The December garden

We got just a touch of frost a couple of weeks ago, but we are still waiting our first killing frost here in my zone 9a garden. Historically, it comes, on average, around December 10, so some of the blooms that I saw as I walked around the garden today may be on borrowed time.

Not my sweet little violas though. They'll be here throughout the season. This patio table planter had wax begonias in it over the summer. They are now resting in another pot and purple and white violas rule the day.

I like these violas so much that I found other places around the patio to tuck some of them into - like this pot of gerberas. The gerberas will go down when the frost comes but the violas will bloom on.

I liked adding this one to its own individual pot on the side table.

This Red Admiral butterfly liked it, too.

Muscadine leaves are now scattered far and wide over the backyard.

Although most of the leaves are gone, many of the fruits still hang on and continue to ripen.  

The Cape honeysuckle is in full bloom now.

And so is the blue plumbago. The blooms are not as full as the ones that flourished all summer, but they are still there.

The purple trailing lantana sprawls all over its bed. It usually attracts a big following of butterflies, but not on this gray, foggy day.

Most of my beautyberry bushes have already been stripped of their berries but this one next to the vegetable garden still holds plenty of fruits for winter-hungry birds.

By the goldfish pond, some of the toad lilies still bloom. That pink spot in the pond is not a goldfish - it's a reflection of one of the pink plastic flamingos that stand guard over the pond!

Even 'Old Blush' rose is getting into the blooming act.

I love almost everything about Copper Canyon daisies, except for the fact that they sprawl all over the place. They are worth this minor inconvenience though.

Next to the daisies, their companion 'Mystic Spires' salvia is in bloom again after being cut back severely in late summer. 

Turk's Cap 'Big Momma' still proliferates with its unique blooms.

These are the last of my brugmansias. Most of my brugs got bitten by that "touch of frost" which we had earlier, but this one is located next to the house in a rather protected spot and it stands next to one of my rain barrels which retains its heat through the night and helped to keep the brugmansia cozy.

My front yard is mostly covered in a thick blanket of red oak leaves today. They seem to have fallen almost overnight.

But as you can see from the tree, there are still plenty more to fall!

One of the staples of my winter garden is red cyclamen. These are in a planter near my front door. 

I added these "everblooming" azaleas to the entry bed at the front of my house in the fall and they are performing as advertised. They are said to bloom from spring through fall and only pause for a bit in winter. So far, so good.

Also near my front door, I added these pansies to this pot for a bit of color. 

I managed to kill my last Christmas cactus, so I recently bought another. It seems happy enough in its spot on the room divider between my kitchen and living room. I'll try to take better care of it than I did with my last one.
I love my December garden. It doesn't demand so much from me. Mostly it just wants to be left alone and occasionally visited. During this busy season of holidays, that is just about what I can manage.


  1. Love those low maintenance gardens! Zone 9a? Jealous. We're 1b and first (last?) frost was on July 17. We couldn't even get our beets to grow well this year...

    1. Wow, hard to imagine frost in July! That month is like being inside an oven here. Gardening here is pretty much a 12 month affair, but we battle heat, humidity, fungal diseases, and insect pests in most of those months. "Winter" offers a brief respite. I guess every zone has its challenges. And rewards.

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