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

 

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

What’s blooming in January?

Grape holly bloom clusters.

Unseasonably warm weather has caused some buds to open early. Yesterday I walked around taking pictures of the blooms. The honeybees were taking full advantage of the pollen and nectar from the flowering apricot, Lenten Roses (hellebores), ‘John Clayton’ honeysuckle and Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia). These little jewels get me prepared for the real winter weather to come.

This freckled bloom isn't usually seen until late February.

Fragrant blooms of flowering apricot have opened a month early.

2011 in review

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Click here to see the complete report.

Plants for Winter Blooms

The evergreen shrub above  should be a must-have for gardeners suffering from winter blues. Daphne (D. odora aureomarginata) is full of buds right now. It will start blooming the last of January and continue right through February. The best thing about the flowers, since they are small, is that they smell wonderful, a lemony sweet fragrance. Float a few of the flower clusters in a small bowl to bring the rich scent into the home.

The flowers below belong to my Japanese Flowering Apricot tree, Prunus mume. It is a lovely small tree, not grown for its fruit, but for the early flowers. It is completely budded now. The buds are still tight, but they will open around the first part of February. Branches may forced in the house for even earlier blooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hellebores, in the third photo, are sometimes called Lenten Roses. They begin to bloom in February also, and come in several colors:  white, white with speckles, pink, dark rose and a deep maroon that is almost black. Their evergreen leaves are palmate and the nodding flowers show up well in the foliage.

These plants keep winter from being too dreary. Include some in your garden for year-round flowers.