In late autumn and early winter, flowers of camellias are seen every day that I can possibly get out into the garden, braving the cold. One day, a pink tipped white bud begins to show color as fully opened flowers turn brown following a twenty-three (Fahrenheit), or eighteen degree night. This cycle will continue for weeks, long into December or until nighttime temperatures regularly drop into the teens.
Browned flowers remain prominent, and partially opened buds are often brown at the tips following spells of cold. Two pink flowered camellias are typically late to flower, with first blooms often not appearing until the first mild spell in January. I expect the same this year, and hopefully there are some warmer periods that encourage winter blooms.
As flowers of late autumn blooming mahonias open weeks late, flowering stems of the late winter blooming Leatherleaf mahonia (Mahonia bealei, above) form in late autumn. Buds will swell through the winter, showing increasing yellow coloring until flowers open, as early as late January, but typically in late February or early March.
Flower buds of this variegated Winter daphne (Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’) are barely evident in mid-December, but these will swell quickly in January, with some color often evident in late January.
Hairy flower buds of the early spring blooming ‘Dr. Merrill’ magnolia are protected from extreme cold.
Pussy willow buds are evident on some stems in late autumn, though it is unlikely that buds will swell much more than this until late winter.
Red flower buds of ‘Dorothy Wycoff’ distinguish this pieris.