Turning cold


Lion's Head Japanese maple autumn foliageAfter several nights with temperatures dropping into the twenties and teens, most foliage has fallen from trees and shrubs, and the few scattered blooms that remained on toad lilies (Tricyrtis) until a week ago have turned to brown. Splendidly colored leaves remain on Lion’s Head (Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’, above) and a few Japanese maples that typically stay green until late in the season. The burgundy leaves of Oakleaf hydrangeas will persist into early December, at least.  Winter Sun mahonia in mid December

It is likely that there will be something flowering in the garden every day through late autumn and winter, and today ‘Winter Sun’ and ‘Charity’ mahonias (Mahonia x media ‘Winter Sun’, above) are nearing full bloom. ‘Eternal Fragrance’ daphne (Daphne x transatlantica ‘Blafra’, below) continues with scattered flowers, just as it has since late spring. I expect that this daphne will quit flowering now that temperatures have turned cold, but the mahonias will continue through December, and often into January.Eternal Frangrance daphne in mid November

Flowers of camellias have wilted in the cold, but fat buds show a trace of color, and these will open with a few days of typical November temperatures. The blooms of mahonias and camellias are built for the cold, so as other flowers fade and foliage drops these blooms will be enjoyed until witch hazels (Hamamelis), hellebores, snowdrops (Galanthus) give promise that the end of winter is near.

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