It was when I was living in Appalachia that I first learned that pansies were actually a winter flower, that could survive frost and even snow. I’d only seen them used in summer on the West Coast, though certainly I remember my Grandmother’s fondness for them. “They have such sweet faces,” she always said. And of course, they do. I’m certain you’ve found, as I have, that they are
reliable, sturdy, abundant and generous in their bounty and I’m ever so grateful for what they offer me regardless of the season.
One would think we are particularly challenged at this time of year to find our necessary Flower Fixes, but it really is not that difficult if one is creative, and I actually cherish this time when I can grow my cyclamen out on the front porch,
knowing they actually relish the colder weather. They suffer through summers only at my insistence. Even if you are in less temperate climates you are surely enjoying the cyclamen so readily available in all the stores where we all find our flowers, as they have, in fact, become a staple at Christmastime. I’ve had a charming magenta bunch out front all through the summer, and it’s still chugging merrily along, again, much relieved with the colder climate (and this does include freezing temps. each night!). And then I have a row of them–red and green pots with red cyclamen in each. Very festive. They greet folks at the door. I find them both elegant and charming. Love them, love them!
I went to my local nurseryman, John (everyone knows him in this town; if you say “plant” and “John” in the same sentence, everyone knows who you mean),
and read him my list of Sources of Flowers in Winter and asked him to come up with a few more. Here’s what we came up with together. Check this out:
viola (of course–goes with pansies)
calendula (he calls it winter marigold)
alyssum (John’s brother says only the white one–does anyone know if this is
true? My purple one doesn’t know this apparently and is still alive.)
Iceland poppy (sounds right)
English daisy (another one that prefers colder clime)
mums (though I never grow them)
and camelias, especially some early bloomers
Does anyone know any others we missed?
Fortunately this is a time of year when we are surrounded by flowers in our homes, particularly pointsettia, and I’m certainly enjoying the variegated variety this year, aren’t you? I always feel a bit guilty and a little sad that they are a tropical plant and at season’s end I will have to recycle, but, they do bring so much gaiety to our hearth and home, so they do serve that purpose. And what better time to bring red roses to our tables than Christmas? And are you like I am and have paperwhites on the kitchen table? They are beginning to blossom and I catch their sweet scent walking into the kitchen. Delicious! And don’t get me started on the beauty of the amaryllis! I have a basket of them in my home office, and I can’t wait until they begin to open their big buds! And this year I chose to bring two hydrangeas into my Christmas theme. I have a beautiful white lacy one in the main bathroom and a very dark purple/green heirloom variety in my own room. It’s spectacular. I don’t know what the angels were thinking when they came up with that! Beauty. They were thinking Beauty. What a gift.
It’s far too early to be longing for spring. The first day of winter is nearly upon us. And our choices are abundant regardless of where we find ourselves. Nevertheless, spring and summer are probably not far from your mind, and thus I here include a verse from a poet I have just discovered through a very nice friend. (Thank you, David.) Pull it out again in February when you get antsy. Meanwhile, enjoy.
Have patience; here are flowers and songs of birds,
Beauty and fragrance, wealth of sound and sight,
All summer’s glory thine from morn till night,
And life too full of joy for uttered words.
Celia Thaxter, “Land-locked” (1860)
Love and blessings,
Posted on December 15th, 2007 by Kathryn
Filed under: Plants