The sun sets today at 4:15 pm.  December does not have nearly enough daylight hours for a sun lover like myself.  Usually, the heights of the holiday season offset the increasingly dark days of December; but, sometimes, we all need a little extra something to get us through.  Personally, I’ve been trying to soak up as much sun as I can on bright days.  It helps that we have several beautiful greenhouses here at Blithewold.  Not only do we have the privilege of working in a humid, sunny environment, but we also have a world of plants and flowers to remind us that this darker time of year is only temporary.  Our greenhouse is open to visitors year-round 10 am to 4 pm.  Come by and soak up the plant-based goodness of a warm, sunny greenhouse.  Here is a sampling of what you will see (and smell!) when you arrive.

Our Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides) has a soft, lovely scent reminiscent of jasmine (hence the Latin species name).  I heard many visitors comment on the beautiful fragrance that greeted them as they entered the greenhouse during Sparkle.  Cape Jasmine, as it is also called, is a simple flower with a fragrance to swoon over.

Cape Jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides)

The next flower you may notice is the short, spindly white blooms of String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus).  This is certainly an unusual flower but it is worth a closer investigation as each bloom is made up of many individual flowers with purple and yellow anthers rising out of them and a light fragrance described as “cinnamon-like.”

String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)

From short and unassuming to large and colorful, the next flower is Mandevilla SunParasol® ‘Giant Apricot’.  This gorgeous specimen has been blooming since last spring and doesn’t show signs of stopping.  You may be familiar with the white, red, and pink varieties of Mandevilla available at local nurseries in the summer.  But there is something about the way this ‘Giant Apricot’ cultivar catches the light in the greenhouse that always stops me in my tracks.  It shimmers.

Another shimmery flower you will find is our pink dragon wing begonias (Begonia ‘Bepapink’).  Dragon wing begonias are actually cane-type begonia hybrids.  They are like angel wing types, but do not have the telltale spots of angel wing begonias.  Dragon wings are a common plant in many respects, but deserve recognition for their impressive bloom time.  The plants currently in our greenhouse have been blooming since June when we planted them in the large containers by the Wedding Tent.  They have endured rain, wind, and transplanting to arrive back in the greenhouse for the winter.

There are many more plants worth mentioning from cape plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) to leopard plant (Ligularia) to Lenten Rose (Hellebore), but I want you to come and discover them in person.  So here are a few pictures to entice you to stop by and visit the greenhouse.

Come and see the blooms, inhale the sweet fragrances and sit awhile on our bench in the sunshine.  I hope you are having a beautiful holiday season!