|Monrovia grows 'Yuletide' for nurseries around the country.|
Check with them for retailers in your neck of the woods.
Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ is my favorite camellia. When in flower, its Christmas-red petals, surrounding a fat cluster of bright yellow stamens, remind me of Paeonia ‘Blaze’ or even the more exotic ‘Sword Dance’.
|'Blaze' from Sandy's Plants in Mechanicsville, Virginia|
|'Sword Dance' from Viette Nurseries in Fishersville, Virginia|
They are identifiably Japanese and yet seem right at home in Virginia’s urban gardens. Their happy blooms are especially precious this time of year, set against an abundance of glossy, forest green leaves, miraculously delicate and tenacious, just at the start of real winter.
|Camellia by Water, in style of Ogata Kenzan|
hanging scroll, ink and color on paper, c.1741
from the H. O. Havemeyer Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
|The descriptors sasanqua and japonica can be confusing.|
Camellia sasanqua originates from a small region in Japan,
while varieties of japonica grow naturally in many parts of Asia.
‘Yuletide’ is petite enough for even the smallest garden and would do well in a sheltered spot either as foundation planting or in a small grove of other shade-loving ornamentals. Too much sun and wind are its greatest enemies. Use its rich ever-greenery as a backdrop. Underplant with Muscari armeniacum ‘Christmas Pearl’, Muscari ‘Peppermint’
|Check with Brent and Becky's Bulbs for a fresh batch of 'Peppermint' next fall.|
and Liriope muscari ‘Christmas Tree’ for a blanket of strappy foliage and pale purple blooms at the very beginning and end of the growing year.
|Several years ago, I noticed quaint Liriope 'Christmas Tree'|
along the Woodland Walk at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.
|It can be difficult to find, even online and in garden catalogs.|
Sandy's Plants supplies nurseries throughout the Mid-Atlantic...
or you can just buy directly from her.
Add some mossy pots of Caladium for a bit of iciness in the middle of summer. ‘White Christmas’,
and ‘Cranberry Star’
|Classic Caladiums, in Central Florida, is a wholesale grower and breeder of Caladium.|
They supply garden centers and florists around the country, but you can buy directly from them.
Just know that they usually require a minimum purchase of 10-25 bulbs.
capture the colors of ribbon candy.
Clear white and true red are difficult to breed in Daylilies; but there really isn’t a more cheerful color combination. Can you imagine Hemerocallis ‘Christmas Wishes’ along a white picket fence?
|'Christmas Wishes' from Oakes Daylilies in eastern Tennessee|
Plant a swath of ‘Christmas Carol’,
|'Christmas Carol' from Bluestone Perennials|
|'Arctic Snow' from Roycroft Daylily Nursery where they only grow Daylilies...|
just south of Georgetown, South Carolina
and ‘Carolina Cranberry’
|'Carolina Cranberry' is also grown at Oakes.|
Oakes, Roycroft and Viette's are all multi-generational, family-run businesses.
in front of Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘White Cloud’.
|'White Cloud', at the United States Botanic Garden, was still a showstopper in mid-December.|
Interplant the Daylilies with Tulipa ‘Peppermint Stick’.
|From Brent and Becky's Bulbs, near the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia|
They all enjoy lots of sun and can handle a little drought. Plus new growth on the Daylilies will hide Tulip foliage as it dies back. Don’t worry… it is more subtle than it sounds. Each species would have its moment, and if planted here in Virginia, the border would provide interest from April until December.
Hosta x ‘Christmas Tree’ and little ‘Ice Follies’ look like they have been edged in frosting.
|'Christmas Tree' from Sandy's Plants|
|'Ice Follies' from Plant Delights|
While each leaf of ‘Night Before Christmas’ and its sport ‘Christmas Candy’ seems filled with cream cheese or lemon custard.
|'Night Before Christmas' from Sandy's Plants|
|'Christmas Candy' from Plant Delights|
But Hosta ‘Stargazer’, a new introduction from Plant Delights in Raleigh, North Carolina, is perhaps the prettiest.
What a cool, sugary respite for your summer shade garden.
Varieties of Heuchera have been inspired by so many Christmas flavors, including the almost-indestructible Heuchera x brizoides ‘Plum Pudding’,
|Check out Bluestone Perennials, based near the southern shore of Lake Erie, for a good selection of Heuchera.|
marbled x americana ‘Peppermint Spice’,
|From Sandy's Plants|
villosa ‘Caramel’ with hints of peach and bronze and green,
|You can order 'Caramel' for spring planting from White Flower Farm.|
deeply-lobed ‘Chocolate Ruffles’,
and unusual ‘Mocha’ and ‘Ginger Ale’.
Heuchera sanguinea ‘Snow Angel’ is my
absolute favorite for its frilly leaves, speckled in grass green and ivory, and
wispy rose-pink “coral bells”.
|'Mocha' actually emerges in copper and then darkens to almost black.|
The Missouri Botanical Garden has a lovely display of Heuchera, including 'Chocolate Ruffles' and 'Mocha'.
|'Ginger Ale' and 'Snow Angel' are both available from Bluestone Perennials.|
|These Christmas Ferns were snapped at the Missouri Botanical Garden.|
But I purchased mine through Monticello, where they are grown "in-house",
at the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants.
|Wayside Gardens stocks Wintergreen year after year, but don't wait too long...|
For an interesting tapestry of foliage, plant a corner of bright shade with Christmas Fern, Wintergreen and Tiarella 'Sugar and Spice' and stay tuned for more yuletide plantings!