We are either blessed or cursed, depending upon one's POV, for being able to garden twelve months a year in the milder climates of the Bay Area. On the down side, we don't get to forget about our gardens during the winter experienced by much of the country. On the plus side, it's nice to walk out in the garden on a mild December day to see what may be changing, even if that is minimal compared to spring. Often there is a late show, plants hanging on into the late fall, and an early show, next year's bulbs poking up or buds on the trees. In the former category, my marmalade bush still has flowers, as do several salvias, including the lovely orange flowering S. Peru. My hebes are still producing flowers as is my lotus 'Amazon Sunset.' For the 'advent of spring' group, I have S. African bulbs such as freesia, sparaxis, lachenalia and babiana that have sprouted new growth. I also have my first Dutch iris up, as well as ipheion and snowdrops. I recently noticed new foliage on my Louisiana and ensata iris as well as on my sisyrinchium.
This is the time of the year for shrubs and I have several in bloom (camellias) as well as others about to bloom (leucospermums). My verticordia is coloring up nicely. To me this year round interest is the greatest reason for having a huge diversity of plants in my garden, even though I stray from the natives or drought tolerant planting that is so popular these days. Count me among those who gets great pleasure from enjoying his garden year round.