February has been a ping pong month for its Spring-like days and winter weather.

Is anyone else confused about this month’s weather? Besides the plants, I mean. The maples are supposed to bloom this month, but the frigid weather keeps their buds tightly closed. Our hellebores began blooming in January, but only a few opened in February because of the sleet, snow and ice. Most of their buds have remained closed. The snowdrops bloomed early along with one golden-yellow crocus, which stopped blooming, but shows colorful buds. Our spring Witch-hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) is in full bloom. Theirs is one of the sweetest fragrances in the garden, reminiscent of Jasmine, especially the Lakeview Jasmine shrub that blooms indoors in the winter. I’ve seen daffodils blooming around town, but none here yet. What is blooming in your garden? P.S. This is a good time to transplant trees and shrubs and buy new ones.  See you in the garden!

Early snowdrop bloom

Early snowdrop bloom

Newly opened flower of Lenten Rose

Newly opened flower of a deciduous Lenten Rose, (Helleborus atrorubens).

I miss my Fragrant Daphne and our Japanese Apricot (Prunus mume), both early blooming, because they went to plant heaven. They’ve been here many years, brightening the winter days with fragrance and color. Here are photos of my dearly departed.

Winter-blooming Daphne with sweetly  frangrant  flowes.

Winter-blooming Daphne
with sweetly fragrant
flowes.

Japanese Flowering Apricot

Japanese Flowering Apricot

 

Returning to the scene of the crime

In February 2012 I fell on our big berm in the front yard and broke both bones in my right arm. This was a big handicap since I am right-handed. Since then, I’ve had other health issues that prevented me from writing my blog. Today I begin again.

Possumhaw with leaves.

Possumhaw with leaves.

Winter time limits the color palette of the garden. Hollies and other evergreens are the stars of the landscape now. Deciduous hollies  show off now because they lose their leaves, so their berries really show up, as this Possumhaw before leaf fall and the Winterberry without leaves.

Winterberry, Ilex verticilata, is our newest deciduous holly.

Winterberry, Ilex verticilata, is our newest deciduous holly.

Grape-hollies, which are neither grapes nor hollies, are blooming now. The bees are eager to collect nectar from one of the few winter-blooming plants. The pretty yellow bell flowers are followed by gorgeous sky-blue berries.

Grape holly bloom clusters.

Grape-holly (Mahonia) bloom clusters.

Hellebores, also called Christmas or Lenten Roses, bloom reliably in January and February, with blossoms continuing until April. Most are evergreen, so their large palm-shaped foliage makes a good ground cover. Inter-planting them with spring bulbs helps hide unsightly bulb foliage after their flowers are spent.

This freckled bloom may open as early as January or as late as February..

This freckled bloom may open as early as January or as late as February.

I’m a little rusty on how-to-do etc., but it is good to be back. See you in the garden!

What is blooming early in your garden?

Grape holly bloom clusters.

Grape holly bloom clusters.

'John Clayton' honeysuckle with crossvine

‘John Clayton’ honeysuckle with crossvine

Winter daphne has the sweetest lemony blooms, better than gardenia for me.

Winter daphne has the sweetest lemony blooms, better than gardenia for me.

My first daffodil to bloom this year, in January, was Erlicheer. It is very uncommon to see it in bloom so early. Fragrant Daphne is blooming a little early and my Flowering Japanese Apricot continues blooming, since its December debut! ‘John Clayton’ and ‘Red Cascade’ native honeysuckles are blooming, too. My vernal witchhazel is in full bloom. The Oregon Grapehollies (Mahonia) are blooming and the bees are flocking to them. Several daffodils are budded to open any day. All of my hellebores are blooming and started in January. Tell me what is blooming early for you.

Hellebores, also called  Lenten roses are in full bloom, all colors..

Hellebores, also called Lenten roses are in full bloom, all colors..

Earliest Blooms on Flowering Apricot

Usually our flowering apricot buds and blooms repeatedly late January and in February. Today, December 27, 2012, is the earliest date I have recorded for it to bloom. It is the cultivar ‘Peggy Clarke’ of Prunus mume. Apparently it has been blooming for several days because my husband, Jerry, asked me if I’d see the blooms. They were probably open on Christmas!

The bottom picture was taken on January 20, 2012 on a sunnier day.

Prunus mume 'Peggy Clarke' with open blooms in late December.

Prunus mume ‘Peggy Clarke’ with open blooms in late December.

'Peggy Clarke' Prunus mume

Winter Color 2012

'Pink Icicle' camellia buds

‘Pink Icicle’ camellia buds

'Warren's Red' Possumhaw deciduous holy, has never had more than 4 berries until this year.

‘Warren’s Red’ I. decidua,  another native deciduous holly, has never had more than 4 berries until this year.

Possumhaw with leaves.

‘Warren’s Red’ Possumhaw with leaves.

Winterberry, Ilex verticilata, is our newest deciduous holly.

Winterberry, Ilex verticillata, is our newest deciduous holly.

Our mature femaile yaupon, a native evergreen, has its heaviest berry crop ever.

Our mature female yaupon, Ilex vomitoria, a native evergreen holly, has its heaviest berry crop ever.

Camellia flowers in December

Camellia flowers in December

Hollies, both evergreen and deciduous, add their color to the garden. My ‘Pink Icicle’ Camellia began blooming in November and is still budding and blooming. We’ve also added Burford hollies and female yews on the new berm for their future berries.  Enjoy!