Monday, February 22, 2010

First Crocus

After what feels like the longest February on record, the first crocus offer hope that spring may soon make an appearance. With colder than normal temperatures, gray skies and most of our precipitation in the form of snow, this month feels longer than the 22 days that have passed thus far, but yesterday brought sunshine, warmer temperatures and that harbinger of the season, my first crocus.

Lenten roses or hellebore were already spotted on Saturday. It is a great plant with a lot to offer gardeners at a time when not much else is going on, blooming in various shades of white, pink and purple. They tend to disregard the prevailing temperatures and sometimes bloom with the advent of a few warm days, so do not truly indicate the impending onset of a new season.

This clump sits where it gets just a bit more morning sunshine and the soil has warmed a little more, bringing it into bloom sooner than its neighbors.

I started with a few plants, as hellebore thrives in the shade and acid soil my yard provides. Over time they have multiplied from seed, with several baby plants needing to be moved to other locations. This year I may try a few blooming stems as cut flowers.

This last photo is a bit of a cheat. Earlier this week I was so hungry for flowers and greenery in what seemed a world so full of shades of brown and gray, that I purchased a pot of forced hyacinths. I love their scent. When these finish blooming they will be transplanted into the yard where their cousins from years past are just breaking their winter slumber.


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