The Bloomers: December


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How on earth do you follow a post on the Northern Lights? Difficult.

Well, what about the four seasons of a garden…  all represented on just one day?



Chaenomeles 004 Wm[1]


The fruit of the ornamental quince. Not unusual for this time of year. But what’s that in the background?


Chaenomeles 003 Wm[2]



In previous years this one hasn’t flowered until March at the earliest.


Primula vulgaris 012 Wm[1]


Primula vulgaris

Wild primrose. Popping up all over the place.




Rose 'Lady Emma Hamilton' 006 Wm[1]


Rose ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’


Rose 006 Wm[1]


Unknown climber

The roses may be smaller now but there are buds to open still..


Rose 005 Wm[1]




Hydrangea 022 Wm[1]




Erigeron karvinskianus 006 Wm[2]


Erigeron karvinskianus


Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' 003 Wm[1]


Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’




Erica 006 Wm[2]


Erica carnea


Hellebore 024 Wm[1]



Viburnum x bodnantense 004 Wm[1]

Viburnum x bodnantense


Hamamelis mollis 'Jermyns Gold' 002 Wm[1]


Hamamelis mollis ‘Jermyns Gold’

Witch hazel


This last month has been characterised by wind and rain. Four ‘named’ storms in as many weeks. But it’s also been an exceptionally mild start to the season, only one light frost and nighttime lows currently hovering around 10C. A number of perennials and shrubs, having initially seemed to call a halt for the year, are now enjoying a second wind. Battered and bruised though they may be.

Crazy weather or what?


Roses in December 1


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


2017-10-24T19:32:42+00:00December 15th, 2015|Tags: |


  1. Brian Skeys December 15, 2015 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    It is an unusually mild Autumn/Winter Jessica. When to we prune trees such as Acers if we don’t get a cold period?

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 9:21 pm - Reply

      Indeed Brian. The one I rescued from the overgrown trees at the bottom of the garden is definitely in need of a prune.

  2. Pauline December 15, 2015 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    It is so warm Jessica, but today is so very wet! The water is pouring off the fields and rushing down the roads, I hope there aren’t any floods. You certainly have all four seasons represented in your post, your H. Jermyn’s Gold is stunning, I must go and see if my witch hazels are near flowering, at least I will when the rain stops!

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 9:23 pm - Reply

      It’s the only witch hazel that is fully out, but ‘Robert’ is showing colour too. They do seem to be early this year.

  3. Dorothy @ The Nature of Things December 15, 2015 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    Temperatures are in the 70s, sometimes 80s, here this December. No wonder our plants are confused! But even though they may be confused, yours are lovely.

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      Oh, I could do with some of that warmth! It may be mild here (for December) but that’s not the same as warm.

  4. Charlie@Seattle Trekker December 15, 2015 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    A wonderful reminder that there is always something beautiful in the garden; the roses are amazing.

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      There is Charlie. And even when everything seems dull and lifeless there are always buds to be found, the promise of things to come.

  5. pagedogs December 15, 2015 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    The poor little beauties don’t know if they’re coming or going. You may be growing tropical fruit soon.

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      Wouldn’t that be nice. Oranges would be fine enough.

  6. Sue C. December 15, 2015 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    Lovely photos and so much still flowering. The mild weather continues – I feel the plants need a rest. The primulas are flowering all over my garden – so what will they be doing in spring? Will spring be over before the New Year? Thank you for making your way to my blog and making a comment. I’m new to blogging – and even newer (?) to going public.

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      Hopefully the primulas will keep going when they’ve had a bit of a rest.. if it does get cooler in due course. Congratulations on your new blog, you’ve made a great start!

  7. New Moons For Old December 15, 2015 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    Hi, Jessica. The primroses, viburnum, perennial wallflower and even the odd rose still flowering here in Plaxtol, too. Yet the wood pigeons have stripped the ivy berries and have just today started on the holly I’ve had my eye on for Christmas …

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 9:44 pm - Reply

      Five fat pigeons descended on our lawn yesterday. We were just saying we must go looking for holly berries. But if last year is anything to go by I don’t think we’ll be finding a lot!

  8. FlowerAlley December 15, 2015 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    Same here in NC. I have blooms and bees on December 15th.

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 9:49 pm - Reply

      I haven’t seen many bees. No shortage of midges though, giving me a hard time if I spend any time in the garden.

  9. frayed at the edge December 15, 2015 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    For once I can keep up with you, with flowers on the ornamental quince, the hellebore, and a lingering rose!

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 9:51 pm - Reply

      Crazy isn’t it. Even in Scotland!

  10. bumbleandme December 15, 2015 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    Crazy weather! Gorgeous photos, many of the plants in flower in your garden are my favourites. It must be lovely having such a diverse range of flowers flowering all at the same time! X

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 9:53 pm - Reply

      It feels rather strange. I remember last year we had roses and snowdrops blooming together. The snowdrops are later this year, otherwise no doubt we’d be seeing the same thing again.

  11. Beth @ PlantPostings December 15, 2015 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    Yes, what season is it? Some of my plants think it’s spring and we haven’t even hit winter yet. I know in some climates Hellebores bloom in winter, but mine usually don’t bloom until March or April. Because we probably still have weeks of cold weather to come, I’m keeping them covered with mulch, but I’m debating how to deal with them this year. Beautiful, beautiful Roses in your garden!

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      I suppose the cold weather will come eventually, I only hope that we won’t pay for this warm autumn with an even harder time than usual. A cold winter was forecast a few weeks ago, I must check whether it still is or if indeed the forecasters are busy eating humble pie.

  12. Sue Garrett December 15, 2015 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    If only it wasn’t just so wet, soggy and squelchy.

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      It certainly is that. Enough already.

  13. Amy at love made my home December 15, 2015 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    The weather certainly is crazy isn’t it! I don’t know what is going on in fact. I am sure that I saw a cherry tree with blossom on the other day! Your garden is still looking beautiful! xx

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 9:58 pm - Reply

      There are some cherries that do bloom in Autumn and winter. But this year who knows, anything could happen! Thanks Amy.

  14. Jo December 15, 2015 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    It’s amazing, isn’t it? So many things flowering out of season. I’ve still got hardy geraniums and marigolds hanging on and flowering by the side of them are primulas and cowslips. I wonder when we’re going to get a killing frost as we haven’t had one yet.

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      I notice that the Met Office site has moved to seven day forecasts.. and there’s no change in the immediate future. No white Christmas by the look of it.

  15. Amy December 15, 2015 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    A lot of beauty and colour in December! Sounds like your nights are warmer than ours at the moment… 😉 I love your typical winter bloomers, in any case: the hellebore, the Hamamelis, and the Erica… and Lady Emma Hamilton looks better every time I see her…

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 10:15 pm - Reply

      Lady Emma Hamilton is a stunner, such a beautiful colour. Much better in summer but hey, for December I’ll get whatever is going. Keep warm!

  16. […] at Rusty Duck in southwest […]

  17. wherefivevalleysmeet December 15, 2015 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    It is surprising just what is still flowering in the garden and you still have some lovely blooms – just wish the rain would give us a break though.

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 10:27 pm - Reply

      It would be nice to think we’ve done wind and rain for this season. But yet again the doors of the wood burner are rattling tonight.

  18. Alana Mautone (@RamblinGarden) December 15, 2015 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    Amazing weather – in upstate New York we are experiencing highs in the 60’s. Our Christmas Eve forecast is 60 – keep thinking “how will Nature compensate for this?” I had to tell my husband about the blooming quince – nothing quite like that here, but all the lawns are still green. Lovely flowers, especially the hellebore.

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 10:30 pm - Reply

      I remember last year it was very different for you. We must be getting into unexplored territory when it comes to nature.

  19. Tahoe girl December 16, 2015 at 12:12 am - Reply

    Its really cold here in Northern California. Usually we’re in the mid 60’s. Todays high was 45. very chilly and I don’t really like it. My walk this morning was at 32 degrees and the park was totally frosted over. Looks like this will continue for the next week or so. UGH…. wheres our warmer weather.

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 10:58 pm - Reply

      The west coast is cold and the east unusually warm, as it is for us. Seems like the weather patterns have been turned on their head. Keep warm.

  20. thesalemgarden December 16, 2015 at 1:03 am - Reply

    We’ve had unusually mild weather here too but I don’t have nearly as many blooms as you do. They’re beautiful! enjoy!

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 11:07 pm - Reply

      They have to be hunted out.. The overall garden looks very green. But it’s greener than a normal December so I can’t complain! Thanks Michele.

  21. Kris P December 16, 2015 at 1:23 am - Reply

    The weather is decidedly weird all over. Just a few weeks ago we had temperatures near 90F (32C) here and now even the daytime highs are only in the upper 50sF (13-14C). I’m dragging out clothes I haven’t worn in years! People are talking as much about the cold here as about the latest terror threat, which closed 900 LA schools today – that in itself is crazy.

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 11:20 pm - Reply

      Is this El Niño? Its impact seems to have spread far beyond the Pacific.. To the eastern US and even across to us. It’s odd because I thought it meant a cold winter for the UK.

  22. Christina December 16, 2015 at 8:01 am - Reply

    Our night time temperatures are lower than yours although during the day it is warm and sunny; even in the greenhouse the temperature has been dropping to about 6 or 7°C. You have lots of blooms to enjoy and some are a promise of more to come which is rather nice.

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 11:24 pm - Reply

      I can’t see it continuing, more’s the pity. But there is always something to enjoy. The hellebores are made of pretty sturdy stuff.

  23. derrickjknight December 16, 2015 at 9:06 am - Reply

    Amazing, isn’t it?

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 11:31 pm - Reply

      Christmas lunch al fresco?

  24. Linda P December 16, 2015 at 11:36 am - Reply

    I suppose we just have to go with it and enjoy what’s blooming. My success this year was cutting back the white oriental poppy after blooming and getting a second lot of flowers although they didn’t last long in the relentless rain. Today hubby brought in some more rose buds that were rotting in the damp conditions.

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 11:46 pm - Reply

      That’s a neat trick.. I love oriental poppies but they do go over so quickly. I’ll try cutting them back next year and hope for better weather!

  25. snowbird December 16, 2015 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    The seasons are blending together for sure, it’s all so confusing isn’t it. Lovely images, it’s good to have so much in bloom! P.s… was a little tricksy trying to leave a comment, do you still have gremlins? I hope not!xxx

    • Jessica December 16, 2015 at 11:35 pm - Reply

      The site is slow for me as well, I will investigate. I hope no more gremlins, I’ve had enough of them!

  26. Sarah December 16, 2015 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    We and our unheated cottage have been so lucky not to have had any harsh weather yet. I was there on Monday talking to a roofer not even wearing my coat. And yes, our chimney stack needs repointing and thanks to your blog I understood what was involved. Even better, the roofer and his mate are doing the job tomorrow and Friday, instead of Christmas shopping, and will be working from a scaffolding tower. The new boiler and rewiring are booked in for the new year and right now I’m sourcing kitchen appliances, carpet (no wooden floors sadly – maybe one day?) and lighting, the last proving the most tricky – any tips on wall lights for an 18th century cottage gratefully received. Meanwhile my husband is fretting about the blackened beams, but I say we will wait and see what Rusty Duck does. Once we’re sitting down with heat, light and the stove going I don’t think we’ll notice them. Lovely blooms, and hasn’t the weather been extraordinary lately?

    • Jessica December 17, 2015 at 12:05 am - Reply

      I am fretting about black beams as well. Ideally I’d like them stripped even though it’s a bit destructive and very messy and we’re not at all sure what the thick black paint is hiding. Plan B would be to paint them with something limewashy. Either way I desperately need the rooms relieving of the oppressive feel. Lighting is tricky. Are you going for traditional or contemporary? Task light or ambient?

      • Sarah December 17, 2015 at 10:52 am - Reply

        Expensive, messy and not sure what’s underneath – exactly! Some stripped beams can look almost too rough and ready. I too like the idea of washing over them with a cassein distemper, but what colour? In fact what wall and ceiling paint colour goes with black beams? To make life a bit easier I have booked a decorator recommended by our neighbour and surveyor (we have 24 windows and I can’t face painting them) and I need to pluck up the courage to ask him to re-quote using Little Greene paint instead of Dulux! Decisions, decisions, compounded by not living there. Our aim is to spend the minimum to make it habitable for us and to take it from there so I probably shouldn’t be getting too bogged down in detail. Meanwhile lighting. I thought traditional ambient in the original part of the cottage and have been looking at Jim Lawrence in the absence of anything else that looks remotely suitable. In a small 18th century cottage I don’t want faux Victorian or Tiffany lamps or anything too heavy and straight from the forge. A simple metal back plate with a candle-style fitting that could take a shade appeals, but hard to find at a sensible price especially when we need six or seven fittings in the oldest part. The newer end will have contemporary lighting including LED downlights in the kitchen (I need to see when I cook!) utility and shower room and probably plaster wall lights painted the colour of the walls in the study and bedroom over. If it’s not an impertinent question Jessica, what lighting do you have in your beamed sitting room? Hope you don’t mind me asking but I feel as we share the same taste in walking boots it may apply to lighting too! So sorry about this lengthy reply. Sarah x

        • Jessica December 17, 2015 at 11:53 pm - Reply

          OK, get ready to laugh. Apart from table lamps the only ‘fitting’ in the sitting room currently is one of those spiral energy efficient light bulbs hanging from a bit of cable… my excuse is we haven’t done that room yet! To be honest lighting will be a problem there when we do get round to it and it’ll need a lot of thinking through.
          We had Jim Lawrence fittings all through the last house and they looked the part. I think we do share the same taste too.. On the landing here I tried off white wall mounted plaster up and down lighters, they edge towards a more contemporary look without going over the top modern, with ceiling down lighters in the kitchen.

  27. hb December 17, 2015 at 1:17 am - Reply

    your spring-summer-fall-winter has the look of my winter exactly.

    • Jessica December 17, 2015 at 11:03 pm - Reply

      There are blooms, but nothing looks as vibrant as it does in California. It’s all a bit weather beaten. Take care of that eye now!

  28. germac4 December 17, 2015 at 2:49 am - Reply

    Lovely photos as always, and great to have such colour in the garden, but slightly alarming to have so much flowering in winter…our seasons are blending a bit too.

    • Jessica December 17, 2015 at 11:05 pm - Reply

      Scary isn’t it. We were forecast a cold winter ironically, so we’ll see what transpires after the new year. That’s when it traditionally starts to happen.

  29. Helene December 17, 2015 at 3:12 am - Reply

    Your garden looks rather similar to mine, crazy weather indeed, but I love the fact that I could be outside today in just a jumper and not the usual 3-4 layers 🙂

    • Jessica December 17, 2015 at 11:07 pm - Reply

      That is an advantage for sure. We could just do with it drying out a bit, very wet down here. I put a foot on the soil and it sinks several inches.

  30. Caro December 17, 2015 at 7:03 am - Reply

    I love the green backdrop all that greenery gives to your photos, Jessica. I wish the gardens here were a bit greener but, sadly, there’s only so much I can get away with! (Digging up concrete is not an option. Might be noticed.) I have a few isolated blooms here but the primulas are getting going (cowslips blooming last week – usually a January/February event). I’m a bit worried by the appearance of buds on my apple trees, definitely not a good thing if the weather turns cold, which it surely will at some point. It was 60F yesterday; if only we’d had some sunshine to alleviate the endless grey skies!

    • Jessica December 17, 2015 at 11:32 pm - Reply

      The endless grey skies are depressing me totally. I hope your apple trees will get through. I’ve always been so envious of your microclimate which I hope will lessen the impact, if and when it gets colder. We’re in a bit of a frost pocket here. I was thinking of this today having spotted the first pink petals of camellia unfurling..

  31. sustainablemum December 17, 2015 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    It’s as warm here today as it was all summer! We have had many frosts and last weekend it snowed and hung around for three days. That said I have seen daffodil shoots in the garden! Your flowers are lovely even if a little ‘out of season’.

    • Jessica December 17, 2015 at 11:56 pm - Reply

      There does seem to have been a real north south divide with the weather. Daffodil shoots here too.. One of the little hoop varieties even has a bud.

  32. KL December 17, 2015 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    Same thing here in NJ as well. Nature is getting a bit confused. We need to whisper into her ears about the El Nino effect. Absolutely beautiful pictures.

    • Jessica December 18, 2015 at 12:00 am - Reply

      Hi KL, thanks and welcome.
      El Niño was supposed to mean a colder winter for us, you too? It is no wonder our poor plants are getting confused.

  33. Christina December 18, 2015 at 2:06 am - Reply

    Dear Jessica, well climate change makes it all happen :-(. Just hope that the untimely plants don’t get zapped by a sudden frost. Here in Southern California temperatures are normal for the time of the year, but the promised strong El Nino (our winter rains) has not come yet. You can always hope…In my garden there is surprisingly little blooming and I think it is due to the ongoing drought. I just started to prune the roses and hope for a lovely spring flush.
    Wishing you a wonderful rest of the 3rd Advent week!
    Warm regards,

    • Jessica December 18, 2015 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      I do hope the rains come for you Christina, I really do. We are all experiencing the effects of climate change it seems.

  34. Sue December 18, 2015 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    Yes, we have flowers in bloom that most definitely should not be here at the moment. And I noticed last week that the Snowdrops are coming up!!

    • Jessica December 18, 2015 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      I do look forward to the snowdrops I must admit… it makes me feel that Spring can’t be that far away.

  35. ontheedgegardening December 18, 2015 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    Lovely photos! Perhaps January will bring winter with it, perhaps not!

    • Jessica December 18, 2015 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      I’d be happy with some sunshine, almost regardless of the temperature. Almost…

  36. Donna@Gardens Eye View December 19, 2015 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful followup to the Northern Lights…all these blooms in December. Strange weather indeed even here.

    • Jessica December 19, 2015 at 8:53 pm - Reply

      It is strange. I’m not sure I like it. I wonder how the plants will readjust themselves after blooming at such an odd time of year.

  37. Linda aka Crafty Gardener December 19, 2015 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    It is extremely mild here in my part of Ontario, Canada too though I don’t have any blooms in the garden. You’ve had your issues with WordPress, I’ve had mine with just connecting to the internet. Hopefully it is fixed now … little do we realize how much we miss all the connections via blogging until they aren’t there. Happy holidays to you and your family, just in case I don’t get back online again. That isn’t very optimistic of me is it?

    • Jessica December 19, 2015 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      I can understand your feelings completely Linda. Ongoing internet problems leave us doubting the reliability of the whole system. Gremlins willing, I was hoping to get a couple more posts done before Christmas, but in case I don’t I’ll wish you and yours the very same!

  38. Cat December 19, 2015 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    Bizarre isn’t it? Same plants blooming here. I’m longing for the time of frosts and ice x

    • Jessica December 20, 2015 at 4:27 pm - Reply

      I’m not so sure about the ice.. but then if it means some sunshine maybe I’ll take it!

  39. Chloris December 21, 2015 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    It is peculiar, but fun to have so many out of season blooms in the garden. It was 14 degrees here on Saturday and heaven to be able to work in the garden without the usual winter clobber. I love all your photos, beautiful!

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 8:58 pm - Reply

      You have the benefit of being on the dry side of the country. I’ve been trying to get outside too but every time I do there’s another deluge. The mild temperatures are nice though. In the dry spells it’s been almost T shirt weather.

  40. Sarah December 21, 2015 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    The weather is crazy! In Yeovil last week all the daffodils close to one of the roundabouts was in full bloom. Spring is going to be very strange if so many of the flowers have already bloomed. Sarah x

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      It certainly is! I don’t have daffodils yet at least, not flowers anyway but the shoots are well up.

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