First, yes it's true I am back at posting to this blog again! Can't promise that I'll keep it up regularily or long, but we'll see as we go along. The multi-year gap involved here was spent gettin my head together on nursery and personal issues and managing to mesh gardening with cycling (still not a done deal, but getting there).
A very early spring, a good two weeks earlier than usual. Nor was it a very cold winter either, overnight lows rarely going below -15C. More, there has been a good run of sunny days to break the frosts, whereas we have been more used to cloudy or wet springs (or at least that seems to be the case from looking back at my cycling records!!)
Two days ago crocus leaves were starting to show in a couple of sand beds, and Helleborus niger buds were swelling and semi-open. Today, crocus flowers are in bloom and the Hellebore is noticeably open. Other Hellebores are starting to show flower stems in bud erecting themselves above the ground. Probably black alder bushes are in bloom too, but they are not showy and I haven't walked into their area very often since I ran out of dogs.
A pair of yellow-flowered Hellebore plants just showing through the snow down the hill from the house. The first is just a bud at ground level right now, the second further along. One of them is a species and the other is a hybrid, but their labels are still under the snow so I can't be more specific now.
Snowdrops, budded but not quite open. These are in deep shade beneath a large Rhododendron.
A large Helleborus orientalis (Lenten Rose) hybrid quite far along because it is situated not far from a basement wall close to my wood stove, so the ground there is the warmest in the yard.
A well- and long-established bunch of crocus in the root zone of a Spiraea bush (hence all the branches laying amongst them). These probably first opened a couple of days ago but I didn't notice them until today. How is that possible?!
These are no particular species or cultivar, just a generic crocus patch which started as a half-dozen corms sometime in the early 80's. I suspect there has been some self-seeding in addition to the corm offsets.
A couple of species or botanical crocuses in a sandbed. The yellow ones are pretty obvious, the pale lilac-coloured ones are shyly hiding beneath the leafs of a yucca.
Helleborus niger, the Christmas Rose. This in a bed along an unheated section of the basement and beside the sidewalk. Sunny at this time of year, shady once the trees leaf out. I planted a pair of these close together, but the other one in the pair blooms in November, and yes, still showed some remnants of white sepals as Christmas approached. These are not as vigorous for me as H. orientalis and its hybrids.