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Where Does This Flower Think It Is? GBBD

December 15, 2009

Back garden in December (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) It’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day (GBBD). On the 15th of each month, Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites garden bloggers from all over the world to share what is blooming in their gardens.

You may be wondering what a Maine gardener can possibly write about blooms in December. After all, we’ve already had a couple of months of frosts and freezes here. We’ve had snow and ice and overnight temperatures below 10F. My garden is all tucked in under its white winter blanket.

Winter interest is provided by a couple of hardy evergreen rhododendrons, by seedheads, and by spent foliage rising above the snow. Rhododendron in winter (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)
Sedum 'Autumn Joy' seedhead in snow (photo credit: Jean Potuchek
Spent foliage of Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne' in snow (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)
Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne' seedhead (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)
In the blue and yellow border, the brown and withered foliage of the tall Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ is standing almost knee-deep in snow, with its seedheads providing the only evidence that this is a flowering plant.
But wait. Do you see it? There, at the end of that stem hanging down. Hanging stem of Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)
The little flower that could, still blooming!

Where does this little flower think it is?

Unlikely December bloom of Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2009 4:16 pm

    good eye!

  2. December 15, 2009 5:45 pm

    Oh my goodness! What a sweet flower! It is hard to believe. Jean, I will look forward to see what surprises you may find in your garden for January’s GBBD ;^)

  3. December 15, 2009 6:48 pm

    Jean~~ Your little Susan is a trooper!!

  4. December 15, 2009 7:07 pm

    Some colour, either than white, brown or black. You’ve got me envious!

  5. December 15, 2009 7:18 pm

    It thinks it is in a well-loved garden.

  6. December 15, 2009 7:54 pm

    Why, that flower thinks it’s in Alabama! (It does have some cousins in my garden.)

  7. December 15, 2009 8:03 pm

    Blooming upside-down like that, perhaps it’s dreaming that it’s in the antipodes where the weather is warm. (I’m amazed at all you New Englanders with snow. Not a flake has lasted so far, up here in the “Great White North.”)

  8. December 15, 2009 8:35 pm

    I enjoyed seeing snow in someone else’s yard besides mine. That black eyed Susan is awesome!

  9. December 15, 2009 9:33 pm

    This is part of what is so fun about GBBD this time of year. It gets you out looking for flowers that you may have not noticed otherwise. Yeah for the little flower that could 🙂

  10. December 16, 2009 2:27 am

    Adorable!! What staying power! 🙂

    • Jean permalink*
      December 16, 2009 12:08 pm

      Wow! So many comments; so little time. Let me see if I can respond to them all at once.

      JP and Catherine, I have to admit that I didn’t just spot this flower when I was out taking pictures for a GBBD post. I’ve been watching this flower for a while and posted an earlier photo of it on Dec. 1. I didn’t really expect it to last until the 15th. I mean, we’ve had some weather (like Sue and unlike Helen). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve counted this flower out in the early morning when it was frozen, icy or drooping, only to have it perk back up later in the day. For about a month, it bloomed perkily atop its upright stem. Then, a couple of nights ago, the stem was knocked down by the weight of snow and ice and I thought, “That’s it, then.” But there it is today, with the wind howling and temperatures in the teens, still looking perky (albeit upside down).

      Which means, Grace, Rebecca, and Sue, that you are right: This is an awesome flower, a little trooper with amazing staying power.

      But how is this possible? Nell, Helen, and Deb, I loved your answers to my question of where this flower thinks it is. But I would be interested in a serious scientific understanding of what’s going on here. Can any of you with more botanical/horticultural background than me (Noelle? Deborah?) explain what is keeping this flower alive? (I’m assuming that it is alive and not like the leaf that never fell in the O. Henry story.) Is it relevant that, because of our warm November, snow fell before the ground froze?

  11. December 17, 2009 5:36 am

    Brave little flower – even if it might be frozen solid. I sometimes wonder if there are tiny micro climates in the garden that allow these occasional flowers to survive – though that doesn’t explain why they bothered flowering so late in the first place.

    • Jean permalink*
      December 18, 2009 11:57 am

      EG, I can understand why it flowered so late; it’s a fall-blooming plant, and we had some exceptionally mild weather in November. What I don’t understand is what is keeping it going. My master gardener friend was here yesterday, so I got her to take a look at it out the window. (I didn’t ask her to go outside and look at it because the high temp here yesterday was 12F, the wind chill was below 0F, and she didn’t have the right footwear to go tromping around in 6″ deep snow.) She thought (a) that because the ground may not be frozen under the snow, some nutrients may be getting up the stem to this flower and (b) that in our current, cold dry weather, the flower may have become dessicated, so that it is no longer alive but still maintains it shape and color.

  12. December 17, 2009 7:22 am

    I can hear your “herbstsonne” saying, “I think I can, I think I can.”

    Very nice post. Stay warm. Cold and snowy here, too.


    • Jean permalink*
      December 18, 2009 11:59 am

      Ah, Donna, someone else who has read “The Little Engine that Could.” I sometimes joke that some of my more obsessive qualities are a result of two many readings of this story at an impressionable age.

  13. December 17, 2009 5:31 pm

    Survival of the fitest inspite of adversity.

    I was amused that your background in sociology brought you to reflect on Blotanical and social networking sites.

    With my experience suffering Lyme Disease if it was not for the information available on social networking sites pointing to many research documents and medical information I may well not be enjoying the good health I am today.

    Certainly the restricted guidelines of IDSA have been shown for what they are and hopefully will soon be updated to give others a fighting chance against Lyme Disease.

    So if you do research into social networking sites that is another good area to investigate although I know it has been researched before and no doubt we were just dismissed as a load of chranky people misguided by avericious doctors.

    Well I was lucky and treated on the NHS despite IDSA.

    Nice meeting you and sharing your garden blog.

    • Jean permalink*
      December 18, 2009 12:03 pm

      Joanne, One of my specializations within sociology is sociology of medicine, so your Lyme Disease experience is of great interest to me. There has been some research in the US about lay social movements that challenge medical orthodoxy, usually in relation to specific diseases. The research I know of has focused primarily on AIDS and breast cancer. It would be very interesting (a) to look at Lyme Disease as another example and (b) to look at the use of social networking as a way of mobilizing this kind of social movement activity. Thanks for visiting and for tapping into my sociological side.

  14. December 18, 2009 8:06 pm

    Sweet! That plant definitely is a keeper!

  15. December 19, 2009 7:57 am

    What determination! I, too, have been enjoying the seedheads and evergreens among the snowy landscape. I hope this finds you safe and warm despite the frosty temperatures. 🙂

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