Flowers at Christmas

I know that it isn't technically Christmas yet for we still have a week to go.  Despite the last few days being cold and frosty - and very beautiful with bright sunshine and blue skies, I have been surprised at just how many flowers are still blooming away when it is almost the end of the year.

A combination of unseasonably mild weather for most of the time and, of equal importance, very little rain to knock the blooms about has resulted in all sorts of odd floral combinations.  Of course, I realised as soon as I started to write this post that I hadn't bothered to carry my camera around with me so most of the flower photos have been taken at some other time.

Cowslips and primroses:  It's not especially to see the occasional primrose in flower in the garden but I don't ever remember seeing cowslips flowering in December in the wild before.  It will be a good few months before we see carpets of them like these but seeing the odd two or three reminds me that spring is not so very far away.  In the newspapers there have been reports of daffodils in flower too.

Forsythia:  Another spring bloomer and again just the odd flower rather than branches being smothered in flower.  Perhaps not so surprising, as flower arrangers would know - the tight buds that cluster along the bare stems will burst into flower early when brought into the warmth of a house in a similar way to the 'sticky buds' of the horse chestnut bursting into leaf indoors.  Here, forsythia has been trained as a tightly clipped shrub to screen an ugly garage wall, the warmth and protection of which also makes the flowers open a week or two before normal.

Ferns:  Some of the shabbier looking ferns had been cut dowm to ground level as part of the autumn tidy.  I hadn't expected them to burst back into growth .....

Violets:  There have been a lot of violets out, both in the garden and in the hedgebanks of the secret valley.  Is it just coincidence that these out-of-season blooms have all been mauve with not a white flowered one in sight?

Daisy:  There have even been odd wild daisies flowering in the lawn (we have mowed twice this month too).  The Erigeron daisy that you see growing in profusion amongst the ruins of ancient Rome has been flowering in our garden as if it was still midsummer; it is smothered in blooms.

Geraniums:  The hardy herbaceous sort.  Like the ferns, they had been given the chop some time ago but are coming back into leaf and flower.  Some of the hardy salvias are doing the same thing.

Mallows:  I have seen hollyhocks still in flower on my travels around the Cotswolds.  They are majestic when they are grown well but my favourite of all is the musk-mallow, Malva moschata, which is a wild flower that is often brought into gardensl.  I grow both the pink and the white versions and they self sow happily in the borders without ever becoming a nuisance.  It wouldn't matter, you couldn't have too many!

Roses:  There are nearly always roses out on Christmas Day and we always exclaim how extraordinary a sight it is.  They are poor, wet, bedraggled specimens carefully left in place by even the hardest pruners as a reminder of warm summer days.  For the most part that is the case this year too.  What we don't expect to find are bushes smothered in beautiful blooms still wafting scent but this is the case in one rose garden I attend.  I am uncertain as to the variety but there are three of these amongst forty other bushes - all shrub roses.  They really are a joy to see.

I can't believe that this state of affairs will last much longer.  Surely the frost and rain, or even snow, will get them soon.  I plan to wait until New Year's Day and go walking armed with camera, pen and paper and list all that I see.  I have intended to do this every year for as long as I can remember but if I manage it this time, I will report back.  And, as this will almost certainly be the first of 2012's resolutions to be broken, perhaps you would do the same and send me the list.

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  1. Can't believe that forsythia!! If I had only realized that it could be trained, and with all the whips mine puts they say.."why didn't I think of that". pleased you posted that particular photo and all the rest. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thank you so much for following my blog all year. I have enjoyed all your blog posts and look forward to more inspiration in 2012.

  2. Nice to see the color so late in the season!

  3. I have had all sorts blooming this month, with some bright pink Bergenia the latest to pop up this week.

  4. i love the green one that is covering almost all of the wall. A few red flowers along with it would give a wonderful combination to the garden area.
    flowers dublin

  5. Thanks all for your comments. I agree, Bren, about the forsythia - I hadn't realised that it would do so well grown like this. It's a bit boring the rest of the year but a couple of large flowered clematis would improve that. They could be cut down each winter near to ground level so that they didn't spoil the look of the forsythia when it was in flower.

    Hope you all have a lovely Christmas.


  6. Love the Forsythia trained like that. I've been posting over the last month about the strange happenings in my garden. I too have had primroses flowering along with a whole range of other plants you wouldn't expect at this time of year.

  7. What lovely blooms! I'm growing the Malva moschata for the first time this year and am loving it :-)

  8. I, too, am a huge fan of the treatment of the forsythia, and can't wait to "borrow" that idea! The erigeron is lovely, and something we usually aren't able to establish in the American Southeast because of our heat and humidity (perhaps why I covet yours in England!) Have a glorious holiday!

  9. Thanks for taking time to comment. The forsythis always attracts a lot of attention. I'm not a great fan of them as free standing shrubs - at least, not in my own garden, nice elsewhere! But I do love them wall trained.

    The Malva, Scott, is a terrific little plant isn't it? Your border in your latest post looks fantastic. Such a lot of changes going on throughout the season. Most impressed!

    Tim - perhaps it is the humidity that the Erigeron doesn't like. I saw it first growing in the ancient ruins in Rome. It was growing out of walls and cracks in the pavements. Scorching hot but the plants were loving it.


  10. Different colors of flowers are looking so wonderful and gives an attraction along with attract our eyes at first glance.
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