Yes, I know. I should not celebrate this mild winter. The planet is doomed unless we change the error of our ways, but how can a gardener be blamed for enjoying the occasional winter when snow doesn’t cover the garden, and when the chill is mild enough that there are blooms everyday? And, not just the few flowers of witch hazels (below) that bloom if it’s fifty degrees or ten below.
I’ve long planted for winter flowers, but most years there are a few scattered flowers in January, with increasing numbers into late February. This winter, all are a few weeks early, and while this inevitably means flowers will fade a week earlier. there are plenty more blooms coming on then.
While ‘Diane’ (witch hazel) was a disappointment after a second year in too much shade, a newly planted Vernal witch hazel has flowered superbly, and two ‘Jelena’ have bloomed to match high expectations. ‘Arnold Promise’ (below) has not reached its peak bloom yet, and despite its being most common, its abundant yellow blooms have earned favor in this garden.
The hellebore season has been the best in memory, certainly due to ever increasing numbers, but also the mild winter has promoted early flowering so that all but a few stragglers have bloomed for weeks. Several hellebores with Christmas rose genetics have flowered since shortly after the new year, and several greenhouse forced hellebores purchased from a local grocer were planted outdoors immediately in late December in a particularly mild spell. These adjusted to the outdoors without a hitch, and all have flowered continuously.
I don’t recall if more snowdrops were planted in autumn, but the entrance to the front walk is filling nicely with a mix of early and late, and tall and short varieties. Ones with double flowers, not a particular favorite, seems most vigorous, but I am not complaining. Several tall types are nearly lost as a clump of ‘Evergold’ carex has spread a bit more than desired. I have noted that further spread in this direction must be pulled while the growth is young so that bulbs are not disturbed.
Also close to the snowdrops is a clump of crocus that had diminished to only a few flowers several years ago. I take the blame. I suspect that more than a few were dug and injured while planting in the area. I cannot blame squirrels this time, but the patch has recovered nicely. I believe there is a dark purple that flowers as this crocus fades, but today I see no evidence of it. I’m not concerned, it’s early.