It's Gardeners' Bloom Day again, and what have I got on the balcony? Bloomin' antirrhinums. Well, what else were you expecting in December?
I've written before about how, though usually considered as annuals, antirrhinums are actually perennials and will put up with a lot. This plant is about four years old by now, and has been snowed on regularly. The microclimate on the balcony protects it from long periods below freezing, but they're tougher than the gardening books sometimes make out. They're usually classed as "half-hardy", but in my experience it's nearer three-quarters.
What I didn't mention before though was the fact not only will it survive the winter, but you'll also get flowers. It's a bit like with winter flowering pansies - although their "real" flowering period is the spring, they'll also put out a few blooms around Christmas. Well, mine do anyway. Last year I thought it was just a freak occurrence, but now it's happening again with the same plant. It's got four or five flower spikes in bud at the moment.
OK, it's nothing compared to May. But at this time of year I reckon you have to be grateful for what you can get. So thank you little plant, and may you bloom on happily all through the cold months to come.