Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What Blooms after the Frosts in December around Paso Robles?

Poinsettia in Mid December at Fat Cat Farm
Spring and summer are bursting with colorful flowers and blooming trees. In autumn, the deciduous trees dress in shades of yellow, rust, red, and  gold. It is a season of splendor and sadness, as it precedes the stark bleakness of winter.  After the first frosts in December, as I walked through my usual haunts in Paso Robles and looked at my own garden in Templeton, there was little color to be seen, so I went looking for it. I wanted to see just what does bloom here in the second half of December.

My first stop was Fat Cat Farm, about a mile east of me on Highway 46 West. I was sure if anything was blooming anywhere, I'd find it there in the herb garden. I found the last poinsettia (in top picture) on display, and remembered the one in my childhood home that was quite tall, growing in a bed beside our driveway.  I also found the plants below, most of which were in the pansy / violet family. Of the herbs, only the rosemary was blooming. Here are the pictures I got at Fat Cat Farm. I am very sad that Fat Cat Farms has had to close. I will miss it.

Rosemary after First Frosts

Pansies always add a happy face to the garden and provide winter color. 

Violas also add cheer -- especially these yellow ones. 

Pale Violets at Fat Cat Farm

After leaving Fat Cat Farm, I went home in search of color and was rewarded by my faithful calendula plants. They add brightness to my garden all year, but in winter they and the rosemary are the only things beside the white flowers of the coyote brush and the red berries of the cotoneaster that provide any color other than green.

Calendula adds color all year. 

I let the fallen leaves protect my gazanias in winter.

Coyote Brush in Bloom

Cotoneaster Berries 

On December 19, I was convinced there must be something else in bloom as winter was about to descend upon us, so I visited the garden at Veris Cellers on Bethel Road, not far off Highway 46 West. I was not disappointed. Although the frost had killed most flowers, some winter flowers were still blooming -- even if some on the same plant were brown. I don't know the names for all these. the leaves on some look familiar but I can't place them. If you know them, please let me know in the comments.

Mums with Sweet Alsyssum at Veris Cellars

White Roses at Veris Cellars

Pink and White Roses at Veris Cellars

Mystery Plant One at Veris Cellars
Mystery Plant Two at Veris Cellars -- Could it be a mum?

White Snap Dragon at Veris Cellars

After leaving Veris Cellars, I was convinced that I might find still some other source of color at the city park in Paso Robles. Here's what I found there. There were some wimpy red roses, but they were gradually changing into these lovely red rose hips. So, even though they don't count as flowers anymore, they do count as color. I also found these red trumpet shaped flowers, but I don't know what they are.  

Red Rose Hips at City Park in Paso Robles

Mystery Plant Three at City Park in Paso Robles

If you have some flowers blooming here in North San Luis Obispo County that I haven't mentioned here, please feel free to tell us in the comments what they are, since I'm hoping this can be a resource for people planning gardens with some color all year. 

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