December Bloomers

Above, Rosa ‘Susan Williams-Ellis’


What a difference a month makes.

The garden is looking quite sorry for itself now. Gale force winds, torrential rain and frosty nights have all taken their toll.


Schizostylis Fenland Daybreak 002 Wm


Schizostylis Fenland Daybreak

One of the last remaining survivors.


Fuchsia 'Blacky' 001 Wm


Fuchsia ‘Blacky’

There’s a bit more protection in the greenhouse.


Vibernum x bodnantense 002 Wm


Viburnum x bodnantense

Some of the earlier blooms were clobbered by the frost, but there are plenty more flowers to come.


Wild Primrose 001 Wm


Wild Primrose

Battered. Nibbled. But trying its best regardless.


A couple of nights ago, Cathy was proudly showing the first hint of colour on her Witch Hazel. I was sorely tempted to go outside, there and then, and inspect mine with a torch. But patience was amply rewarded when yesterday I found this:


Hamamelis x intermedia 'Robert' 002 Wm


Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Robert’


Mahonia 002 Wm



(For Cathy x)


Heather 002 Wm


The very first blooms on the heathers


Sarcococca hookeriana var humilis 001 Wm


Sarcococca hookeriana var humilis. Christmas Box.

Wafts of glorious perfume from this understated little beauty may only be days away..

Snowdrops 004 Wm

Snowdrops. And where would we be without these?


This has been the toughest month to find flowers in the garden. The Iris unguicularis, seen in the last post from Cotehele, would fit in very nicely and next year I must plant some of those.

So what could I find for this month’s new (to me) bloomer? Tricky. The nursery benches are now quite bare. But where there’s a will..


Helleborus niger HGC Joshua 001 Wm


Helleborus niger HGC ‘Joshua’. The Christmas Rose.

The first Hellebore of the season? Bring it on.


Linking to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens, where you will find other December bloomers from around the world.


2018-02-17T09:59:42+00:00December 15th, 2013|Tags: |


  1. Pauline December 15, 2013 at 9:08 am - Reply

    Your Sarcococca is further on than mine, still very tight buds here. Fuchsia Blacky is gorgeous, one to remember for next year. It was harder to search out flowers this time, but soon everything will be starting again, we don’t get any rest down here do we!

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm - Reply

      It’s the sight of things getting ready for the new season that keeps me going through winter. Especially on a day like today when it’s so wet and miserable.

  2. Abby December 15, 2013 at 9:30 am - Reply

    I’ve got Schizostylis – they’re so pretty, and flowering even now, if a bit bedraggled – brilliant. I must go and see if our snowdrops are peeping out – they’re just magic, love them. I rescued two Nandinas from the reduced table at a garden centre a couple of years ago and one of them is a glorious colour now – hot, pink leaves, welcome berries and pretty white flowers. The other one has stayed green! You have a great range of plants.

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 3:05 pm - Reply

      Thanks Abby & welcome back!
      Nandina is something I really must get, they are gorgeous. Sound like you got a bargain, even if one is still green. Snowdrops and witch hazel remind me that it won’t be long before the garden starts into life again. Can’t wait!

  3. Sue@GLAllotments December 15, 2013 at 9:30 am - Reply

    The hellebore is a little early but burseries do bring them an a bit. Flowering plants sell better.
    We still have penstemons hanging on – they really are a long flowering plant.

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm - Reply

      To be honest I would trade a couple of weeks if this hellebore was longer lasting. I’ve only had it a week or so and already its flowers are fading. Hopefully when it gets established in the garden it will get back to normal. Penstemons still! Incredible. Mine are long since gone.

  4. CJ December 15, 2013 at 10:08 am - Reply

    This post has really amazed me. All those buds and flowers, in the darkest months of the year. Astonishing! Your garden is such a marvel. The hellebore is beautiful, a great choice. I’m looking forward to seeing the hamamelis when the buds open.

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 3:11 pm - Reply

      Mostly buds! But that’s OK. It means everything is alive and just waiting its moment. I shall be out looking at that witch hazel every day…

  5. Denise December 15, 2013 at 11:27 am - Reply

    You will see a little part of our village on my blog post – I have been for a walk looking for greenery for my wreath – I have some euphorbia in the garden too! Watch this space!

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 3:14 pm - Reply

      I shall look forward to it.. foraging for greenery is on my list for this week too. So far I haven’t found a single holly berry, we have masses of the damn things and I bet they are all the same (wrong) sex!

  6. Marian December 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    Snowdrops already peaking through? Now you have me tempted to go outside and take a look 😉
    You have so many blooms still in the garden. Always love the Christmas Rose blooming now.

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 3:16 pm - Reply

      I’ve always wanted a Christmas Rose, the other hellebores in the garden bloom much later. I hope this one will thrive and if so I can see me getting more!

  7. woolythymes December 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    my garden has n-o-t-h-i-n-g even close to blooming….well, hellebores might be close (like a month or two away!) really must remedy this next year. (I guess dried hydrangea–paniculata doesn’t count, does it?!)

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      Faded hydrangeas have been the mainstay of these Bloomers posts for the last two months… they count!

  8. countrysidetales December 15, 2013 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Beautiful rose pic

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 3:20 pm - Reply

      Thanks CT. It looks so delicate and yet it’s taken all the weather has thrown at it. But then it would, it’s a girl.

  9. Jo December 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    You’ve still got so much interest in your garden. I was thinking a hellebore for December but I’ll have to see what the garden centre has to offer, though I’m not holding out much hope for a good selection of plants given that it’s taken over with Christmas decorations. I have got an idea though and I may pay a visit this afternoon to see if I can get what I want.

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 3:24 pm - Reply

      Look forward to seeing what you choose. My choices were very limited. Will you carry on with the monthly purchases next year? I think I will, it’s a really good way to get focused on having an all seasons garden.

      • Jo December 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm - Reply

        I’m not sure yet. My garden is only small so I’ll have to see what room I have left, though I do like to squeeze more in than there’s room for.

        • Jessica December 18, 2013 at 9:40 pm - Reply

          I do the same. But at the moment I’m getting quite a few die backs. Things that can’t cope with the wet I suspect. But it does give me gaps still to fill, with perhaps a more appropriate choice of plant.

  10. Denise December 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Nature never stops, does she? It is testament to her overall super-duperness!

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 3:27 pm - Reply

      I need that little bit of continuity through winter or I’d go mad. It’s only 3.30 and yet it looks like it’s getting dark already.

  11. Bilbowaggins December 15, 2013 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    You say this has been a hard month to find flowers but your post is wonderful. I’m very impressed with all the blooms. I shall have a potter outside tomorrow and see what I can find here.

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 3:29 pm - Reply

      I had to dig deep. And even borrow Mike’s reading glasses to see the witch hazel flowers…

  12. indygardener December 15, 2013 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    Helleborus was my only hope for outdoor blooms this December. It might be blooming, but I can’t tell because it is under the snow. Beautiful pictures.

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 3:40 pm - Reply

      After your first photo I thought it was going to be a very short post. Thank goodness for your sun room! Thanks Carol.

  13. Chloris December 15, 2013 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    Your photos are always so good. Which Mahonia is that? I forgot to check my Sarcococca, yours looks as if it is nearly out. And the Hamamelis won’t be long, I don’t know ‘Robert’.
    It is so exciting when you get all these little bulb noses showing.

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      Thanks Chloris. I’m not sure which Mahonia, sadly, as I inherited it. It has forced its way into a tiny gap between a path and a wall. It’s blocking the path and really needs to come out, but it will mean killing it for sure. So I just keep trimming and walk round it! ‘Robert’ is a really deep orange.

  14. Em December 15, 2013 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    With great photography, you’ve given the impression that the garden looks fabulous. I love Christmas Box and had completely forgotten about it. I wonder how it would do up here? Our garden looks genuinely APPALLING! The rain is incessant today and have chucked M out to walk the dogs after my drenching this morning, poor thing. Hope it’s better with you….

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 3:59 pm - Reply

      It’s no better Em. Mike is out in the rain pressure washing a path. I suppose that’s a job which would get him wet in any case so nothing lost.. poor light will presumably stop play eventually.
      I think Sarcococca would do well, it seems relatively unfussy and prefers shade. This one has no height aspirations whatsoever, which suits where it is, but some species grow to 6 foot, so depends what you are after.

  15. wherefivevalleysmeet December 15, 2013 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    I do love to see Vibernum x bodnantense at this time of year – it is such a cheering sight on a dull winters day with the sweetly scented flowers adding to its charm.

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm - Reply

      There must be something wrong with me because I can’t smell it. Which is a shame because I love scent in the garden. But I’d still have it for the mass of white flowers that really do shine out of the gloom.

      • wherefivevalleysmeet December 15, 2013 at 8:41 pm - Reply

        Ah! I thought it was the pink one called Dawn, which has a hyacinth scent.

        • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 10:19 pm - Reply

          I am quite sure you are right Rosemary. It is pink in bud and fades to white. I was sitting on the fence because it is an inherited plant, so I don’t know what it is with complete certainty. It’s only me that can’t smell it… Mike can!

  16. Amy at love made my home December 15, 2013 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    So lovely that you still have so many things blooming and coming along the way. That little primrose is very early, and so are those snowdrops. xx

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure what has got into that primrose, the garden is smothered with them yet it’s the only one in flower!

  17. Caro December 15, 2013 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    You’ve got some lovely flowers still blooming in your garden – super photo of the viburnum against the lonicera and I love the colour of that erica! I haven’t had a walk round the garden today (the weather here is dire) as I walked extensively around the Capel gardens yesterday but I’ll have a look tomorrow. I know that I have violets, violas, pineapple sage (bright pink!) and Viburnum x bodnantense but haven’t looked at the hellebores recently to see what they’re up to (if anything). I forgot (again) to plant snowdrops and will have to see if I can get some in the green in springtime. (Always something still to do!!)

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      I know, there’s always loads to do! I once did a tour of the Capel gardens, it’s a lovely place. Very envious of you living so close and studying there.

  18. Janie December 15, 2013 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    I love roses…they are so hardy! Happy gbbd!

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      They are a lot tougher than they look!

  19. SeagullSuzie December 15, 2013 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    Vibernum bodnantense is in bloom here in Brixham too, only after todays wind and weather I’m not sure how it’ll be doing. I have stopped on my walks to smell it-just wonderful. Thanks for taking a look around and showing us what’s about. I have not been out and about with my camera since Dartmouth by Candlelight. Hopefully will be getting out next weekend if the weather is ok.

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      The weather has been horrible today, blowing a gale outside now, and supposedly even worse in the middle of the week. I am getting into hibernation mode.

  20. Anna December 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Oh once again I do like that rose Jessica – she seems to have been blooming for a good while now and looks as if she wears rain so well.

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 9:53 pm - Reply

      On and off all summer. The flowers are smaller than the usual David Austin type, but they are still lovely. And gorgeously fragrant. It’s the only rose I have left blooming.

  21. Cathy December 15, 2013 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    Hurrah for ‘Robert’ ( I have not had the pleasure of his acquaintance before) and your other murmurings – and I shall forgive you for the M******!! I am seriously considering cutting the leaves from my H niger for the first time ever as you wouldn’t know they were there if you didn’t ruffle through them and look underneath – what do you think? Your snowdrops are indeed advanced – my ‘ordinary’ ones are still lurking just below ground level, but at least they are earlier than last year. Exciting times – bring them on!

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 9:59 pm - Reply

      A nice lady at RHS Rosemoor, where I bought mine, suggested taking off a few of the leaves if need be. Perhaps create a gap through which you can peep?

  22. snowbird December 15, 2013 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    Some delightful bloomers there and wonderful to see signs of spring. I loved the Christmas rose and was pleased to see the snowdrops peeping out. I simply love snowdrops, amazing little things. There is always something growing isn’t there….xxx

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      Thankfully, yes! Snowdrops seem the most optimistic plants of the year. There is so much bad weather still to come but they carry on regardless.

  23. Alana Mautone (@RamblinGarden) December 15, 2013 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    Visiting from upstate New York, in the United States, where we got snow yesterday and my garden sleeps under a white blanket. In a normal year, that blanket might be there until March or April, but there is no such thing as a normal year any more. I’ve heard about your severe weather – I’m glad you have some surviving flowers to bring joy to us in the colder climes. I enjoyed all of them. Happy GBBD.

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 10:10 pm - Reply

      Hi Alana and welcome to rusty duck!
      In the far south west of England we just got the tail end of the recent storms but that has been bad enough. And more windy weather on the way. It is our new ‘normal’ here I fear. Keep warm!

  24. Linda December 15, 2013 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    Gosh…..December Bloomers….how incredible is that♥
    I will have to wait until early April to see such stunning plants!
    I am buried in snow over here…but…I wish they were snowdrops!
    Linda :o)

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 10:13 pm - Reply

      We may yet be the same.. there are rumours that this winter will be bad for us too. I hope they are wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time after all!

  25. Janet/Plantaliscious December 15, 2013 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    Poor Cathy, if I hadn’t hard pruned my mahonia this year I would be teasing her too! I am jealous of how many flowers you have on your Christmas Rose, mine still only has one, but there again it is in a very exposed position. I’m on witch hazel watch too, though I refused point blank to venture out in to the gales and attendant rain to capture the hints of colour emerging from the buds today. Beautiful images.Iris unguicularis is on my wishlist too, but hass to wait until I have cleared the space I have earmarked for them.

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 10:27 pm - Reply

      I think your witch hazel is ahead of mine. Had it not been for Mike’s reading glasses and the zoom on the camera I’d have been hard pressed to spot the colour on this one..

  26. Helene December 15, 2013 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    Your Schizostylis coccinea ‘Fenland Daybreak’ is lovely, I have put it on my wish list! My primroses get nibbled by slugs too if I don’t keep up with the slug pellets. I am waiting patiently for the fat buds of my 3 sarcococcas to open, they have never flowered for Christmas before, always from January and onwards, but this year could be the first 🙂 My ‘Susan Williams-Ellis’ is also still flowering, after a long autumn break, she is a lovely rose!

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 10:35 pm - Reply

      She is a lovely rose. I bought it in early summer, so I hope it gets through winter OK. It’s in the most sheltered position I can give it, so fingers crossed.

  27. elaine December 15, 2013 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    lovely that you can see signs of things to come in your garden – I think I had better go out and have a closer look in my own

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 10:46 pm - Reply

      They are there, thank goodness! And in less than a week the days will be getting longer again.

  28. LINDA from EACH LITTLE WORLD December 15, 2013 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    Another northern U.S. gardener so I can only oooh and aaah over how great your garden looks. I love those little primroses and how they come up and just soldier on no matter the weather!

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 10:59 pm - Reply

      They seed madly too so we are inundated with them, only one brave enough to flower so far though! Take care if you have all that snow Linda.

  29. Dorothy December 15, 2013 at 10:13 pm - Reply

    It was so encouraging to see your Snowdrops coming up. They just remind me of spring. I grow Snowflakes,
    which I suppose are related to Snowdrops but haven’t seen a peek of them yet. But then again it’s been a little too chilly to look very closely!

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 11:10 pm - Reply

      I think snowdrops are the things I most love to see pushing up, for just the same reason. Most of winter yet to come, but they remind me that Spring is next!

  30. Wendy December 15, 2013 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    How wonderful to see the new buds and shoots starting already. I’m still looking at the last of this year’s blooms – hardly any now, after this weeks heavy frost, and I haven’t thought to look for the first signs of next year’s flowers yet. I generally have a wander around in the garden in the New Year to find them, but your lovely post has made me want to have a hunt for them now!

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 11:16 pm - Reply

      It was a case of needs must Wendy. There is so little currently in flower to fill a post! But it did cheer me up I have to say.

  31. Linda December 15, 2013 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    You have so much of interest in your garden whether it’s the new flowers of the season or old ones lingering on. The hellebore, in particular, is a lovely thing to have blooming at this time of the year.

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 11:18 pm - Reply

      It is gorgeous isn’t it? I just hope I can do it justice and keep it looking lovely next year too.

  32. Suzanne Dutchess County, NY, USA December 15, 2013 at 11:32 pm - Reply

    What a great climate you live in. Here it’s all frozen and now snow covered. You’ve got quite a bit still going on. Hellebores, with the hundreds of cultivars to choose from could probably have blooms for you most of the year. Love them. Your last post was very nice. So many treasures to go visit in your part of the region.
    Lucky! Thanks for sharing those great photos. If I ever won the lottery I’d spend a year visiting those wonderful places.

    • Jessica December 16, 2013 at 6:55 pm - Reply

      It’s milder, yes, but you get more blue sky! I have become an avid collector of hellebores, a few of them grown from seed that I bought to try and reduce the cost. It remains to be seen how good the colours are.
      Glad you enjoyed the Cotehele post. If you win the lottery and come over, let me know. I’ll meet you there for a cream tea!

  33. nataliescarberry December 16, 2013 at 4:08 am - Reply

    Wow, you found some lovelies for sure. After our icemageddon last week, there’s not much of anything left in my garden now. So it was a treat to see your touches of color and blooming beauty. Blessings, Natalie 🙂

    • Jessica December 16, 2013 at 6:58 pm - Reply

      There’s another storm coming our way this week, more wind and torrential rain. That will most likely be the end of the remaining summer flowers. Icemageddon is a good word!

  34. Simone December 16, 2013 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    The Christmas Rose looks gorgeous. Do you know if it will spread?

    • Jessica December 16, 2013 at 7:01 pm - Reply

      If it’s like other hellebores it should form a nice clump, which I can then divide and spread around. They are also supposed to self seed, but for some reason never do for me. I’ve always had very heavy soil, perhaps that’s why.

  35. Sarah December 16, 2013 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    Lovely to see a few signs of spring in our garden already! I didn’t get a chance to wander around our garden at the weekend to check on progress.
    Sarah x

    • Jessica December 17, 2013 at 1:21 am - Reply

      I’ve noticed over the summer a lot of the plants in your garden were ahead of us, I bet Spring will be no different!

  36. Rosie December 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    How super to see what remains of this year’s blooms in your garden alongside those just appearing ready for next. I love snowdrops and Christmas box. Also the Christmas rose Hellebore:)

    • Jessica December 17, 2013 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      Flowers and scent in winter are so special, I wouldn’t want to be without them.

  37. young at heart December 17, 2013 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    wow….looks a lot better than our garden!!

    • Jessica December 17, 2013 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      Most of them are quite small and insignificant, and they are well spread out. Fear not, the overall impression is still brown!

  38. Natalie December 19, 2013 at 1:34 am - Reply

    OKay, I know England’s not Canada, climate-wise, but you sure have a lot of beautiful things in bloom right now!! Love the fuschia.

    • Jessica December 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm - Reply

      By all accounts it will be white here too at some point. Looking forward to seeing it, but the -35 deg temps are all yours, thank you!

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