Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Blooming in the midwinter mist

An old, unidentified Camellia sasanqua variety flowering in my garden.

For the moment, Washington state seems to be one of the few places in North America saved from the hard winter storms, experiencing milder than average weather. Rain, fog, and again rain... In Scandinavia, winters are a time of complete calm and rest in the garden, all mistakes of the last year covered by snow and the next season existing only in dreams. Here, the garden year continues through all seasons, with no forced breaks to relief the tired gardener. Every month and week, there is something flowering or otherwise in season; so many possibilities to add to your enjoyment and to the beauty of your garden.
I was just looking at my post about Witchhazels and other midwinter wonders from January 2009, and found that it could have been written now. Actually, I think that post was so much more beautiful than this (being a mere list of plants in bloom), but I still want to document some of the flowers out in gardens this January. Maybe next year will be a lot colder, and then it will be interesting to come back and see the difference...?
The gracefully arching Sarcococcas are in full bloom; kneeling amongst the bushes at the Washington Arboretum I tried to find a label that would tell which species I was admiring, but there was none to be found. Could this be S. confusa?

And Witchhazels, one of the first out again; the Chinese species Hamamelis mollis with its bright yellow stamens reaching the sun in the wet, cold weather.

Mahonias seem to have many enemies; earlier I also thought them to be quite unattractive and coarse in appearance. But lately, I've started to appreciate how their flowerheads burst out like fireworks in the midwinter sun. Here Mahonia x media 'Arthur Menzies' finding its way to the sun through a thicket of Witchhazel bushes.

Lonicera stadishii, Standish's honeysuckle, comes originally from China, and grows up to large bush, ca 6 feet tall. It seems to be semi-evergreen here in Washington, and the fragrant, white flowers open up in the middle of the cold of winter.

Viburnum tinus, the Laurustinus, is a Mediterranian native and the last plant on my list today. It was a great favourite in the Victorian shrubberies, and I've always thought there is something prudish about its neat and proper appearance (nothing luscious or extravagant here...!). It has dark green leaves and pink buds that open to clusters of tiny white flowers and turn into black-blue berries in late summer. It is very resilient and tolerates even drought during summers, and therefore still very popular in gardens in temperate zones. A common and not very exciting plant, really, but one that still earns its place in many gardens as a hardworking performer.


nilla|utanpunkt said...

Din trädgård ser sannerligen helt annorlunda ut än de vintriga bilder jag möter hos svenska trädgårdsbloggare. Också här i ENgland snöar det, tämligen ymnigt just nu. Mer ett tunt lager blir det inte förstås, men ändå. Min Camellia kom ut med en enda blomma, det var innan detta väder startade. Förhoppningsvis fortsaätter den när det är över.

Carol said...

It is so delightful to see all these blooms and to know they are blooming now. Lovely photographs! Lucky you! Thanks for sharing these.

Karen said...

I admit to having every single one of these in my current garden, except for the camellia (that shade of pink, do you like it? It looks great in your photo, but I don't think I've seen that one in bloom en masse). Yes, some as the viburnum are kind of unexciting but at this time of year, I'll take the flowers and fragrances they provide. That plus some interesting bark and a few evergreens is what gets me through until the bulbs start blooming later on. I really do appreciate that our garden season is year-round, although I can see what you are saying about the snowy break!