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Monday, December 19, 2016

Early December Blooms Around the Yard

December is the first month of Meteorological Winter and we saw a few dips below freezing before the photos in this post were taken, but that did not stop some flowers from putting on a show. Here's what you'd see blooming if you stepped into my yard earlier this month. As I write this post we have already seen a low temperature of 16F, but the loquats, honeysuckles, and Delosperma ice plants are still blooming so you can have flowers still kicking after seeing the teens. Pretty amazing and definitely a nice sight to see. I saw roses blooming in Manhattan this weekend with no problems and it was only in the 20s that afternoon.

Anyway here are some winter blooms in my yard in New York City! Photos taken from December 2nd to December 10th.

I'll make a post later this week about all my winter preparations!

I have had Ageratums in my yard for a few years now but this year was the first time I actually planted them. In past years they just tend to pop up in spots. The ones in this photo were not planted by me. So this December bloom was definitely gifted to me by mother nature. They can handle light frosts into the upper 20s before damage occurs.

Geraniums are so common and maybe a bit underrated. Mine actually STOP blooming when it is too hot outside unless they are in some shade. They do so much better in slightly cooler weather and can handle some cold weather too. These saw temperatures below freezing and still held onto beautiful blooms. Once you start dipping below the upper 20s geraniums will die.

Mandevillas need a lot of heat to create buds but they will hold onto buds and open up flowers even in cooler weather. I can't remember the last time I had Mandevilla blooms in December! You can tell they are looking worn though.

My Farfugiums have long outlived the mums I bought from the store and when they are finished blooming I still have beautiful foliage to look forward to!

These Ice plants are fully hardy to my climate (and can handle below zero temperatures with ease). They have not stopped blooming from the day I planted then in May. I am absolutely blown away by their ability to never quit blooming even as I write this post a week before Christmas and after some serious cold!

Ginger plants are definitely not very frost tolerant. The foliage will get damage at about 30 and the flowers are extremely delicate. A cold rain or snow falling (even if temperatures are above freezing), will ruin open flowers. But if enough of the plant stays green and you have some mild weather between freezes new buds will open up like they did on my plant. Of couse now as I write this post my ginger are safely dug up and inside the garage. 

Million Bells are popular annuals and can handle a light frost. I'll never forget my grandmother had one in front of her house that survived into New Years Day and she bragged about it the whole holiday. 

These fancy large leafed begonias (Dragon Wing Begonias) do take a beating even in weather that is above freezing. These experienced a few freezes and while they don't look great they are blooming!

Apparently Thyme is a bit hardier than I expected!

Fushias, like geraniums, are better bloomers for me in cool weather than in warm weather. Last year I didn't put these plants into the garage until January and they were very happy outside handling light freezes. 

Knockout Roses are incredible! They bloom from March to December for me. When I took this photo very cold weather was forecasted so I clipped off the half a dozen blooms I found on the plant and brought them inside to enjoy.

Loquats are winter bloomers which means I'll never see fruit here in NYC, but they are worth growing for their foliage which looks extremely tropical. While I would not trust this plant to survive in temperatures below 15 degrees for a long duration, I have never had cold damage on it with my protection method (which likely has exposed it to below 10F), and the fact that the blooms themselves can survive temperatures into the teens is a pretty good sign! 

My Cleomes were hanging on pretty late into the season surviving several dips below freezing!

Black and Blue Salvia is a returning annual here and blooms from April until your first hard freeze which was November last year and December this year. Amazing to see these blooms so late in the season even though the plant itself is not too impressive looking at this point in the year!

I did not realize honeysuckles bloomed this time of the year but here it was blooming like it was spring.

While December started out mild, it really was the lack of severe nighttime cold that kept these plants blooming. They were exposed to many cold days in the 40s, snow events, and more than a handful of nights in the 30s. So all these flowers are just about guaranteed to still be around after that first devastating freeze which is just about all a gardener who hates winter (like I do!) could ask for!

Thanks for looking!

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