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A Blooming White Christmas

December 26, 2011

Snow-dusted woods (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Unusually warm late fall temperatures left much of the eastern United States without any hope of snow for Christmas this year. Even here in Maine, the 14” of snow that fell before Thanksgiving had melted away, leaving bare ground. But we got a light snowfall two days before Christmas, followed by cold temperatures that kept it on the ground. And on Christmas day itself, snowflakes floated down all day, not amounting to anything, but leaving the woods behind the house looking like they had been dusted with confectioners sugar.

The scene was equally sweet indoors as a number of winter-blooming houseplants opened flowers in time for Christmas.

Christmas blooms on the window ledge (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) The stalwart cyclamens never fail me, blooming year after year on their cool, sunny window ledge. The Christmas cactus, with its pale, peachy-pink flowers, is a new addition this year. The most exciting blooms of all, however, were the stunning red-and-cream striped flowers of Hippeastrum ‘Papillo Butterfly,’ which opened on Christmas morning.

Christmas blooms (photo credits: Jean Potuchek) Wishing all of you a happy blooming holiday season!

31 Comments leave one →
  1. December 26, 2011 10:44 pm

    Now THAT is a Christmas blessing. What a beautiful flower. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Jean. I believe 2012 has good things in store.

  2. December 27, 2011 3:40 am

    Lovely blooms! Wishing you a Happy and productive 2012!

    • December 31, 2011 11:20 pm

      Grace, It was hard to imagine a better gift than the opening of those gorgeous flowers.

      Sandra, I don’t think I’m alone in being happy to see the end of this year and looking forward to a fresh start in 2012.

  3. December 27, 2011 4:49 am

    Jean, a bit of snow and cold in NY but we traveled to Mass. where we had no snow on the ground but we had those big fluffy flakes floating all Christmas morning…such lovely flowers for Christmas…hope your Christmas was wonderful…here’s to a wonderful New Year!

    • December 31, 2011 11:22 pm

      Donna, Since Christmas, we’ve had warmer weather (and rain) and the snow is once again gone. This is so strange; usually, once we get a substantial snowfall in November or December, there is snow cover continuously until spring.
      Happy New Year to you.

  4. December 27, 2011 9:20 am

    What a pretty Amaryllis that is, Jean. I’ve never had that variety…it really does resemble butterfly wings! I have a Christmas cactus that my mom gave to me last year after it had finished blooming. It looked like it was dying all year, but a couple of days before Christmas, put out 2 buds–with the promise of at least 2 blooms to come in the near future. Snow has been but a pipe-dream this year, here in VA. It’s so special to see the white stuff during the holidays–as it just makes it ‘feel’ more like Christmas. Merry Christmas to you, Jean, and all good wishes for 2012!

    • December 31, 2011 11:26 pm

      Jan, This is a new addition to my indoor garden this year, one of several Hippeastrum bulbs purchased from Brent and Becky’s. This one is a species plant and is more delicate looking than the hybrids. It only got two flowers on its one stem, but the beauty of the flowers more than made up for any lack of quantity.
      Happy New Year. Any interest in visiting some DC/Virginia area gardens later in the spring? (I have a light teaching load for spring with a schedule that allows for long weekends, and I’m looking forward to taking advantage of it.)

  5. December 27, 2011 12:03 pm

    Jean, Your indoor plants look so good that it made me wonder if you transported them back and forth to PA with you. Still warm here with no snow in sight. I am about to do a post on our day together in July with a humorous intro (I hope you find it so). Happy New Year, Carolyn

    • December 31, 2011 11:44 pm

      Carolyn, You’re right; I do transport my plants back and forth with me in the car. The floor on the passenger side (both front and back) is reserved for houseplants. In some years, I have had tall plants filling the back seat, making the car look like a traveling jungle and providing some amusement to toll takers along the way.

      I very much enjoyed your dramatic license in turning your visit to my garden into a potential thriller. 🙂 It reminded me of the time my parents went to a remote, rural tree nursery in Rhode Island to buy a spruce tree. About 2 miles into the dirt road, my younger brother, who was 4 or 5 and just learning to read, got hysterical crying because he had seen a sign at the beginning that said “Dead End” and he was convinced we were all going to get lost in there and die. (Once they got him calmed down, the explained the meaning of the phrase “dead end.”)

  6. December 27, 2011 12:17 pm

    There’s little quite as cheering as plants that bloom in winter. Thanks for sharing the photos.

  7. December 27, 2011 1:31 pm

    Gracious timing, to open on Christmas day!

    • December 31, 2011 11:47 pm

      Patricia, I agree. I’ve been expanding my stock of flowering houseplants and trying to make sure that I have some in bloom throughout the winter.

      Diana, Gracious timing, indeed! Today, 7 days after they first opened, the flowers are finally starting go fade — but I have another variety that is just beginning to open its buds.

  8. December 27, 2011 6:44 pm

    Merry Late Christmas Jean. I’m so glad you go the snow. I’m not 100% positive but if there is any snow at all at my cabin in the adirondacks, its like an inch. I’ve owned it since 2003 and this will be the first time in my days that this has been the case..usually there is a permanent 2-3 feet by this time. I paid a lot of money to the plow guy too!!!!! I guess some years he’s fat and happy!

  9. December 27, 2011 10:31 pm

    I too noticed the consistent snow flurries on Christmas. It didn’t amount to anything, but sure was pretty to see out the window while preparing the Christmas meal.

    Happy Holidays!

    • January 7, 2012 10:56 pm

      Jess, We pay for plowing by the storm, so my neighbors and I are fat and happy in low snow years, but pay for it during big winters. This year looks to be a low snow winter; we’ve been having unusually warm temperatures accompanied by rain, punctuated by cold, dry periods. This is actually the kind of winter that poses the most danger to the garden, as plants experience repeated freeze-thaw cycles without the protection of an insulating blanket of snow.

      GrafixMuse, I’m beginning to think that the pretty light dusting is all we’re destined for this winter.

  10. December 28, 2011 9:46 am

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Jean, and all the best for 2012!

    • January 7, 2012 10:57 pm

      Happy New Year to you, Diane. I must admit that I have been particularly happy this year to see the old year out and welcome a new one.

  11. December 28, 2011 7:05 pm

    We had similar weather here for Christmas, it’s so lovely to see a bit of snow for the holidays. I see your cyclamen don’t mind a cool window, that might be something for me to try as my antique bay windows get quite cold in winter but receive good sun.

  12. December 29, 2011 9:44 am

    Now there’s a true gift on Christmas Day! How beautiful. And I’ve always envied your cyclamens. Just love those. Merry Christmas to you Jean and here’s to a great new gardening year!

    • January 7, 2012 11:00 pm

      Marguerite, Cyclamen seem to love cool. I cart all of mine up to Maine with me during the summer because my house in Pennsylvania gets too hot for them.

      Kathy, I’m grateful to the friend who gave me my first cyclamen at Christmas more than 15 years ago; I might never have tried them otherwise. They bloom much of the year for me, but they’re a special delight during the winter (including the original one, which has been repotted twice over the years and is still blooming faithfully each year).

  13. December 30, 2011 4:28 pm

    Wow, that Hippeastrum was quite a Christmas present! Best wishes for a happy 2012.

    • January 7, 2012 11:02 pm

      Cindy, It was a great gift! And just as its blooms faded, another of my new Hippeastrum plants started to open.

  14. December 30, 2011 9:42 pm

    Jean, what a wonderfully cheery windowsill. It must bring a smile to your face every time it catches your eyes. Hope you had a peaceful Christmas and all the best to you in the new year.

    • January 7, 2012 11:02 pm

      Joene, Happy New Year! Flowers always make me smile, but flowers in winter are a special treat.

  15. sequoiagardens permalink
    December 31, 2011 8:42 am

    May 2012 be a wonderful year for you and for your gardens, Jean!

  16. Lula ( permalink
    December 31, 2011 12:59 pm

    Jean, thanks for your wishes, very, very happy new year 2012!!! Lula

    • January 7, 2012 11:03 pm

      Jack and Lula, Happy New Year to you both.

  17. December 31, 2011 7:17 pm

    Jean – what a wonderful and unexpected bevy of blooms! Your indoor plants are inspirational (I find that each year a re-purposed plant finds it’s way into our home). Now I’m adding cyclamen and Christmas cactus to the list.

    Very best wishes for 2012!

    • January 7, 2012 11:06 pm

      Happy New Year, Shyrlene. My houseplants are mostly survivors of abuse and neglect, but I’ve found the cyclamen very hardy (as long as they’re kept cool, which is not a problem for me). I love Christmas cactus, but I’ve had a harder time keeping them going (perhaps they like it warmer than I do?). I’ve made a resolution to do better this year in giving my Hippeastrum bulbs the proper care during their non-blooming season; we’ll see how I do.

  18. January 9, 2012 10:44 pm

    Definitely interested in visiting some gardens with you later in the spring, Jean! Just let me know what dates you are free and I’ll check to see if I can join you. You can email me anytime;-)


  1. The Joy of Winter Blooms: GBBD, January 2012 « Jean's Garden

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