The school term is over. Tomorrow we have 2 hours of classes and a final assembly – then holiday! One of the best things about teaching is 12 weeks of paid leave per year. I set off this afternoon late to see what there was to photograph by way of flowers in this mid-winter-week. I was heading towards the above plant on the far side of the garden. I call it the mid-winter Senecio, because I really haven’t got round to attempting a proper identification of this wild shrub. But I ended up taking the photo by flash as along the way I was side-tracked by so many other flowers to photograph…
There was Aloe saponaria’s delightful flattened orange heads. Several were frosted in early June, but most survived unscathed, one of the few aloes which flowers successfully in our winter frosts.
There was chaenomeles speciosa, the Japanese Flowering Quince which always brightens our winters, and of which I have grown two hedges worth from seed – a fascinating exercise, and worth a post at some time.
I think the plant on the left might be Chaenomeles x supurba ‘Crimson and Gold’ and the one on the right is one of my own seedlings.
Iris unguicularis, the Algerian Iris, can always be relied on to provide an unexpected and incongruously sunny splash of blue amongst the mess of its dying leaves.
In spots where there is some frost protection there are azaleas in flower, and the Viburnum tinus hedges carry their clustered blooms.
In the Anniversary Garden there are a few confused Rudbeckia hirta, looking remarkably fresh amongst the blackened seedcones and shrivelled petals of their elder siblings; and there are two roses that can always be relied on to still be in flower: ‘Iceberg’ is one of them, looking remarkably monochromatic in the gathering gloom.
The other was bred in 1899:‘General Galieni’, with rather dishevelled blooms has the curious effect of looking as though a red and white rose has been dipped in dark wax.
And there are the last opportunistic Oxeye Daisies. And of course the camellias – those that have avoided the frost.
In fact there are whole bushes of camellias, and like family, one mostly notices their beauty rather than their blemishes. It was quite dark by the end of the walk when I flash-photographed this one next to the Sequoia avenue.
Earlier on the walk I had photographed this scene – a rather more up-beat note on which to end the post. Usually the weekly pic is just that: one pic. But it was quite thrilling to see how many flowers there were along my walk.