Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - January 2012

Well into winter now, my garden has seen three episodes of freezing weather. Each episode has lasted two days and has had temperatures of just below freezing. All in all, a very mild winter so far. Perhaps Mother Nature has taken pity on us after the horrendous weather she's given us over the last two years.

Of course, there are still a couple of months of winter ahead and we may yet have more unfriendly weather, but so far, so good. January's Bloom Day finds my Southeast Texas garden basking in sunshine and relishing the moisture from recent rains. A gardener could not wish for more. Well, unless you actually want blooms.

Truth to tell, blooms are still scarce here. Those who dally in bulbs are beginning to see their rewards in winter blooms, but I have few bulbs in my garden because I have little luck with them. The ones that I do have have yet to reward me with blossoms.

So what blooms do I have to show you this month?

There's the 'Star of Bethlehem' that I was given for Christmas. It's past its prime now but is still brightening my dining room with its pretty white blossoms.

Outside, the shrimp plant, too, is past its prime. It has been in bloom for months now and still hangs onto its distinctive blooms, although they have dried a bit.

The hardy purple lantana has been undaunted by our cold spells and continues to be a boon for visiting winter butterflies.

In the vegetable garden, a few of the veggies that have been in the ground since early fall have bolted and started blooming. The bees are very grateful for these broccoli blooms.

In a nearby bed, a few of the arugula plants are about to join the bloom parade.

Can you guess what these dainty little blossoms are? They are radish blooms! They remind me of some of the flowers of scented geraniums.

Along the south-facing brick wall of the house, the 'Big Momma' Turk's cap is still blooming.

Orange bulbine is another tough little plant that can take extremes in cold or heat and still send out some blooms each month.

This ornamental zebra grass bloom has dried into a seed head.

The purple oxalis likes cooler weather and sends out its delicate little pink blossoms in winter.

Solanum jasminoides, the variegated potato vine, is said to be a spring bloomer, but in my zone 8b garden it has proved to be a year-round bloomer.

Leatherleaf mahonia is as tough as its name but in winter it covers itself with these pretty yellow, very long-lasting blooms. These blossoms will likely be present for the next couple of Bloom Days as well.

 In January, I'll even count a bloom from a weed, like this sunny yellow thistle blossom.

And in January - and every month - in my habitat garden, it's not just about the blooms. It's also about the wildlife that visits. This month, the star of the show is this female Rufous Hummingbird. Hummingbirds in winter are still rare enough to cause a bit of a stir here, but if mild winters continue, they may become more common in the future.

I hope January is treating you and your garden well and that you are enjoying a very happy Bloom Day. Thank you for visiting.

Don't forget to check in at the May Dreams Gardens blog where Carol, our wonderful Bloom Day hostess resides.


  1. It seems that you have quite a few blooms right now. Loved the sweet little Radish blooms. They are such a beautiful flower. I've never seen them before.

  2. I don't think I've ever seen a radish bloom before! Good to see all your blooms--we're covered with a blanket of snow here in the Midwest.

    I went to a lecture on hummingbirds last spring, and the speaker said that there are now some hummingbirds that migrate to southern Texas in the winter. Apparently, they have followed the "snowbirds":)

  3. Many vegetables do have very pretty blooms when they bolt, Bernie H. Of course, a really diligent gardener would never allow them to bolt but would make sure they are used before they get to that stage. The fact that I do have several blooms in my vegetable garden right now says volumes about my gardening - or at least my preserving the harvest - abilities!

  4. You have quite a few more blooms than I do in my zone 8a Texas garden. Funny what a different just 1/2 zone makes! Love the oxalis the best - but I'm jealous that your purple lantana is still blooming! Happy GBBD!

  5. The Rufous Hummingbirds have become more and more common in Southeast Texas in winter, Rose, but this winter there have been several kinds of hummingbirds reported in the area, including a Calliope in a backyard just a few miles from me! Birds are changing their ranges and migration habits in response to the warming climate.

  6. Hey, HolleyG. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, 1/2 a zone can certainly make a difference, and, too, every garden creates its own little micro-climate. I find that parts of my yard can sustain zone 9 plants, while other parts may be closer to zone 7.

  7. Of all your plants the only one I have (and also in bloom) is the yellow thistle. Boy do they get around! Nice to see all your veggie blooms. I used to be pretty diligent about using them before they bolted, but I like leaving some to go to seed. I haven't had to plant kale or chard for several years because they do such a good job of reseeding themselves... Happy January Bloomday!

  8. I like your positive spin on bolting veggies, James. I think I'll use it in the future. I always tell people that I let them flower for the bees who have little else to sip from in my garden in winter.

  9. I love the color of the lantana but I didn't know they would survive freezing temps! And the radish flowers are interesting. We took a woods walk a couple of weeks ago and there was a wild flower blooming that had that same flower. I looked it up and it was identified as wild radish!

  10. I am impressed with that lantana as well! What a beautiful color and the foliage also lovely! Larry

  11. I stumbled across your blog via GBBD and am so glad that I did. I too garden for wildlife and am your newest follower. So envious you have hummers in January. I only seen them in summer in my Georgia garden. You have many lovely blooms this month.

  12. Very interesting about that wild radish, dorothy. They do have a pretty blossom, don't they?

    I think the key to the lantana is that it happens to be in just the right spot - a micro-climate that may be a couple of degrees warmer than the area around it.

  13. Thanks for stopping by, Larry. That lantana has been a winner for me and the butterflies love it.

  14. Thanks so much, Karin! I am an avid habitat gardener. I enjoy the wildlife just as much, sometimes more, than the plants and blooms, and having the hummingbird this winter has been a real treat. It's the first time I've had one in winter.

  15. I'm waiting for a good freeze to knock my 'Dallas Red' lantana back to the ground. Light frosts haven't fazed it. Last year at this time it was a jumble of barren, mushy twigs. Right now it's about 4 feet tall and still growing.

    You've certainly packed in a nice eyeful of blooms for a winter garden.

  16. My 'Peaches and Cream' lantana that is just a few feet away from the purple died back to the ground already, hollasboy, but the purple, like your 'Dallas Red,' just keeps on going. Funny how that works.