How much effective garden work can be done in December depends upon where you live. East of the Cascades in Washington, for example, the best thing to do is to curl up alongside the fireplace and confine garden activities to planning on paper. Down in the sun-kissed Mojave Desert, in such favorable growing spots as the 6,000-acre community of Apple Valley, however, gardening marches ahead all year long.
It never fails. Neither wind, rain nor frosty weather prevent the Christmas rose from blooming on schedule at holiday time each year. According to legend, this attractive perennial (not a rose at all) received its name because it first bloomed at the hour of the Christ Child’s birth.
Since Christmas roses are hardy in the West they do not need sheltered sites. Give lots of space because the clumps eventually spread to 2 or 3 feet or more. They resent disturbance and should be planted where they are to grow for a number of years. The plants are dormant in summer and push out their tough, leathery leaves in early fall. Plant any time from September 1 to April 1. Select a well-drained location in neither full sun nor dense shade and spade it 12 to 24 inches deep.