Bloom Day, January 2015

My garden in Austin, Texas finally received its first hard freeze of this winter, so there’s not much in the way of fanciful flora to share for this first of 2015 Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.  Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Garden for hosting this blogosphere bonanza for blooms, even if some of us in the Northern Hemisphere are a bit bloom deficient.

Four-nerve DaisyTetraneuris scaposa, requires more cold than what it’s seen to render the dancing daisies dormant for winter. This little group of hardy and pretty Texans still bloom and the flowers are available for pollinators who might stop by for a sip.

The Mutabilis Rose, Rosa ‘Mutabilis’, flowers during the cooler seasons here in Austin. Some of the open flowers, damaged by the freeze, …hang on and there are others, awaiting their time to open.

Leatherleaf Mahonia, Mahonia bealei, is a slow-growing evergreen shrub with racemes of bright yellow flowers during the winter months, which are followed by denim-blue fruits in early spring, gobbled up almost immediately by hungry birds. Tagged as an invasive species in other parts of North America, it’s not considered an invasive here in Texas. I planted my three shrubs many years ago (they’re very slow-growing).  I wish I’d planted the native Agarita, Mahonia trifoliolata, at that time, but didn’t.  I do have one Agarita, but it’s tiny and not ready for blooming, berrying, or any extolling of its virtues. I always forget that these blooms appear in the shorter and darker days of January and February–but the bees remember.

When the sun is out, so are the honeybees, working these blooms for nectar and pollen for their hives.   Unfortunately, the sun seems to be on sabbatical in recent weeks, so the bees remain warm and cozy, consuming their winter stores of honey and not visiting these blossoms.

And that’s about it for my garden!!  It’s time for the garden to rest and the gardener to prune, mulch, and prepare for the long blooming season ahead.

Please check out May Dreams Gardens for January blooms from all over the world.


14 thoughts on “Bloom Day, January 2015

  1. Happy GBBD! Clearing here in Austin today (or so they promise!) and sunny for a couple of days after so your bees ought to get another shot at exploring for whatever is in bloom after the freeze. That’s a tricky combination in January in Texas – I’d never given much thought to how hard bees must work to find ongoing blooms on the few bright clear days of early winter. No wonder the loquat trees (currently in bloom) are covered with pollinators when the sun is out.

    I have a Mahonia that is struggling in deep shade. It hasn’t grown appreciably (or died either!) for at least a couple of years. Do you know – are they easy to transplant? I bet I should try…


    • Happy blooms to you as well! I hope that sunny business happens–we’ve been socked into gloom so much, recently.

      I think the pickings for bees is a bit slim for now, but they’re definitely working blooms when they can. I need to thoroughly check them next week–weather permitting–I’m looking for signs that they’ve gone through their stores of honey (they’ll be at the top box of the hive if they’re running our of honey, so I’m told). I think they have enough, but I’m still so new at this, every season is a new set of lessons.

      I transplanted the native Mahonia (Agarita) when I worked at ZBG and it transplanted beautifully. ZBG irrigates and I kept the soil moist between waterings. It thrived. In my garden, the three Mahonia bealei that I have are older plants and grew VERY slowly. I planted two Agarita in this past year, one of which died–too much shade and heavy soil. I’ll bet your soil is better for the Agarita, but I do think they like a bit of light. I’d transplant now if you’re thinking about it. Enjoy whatever sunshine there is!


    • While our winters are generally mild, we can get quite cold. The coldest I’ve ever seen Austin was in 1988(?) when it was between 3-8 degree Fahrenheit for about 5 days. Brrrrrr! I always hope for a freeze into the mid-to-low 20s at least once during winter, though those are becoming rarer.

      Our summers are a bit toasty for the Mutabilis to bloom then,though they bloom in autumn, winter and spring. And I agree that they look like butterflies.


  2. I am kind of thinking maybe we are past the coldest bits now that our nighttime lows are reasonable. (Knock on desk). The rose is beautiful and I really like the mahonia. I’ve seen some wild sunflowers still in bloom in the neighbourhood but the only thing flowering for me at the moment is the non-native fatsia.


    • You never know in Austin. It can be mild, mild, mild, then we get one of those Arctic blasts and WHAM!, we’re back down in the 20s. I actually hope we get a couple more hard freezes, but I’m probably alone in that wish. I’ve never grown fatsia–I’ll need to look that up. Enjoy the sun!


  3. I always think of Texas as very, very hot, so it is hard for me to imagine frost. My R. mutabilis is flowering too, showing some of the same damage as yours too due to frost.. The yellow daisies are a nice bright feature to cheer you up.


  4. Well, at least you have some blooms. I have zero. 😉 The hopeful thing is that I have tiny buds on the Meyer Lemon (as well as fruits that are ripening!), and a couple of other houseplants about ready to bloom. Plus, I can visit your blog to see blooming things! Love the Mahonia!


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