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Splashes of Color in a White World: GBBD, January 2015

January 16, 2015

winter garden jan 2015My Maine garden has been under snow cover for more than 6 weeks now. Although we had some unseasonably warm days in December, they never lasted long enough to melt all the snow that had piled up earlier, and more snow has been added in the new year. Here and there in the snow, seed heads of various perennials provide some “winter interest.”

hosta seedhead in snow spirea seedheads in snow

But my flowering houseplants are where I turn for color and promises of spring during the white months of winter. Although my various amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulbs have shown no signs of making flower buds, the stalwart cyclamen plants are ever-reliable.

pink cyclamen with flowers

pink & white cyclamen bloomingMy oldest cyclamen, with its small pink flowers, was already blooming profusely in December and has shown no sign of slowing down in January. Near it on the living room window ledge, two potted partners, one with large deep pink flowers and one with white flowers, are both in bloom.

My smallest potted cyclamen, which has flame-colored flowers, has found a home on the new glass étagère in a sunny corner of my bedroom. I had hoped to see it blooming by now, but instead have only buds. We can look forward to its scarlet blooms for February.

red cyclamen jan 2015

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see January blooms from gardens (and windowsills) in many climes.

37 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2015 12:15 pm

    Glad you have a few spots of color. Not much snow here, guess we needed a break. I prefer snow to the dreary, overcast, damp weather we have been having since mid-November. you are not missing much tucked up there in Maine now.

    • January 18, 2015 3:40 pm

      Carolyn, I don’t miss the gray winters of the mid-Atlantic; I much prefer Maine’s snow and sun. Our cold days and weeks have alternated with periods of warmer temperatures and rain (like today) that leave the white covering on the ground with a consistency more of pack ice than of snow. So far, we have had only one snowfall of more than a foot, and that was in November.

  2. Nell Jean permalink
    January 16, 2015 12:20 pm

    I always think of Cyclamen as a flower for Valentine’s Day. Now I’m rethinking to maybe have a red one for Christmas. They are lovely at any time.

    • January 18, 2015 3:41 pm

      Nell Jean, I hadn’t thought of Cyclamen as a Valentine’s Day flower, but since that is when my red one seems likely to bloom, it will be right on schedule 🙂 .

  3. January 16, 2015 12:31 pm

    Though you might be tired of snow already, is undeniable the views from your home are great.

    • January 18, 2015 3:43 pm

      Lula, I don’t get tired of the snow until late March/early April. Right now, I am enjoying the beautiful snowy scenes and the quality of snow-reflected light.

  4. January 16, 2015 1:07 pm

    What a gorgeous view outside your window, Jean! I also love to leave the dried perennials to create a ‘shadow garden’ in the snow. Cyclamen is my favorite Christmas flower. Long ago, I spent Christmas in Germany and noticed the beautiful Cyclamen growing on everyone’s windowsills. Ever since then, I always pick out some small Cyclamen plants for Christmas. Your oldest Cyclamen is a burst of beautiful color. Enjoy! ♡

    • January 18, 2015 3:45 pm

      Dawn, I do love the views outside my windows, perhaps especially in winter. I started getting potted Cyclamen plants for Christmas at a period when a local nursery started offering them as an alternative to Poinsettia. I have never gone back to Poinsettia; I find the cyclamen a much more satisfying houseplant that brings me months of beautiful flowers year after year.

  5. January 16, 2015 1:42 pm

    Your cyclamen is lovely! I have never had any luck keeping them; you must have a special touch. We finally have a snow cover here, too–the earlier storms kept missing us. I do enjoy seeing the seedheads and grasses covered in snow rather than the mushy brown we had most of December. Happy Bloom Day!

    • January 18, 2015 3:49 pm

      Rose, I think it’s more that I live in the right place for potted cyclamen than that I have a special touch. These are plants that don’t do well in heat. Like many Mainers, I keep my house cool in winter (about 62F); and even summers are cool here, so that the temperature in the house only occasionally gets above 75F (and that only for a few hours in late afternoon). I agree that a snowy landscape in winter is much to be preferred to a brown/gray landscape.

  6. January 16, 2015 3:40 pm

    Gosh, how romantic those snowy pictures look. A little different to the view from our windows here in Sydney! I will have to wait six months until my cyclamen (hopefully) look as good as yours…..

    • January 18, 2015 3:53 pm

      Janna, All the gorgeous summer flowers you have in your garden right now probably more than compensate for the lack of snowy views or potted cyclamen blooms. I would think that, given the fact that cyclamen dislikes heat, growing them in Sidney, Maine might be a little easier than growing them in Sydney, Australia 🙂 .

      • January 18, 2015 4:46 pm

        You are right, Jean, but you always yearn for whatever you can’t have! The tropical cyclamen (C. persicum) actually thrived in my garden last year. Our winters are about 17 degrees during the day and no less than about 7 at night, so almost perfect for them. I can’t wait!

  7. January 16, 2015 4:56 pm

    Goodness, Jean, such a white winter scene! While it’s been getting a little colder here we haven’t had any snowfall yet despite weather warnings (it’s been very windy though). We even had the fuchsias tucked away against the house walls holding onto their leaves until only very recently. There’s not much in the way of winter interest in the garden at the moment, just dead sticks or battered evergreens.

    • January 18, 2015 3:57 pm

      Sunil, Although you are at a much more northerly latitude with shorter days at this time of year, the warming influence of the gulf stream means that your climate is much milder in winter than mine. It’s not at all unusual here to have the first snowfall in November and then to have continuous snow cover until April. The best winter interest in my garden is not the garden itself but the pine-hemlock forest that surrounds it. It’s hard not to love the view of tall, majestic, snow-covered conifers.

  8. January 16, 2015 10:05 pm

    The backlit pink Cyclamen looks beautiful Jean and I’m sure it brightens things up during your cold winter days. Spring will be here before you know it so I hope your plans for your 2015 garden are moving along.

    • January 18, 2015 3:59 pm

      Kris, I am beginning to do some serious dreaming about my new front garden — although it will be several more months before the snow is gone here (usually in April) and the soil is warm enough to work (usually in May).

  9. January 16, 2015 11:30 pm

    Love the cyclamen!
    Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day!

    • January 18, 2015 4:05 pm

      Lea, I love the cyclamen, too — especially since it will be at least two more months before I have any flowers outdoors.

  10. January 17, 2015 10:39 am

    Hi Jean..

    Your cyclamens are lovely.. I always love to see blooming cyclamens. I think I will have to grow ones here in tropics.
    Happy gardening,

    • January 18, 2015 4:06 pm

      Hari, Are there species of cyclamen that grow well in the tropics? The ones I grow don’t like heat, so they would definitely not make good tropical plants.

  11. January 17, 2015 12:04 pm

    Your cyclamen are flowering beautifully. Are they difficult to grow inside?

    • January 18, 2015 4:10 pm

      Jason, Cyclamen has a reputation for being difficult to keep alive indoors, but that has not been my experience. I think people have trouble with them for two reasons: (1) These plants like it cool, and most Americans prefer a warmer house in winter than the cyclamen thrives in. I keep my house in the low sixties, and that makes them very happy. (2) After they bloom, the plants drop all their leaves and go into a period of dormancy that is hard to distinguish from death. Most people throw them out at this point, but if you have some faith and some patience (and give them cool, light, and a little water), they will eventually emerge from dormancy and get new growth.

  12. debsgarden permalink
    January 18, 2015 5:15 pm

    Jean, I can feel the frost through your snowy photos. I like the image with the bright cyclamen on the windowsill with the wintry landscape visible in the background. Six weeks of snow so far? I would want to hibernate inside a heated greenhouse.

    • January 19, 2015 9:59 pm

      Deb, My new addition has triple-paned windows, so you can see the frost and snow without feeling it! Winter is the longest season here, beginning in late November and lasting until early April. To live in Maine requires learning how to enjoy winter; the state’s winter economy is based on outdoor activities like skiing and snowmobiling.

  13. January 19, 2015 1:54 am

    So nice to have a bit of color to raise the spirits during the dark days of winter…Your photos are really enjoyable.

    • January 19, 2015 10:00 pm

      Charlie, I do enjoy the winter color, but winter isn’t that dark here. We have lots of winter sunshine, and all that snow reflects the light in wonderful ways.

  14. January 19, 2015 8:57 pm

    You’ve had much more snow than we have! I was a little surprised to see pictures of all that white. We had so much rain today that the little snow we had is getting all washed away. No snowshoeing to be had so far this year. I’m almost disappointed. My cyclamen bloomed and now the leaves are looking poorly. I think you said this is normal though so I am holding out hope I haven’t killed it yet.

    • January 19, 2015 10:01 pm

      Marguerite, We had a lot of rain, too, but it wasn’t enough to wash all the snow away (and it’s supposed to get cold again tonight).
      Don’t give up on your cyclamen! It’s normal for it to drop all its leaves at this point. Just give it a cool, bright spot and a little water, and practice patience!

  15. January 21, 2015 12:27 pm

    Jean, I envy your talent for growing houseplants! I have no problem growing Delphiniums and most perennials the summer through but houseplants? Well, maybe a Jade and an aloe vera. Thanks for the inspiration! Amanda Shenstone from

    • January 22, 2015 10:18 pm

      Amanda, The truth is that my “talent” for growing houseplants is to treat them all alike (cool house, bright light, and once-a-week watering) and then just to grow the survivors that thrive under those conditions. 😉
      I was just looking at your website and noticed that Terry Dowdeswell has a new strong “Cobalt Blue” delphinium. I have planted their “Royal Aspirations” a couple of times but haven’t found them to be very vigorous plants. I’m looking forward to giving Cobalt Blue a try.

  16. January 21, 2015 2:23 pm

    I’m missing colour in my new garden. But the plants are responding to a little gentle watering and light feeding. Pelargoniums popping out in lots of colours!

    Cyclamen has such beautifully shaped and patterned leaves.

    • January 22, 2015 10:20 pm

      Diana, I’m sure you will soon have lots of garden color at your new home.

      • January 23, 2015 4:12 pm

        Today my sister came to lunch.
        Asked – are those Bougainvillea in the vase real??
        She happily went home with her own bit!

  17. January 21, 2015 3:28 pm

    Lovely snow scenes, Jean. You do have a mysterious ‘Robert Frost’ view from your windows, don’t you. This year is the first time I’ve tried keeping my cyclamen, so will have to wait till next autumn/winter for the results. Hopefully my fingers are as green as yours!

    • January 22, 2015 10:24 pm

      Cathy, Robert Frost spent much of his life in northern New England, including time spent farming in New Hampshire near the Maine border. Many of his poems were about New England rural life, so I really do live in a Robert Frost world.
      I hope you have good luck with your cyclamen. I have found that once mine get established in their pots and increase in size, they bloom much of the year, just taking short rests now and then.

  18. January 29, 2015 6:52 pm

    All white here too for weeks on end and oh so cold…but my amaryllis is blooming too….I do need to add cyclamen indoors next winter. Jena I hope you didn’t get dumped on in this last storm.

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