Garden Photo of the Day

Final Blooms in WA

By Kim Charles

Linda O'Connell captures a few final late season blooms before the snow flies

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Verdana}
span.s1 {font-kerning: none}

"With our forecast of very cold temps and snow, I decided to walk around the garden with my camera to capture what is still blooming. What stood out are the valiant little Hebes which are becoming one of our favorite plants with all of their varieties, long lasting flowers, and the fact that they are evergreen in our climate here on Whidbey Island, WA. I've also included a few of our "natural" holiday decorations."


Have a garden you'd like to share? Email 5-10 photos and a brief story about your garden to [email protected]. Please include where you are located!

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

You don't have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

Follow us: @finegardening on Twitter | FineGardeningMagazine on Facebook @finegardening on Instagram


View Comments


  1. frankgreenhalgh 01/02/2017

    Hey Linda - Lovely to see your post today. I too like Hebes. It's a tough and diverse genus. Your fence is an absolute cracker. Was it the handy work of Dan? I'm also very impressed with the rock work - some large (and heavy) rocks there! Stay warm, comfortable and safe when that cold weather etc. arrives.

    Cheers from Oz where the warmth has increased the activity of reptiles and the appetite of kookaburras.

    1. User avater
      treasuresmom 01/02/2017

      Great photo, Frank. Did you take it yourself?

      1. frankgreenhalgh 01/02/2017

        No, but I once had a kooka. with a small red bellied black snake (ie the same type of snake as this one) in its mouth on our railing. It was trying to work out whether to drop the snake and eat some mince meat out of my hand or keep the wriggler. It chose the latter.

    2. user-7007498 01/02/2017

      Great photo, Frank. I saw a couple of kookaburras in a zoo. I remember they were quite loud and had a really interesting sound.

      Happy New Year to you.

    3. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 01/02/2017

      Good morning, Frank, that's a great photo! You Aussies have the best birds.
      Glad you like our fence and I wish that Dan and I had that skill as we'd build fences all over our 2.5 acres to keep out the pesky deer. Enjoy your warmth. We're taking a break in AZ but it's still a bit cool here, 50's-60's, which is better than the current 32 on Whidbey.

    4. Chris_N 01/02/2017

      That is a little one. I see that red bellied black snakes get 5-6 feet long and, according to Wikipedia, while venomous "a bite from it is not generally fatal." Reassuring, that. I have a coworker who says he never wants to go to Australia because more than half the snakes are venomous and include ones with the most potent venom in the world. When I was younger and active with the Chicago Herpetological Society, they took a trip to Australia and these facts were, for some of the members, the primary reasons to go.

      1. frankgreenhalgh 01/02/2017

        G'day Chris - The red bellied black snake is pretty harmless compared to say the tiger snake (its venom comes out at the tips of the fangs) - see the pic. of a tiger snake below. Our snakes usually get out of your way. All good stuff!

        How is this though - I collected some spent mushroom compost from a local nursery to amend my soil. It was placed in my trailer using a front end loader. When I unloaded the trailer using a shovel I found 10 red bellied black snakes (approx. 18 inches long) alive a kicking. Obviously the mother had laid the eggs on the edge of the compost because of the warmth, and the front end loader had scooped up the nest. Character building stuff! Cheers, Frank

        1. User avater
          meander_michaele 01/02/2017

          Ha, character building for you or the young snakes, Frank?

          1. frankgreenhalgh 01/02/2017

            For me. Michaele. The snakes had an appointment with the clan of local kookas. Snakes are protected here, but the kookas don't know that.

          2. User avater
            meander_michaele 01/02/2017

            Sounds like the kookas earn their keep.

        2. Chris_N 01/03/2017

          Another of your back yard buddies? Yeah, tigers are not supposed to be fun snakes. Now that I'm home, I looked up the red bellied black snake in Cogger's and it turns out they give birth to live young. So mom probably hid out in the pile and gave birth not long before you got your mulch. You could have had a 6' snake pop out!

    5. sheila_schultz 01/02/2017

      Love the photo, Frank!

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/02/2017

    Good morning, Linda, looks like you have a very colorful garden regardless of the season...wise planting on your part. The hebes (hmm, spell check and I are now in a little fight as I keep having to go back and retype "hebes") look like a delightful plant. I don't feel that I have ever seen one for sale in my east TN nurseries. Love the burgundy tipped foliage as well as the fact that are flowering in winter...what a win win! Are the taller flowering bushes in pictures 5 and 10 camellias? They are lovely as well.

    1. tennisluv 01/02/2017

      Just finished reading about Hebe plants and I don't think they would do very well in our southern climate as they like cool summers and mild winters. Unless you have a micro climate that stays cool during our hot, humid summers.

      1. frankgreenhalgh 01/02/2017

        Hi Sonya - Hebes grow pretty well here despite the heat. Days around 105F or so do burn the leaves, but they survive OK and grow out of it. Cheers, Frank

      2. User avater
        meander_michaele 01/02/2017

        Ha, no such thing as a micro climate that can avoid east TN summer humidity. It can be relentless and would probably give the hebe plants the heebie-geeebies.

    2. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 01/02/2017

      Good morning, Michaela, those taller shrubs are camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' and polyspora 'Fullmoon' but fried egg is more appropriate. Hebes may not grow in your zone. In WI we grew them as annuals. Thanks for your always thoughtful words.

    3. user-6536305 01/03/2017

      Hebes can be propagated by cuttings easily.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 01/02/2017

    Love your little tree with the blue ornaments. I bet that really stands out in low light days.

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 01/02/2017

      Believe it or not, those are seed pods. I just painted them:) It's a Dove tree.

      1. user-7007498 01/02/2017

        Linda, while I am usually not a fan of painting parts of plants, your dove tree is fantastic with the blue seed pods. I had to go back a couple of times to look at that photo. Well done.

        1. User avater
          LindaonWhidbey 01/02/2017

          Thanks, Kevin. My husband's idea but, of course, for me to implement.

  4. user-4691082 01/02/2017

    Is Hebes similar to our fall cyclamen? I don't even know what half of your shrubs are! Everything is so lush and healthy. I love the pruning in the next to the last photo..thanks for posting!

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 01/02/2017

      Hi Rhonda, sorry about not having labels. They disappeared in the posting but the Hebes are the first couple of flowering shrubs. Where you live they are probably annuals. We are just hoping that ours survive this unusually harsh winter. That Edgeworthia that you mentioned does not need pruning, just grows that way:)

      1. user-7007498 01/02/2017

        Linda, the Edgeworthia has such great structure. This is one (of many), great plants that I can only lust over. I am so jealous. I love that plant.

  5. tennisluv 01/02/2017

    Linda, your 'Yuletide' Sasanqua camellia is stunning as is the white one in the last pic. You paper bush has me excited as I have three planned for my new landscape. Amazing number of plants in bloom for this late in the year. Tree with blue balls, as Frank would say, is a real cracker.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 01/02/2017

      Now you are getting into the swing of things Sonya!

    2. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 01/02/2017

      Hi Sonya, thanks for your nice words this morning. The last photo is actually a polyspora 'Full Moon' which is a relative of camellias. Good luck with your Edgeworthia. You'll love them as they are beautiful in all seasons.

  6. User avater
    JaninaG 01/02/2017

    Love the picture, just wish fine gardening would put the names of the plants, they do sometime others the dont.... make it hard when you like one and dont know the name to buy.... Beautiful garden, and I am pinching the balls in the tree suring winter here. TU

    1. donnastiner 01/02/2017

      I totally agree Janina. This garden is beautiful.

  7. user-7007498 01/02/2017

    Linda, thanks for sharing your garden on a very dreary day here in PA (36 degrees with rain). Whenever you post, that image of Skagit Valley comes to mind with all that beautiful yellow. I digress.

    This is the time of year, until April, when I become very jealous of those in the PNW. Your photos are beautiful, and really brightened my day. Love the Camellias.

    Happy New Year.

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 01/02/2017

      Thanks, Kevin, that's high praise coming from you:) HappyNew Year.

  8. Chris_N 01/02/2017

    Hi Linda, everything looks wonderful. I also thought those were blue ornaments although they looked like fruit the way they were attached to the tree. Painting them was very clever, the color echos your pot behind. Is that a Polygama in the photo above the tree? Also, I'm curious, where in Wisconsin did you live before?

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 01/03/2017

      Hi Chris, thanks for your comments. Did you mean the white lobularia? We plant several of them of the 'Snow Princess' variety and they usually last all winter but this year might be an exception as it's been a more prolonged very cold spell.
      We grew up in Chippewa Falls but lived in Madison, in Fitchburg for about 20 years then on the far west side for another 11 years. We had a dental practice for that whole time near Westgate. We've been in WA for 4 1/2 years and love it but we're still WI fans. Good game today:)

      1. Chris_N 01/03/2017

        Oops, didn't state that very well. I actually meant photo 7 which I now realize is probably another Hebe. We've been on the east side of Madison for 30 years now. I'm sure I drove past your dental practice sometime while over by Westgate.

  9. schatzi 01/02/2017

    Beautiful. Love it all. Would never have thought of painting the seed pods, but it looks great. Have not had much luck with Hebes myself. Some years they do fine and then we get a cold winter and it's all over. 28 degrees and a dusting of snow this morning. Happy New Year everyone.

  10. sheila_schultz 01/02/2017

    Wow, Linda, it's pretty crazy that you have so much going on in your gardens this time of the year. Your plantings are downright gorgeous! The PNW can be magical when it comes to having the perfect climate for so many plants especially with the right magician orchestrating the vision!!! BTW, I'm quite smitten with your holiday tree... those blue pods are a stroke of genius!

    1. User avater
      meander_michaele 01/02/2017

      Especially with the color echo of the blue pot in the background...all very pleasing.

      1. sheila_schultz 01/02/2017

        I'm still astounded those pods are naturally attached!

        1. User avater
          LindaonWhidbey 01/03/2017

          Thanks Sheila and Michaela, we got the idea from Heronswood garden where they had painted the seed heads of the spent poppies.

          1. User avater
            meander_michaele 01/03/2017

            Hmm, very interesting about painting the poppy seed heads. That actually crossed my mind a few years ago when I was bummed that none of my allium bulbs had survived to bloom but the poppies were going gangbusters. I thought it would be neat if I had some pops of purple but I never got around to doing it.

  11. user-7007940 01/02/2017

    Linda, Do you cover your Edgeworthia when it gets below freezing? I live in Newcastle, WA and my Edgeworthia is 4 years old and doesn't bloom much. I have 4 flower buds on it this year.

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 01/03/2017

      Hi Joe, we do not cover our Edgeworthia but this winter is so much colder that we are worried about many of our plants including all of our hebes. Our plant is also 4 years old but has flowered every year. We are zone 8a on Whidbey. Is your zone the same?

      1. user-7007940 01/03/2017

        I'm in zone 8b. I have a Red Edged Hebe that I really love and I cover it every winter. I've taken some cuttings off of it too to get more plants. I also cover my variegated winter Daphnes because the leaves get black and fall off if I don't.

  12. user-6536305 01/03/2017

    Very beautiful garden Linda. What type of hardy cyclamen shows in the cover photo?

  13. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/03/2017

    Sorry that I'm late to the party, Linda. I love your young garden so so much. I would like to trade, please.
    Love seeing your Polyspora in bloom. My little stick of a xGordlinia has four crimson leaves and I'm hoping it survives the winter. I did not know that Davidia has such large seed pods. My little twig of 'Lady Sunshine' looks good now, but if it survives, it won't bloom as soon as your early-blooming cultivar. I may need to source one. Love the painted pods. At first I thought they were plums.
    Of course I'm jealous of the gorgeous Edgeworthia, with its magical menorah form.
    And of course, your Hebes are stunning.
    Best of luck with the cold weather. In the 50's here today-your cold must have pushed the warmth to the center of the continent.

  14. Cenepk10 01/04/2017

    Wow !!! Some nice exotic plants ! Never heard of hebes.

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest

Shop the Store

View All Products