Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

– Posted in: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

I thought I would treat you to a variety of ‘blooms’ for December. These first few photos were taken in my neighborhood.

I left this grouping of Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ with its blooms stand because I think the dead blooms are stunning.

This picture was taken a few weeks ago (although taken in December would probably not look the same today). A Hydrangea quercifolia standing solo nestled among leaves. Perhaps it’s not actually in bloom but its elegance still grabs my eye.

Miscanthus sinensis in a holding bed. Although some may consider them at their peak in fall, I wait until the cold days of late fall and into winter to fully appreciate their beauty.

Anyone who sees a grouping of Ilex verticillata appreciates their red berries this time of year. I wish I had the ability to create a photograph done completely in black and white except for the red berries of the Ilex. Saxon, can you help us on this one?

I’ve brought some of my half-hardy/tropical plants indoors. The only one that is in its full bloom now is this abutilon, which happens to be one of my favorite plants.

And now, a bit of a ‘cheat’ but I couldn’t resist. This time of year, Longwood Garden’s conservatories are breathtaking. Here are a couple of vignettes that bring joy to all of the holiday visitors. Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday season!!

Fran Sorin

Fran is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends as "a profound and inspiring book."  

A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology, she is also a gardening and creativity expert, coach, inspirational speaker, CBS radio news gardening correspondent, and Huffington Post Contributor.

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Fran Sorin
11 Comments… add one

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Mr. McGregor's Daughter December 15, 2007, 10:43 am

Your Hydrangea quercifolia must be in a lot of shade for it to turn yellow. Mine turns a dark burgandy. The red berries are such a cheery sight in winter.

Carol December 15, 2007, 4:05 pm

Those conservatory pictures are a feast for the eyes on a cold, snowy winter day.

And I like how you’ve highlighted some plants with that sought after “winter interest”. They may not be blooming, but they add to the garden view, regardless.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

fsorin December 15, 2007, 4:13 pm

Mr. McGregor’s daughter,

This Hydrangea quercifolia is planted in alot of shade. I do agree with you that it is awonderful shrub. I would recommend it to almost anyone with a backyard and a bit of shade. We’ll just have to keep on passing the word around!! Fran

fsorin December 15, 2007, 6:08 pm

thanks for your comments. I absolutely love photos in the winter of ‘resting’ plant material. It stretches us to perceive beauty in different terms.
Longwood Garden’s conservatories are sensory overload during the winter months. When I go for a visit, I am intoxicated for the remainder of the day. Fran

Pam/Digging December 15, 2007, 9:59 pm

Love your ‘Limelight,’ the miscanthus (I leave mine uncut until late winter too), the holly—it’s all so pretty. I was tempted by an abutilon at the nursery recently, but I worried it would need more water than I’d be prepared to give. Do you find it to be very thirsty?

Kim/blackswampgirl December 15, 2007, 10:20 pm

I think that I “cheated” worse than you did… at least you showed flowers!

Seriously, those Longwood Gardens displays are amazing. Just what I needed to see today.

Frances December 16, 2007, 7:38 am

Very lovely pix. Your winterberry holly has so many berries. Is it in full sun or part shade? Mine were zapped this year while in flower by a late frost so fruit production was sparse, but even in a good year not that many berries as yours. What is the secret? I have the proper male, Apollo, for Sparkleberry, I think.

fsorin December 16, 2007, 9:09 am


Thanks for you comments. I have never had a problem with abutilons indoors. They do like a sunny location but require no more water than other plants that I keep indoors throughout the winter. Fran

fsorin December 16, 2007, 9:42 am

I Frances-

Thanks for stopping Bloggers’ Bloom Day. The winterberry is pretty much in 4-5 hours of sun. Nothing special is done to it: not even fertilizing. Like all plants, sometimes they ‘take’ and other times they never quite thrive but just survive. I’ve had my share of those!!
Don’t know what to tell you about improving the # of berries on it. Perhaps someone else reading this post will be able to offer some good tips! Fran

jodi December 17, 2007, 12:17 am

Yummy photos, especially the hydrangeas and the Ilex. I’ve left the flowers on my ‘Limelight’ also; it’s outside my office window and often has small birds perching in it after snacking from the feeders nearby.

I adore Canada Holly (winterberry) as one of the best of all winter-interest plants and just all around wonderful shrubs. I have a funny story to tell about sexing the four small shrubs I planted; three last year were of unknown gender, so this year I got a female from a friend of mine, left it in its pot until the ones that were planted were blooming; then I went round with a magnifying glass to check the flowers. Result: two female and two male. I placed the potted female near one of the males, and when a garden tour to my garden wondered about that oddly positioned pot, I said, “shhhhhhh; those Ilex verticillata are getting married!)” The visitors thought I was a tad eccentric, but they appreciated my dedication to my plants’ happiness. (well, yes, I just wanted the berries!)
A week or so later I planted the female not too far away; a few years and I should have plenty of plants around our place!

fran sorin December 17, 2007, 1:42 pm


Doesn’t it feel great when doing something as minimal as leaving the flowers on hydrangeas brings such a huge amount of pleasure to you and the wildlife in your garden? What is it that one great person said: ‘The simplest pleasures are free’.

Your sotry about the ilexes getting married is a hoot. I think as gardeners we have a responsibility to be perceived as a bit eccentric by visitors to our gardens. Keep us posted on the development of your ilexes over the course of the year. And have a wonderful holiday! Fran

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