Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day for January 2010: Achieving Winter Bloom

Amaryllis 'Charisma'

Last year, my January Bloom Day post consisted of little, so I vowed to give you more in 2010.  Like last year, let’s begin with the amaryllis, which are actually Hippeastrum, but we all call them the former.  (Thank goodness I’m not in charge of the how and why of plant taxonomy.)  Five varieties were planted to cheer us during what has already been a long and cold winter:  ‘Charisma’, ‘White Christmas’, ‘Elvas’ (which is now blooming and obviously not that cultivar), ‘Red Lion’ and ‘Royal Velvet’ (both of which are not yet blooming, but are on their way).

Helleborus argutifolius 'Silver Lace'

I planted more hellebores, knowing they wouldn’t have blooms this early, but in a mild year, a red dirt girl can hope.  Even the foolish dream, don’t they?  The ‘Silver Lace’ variety does have buds and will probably bloom earlier than all the others which simply sport shivering, evergreen foliage for this Bloom Day.

Pansy Imperial Antique Shades

Normally, I’d have several pansies, but, except for one or two, they were beaten into submission by our record snowfall.  That’s okay, they will come back.  I’ve seen them look worse.  The Imperial Antique Shades seem especially hardy.

When walking through the Legacy Garden for an Oklahoma Horticulture Society meeting a couple of years ago, I caught the scent of one of the most, truly fragrant shrubs planted next to the sidewalk.  The meeting was in February, and the shrub was winter honeysuckle, Lonicera fragrantissima.  I helped in the Legacy Garden last summer, and the friend in charge gave me a piece to root.  It’s since grown into a nice sized shrub of three feet by four feet.  Not an attention grabber unless it is blooming, I planted it where it had room to spread since it should get six to eight feet wide and tall.  There is no worry of Lonicera fragrantissima becoming invasive like the blasted Japanese honeysuckle, Loncera japonica, I inherited when I married HH.  (It belonged to his maternal grandmother, Ma, who was quite the gardener and, of course, didn’t know its invasive ways).

By the by, if you ever wonder if a plant is invasive, look at it this way.  If it is easy peasy, lemon squeezy to grow in Oklahoma, and someone has tons of it in their garden and wants to share it with you, it is either: (1) aggressive; or (2) invasive.  Take the present (because it might be something splendid like my heirloom garden phlox), but before planting, check the Oklahoma Invasive Species List (where Japanese honeysuckle oddly isn’t listed), the Oklahoma Problem Species List (where it is), or the national Invasive Species Resources for Gardeners which has invasive plants listed by region.

In other words, do your research before placing anything in the ground.  There are at least three plants in my garden where I wish I’d followed my own advice.

Lonicera fragrantissima during a hard winter

Back to my winter honeysuckle.  It is normally evergreen in my climate, but this year, with our below-average temps, it is brown and ugly.  However, beneath its burnished leaves are the tiniest buds.  I’m waiting for next month to see what it will do.  Lane Greer wrote a really, sweet article on winter honeysuckle if you’d like to know even more (pun intended).  Also, Elizabeth Lawrence was a fan of its perfume if not its shrubby tendencies, and she wrote about it in several of her books.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold Promise'

Buds also abound on my two, witch hazels, ‘Diane’ and ‘Arnold Promise.’  ‘Diane’ is sitting in her pot in the garage for the moment because the weather was so bitter.  I need to get my son’s strong back to aid me in moving her into her permanent home.  If only I could figure out where that should be.  She needs partial shade, and actually I have an idea for her.  I’ll share more later about these fragrant shrubs.

Knockout in winter

One last photo, only because it is interesting.  From the shriveled, freeze-dried blooms, I can show you that the original, red Knockout rose was still blooming when temperatures plummeted.  The pink variety was too.

The lovely Carol from May Dreams Garden sponsors our monthly bloom day.  Many thanks to her vision which arose out of Elizabeth Lawrence’s quote, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.”

Also, if you have time, you might want to snap a few photos for Pam from Digging’s Foliage Follow-Up to be posted the day after Bloom Day.

As always, thanks for stopping by.  Your words encourage me more than you can know.


  1. kerri says:

    That stunning Amaryllis and the chair are made for each other, Dee. A beautifully coordinated shot!
    I love the pink of those sweet pansies, and aren’t you lucky to have Hellebores budding already?
    I wonder how long it’ll be before the knockouts come back. They sure are terrific bloomers.
    I loved your post about Carefree Beauty too.
    You’ve certainly had an unusually snowy period. I hope your garden bounces back quickly when the warmer temps return.
    I enjoyed those beautiful snowy scenes in your slideshow.
    Stay warm, Dee!

    You too, Kerri! I’m so ready for it to move on out, and I don’t have as much as you do.~~Dee

  2. I really appreciate you focus on invasives. There are so many great well-behaved plants out there I think we can all without a few of the most aggressive.

    Thanks James. I appreciate it too.~~Dee

  3. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Dee, I dug up all my winter honeysuckle because it was on the Texas invasive plants’ list. I wonder why it’s not on Oklahoma’s?

    Cindy, I don’t know. Maybe our cold weather?~~Dee

  4. Yes, I wanted to know, Dee–did you paint the chair to match the Amaryllis, or the Amaryllis to match the chair? Quite a striking shot! A lot of us would be blossom-bereft in January were it not for Amaryllis. They’re just so smile-inducing, gotta love them.

    Jodie, I did neither. I found that green chair at an antique shop about a year ago. It sits in my yellow dining room, which is such a good place for photos because of the warm light. I do love Amaryllis, and that one was a true beauty. I have several more starting to bloom now. Yes, where would we be without our indoor bulbs?~~Dee

  5. Joanne says:

    It is a sad time of year but good to see the buds coming a promise for the future Spring.

  6. carolyngail says:

    Wow you sure got whacked by that artic blast, Dee. Aren’t the Knockout Roses amazing? I’ve also seen them frozen in bloom as late as the end of November here.

    We are just now coming out of the deep freeze and will have a balmy 38 degrees today. Once the snow melts I may actually be able to see my garden again.

  7. Layanee says:

    My amaryllis is waiting in the wings to bloom. Maybe for next bloom day but I fear it will be gone by then. I love the way the amaryllis coordinates with the chair color. Good job!

  8. The photo of your amaryllis on the chair is a stunner, Dee- love all the harmonizing green colors with the dramatic lines and the pop of the blossom.
    One of these days I’d like to catch the fragrance of winter honeysuckle – have only read about it for years. I do remember you’re suppose to plant it where you can smell it but not see it!

    Happy Blooming Day!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  9. Dee, this is a wonderful post, full of some good information on knowing plants before you plants them, and full of hope for many blooms that will surely be out in full force by February. Thanks for joining in for bloom day!

  10. Bren says:

    Great photography…. I forgot to post my Amaryllis so I did 2 bloom day postings! YOUR Amaryllis got super tall… mine doesn’t have that long of a stem.

    Happy BLoom Day!

  11. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    My gosh, you have pansies that actually survive the cold and snow?? I stopped trying to keep pansies overwinter long ago. they just don’t make it here. Lucky you. Happy GBBD.

  12. Rose says:

    Your amaryllis is gorgeous, Dee! I will have to look for “Charisma” next year. As you saw on my post, I’m thrilled to have my first-ever amaryllis blooming this year, but I have a question–how do you get yours to stand so straight?? And did you cut back the leaves?

    My Knockout roses are no longer blooming, but then we had temperatures at zero or below for a few weeks. But they were one of the last plants in my garden to give it up for winter–you have to love a tough plant like that!

  13. Leslie says:

    I hope things warm up a touch for you Dee. Interesting info on the honeysuckle. I appreciate your knowledge and experience!

  14. Pam/Digging says:

    I love that top image, Dee. Home and hearth and flowers–it looks so warm and cozy on a damp, cool day. Thanks for the plug for Foliage Follow-Up.

  15. That Hellebore looks like it could start blooming any time now. It’s hard to believe that there are people who don’t like Hellebores. Whatever you’re doing for your Witchhazel, it’s working. I wish mine had half that many buds. Arnold is going to look magnificent when he finally blooms.

  16. Les says:

    Curse the person(s) who brought Japanese Honeysuckle to these shores. I like Winter Honeysuckle though as the fragrance reminds me of a big bowl of Fruit Loops.

  17. Don’t worry Dee, there are a lot of us foolish who dream, maybe it’s a prerequisite to being a gardener! Your Imperial Antique Shades pansies are pretty, even if they aren’t blooming the way you’d hoped. I was thrilled mine were still green after the arctic blast! Let’s be optimistic, we now have a long list of plants that don’t survive the extremes of our temps!

  18. Jean says:

    I’m always amazed at how much plant and bloom comes out of the little pots we put our amaryllis’s in! I have a friend in Austin who adores his winter honeysuckle. It always looked on the verge of invasive to me so I’m glad to hear it’s not. (Now if we could just send Wisteria sinensis back from where it came…) I hope your winter honeysuckle roars back in February!

  19. Katie says:

    Poor, sad plants 🙁 At least you have some plants. . . Soon it will be February. We’re having the first warm day in WEEKS, and of course I locked myself out of the house. I did, then, get to soak up some sun!


  20. Hi, Dee;
    Popped over to pay you a visit and thank you for stopping by and commenting on my blog.

    Oh, that poor little rose, hanging her head! Such an odd winter we’re having. I’ve got your weather. You’ve got mine.

    I hope your flowers make a good comeback. Looking forward to reading more about what’s growing in Oklahoma. Happy GBBD.

  21. Darla says:

    What a gorgeous Amaryllis!

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