Bloomday December

Up until this week we have been very lucky with the weather this autumn.  Yes, we’ve had a huge amount of rain, but that is necessary after no rain for 3 months in the summer.  The days in between have been sunny and mostly warm.  This week the temperatures are really dropping!  I know many of you think Italy is sunny and warm always but I actually think it is colder here in Viterbo than it was in southern England during the winter.  The skies are a beautiful pale blue and the temperatures are forecast as going down to minus 3 or 4° C but there’s also a north east wind blowing strongly (Grecale – I love that the winds all have a name) so with the wind chill factor, that’s about minus 8°C.  This is about the coldest it’s been since we moved here and it is forecast for the whole week, then next week warmer temperatures again and rain.  The cold days bring wonderful sunsets, for me they are even more beautiful than those in summer.

I harvested what were definitely the very last peppers this past weekend.  One red, one yellow and several green; I roasted them and they were still deliciously sweet.  I also lifted the fennel because I know that won’t stand the frost.  I made orange and fennel salad yesterday and will cook the rest and serve them as a vegetable during the week.

We took all the ties off the dead tomato plants and took down the canes, I want to plant garlic and onions in this bed soon (garlic on the shortest day of the year) so need to tidy it up a bit and clear it of all the fallen tomatoes, peppers and chillies that will seed themselves next spring if I don’t.  I hope it’s not too cold to get the garlic planted.

Until this cold weather the roses have surprised me by flowering so well.  The major interest in the garden is now from seedheads, berries and fruits.  I don’t have anything with colourful stems unless you count the Gaura.  Cornus, sadly, needs more water than I am prepared to give it and the sun is too scorching in the summer for any of the Acers with good stem colour.

Interestingly Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ was still wonderfully green until the frost on the 5th December when it turned a sunny yellow – its seedheads are still looking fabulous though, and it remains one of my favourite grasses.

Miscanthus Morning Light

On Monday 13th I picked some of the roses so I could enjoy them inside the house as I thought they wouldn’t survive outside.  I was pleasantly surprised as I took photos that many buds  still look viable.

An assortment of roses still flowering

The really big surprise was a single Muscari that I discovered just beginning to flower under the pine tree; I certainly didn’t expect to see that for another couple of months.

The first very brave Muscari

Click here or on the the Muscari image above to see a slideshow of all the brave plants flowering today.

We have such strong winds here that most of the leaves that have dropped from the trees have been blown off the borders and have ended up under the hedge, where I’m happy for them to stay.  The only things that have been completely blackened by the frost are some Cannas I grow for their leaf interest and the Dahlias so nothing that you wouldn’t expect to happen.  I have been trying to weed whilst I planted bulbs (not quite finished yet – but nearly) and then to mulch to try and stop annual weed seeds growing during mild spells in the winter and next spring.  Some beds and borders are very difficult to get into until the plants die back a little as all the beds are planted very closely, especially the left hand border.  I definitely need to get in there fairly soon.

With many thanks as usual to Carol at Maydreams garden for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloomday.  Visit her site to link to gardens all over the world and see what’s flowering in everyone else’s garden.  Carol has SNOW and you can understand why she dreams of May.

26 thoughts on “Bloomday December

  1. Ciao Christina
    I clicked through to your blog from GBBD and was dead impressed by how much was flowering in your garden, only realise then that it was your September GBBD – you might like to update the link. Meanwhile please ignore my comments other than the question as to how tall Conrad F Meyer grows, in your experience …

  2. I’m shocked too to see a muscari bloom before Christmas but I’ve just been to another GBBD post and they had a snowdrop in flower early aswell.

    Your sunset photos are lovely and having experienced the cold in Northern Italy and the snow one easter I can agree that the south of England is a much warmer climate at wintertime………… well maybe not this year!

    I would love to be able to grow a miscanthus like yours – up here in NE Scotland they really struggle to show off their seedheads and I don’t think they could cope with our artic temperatures from last winter or this winter. Yours looks ever so majestic in that beautiful sunlight.

    • Yes Southern England is almost always warmer in the winter but here the skies are much more often blue and the light is brighter so given a choice, I prefer cold and sunny to grey, grey grey any day. I’m surprised Miscanthus is not hardy for you; the RHS say it is fully hardy to minus 15°C (this year might be the exception to its survival). Morning Light wouldn’t flower but is a beautiful foliage plant. There is only one Muscari so I can only put it down to confusion.

  3. Beautiful bloomday slideshow as always Christina, though for me the real star of the post is the beautiful sunset in the first two pictures. Lovely to see some flowers still toughing it out. Your ‘Morning Light’ is stunning – and also makes me think I have something different, I really must try and tie down which Miscanthus I actually have next year.

    • Thank you Janet, Miscanthus Morning Light grows differently in different climates. In England it often doesn’t flower at all, but is so worth growing for its vase-like form. It also grows taller here. To be honest if I’d bought the plant here I would have been sure it had been mislabelled; I actually bought one plant from the RHS at Wisley and it is identical to the others I’ve bought here.

    • As I said the sunsets are better now than in summer and in a better place, now they’re right in front of the sitting room window. They’re more afternoon tea than aperitivi now!

  4. It looks like your garden is showing signs of every season. I love the sunset photos. We get roses in bloom here this time of year, but because of a freeze they are still tight buds. How great that you could cut some and bring them in for a bouquet! That photo of the muscari is so pretty!

  5. The miscanthus is stunning! Your muscari seems to be peeping shyly. Thanks for visiting my blog. The Himalayan Sage’s botanical name is Eranthemum nervosum. It tolerates shade .

    • Thank you for returning my visit and for giving me the name of the plant. Sadly it is frost tender so would not survive the winter temperatures. Never mind, I think it is wonderful that we all have different plants to enjoy. Christina

  6. aloha,

    i love your winter colors and textures that you are sharing with us this morning, the first shots with the sunsets are lovely and drammatic indicative of how beautiful the skies can be during the colder winter months.


    • thanks Noel, Where you live still looks invitingly warm. Though I’m not sure about Christmas in the sun, I’d be very happy for winter to be heading into spring. The sunsets are a consolation. Christina

    • Thank you for your kind comment, I hope you’ll visit again. I liked your idea for cooking the Chard, have to admit to being a convert to maple syrup – I love it with fresh sheep’s milk ricotta! Christina

  7. Miscanthus is lovely, but shy flowering here even in the South West. I love the little muscari- a promise of Spring whern snow and low low temperatures are forecast for this weekend. Love the late roses.

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