There are occasions when snowdrops (Galanthus spp., below) push through snow to flower in winter’s most inhospitable conditions. Though much of the snow has melted, the deeply shaded front garden remains covered, and today a few snowdrops have managed to poke through along the treacherously icy front walk. I’ve been waiting.
I’m certain that area gardeners shake their heads, muttering that their snowdrops began flowering weeks ago, and of course the garden and I share a common trait in being slow to get started. In bottom land between foothills that soon rise to the Blue Ridge Mountains, frost settles into this garden to delay spring so that while I’m discussing glorious snowdrops, neighbors have moved onto hellebores (Helleborus spp.) and witch hazels (Hamamelis spp.). By April, sometimes May, the garden and I catch up, so in the meanwhile please forgive my tardiness in addressing the arrival of blooms of crocus and narcissus. These might take a while.
While I bemoan spring’s delayed arrival, I understand this does no good at all. In fact, once flowering commences there will be more blooms in a compressed period, so this waiting is likely to be generously rewarded. Today, besides the start for the snowdrops, the ruddy red, ribbon-like blooms of ‘Diane’ witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’, above) have finally unfurled, and despite the lack of sunlight that was thoughtlessly provided, there are an increased number of flowers over previous years.
I continue to be concerned by Diane’s yellow flowered cousin, ‘Arnold Promise’, that defoliated early in autumn after a prolonged case of wet feet. Now, its flower buds show only the slightest signs of swelling to what should be imminent blooms. Fewer buds and more dead twigs portend problems for this long established shrub, and I fear that the warmth of spring will spell its further decline.
Finally, handfuls of flowers have popped from the vigorous Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum, above) that arches over sun warmed boulders at pond’s edge. Though winter jasmine typically flowers a month earlier, there is no concern for its health since it is virtually indestructible. Nearing the close of this interminably long winter, there are far greater worries than a few tardy blooms.