The last woody plant to hold its leaves as the garden goes to sleep in December is the oakleaf hydrangea. I saw it in the late afternoon sunlight and wanted to write an ode to a leaf.
The last shrubs to bloom in the garden are the camellias. In my yard they're the size of small trees. I believe the one below is the variety (appropriately named) "Yuletide." The flowers are fragrant, unlike those of most camellias.
The flowers have never clustered so thickly.
I don't know the name of the camellia below, but it blooms on and off throughout the winter. If it's cold, its blossoms freeze and turn brown, but new buds emerge and bloom.
It has lovely rose-like blooms.
I thank the unknown gardener who planted it.
A white camellia in the sasanqua family also blooms prolifically.
This is the camellia tree that the cardinals nested in last spring.
Last but not least, here is some low-growing mistletoe I saw on a tree on the golf course last week. It's rare to see mistletoe growing at eye level, though I did get lucky one year in finding sprigs with berries growing low.
Did anyone notice the difference between the first photos on this post and the last two? :)