they will last, I cut (in September) and cloche mine and nearly always most of them are still there in Spring ready to flower early. Again, I hope the blustery weather isn’t doing too much damage. Bethx

    • The leaves on the cardoon are starting to look more raggedy now, and a few have torn off, but otherwise not too much weather damage. Hope you are faring well too.

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