It’s not yet spring, but Tulip Magnolias started blooming throughout the greater Charleston, SC area at the end of January.
We had a few days in the high 70s (around 25 C) last week and the blossoms popped out like crazy.
The daytime temperatures have since dropped back to more seasonable mid 60s (15C). I’d like to think we’re past having an overnight freeze, which would turn these beauties into black disappointment. However, two years ago we had a hard frost at the end of March so I won’t hold my breath.
The Charleston area daylight is down to 10 hours as we approach the last week until winter solstice, technically December 21, which I like to think of as “making the turn”. The flowers still in bloom stretch to get what sun they can.
These pink ones, Gerber Daisies I think, were surprisingly robust with very little actual plant to support them.
Roses will form buds and flower throughout the winter here, although they often don’t make much of a showing as a blossom when the temperatures flirt with freezing over night.
This has been a banner season for Swamp Sunflowers, I see them thriving all around the wildlife areas I frequent. Surprisingly, despite many of the plants being over 5 ft (1.5 Meters) tall they have not been beaten down by our recent rain and wind storms.
The paths of the labyrinth at Mepkin Abby are currently created by a planting of yellow flowers, mostly Swamp Sunflowers, Helianthus angustifolius. Seen from the Abby’s entrance road it looks like an unkempt field of wildflowers.
As you get closer the entrance to the labyrinth invites you in, where you are surrounded by peaceful yellow. In many places the flowers were up to my shoulders.
In early October the sunflowers and grasses were heavy with blooms, some sagging into the path.
I saw the sign after I had exited the path. I could see I made it about half way before feeling closed in, stepping over the edge in a thin spot along the back. I didn’t realize how many insects there would be and how many unknown plants I would need to brush up against. Long pants and sleeves would have been a good choice for this journey except it was 90 degrees F (32 C).
From Mepkin Abby materials:
Mepkin Abby is a community of Roman Catholic monks established in 1949 on the site of the historic Mepkin Plantation on the Cooper River, north of Charleston, SC. The grounds and gardens are open daily to the public as part of their commitment to share their land.
This labyrinth is a seven circuit pattern and is a unicursal line that winds around itself with no dead ends. Follow the line all the way to the center, then reverse direction to exit.
The past few weeks have been poor for getting new images; lots of grey days and thunderstorms at various times throughout the day, there are not many birds around, and the greater Charleston area has been mostly shut down since Monday due to the threat of Hurricane Florence.
I got a quick stroll in at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens on Sunday between rain storms. The air was still so the reflections in the ponds were pretty even though there wasn’t much light.
Magnolia and all of my usual haunts are closed until the storm passes. Florence’s path and power for our area are still hard to predict but I expect I’ll see some changes when we are able to return.