Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

not so frosty

Hey you!


That's right, you, Begonia! Have you looked at a calendar lately? It's freakin' December, ok?

And you, Impatiens?


No one likes a show-off. Just give it a rest.

Used to be annuals in NYC had quit blooming by Thanksgiving, but over the last few years the frost date keeps getting later. Truth is, we've already had a frost (or two), but with all the micro climates in the City, I'm still coming across clumps of annuals that haven't gotten the seasonal memo. Amazing. But there's no such thing as global warming.

Now, on a serious note...take a look at these Actaea.


I planted them five years ago in a brownstone backyard on the Upper East Side. I thought they were Actaea simplex, which usually blooms in September. Every year they produce buds and every year the buds just sit there through October and November, eventually turning brown in the cold. This year I thought about digging them up; in a small garden, plants need to deliver or else.

However, perhaps because of our lack of frostiness the flowers had enough time to bloom this year. Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles. Or perhaps they sensed the imminent threat of compost-ation.

So here's where I need your help: please tell me, what species of Actaea blooms in December?

1 comment:

SaraGardens said...

They just *started* blooming?? How frustrating that we'll probably get real frost tonight - so you probably won't get an additional ID clue from any seedheads or berries that get nipped in the bud (hence that old cliche, 'nipped in the bud'). How do they smell? And how tall are they?

It looks more like A. racemosa than A. simplex, to me, but mine have been done blooming for weeks now. (I suppose it could be a more southerly cousin in the same species, accustomed to a loooonger season?) Wow.

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