Temperatures in recent weeks have been mild, not what I’d call warm except for a few days that hit sixty (Fahrenheit), but milder than usual for the first few weeks of winter. Certainly, I’m not complaining. I’m happy to live in northwestern Virginia, with no desire to move further to the south (as my wife would prefer). I don’t whine too much when temperatures drop near and sometimes a bit below zero, but there’s not a thing wrong with an occasional mild winter. Most definitely, I’m not hoping for the weather to be any colder, though it’s likely there will be at least a spell or two before spring.
I am perplexed why several autumn flowering mahonias (Mahonia x media ‘Winter Sun’, above) have not fully opened when they are typically beginning to fade by now. The exterior of the flowers are yellow, just as bright as the inside would be, so there’s no lack of color. Usually they’re in full bloom by late November, but not this year, for no good reason that I can figure, and this hardly matters except to bees out looking for nectar on a mild and sunny January afternoon (below, from late December a year ago).
A year ago there were a few early flowering snowdrops (Galanthus) in the garden by the new year, but this year none. I think December was a bit warmer a year ago, though it was very dry and it turned cold in January, and this is a good enough explanation why foliage of daffodils (below) and snowdrops is just breaking through the leaf litter. There are likely not to be flowers until much later in the winter, which is the way it’s supposed to be, no matter that I’d prefer a few scattered blooms much earlier.
Earlier in autumn I decided to split up a large clump of Sacred lily (Rohdea japonica, below). The clump is tucked beneath a dogwood, not really out of the way, but not in a place to show it off either. It is regularly covered by leaves of the dogwood and nearby Japanese maples, and I’d never seen a berry on it until I pulled it apart and transplanted several smaller clumps. I’ve seen photos of bunches of red berries on Sacred lilies, but figured something was amiss to explain the lacking in this clump. Evidently, they’ve been there all along if I bothered to clean up.
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I’m seeing TULIPS popping up through the leaves!
I have to pull back piles of leaves to see anything, but I’m pretty certain leaves of all the spring bulbs will have broken ground.
My mahonias are just starting to bud. Maybe the wet weather explains your mahonias?
I’m blaming everything on the rain, even mahonias that are high and relatively dry.
Even in our mild climate, bloom schedules of most plants fluctuate. There is one unknown rhododendron at work that has always been in bloom for Mothers’ Day. It might be fresh bloom, or it might have been there for a few days (which might be more due to the timing of Mothers’ Day than the schedule of bloom), but it is always right on Mothers’ Day. Then there are others that might be a month early or late! The cultivars of flowering cherry are so variable that the first to bloom one year may be the second or third to bloom another year.
We often have wide variations in flowering times, in particular with late winter bloomers that sometimes flower two months early. Mahonias have been reliable for flowering in late autumn, and they were close at that time, but they’ve stopped, which is unusual.
Dear Dave, wonderful pics as always…liked the bee! 😀