It does flower before Christmas fairly regularly, but usually only a few flowers open per shoot. When, or if, it gets cold enough to damage those flowers there are plenty of buds left to open. Well, this year all the eggs are pretty much in one basket. It's very impressive and I love the fact that no two years have the same profile.
Good weather for Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis' and this one's flowering it's head off. For years I looked at this as frivolous and slightly "wrong", but I've changed. It's just fun to have these flowers in early winter.
Pat did a good thing today. Our tree contractor just ground a stump that had been embedded in the stone wall along the east side of bed "J-M'. When the tree was first cut down and the stump was fresh, someone planted Schizophragma hydrangeoides , a vining hydrangea, next to the stump to cover it up. It worked well for part of the year, the period starting when the leaves emerged and ending, just after flowering, as the summer began to heat up. Summer seemed to stress the plant and the leaves were unfailingly ugly: the green faded to yellow, parts turned brown and black, and other parts were eaten by insects. It was ugly through fall and winter. When it lost its leaves in the autumn, the remaining tangle of stems trapped any leaves blowing by and it was a mess all winter. A year ago, thinking that the stump was rotten and we could rip it out with the Bobcat, I moved the schizophrama. The stump turned out not to be as rotten as I'd assumed and that spot hasn't looked good for the past year+.
It looks good now. Pat spotted this stone at the brickyard, hauled it out to the collection, and set it into the bank. Now he just needs to add a few stone to the wall and it'll be perfect.
I planted them because I couldn't bear to throw them out. I don't remember but I'm sure I dragged them mercilessly from December to April. They must have looked horrible by spring. It wouldn't be so amazing that they've been there so long if I wasn't such a young person. Well, I used to be.
They are derived from pre-cooled bulbs that were forced into premature bloom. Curiously now some have reverted and bloom in the spring while others, if the weather allows, flower at the end of the year. I get a big kick out of them but they do make me feel old.