My world has turned a somber grey and russet brown. Great bits of it are tipped in a white fluff waiting to take wing. The white fluff of flowers done may be all there is for Bloom Day.
A faint pink hue lingers in the cotton candy froth of the Muhly Grass. The Sheffie Mum is brown. The exuberant chaos of the tall flower meadow is gone. Withered and weak the hollowed out stems wait to return to the earth with the first heavy snow.
On a bad day I live in a zone 5b which means it can go as low as -15 degrees in the winter. I strive to plant things that are listed as hardy to zone 5. That is what I was told to think upon arriving here.
On a good day I live in a zone 6b where the winter low is only -5 degrees. In my four winters here, the lowest of lows I have recorded was - 4. I have one degree to spare and can still remain in a zone 6b. I can still be in a zone 6 down to - 10. I have quite a few degrees to spare.
You can see how I might be tempted to push the limits of my high elevation micro-climate. Nothing ventured. Nothing gained.
So I have a white camellia 'Winter's Snowman' for November's Bloom Day because I'm a rebel. If I can say the same thing next November so much the better.
The native ecosystem is not completely stingy in November. Hamamelis virginiana, the Witch Hazel, is the last plant in the forest to bloom before winter arrives for good. I walk by just to be cheered by the audacity of such a performance.
The Yellie Mum lingers, past peak, but still in bloom. I don't know if its later bloom time than its parent, the Sheffie Mum is a micro climate thing or an internal clock difference. I'd settle for a later internal clock and be happy to have something in bloom in mid November.
One more look at 'Winter's Snowman'. Live long and prosper my little cold hardy to -10 degrees camellia.
So I did it. I squeezed in another Bloom Day with blooms. Other folks in other climes are not as likely to have such troubles. You can find them all at the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day headquarters.
A garden is never about the flowers alone. Even on a good 6b day I have to plan for the long barren months of winter. I left out of a previous post some of the winter evergreens that I have planted over the years. The Yucca filamentosa have done quite well up here, gaining some real size to them. They could even bloom one day, but that was not their purpose.
I don't go dormant for the winter. I'm still a gardener with the sickness when the trees go bare and the world turns grey. A gardener who wants more, a gardener who wants a garden that will carry him through the entire year, even when that means no blooms for you.