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

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - January 2013

Brrr! It's 38 degrees Fahrenheit in my garden this morning, and while that may not sound very cold to some of you, it is certainly what passes for winter here in my zone 9a garden near Houston, Texas. It's been a cold and wet few days here and that is expected to last for several more days. Then, overnight, we'll probably be back in the 70s again. And so it goes.

But on this Bloom Day, there isn't much happening in my garden, not much moving except the birds. Hungry birds.

Northern Cardinal

Pine Siskin with three American Goldfinches

Walking around the yard this morning, I found very few blooms hardy enough to brave the cold.

The purple trailing lantana seems unfazed by frost, and on sunny days, I would find it covered in butterflies and bees, even in the heart of winter. But on this cold, gray, misty day, there were no diners at its blossoms.

The Turk's cap along the warm south wall of the house still hangs on to some blossoms which are favorites with our overwintering Rufous Hummingbirds.

I've been surprised to see that the Cape honeysuckle also continues to offer a few blooms. This hasn't happened with this plant before, but perhaps it is finally just well-established and happy in its home by the fence.

The shrimp plant holds on to its long-lasting blossoms all winter, and even though they look a little worse for wear, they continue to offer sustenance to hungry pollinators.

The variegated potato vine had no blooms this day but was full of these buds. It won't be long...

This camellia, though, doesn't bloom until late March or early April, but its early buds hold the promise of beauty to come.

Likewise, the fig tree...

...and the nearby peach tree tell us that spring is just around the corner now.

And if we need further confirmation, we need only look to the daffodils, seen here tentatively poking their green shoots above ground.  By the way, those things that look like pebbles are actually live oak acorns, of which we had a bumper crop last year. The squirrels are very grateful.

I'm afraid that is all I have to offer on this gray Bloom Day, but looking at gardens around the world, one can find lots of color to brighten the day. You can find a list of them at our hostess, Carol's blog May Dreams Gardens.

Happy Bloom Day and happy gardening to you all. Thanks for visiting.


  1. The cardinals never seem brighter than on a cloudy winter day.

  2. What a great colour on that Northern Cardinal!
    I must admit I know very little about birds, but I have taken the first step to try to do something about that, as I would like to try to take photos of the birds in my garden. I bought a bird feeder 2 weeks ago. Unfortunately it seems the birds are not interested in it, so not sure what's wrong. I am going to make a post about it with some photos and ask all you lovely knowledgeable people what to do :-)

    We seem to have the same climate, London is zone 9a too, 38F is cold here too, and that's exactly what we had today! The coldsnap is going to last for another week or so and then it's back to nicer temperatures.
    Happy GBBD!

    1. Birds tend to be suspicious of additions to their habitat at first, but once they get used to seeing your feeder, I'm sure they'll make themselves at home on it and you'll be able to get some great pictures.

  3. Love your bird photos plus I can't believe your lantana is still blooming in winter! We are at about the same temperatures here but not for long. We do have some buds coming up though which is surprising for this time of year.

    1. That purple lantana is one tough plant. It blooms essentially year-round for me and it is a butterfly favorite.

  4. As a Southern California I can empathize. 38 degrees is crazy-cold! The lantana and cape honeysuckle are definitely tough plants for us, but it's interesting to see some of the others that I wouldn't have thought would have been nearly as tough as they seem to be, braving the cold... Happy bloom day!

    1. Even I have been surprised by the resilience of the honeysuckle and lantana. They haven't missed a beat.

  5. Wow - I'm so envious -- the only blooms I have are some small training violas I planted around Christmas. All of my lantana froze back (I don't have the purple). My Turk's Cap froze back too, but I noticed some new growth at the base of the stems a day or so ago. I also saw some daffodil leaves poking out of the ground.

    1. The only negative thing I can say about the purple lantana is that it has a rather unpleasant odor, quite unlike that of other lantanas that I find not unpleasant at all. But other than that, it is a wonderful, extremely hardy plant and the butterflies love the blossoms. I guess they don't mind the smell!