Winter is near

Time is short. Winter is near, and more immediately, cold is forecast that should put an end to late season blooms of daphnes, camellias and ‘Autumn Amethyst’ azaleas.

Nighttime temperatures in the teens are likely to put a halt to flowering of ‘Eternal Fragrance’ daphne, though a few scattered blooms could return in an extended spell of mild winter weather.
Scattered flowers are not unusual on ‘Autumn Amethyst’ azalea in early December, but temperatures below twenty degrees are likely to end flowering until late April.

Perhaps camellias will flower again when milder temperatures return. Certainly, there are many unopened buds, and two camellias that are typically tardy, a ‘Winter’s Star’ and ‘Winter’s Interlude’ have not opened a single flower yet. Another ‘Winter’s Star’ several paces away flowered beginning in October, and of course I have no explanation why one flowers early and another late except for a slight variation in sun exposure, but this occurs annually.In any case, with abundant flowers through the autumn months, there is some benefit in reserving buds for mild spells in January. Earlier this year, the two camellias flowered January into March. I’ll be quite pleased if winter is mild enough to encourage a repeat. Of course, in a typical winter flowers are quickly ruined, and rarely do flowers fully open before freezing temperatures turn them to brown.

So, with a few days notice prior to the start of winter temperatures, the gardener must take full advantage to view flowers. Despite this cold, and likely worse to follow, there will be flowers through the winter months. Mahonias, witch hazels, and hellebores will flower through the coldest temperatures, but still the gardener wants more. So enjoy, time is short.

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