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Early Bloomers

early bloomers collage

Hi there, everybody!

It’s been exciting to see life slowly creeping back into the gardens and fields around us. Although I shouldn’t imply that all signs of life were ever totally drained from the local landscape. The mild winter temperatures (thus far, at least) have kept things relatively green and vivid-looking throughout the normally drab months of winter. Even so, it’s hard not to get giddy at the first sight of snowdrops or the helleborus buds beginning to burst with color. It’s these early bloomers whose anxiously awaited arrival signals the sweet promise of spring.

Despite their diminutive size and dainty build, the lovely little snowdrop is really quite a tough cookie. She’ll sprout and blossom and the slightest sign of good weather and should any unexpected snowfall arrive, she’ll patiently wait out the storm before popping right back up.

It’s funny how living in a climate where there’s always something blooming can cause a jaded inhabitant to take nature’s efforts for granted. I don’t know if it’s an increased interest in gardening and flowers in general or if it’s more to do with living in a colder climate, but I never really appreciated these early bloomers in California. Which begs the question, do they even grow there? All information that I’ve read points to snowdrops disliking warm winters of any kind… which, I guess, the name itself already implies. On more recent trips back, however, I’ve noticed lots of other friendly faces like Daphne, freesias, paperwhites, and even the occasional hellebores.

Here in my garden I’m growing a few different kinds of hellebores, including helleborus foetidus. Apparently this little beauty is commonly known as the “stinking hellebore” or “dungwort”. You could have fooled me! It seems that the name stems from the foul odor released from the plants leaves when crushed… but I’ve never caught a whiff of this infamous scent. Instead, I prefer to admire the pretty petals on the clusters of flowers that are just now beginning to put on a performance in the garden. When out of bloom, however, I’m not so crazy about the appearance of the leathery green leaves… but that’s just me.

Another beauty is helleborus orientalis (or hybridus), the much-revered lenten rose. The beautiful buds that have sprouted out of the ground are just beginning to show a bit of color. I can hardly wait for them to burst open in the softest shades of pink, purple, and mauve.

Judging from the rapid progress of these early bloomers, the grape hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips shouldn’t be too far behind… barring any late winter weather, that is.

I awoke this morning to a message from my sister in LA with a picture showing her pink jasmine ready to flower its butt off… which, of course, makes me extremely jealous! Alas… I hope, like me, that you’re content with enjoying what’s blossoming in your area :)

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