≡ Menu

Late Bloomers


It’s December, but some plants here think it’s spring. These violets are among them.

They’re either some passalong kind of Viola odora from my friend Dan’s garden, or they are ‘Queen Charlotte’, long ago purchased from some nursery I can’t remember. I do label my plants, but, as I keep whining, the labels keep getting buried and lost, complicated by the fact that I have moved those violets at least twice.

I have to bend low to get the wonderful whiff of violet, which is like nothing else on earth. That’s because my violets are limited to containers. I have a friend who has violets running through her orchard in profusion. In early spring, everyone asks her, “What’s that great smell?”



In the also-ran category is this moonvine (Calonyction alba, also sometimes filed under Ipomea, various species). As so often happens, none of my moonvines flowered this year–but this flower on my back porch did give it a good try. As the weather cooled (relatively speaking), it started to open–but it just didn’t quite make it.


Strictly speaking, this ‘Sharifa Asma’ rose isn’t blooming out of turn; it’s a David Austin rose, and they are technically reblooming.

My experience of Sharifa Asma, though, is that they give a big flush in the late-spring/early-summer rose season, then sporadically rebloom through the summer. I don’t recall them ever blooming this late, though I wasn’t surprised to see a small fall flowering from Pemberton rose ‘Penelope’ (now gone to the tissue-paper stage). Sharifa Asma is in a bit more sun this year, and it did get severely deer-pruned late in summer (I didn’t keep up with the deer-repellent spray as I should have), so maybe it’s making up for lost time.

It took about two weeks for this bloom to go from bud to flower, a slow-motion opening, and the bee-like insect pollinating it is definitely on extended season. The special transclucent quality of Sharifa Asma sends me. See what you think.


{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Sylvia (England) December 4, 2008, 4:08 am

    Your violet is sweet, reminds me of picking them for my Mum. They grow wild around our country lanes. I like your late bloomers, we all have a few of these but early ones are more unusual. I have to admit to not liking my primroses to flower too early but violets are welcome in my garden anytime.

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  • Nancy Bond December 4, 2008, 6:03 am

    Your late bloomers are all lovely – I particularly love that delicate rose! How lucky you are to have such beauty so late in the year.

  • spookydragonfly December 6, 2008, 2:50 am

    I found you through Blotanical, I’ve enjoyed my visit…so many gorgeous close-up photos, which I enjoy. In one of your posts, you mention Spray-N-Grow. I have wonderful results with this product…all of my plants flourished with regular use.

  • Pomona Belvedere December 8, 2008, 3:09 pm

    There seem to be varying opinions about violets, but I love them. I grew up in an area where there were wild violets, but they were the labrador kind, scentless. I still loved their shape and colors (some were white). Maybe that makes me feel I’m getting a bonus every time I smell the scented ones.

    Nancy, glad to have innoculated someone else with Sharifa Asma fever. For some reason, this seems to be one of the less-popular David Austin roses–but it’s one of my favorites. Does well in a container, too.

    Another Spray-N-Grow fan! Without wishing to sound like an advertisement, it’s made a huge difference in my garden. I’m also experimenting with Sonic Bloom and some organic sprays that goe on the soil–my local nursery recommended them.

  • Mr. McGregor's Daughter December 16, 2008, 9:56 am

    My mom has had a ‘Sharifa Asma’ Rose for years on the south side of her suburban Chicago house. It has been a continuous bloomer for her and frequently blooms well late into November. This year it was still blooming after Thanksgiving. I’m sure it’s protected position helped somewhat, but still, it is a remarkable performer for her, outblooming all of her other Roses.

  • Pomona Belvedere December 16, 2008, 7:36 pm

    I always knew ‘Sharifa Asma’ was a great rose, and this proves it. It also makes me resolve to see what I can do to get more continuing bloom, like your mother does (I expect part-shade is the culprit, but maybe there are other things I can do). Blooming into November in Chicago is quite a feat for any rose!

Leave a Comment