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Christmas 2023 in the Neighborhood

So far it's been another super warm December. Note the bee on the Yuletide camellia. Its Sunday the 17th and a perfect day to create a post. We are waiting for the rain storm that was in the Gulf Coast to arrive.

The Spring blooming camellia is starting to bloom now.

Usually, we'll have a few blossoms left for Spring. The blossoms open in different sections instead of all at once when we have the early bloom.

 I'm a little sad about this. It means that we'll miss the bright pop of cherry in this dark corner when early Spring arrives.

Dec. 9th -These mums have not had enough cold to damage the blossoms. The Eastern bumblebees were out looking for nectar.They usually ignore these plants. I hope they were able to get some nectar or pollen if not, the Yuletide camellia is a good food source.

We've had a couple of brief cold snaps which intensifies the color of this Woods dwarf nandina. It is non-invasive as it doesn't produce berries. I love seeing the deep blue of the Eleanor Tabor berries against the red of the nandina.

I added some Merlin hellebores to this corner of the shade garden which are budding. I think it will be a nice display in a few weeks.

On the 16th, I noticed that the Black Knight butterfly bush next door looks healthier now than it did during the late summer heat and dryness. Unfortunately, we lost one to the drought. I love the deep purple and the romantic name, but it isn't as heat tolerant as our white butterfly bushes.

We've had a couple of holiday events in the neighborhood that rose above a couple of unexpected events. Each year I decorate for Christmas to coincide with our neighborhood luminary event at Northgate Park. This was scheduled for Dec. 10th . So, I was ready when these carolers arrived at the front door on Dec 14th. They were a group of about fifty. The unexpected event was a detour of traffic through the neighborhood from a major artery in Durham, Roxboro Rd. It was the usual behavior of speeding, not honoring stop signs and pollution. Even a few semi's came through and one took out a low hanging line. Thankfully no one was hurt and no one lost power. The carolers soldiered on! They even had candy canes for us.

A blurry photo, but you get the picture (pun intended). :) It was such a wonderful surprise!

Back to the tale of luminaries..... The original date was Dec. 10th. We ended up having almost three inches of rain on the tenth. It was really needed. This necessitated a rain date of Dec. 17th. It's the 17th as I write this, as previously mentioned we are having a rainy day. Fortunately, the neighborhood decided to light up the park area on Saturday. Thank goodness for weather forecasts. This is one of the few years that Ian and I did not participate in luminary set up. When we visited the park we were so happy to see that they were stunning. As our neighborhood changes with the popularity of downtown Durham, we have gained many young families. The "old guard" (that would be us and many others) who worked diligently to make our community a safe and happy place has stepped back over the years. A new generation of members is leading the neighborhood association now. They are doing a wonderful job. By the way, this is not a home owner's association, but a volunteer organization. The older communities in town were built before home owner's associations and planned communities were common.

Looking deep into the trail that runs through the middle of the park.

The original picnic shelter of Northgate Park. Possibly 70 years old. It was there when I was a kid. I'm 64. I was trying to include the moon, but that park light is blinding. Look above the shelter and you'll see the moon. The luminaries lead to a bridge that crosses Ellerbe Creek.

A recent tradition of decorating the luminary bags has become very popular. There's a lot of neighborhood artists (kids and adults alike).

Before complete darkness ..... Photo from neighbor, Candice

Best creative photo by neighbor, Tom.

Merry Christmas! The glass top for the "floor hutch" finally arrived.

May your holiday seaon be filled with blessings.


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