Evidence of spring’s approach is scant, typical for this part of Virginia in late January, but of course, less than hoped for. Without a doubt, the winter hiatus from the garden’s chores is appreciated, three weeks seems adequate, and now I’m anxious for winter to be over. But, wishing doesn’t make it so.
While flowers of typical winter blooming mahonias (above) and witch hazels are present, and the first blooms of snowdrops (below) are nearing their peak (with others barely breaking ground), progress is slow for late winter bloomers that occasionally flower weeks early in a mild winter. Swelling flower buds of hellebores, paperbushes (Edgeworthia chrysantha), and Leatherleaf mahonias (Mahonia bealei) are closely monitored in winter’s second half, sometimes daily, begging encouragement as winter drags on.
There is often grave concern by less experienced gardeners when foliage of daffodils breaks ground in mid-winter, or with a scattering of yellow forsythia blooms, but rarely is any harm done. While there are no forsythias in this garden, the similar Winter jasmine is expected to flower in the next few weeks. And, as one snowdrop after another flowers, hellebores will begin blooming by mid-February (hopefully earlier), then there will be one after another until spring finally arrives. This week, spring seems far off, with perhaps the worst of winter still to come. But, the garden gives subtle clues of the change of the season.