Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, December 15, 2008

December~~ Bloom Day

I was pretty sure that there wasn't going to much for you to see today!

Russian Kale with frost

In fact, I was all prepared to show you around the garden and point out what will be blooming here and there in a few months and distract you with my future plans...But instead of the lovely rosettes of biennials, or the evergreen festooned with berries and buds~~

Look what I found!

The newly identified Sheffield Yellow Mum was a gift last month from my across the street neighbor. I love the way this plant is opening one petal at a time....as if reaching for the warm sun.

Here are the stalwart winter flowering Violas.

A sweet faced Viola from the Citrus Series.

Another sweetie pie...they are pretty little flowers. What do you think of this color combination?

Now here is a surprise~~

Laura (Phlox Paniculata) seems very worse for wear after several serious freezes. It may be hopeful thinking on my part, but those buds look like they survived the frozen days. We are expecting temperatures in the fifties....maybe she will bloom;)

But, what is really puzzling me about Laura is this~~

Her foliage is untouched~~ We have had more than a few freezes...she ought to be toast! Research does not reveal that Laura is evergreen or even semi-evergreen. I am not complaining mind you, just very curious!

When we cleaned out the wayback, we found this blooming evergreen, (Elaeagnus pungens (E.x ebbingei))...I hope so! It doesn't look like the other Elaeagnus, Russian Olive! Russian Olive is considered an invasive....another bad plant we don't want at Clay and Limestone! We have enough of them here already! This elaeagnus has a rather sweet pleasant fragrance.

Let me know if you think this one ought to go!


My friends...You know I have declared myself indoor plant free. King Coal, the plant eating cat has meant no flowering plants. That is, until recently. The prettiest Amaryllis has come to live here! She followed me home from the grocery store on Thursday...When you see her sweet face you will understand... I had only seen her tag but knew she was a quality amaryllis!

Isn't she beautiful? Here name is ~~Apple Blossom!

Another look at her~~

So far Coal hasn't discovered her. He may be too intrigued by the Christmas tree and its ornaments to notice anything else! Lucky Apple! Lucky Gail!

Thank you for stopping by to visit. If you want to see even more blooms for December, head over to May Dreams Gardens, where Carol is the host of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day on the fifteenth of each month!

Have a wonderful day!

Gail

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other. ~Chinese Proverb


83 comments:

  1. Hi Gail, so fun. Hope Coal doesn't recognize the apple blossom as a plant calling his name! And yellow sheffie, double triple hooray! Are you getting sleet? The map says you might be, yikes! Those are some fabulous viola color combinations. I love the purple and orange together and think they look good with the yellow daffs in the spring, but not so much the pink tulips, made that mistake one year. I can't wait to see your cleaned out wayback!
    Frances

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  2. Frances,

    So glad to see you today! The violas are darlings...my favorites over the large faced pansies. Isn't apple lovely...for a first amaryllis! Coal hasn't eyed her yet ...It was a tossup as to whether or not I would post today! I am worn out from my comfort party! I'll give you a holler today! Have a fun day visiting everyone!

    gail

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  3. Gail,

    Your Laura phlox is still going! My Robert finally decided to pack up and hibernate.

    This little visions of color in your perennial garden are so wonderful.

    Cameron

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  4. Gail,
    You have so many lovely blooms! We are just getting started with our Amaryllises. Phillip was kind enought to send one as a gift and he has inspired us to find more.-Randy

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  5. I really like those little violas. I always grow some in the spring. Such a pretty blend of colors on a delicate looking (but tough) little flower.

    I have Apple Blossom too. Don't you love that soft pink?
    Marnie

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  6. Gail, You get to give us little glimpses of color! And aren't you happy with your new amaryllis? I bought Apple Blossom in a box last year. It must have been a baby. I set it out this summer and am now waiting for it to finish "sleeping!" After seeing your photos, I'll be very happy to have it blossom! :-)

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  7. Laura must be pretty hardy! Maybe the shelter of the trees minimized the frost damage. The Sheffield mum looks like it will be a welcome winter bloom! Cold weather coming tonight again.

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  8. Dave,

    The tag for Laura says she is hardy to -30. Now I always thought that meant her roots would survive not her leaves. It's odd! Do you have the mum? It is a keeper for sure, I am going to order more from Bluestone.

    Keep warm and dry! This rain is something else!

    Gail

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  9. Cameron,

    Laura is too much...the tenacious manner in which she ensures her survival! I like the little pops of color, too! Glad you stopped by today!

    Gail

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  10. Randy,

    Phillip is a generous friend and a wonderful gardener! I hope you have posted them today...I will pop by to see! Gail

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  11. Marnie,

    I do love the soft pink... in certain light conditions she has a sparkle to her petals...diamond dusted similar to the way they describe daylilies. I am now a fan of amaryllis...what others do you have?

    Gail

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  12. See you never know what you might find on any given day in the garden Gail. That purple & orange viola is a nice color combination! I can't believe your Phlox 'Laura' is still trying to push out some blooms. What a trooper! My Robert Poore is done blooming but the foliage lives on at the moment. Happy GBBD!

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  13. Shady,

    Just a little color but then we haven't your winter challenge. Apple Blossom is lovely...you are going to enjoy her pretty pink face.

    Gail

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  14. Racquel,

    Thanks for the info on Robert Poore, (I think he needs to move in here and hang near Laura!) ..So it's not unusual for some phlox to keep up the green! My species...magenta flowered P paniculata is long gone.

    Have a dlicious time today...the southern blogs further south are calling me!

    Gail

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  15. Gail, you've always got some delightful plants to show us - even in December!
    Katarina

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  16. What wonderful blooms. My poor pansies have had it. We'll see next fall if any of the scant amounts of seeds it produced planted themselves. I'm glad some people have plants to look at that aren't dead, it's nice to see the color out there in December.

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  17. What a difference between your TN garden and my VA garden! I'm missing my phlox...they hung on a long time (I must have Laura, too). But frosts HAVE turned her to toast. Literally. Your selection today is very pleasant! Jan

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  18. My husband drug me out to our wayback yeaterday to show me a flowering, sweet smelling shrub! It may be the Russian Olive too! I will post about it later. I looked around to see if I saw anymore of it coming up, I didn't at this point. It is sort of viney at the top though. I'll show it soon! He also bought me the same color Amaryllis from Lowes and it's trying to bloom again.

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  19. Cinj,

    Hi there! You have two beautiful blooms ...a son and daughter who light up your garden and home. Christmas is so much fun with young children. Happy Bloom day Cinj, I am glad you stopped by!

    gail

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  20. Darla,

    Let's hope it's not the Russian Olive...the leaves look very different so we might be safe from having another invasive in our gardens! The way back is looking very different these days! How about yours?

    Gail

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  21. Jan,

    Just a few miles makes all the difference. Don't you love micro-climates! I know I have zone 8 pockets in the garden and even zone 6! Laura is a sweet phlox with an interesting lavender-pink flower with a striking white eye. Is that what your plant looks like?

    Have a fun Bloom Day!

    Gail

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  22. Katarina,

    What a sweet and kind compliment! I am thrilled to have any bloom! Your rose buds are lovely, too!

    gail

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  23. Aren't winter blooms such a surprise and blessing! Just when you think there will be nothing of color nature goes and surprises us! Great shots, thanks for sharing, Kim

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  24. Kim, It would a long and tedious time without bloom surprises! I am grateful for these small gifts in December and January. So glad you stopped by to see the blooms and say hello~~

    Gail

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  25. Ooh, your Russian kale looks all cool and octopus-y! And the violas are just so darn cute, as all violas are, esp. the orange one. :)
    ~ Monica

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  26. Hi,
    I do hope the plant is Elaeagnus pungens.What an interesting plant, with a fragrance! I also love the purple and orange viola combination. I used to always go for subltle color, now I want to let the color rip! King Coal.. what a wonderful name!
    :)
    I am looking forward to the Journey to the wayback.
    I like that proverb. I have to confess I have done something like that for years!
    One of my favorite images is the flower with just a few emerging petals.
    Best regards,
    Philip

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  27. Your Phlox 'Laura' is about where my Phlox 'Nicky' was last month. What a fun surprise! I really like the color combo of that second Viola. It has an Old World look to it. All my Phlox are but a memory now. I'd be happy with a single Pansy bloom at this point.

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  28. Hi, Gail--I love that little salmon and purple viola (how's your deer problem, btw?) Glad King Coal--what a great name--hsn't found the Amaryllis yet. Have you ever tried keeping catnip and pet grass in the house? Our Kit won't bother other plants if there's something she prefers to lie in--

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  29. December GBBD and you show as all these lovely flowers I'm so impressed and a little bit envious...:-) / xoxo Tyra

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  30. Frosted kale looks so pretty Gail and I love the little violas....their bright little faces always bring cheer to a garden......

    And 'apple blossom' reminds me of just that.....lovely soft colour......

    It is too cold to work in the garden here....sigh....but I live in hope of milder days....I don't do inside too well......

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  31. Thanks so much for the blossoms - living vicariously through everyone with flowers. I'd say with the giant cat toy Christmas tree to keep Coal busy - I bet you're safe - if it doesn't wiggle, sparkle or break this time of year - it just isn't kittie worthy.

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  32. You've got lots of pretty stuff left for bloom day. Glad we got to see it before the ice storm hits TN. It is so cold here, I have on wool & more wool. I feel like I live up north with Carol.

    Your Amaryllis is beautiful. I wanted to touch her.~~Dee

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  33. Hi Gail,
    I love pansies! Mine are finished for the season, though. That indoor plant is beautiful! I hope your cat leaves it alone.

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  34. Hope the kitty doesn't discover your beautiful Amaryllis. Thankfully my kitty doesn't bother my plants. I had that Amaryllis last year!

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  35. The kale was a gorgeous photo to begin with and it just got better from there. Great blooms.

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  36. I can see why the amaryllis followed you home, Gail. If I had seen her first, I would have invited her to my house:) It certainly doesn't look like winter at Clay and Limestone--I love the frozen kale and the peach and purple violas. But a mum blooming now?? That is amazing!

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  37. From the Kale to the King Kat! I loved it all. I bet there is a story behind how you found Coal.

    So your Laura hasn't froze? I was reading about it this week. I might hunt down a batch of them if they are going to behave in such a fashion.

    The pansies and violas are happy and charming. I bet they didn't think Laura would be staying so late and socializing.

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  38. I'm stunned at your many handsome December blooms, Gail. Mine are all sleeping under the snow. Amaryllis are delightful houseguests ... enjoy!

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  39. Apple Blossom is so fresh and pretty. I can see why it came home with you. I didn't get an amaryllis this year, and now that I see them on everyone's blogs I'm really regretting it.

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  40. I can't believe you have a mum still trying to bloom. How wonderful. And Laura is a curiosity isn't she? The violas have such sweet little faces-quite cheerful. Years ago I has an Apple Blossom amaryllis and I loved it. Your lovely reminded me of that long ago flower. I should look for another. Great bloom day post,Gail. I'm a little envious. :}

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  41. Super amaryllis. I didn't get round to getting any bulbs this year and of course regret it now ...

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  42. How exciting to have blooms both outside and inside! I love Apple Blossom and yours has so many flowers! Enjoy, enjoy!

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  43. Anna,

    There is a story behind how we found Coal...I promise to tell it this January...maybe sooner...It's part of the GOBN's story! Do you have esp!

    Let me know what and where you find Laura! High Country Gardens sells her...she was at Lowe's at an end of the year sale..

    Are you keeping warm? I can't get used to the cold...but 60 degree days fool the body!

    Gail

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  44. Cindy,

    I am fortunate to have a few blooms not sure why ever the mum is still trying to bloom! But the Kale and violas can survive our zone 7 cold. I have never ever had an amaryllis before but can certainly see how attractive they are! It's like spring in the middle of December.

    Keep safe out there and bundle up!

    Gail

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  45. Sue Swift,

    I found Apple at the grocery store. Isn't is amazing but they now sell perennials and shrubs, too! I did find three monardas there last year that the local nursery didn't stock! What does your grocer sell besides groceries?

    Gail

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  46. Beckie,

    Hi there...I so get garden envy from time to time! I wish I had your rich prairie soil instead of rock and clay! I want the sunny days and salvia in the middle of winter like they grow in Houston and Austin! You must get some Apple Blossom! Listen to me, the first time amaryllis grower and I am pushing them onto others!

    Have a fantastic day Beckie and keep warm and safe!

    Gail

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  47. Pam,

    Good morning, Apple Blossom is a sweet flower. I stood looking at her for five minutes before she joined the groceries in the cart! ...am I guessing correctly that you could plant your amaryllis in the garden? That would certainly be interesting!

    Cindy of My Corner...has a really nice looking amaryllis, one post back that you must see!

    Gail

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  48. joey,

    Snow has its charms! Sometimes I think it would improve our Nashville gardens...cover up all the brown we have everywhere! Zone 7 means we can push the envelope a bit and that our violas will survive till spring....let's see how the cat and Apple Blossom survive each other!

    Gail

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  49. Rose,

    It totally surprised me to see the mum...there is also an interesting variegated button mum that is blooming...I think the vigorous and spreading types have a survival gene...they just keep on keeping on!

    Have a good day and do keep warm! It sounds very cold up there! I feel all whiny even mentioning a few ice pellets we have here! They cancel school if there is the merest hint of snow!

    gail

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  50. Bonnie,

    You are very kind! So how did the tomatoes fair last night?

    Gail

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  51. Robin,

    Hi...lucky you to have a better behaved cat! I think mine wants to be outside and it just isn't safe here...we have a busy street and coyotes. Those poor maligned critters get blamed for everything! Do you try to force the bulbs again or just let them bloom when they feel like it? I read that phrase somewhere!

    Gail

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  52. Cheryl,

    Hi there! So sorry it has been too cold to work in the garden! We need that time to let go of stress and relax. A friend was sharing that when she gardens it is like nothing else exists...I call it the one with the garden experience....I love it! So I am hoping, since I am slow to respond in comments, that you are able to be in the garden from now on!

    Have a glorious day~~

    Gail

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  53. Barbarapc,

    I am doing the same thing Barbara, visiting all those gardens in the warmer climates to see salvia and mums and who knows what else! Isn't blogging wonderful!

    gail

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  54. Tyra,

    The flowers we would grow here if we had your lovely greenhouse...but I know what you mean...having them in the garden, in the ground is a treat! You take care!

    gail

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  55. Dee,

    I can't believe that you are having such cold and icy weather so soon! We sort of missed the ice storm, but there are more chancs this week! This is about 3 to 4 weeks earlier then we usually get this kind of weather...sighing!

    Keep warm and cozy!
    gail

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  56. Tina, Hey you! it is nice to have some bloom in the garden! Did you see we share the Elaeagnus> Nice fragrance!

    Phillip B, I am pretty sure it is the right elaeagnus...but there is some question to it being on the watch list. There is one bush I can take that one out myself! I plan on showing photos this week of the GOBN and way back! There is a lot of work still to do...the arborist wasn't able to finish! Can't wait to show it to you!

    Cosmo, I haven't seen the deer lately but they did eat my Laura phlox that was planted near the mosaic shed! The rats! Must get the spray you spoke about in your last post! The cat eats then pukes the plant on my rugs and other nice furniture! He's a dear!

    Sorry to answer this way, but thank you all for commenting...You are the best! Gail

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  57. Mr's daughter,

    I do like your Nicky Phlox, too...I am sure Laura will be toast once these ice storms pass through! If she survives this cold winter I am going to propagate her and plant her all over the yard...the green is outstanding! If I could give you a Illinois winter proof
    viola or pansy I would....gail

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  58. Karen,

    I lost your comment in the middle! Sorry...So glad you came by to see my blooms! There aren't many but they are all appreciated! Btw, I love your avatar photo, it's so much fun!

    Gail

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  59. That Amaryllis is a beauty and I hope Coal is over his whole plant eating phase. I can't believe you got him a Christmas tree! My kitties are not so lucky but then they have the aspidistra...

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  60. Happy GBBD Gail! That Laura is one tough cookie, isn't it wonderful? Love the apple blossom if only for its name. It's amazing what you find when you're hunting for blooms at this time of year, isn't it?

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  61. Oooh... I hope that you didn't jinx yourself by mentioning that Coal has not yet discovered Miss Apple! :) She is a sweetie--she seems like the more voluptuous (in a good way) sister to my 'Sweet Lillian,' doesn't she?!

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  62. Gail .. how are you girl ! Here I am last again .. but I was truly busy .. shopping .. and putting up a real tree on my front step .. hoping it doesn't succumb to our weather !
    Coal hasn't found Apple yet ? .. do I have a chance with the girls not noticing one for me maybe ?
    I love the violas .. the first flower I ever remember smelling were pansies .. I still get weak kneed ? to this day when I smell them .. they are so wonderful : )

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  63. Russian Kale and Russian Olive, you have a theme going on here. I think your Elaeagnus is pungens, especially if there is an occasional thorn (I know that Elaeagnus angustifolia is very invasive and on the naughty list). If I were you I would keep it. It smells good and the birds enjoy the fruit. I would just keep an eye nearby for unwanted volunteers.

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  64. Gail the violas are precious! That one with the orange is a knockout as well your STAR Amaryllis! Lovely flowers today!

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  65. Kim,

    I thought so, too! I have never been a fan of the red amaryllis but these pink ones and others I've seen with less of a trumpet flower are pretty darn good looking! I do think that Coal is more interested in the tree and the bay laurel I brought in (or the dirt)!

    Gail

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  66. Naturegirl,

    I think it is a rather special little flower...I have heard that they cross with other violas...think what the offspring will look like..when ever they show up!

    gail

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  67. Kkris,

    His very own tree~~ I didn't do the usual preservative in the water thing, knowing he might be tempted to play with the water! We are well trained by our kitties!
    I just want an occasional look or maybe he will let me pet him!

    Gail

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  68. Les,

    Thanks..I haven't seen anything resembling it nearby or in the wayback! It smells delicious and the flowers are nice in December! I shall leave it be..the evergreen is nice, too! Again thank you!

    gail

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  69. Joy,

    He didn't bat a kitty eye when I brought Apple in! But were I to bring a native grass or flower inside...he would be all over it! H loves cutflowers! Also, it is on a small bookshelf with no space for a cat to jump onto it! I know, I know it wouldn't stop Emma! Sophie being older and more mature would Know better.

    The viola are adorable! My favorite ever is Viola tricolor---Johnny Jump Up. I think they are precious with their little faces of purple and white and yellow. I have never been able to get them established here! I bet you would love them...so cute in your garden!

    gail

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  70. YE,

    I was prepared to distract you all with what ever I could find! Fortunately there was still bloom amidst the brown! I may have to get very creative in January! How about you? Take care!

    gail

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  71. Gail with the kale! Great photo and didn't you just find quite a few blossoms for Bloom Day! I hope the cat stays healthy!

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  72. Lisa, Now that is a cute!

    Layanee, I hope he does, too! The blooms are gone now...we've had some ice, but I am thinking they couldn't survive that!

    Gail

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  73. Nice selection of plants....the whiskered faces of the violas are my fave.

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  74. Wow Gail! Fantastic GBBD post and nice pic of the Mum. It does look like a hand reaching out for something - index and middle finger straight out, ring finger and thumb slightly bent, and the pinky completely closed! Try posing your right hand and orient it in its direction! It looks so like that! Wow! I was excited on seeing the pic.

    And FINALLY! I see a beautiful Viola! Thank you so much for treating us with such a beautiful flower's smile. I was actually expecting that on almost all western gardener's GDDB, but you delighted me. Wish they grow here too. Will they survive the tropical heat???

    What can I say about the Amaryllis! You said it all with a perfect appellation.

    I enjoyed this GGBD especially.

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  75. You have some very persistent flowers there at Clay and Limestone. I'm always surprised but what survives frost and freeze sometimes.

    And that is a lovely Amaryllis. I've gotten a couple that look like they might bloom for Christmas!

    Thanks for joining in for bloom day!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

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  76. Gail, the purple of that Russian Kale is exquisite. The old leaves set it off well. The viola looks so fresh in the rain.

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  77. I love the way you love your flowers, it's always uplifting to read what you have to say.

    I vote stay for the tree...she arrived on her own, yes?

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  78. Hey Gail,

    Thanks for visiting Gardening with Confidence.

    I like your site very much. I'm currently working on a story using urns to accent the garden; your thumbnail for spring 2008 caught my eye...

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  79. Once again, I had forgotten about GBBD! I am astounded at all you found in the garden. That is one persistent mum and of course I love the violas. It must not be that cold there or these are just exceptionally hardy??? My violas have given up long ago. Apple Blossom is beautiful. I hope your cat doesn't discover her so you can enjoy the wonders of growing amaryllis. I keep mine from year to year, so they really are worth the investment.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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