What I want to show off instead is the lovely bergenia from my front yard, which is starting to "bloom" with tinges of its winter burgundy. In his book "Christopher Lloyd's Garden Flowers," the late Christo voiced his suspicion of the worthiness of bergenia... but did include a mention of its virtues as listed by fellow gardener Beth Chatto, who loves the plant and has included it in her dry gardens.
I agree with both of them in context. The flowers are not really worth growing the plant for... but the plant itself is so handsome and dependable that it definitely deserves a spot in the garden. Especially since it takes on this coloring from fall through spring, when not much else is changing in the garden.
(Given their mutual respect and strong opinions, those of you who are reading Beth and Christo's correspondences in "Dear Friend and Gardener" for the first time this month are in for a treat. Thanks to Carol for naming it as the most recent Garden Bloggers' Book Club selection, thus giving me an excuse to read it again!)
Since Bloom Day is all about flowers, I suppose that I should take a picture of the big, fat, swelling flower bud on my phalaenopsis orchid to post... but if I much prefer the approach of my fall-planted 'Angelina' sedum. You can see a hint of the dark orange that her tips will be turning soon, and the rest of her looks beautiful in the meantime.
In comparison, the orchid bud sits there like an oyster shell, clamped shut and stubbornly unbudging. It's been like that for way too long--doesn't it know that more isn't always better, especially in regards to teasing? Sometimes you at least need a taste of the beauty that awaits you.
Last but not least, I want to show some love for those plants that are performing above and beyond the call of duty. (And no, the Christmas cactus that is finally blooming after 3 years of residence at my house does not fall into this category!)
I never realized how beautiful the dusty blue leaves of sea kale, crambe maritima, could be in the wintertime... because by this time last year, the leaves had all withered away. I like the way they combine with the pebbly snow, brown leaves, and green sedum. The muted but rich colors, and the layering here, is very interesting.
The sedum is one that I had at my old house and have been introducing to fill that area while the sea kale is dormant--last year, there was a huge bare spot there from November through March. The sedum is a polite spreader, and isn't bothered by the shade of the sea kale leaves, so the plan has been working out fairly well.
And that wraps up my cheating post for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. To carry out the theme to its logical conclusion, I'll end with a quote--the only line that Silent Bob says during the movie Clerks. It pretty much sums up the way I feel about flowers vs. foliage anyway, but especially during December:
"You know, there's a million fine looking women in the world, dude. But they don't all bring you lasagna at work. Most of 'em just cheat on you."