Every Christmas Eve, I like to count how many flowers there are in bloom in my garden. I stroll around and pick a posy for the Christmas table. On a mild, sunny day like today, this is very enjoyable. At first glance there is nothing much to see, but if you poke about there are brave spring flowers popping up too soon as well as summer malingerers, so you end up with representatives from all seasons. I don’t allow any flowers from the greenhouse for this festive vase, that would be cheating.
Here are my two little porcelain, German Heutschenreuther Christmas boots full of little treasures.
This is what I found. In the boot on the right I have a little Christmas rose, Helleborus niger with white heather, Erica carnea , Skimmia ‘Kew Green’, Skimmia rubella and blue Rosemary. White flowered Choisya ternata often blooms in winter, although its main season is May. I don’t know why it is known as Mexican Orange Blossom because it smells quite unpleasant. I have three snowdrops in bloom, ‘Santa Claus’, ‘Three Ships’ and this one ‘Farringdon’s Double’. I could only bear to pick one.
Along with these winter bloomers I have a large lilac flower of Abutilon x Suntense which is definitely out of season. The starry flowers behind the Christmas rose are the stragglers of the climber, Solanum laxum ‘Album’
In the next shot you can see a little purple viola and the unusual green flowers of Rosa viridiflora Some people hate this rose for being so unrose-like but it is very useful for arrangements and blooms for months on end.
In the other boot I have three viburnums, all blooming in their proper season. First my favourite, the dark pink: Viburnum bodnantense ‘ Deben’. Viburnum farreri is paler pink but still pretty and Viburnum tinus is only in my garden under sufferance, but as long as you remove the dingy leaves which smell of dog when wet, the flowers are quite useful for winter arrangements.
I have three yellow flowers here, the spike you can see is Genista spachiana which is still blooming bravely. On the right is the primrose- coloured flower of Coronilla glauca, both of these are fragrant. Winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum blooms abundantly and is very useful for Christmas arrangements. The peachy rose you can see is Rosa ‘Perle d’Or’ which is a little beauty and perfectly formed. I also have a bud of Rosa ‘Bengal Beauty’ in this boot.
Chrysanthemum ‘Chelsea Physic Garden’ is behind the bud of ‘Bengal Beauty’. It is still looking good in the garden and I picked a vase full last week. It is the only Chrysanthemum which carries on until Christmas, I wouldn’t be without it. On the left you can see Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ which doesn’t seem to have noticed that it is winter. And the purple is a lingering penstemon The dainty little pink flowers are Prunus subhirtella autumnalis ‘Rosea’. I hadn’t even noticed that this lovely winter flowering cherry is already in bloom.
So my count this Christmas is 23, it would be 24. but I can’t bear to pick my Narcissus ‘Cedric Morris’ which I showed in my last post.
You might think that you have nothing in bloom in the garden but it is amazing what you find if you hunt around. Vita Sackville West delighted in the old fashioned word ‘Tussie -Mussie’ for a posy and I love it too and what better time to use it than for an old fashioned posy on Christmas Eve?
Christmas this year is pared down for many of us and we are all still under the shadow of this awful pandemic. But I do hope you all have a wonderful, healthy and happy Christmas with your loved ones and all my best wishes for the coming year.