Its the last week of January and the garden is showing all sorts of signs of life, spring has definitely arrived for this year. The earliest of the Hellebores are blooming, several of the Helleborus purpurascens are already blooming and the our H. odorus has also opened its first blooms. They are reported to be quite variable with regards to the quality and quantity of perfume produced, so we were was pleased to find that our plant is nicely scented.
H. thibeticanus has opened two flowers to date, the first it has produced after slowly getting bigger each year in its 5 years in the garden. This was our second plant of this species, I sited our original plant in too dry a spot and watched it grow smaller each year until it disappeared entirely. Now that I know it grows in its native China with Ostrich Ferns, Astilbes and Petasites, we planted this one in deeper, moister soil and dedicated a drip irrigation nozzle to it.
Helleborus hybrid, a particularly early pink (T.O.Geernaert photo)
. Other hellebores are in bloom as well, a particularly nice pink H. x hybrid is in bloom, and cultivars "Betty Ranicar","Heronswood Double Pink" and "Ivory Prince" are in bud.
Our area of Galanthus nivalis naturalized in the lawn is bulking up nicely, with each year a better show than the year before.
Galanthus spp. aff. elwesii cv. 'Doris Page' is also in full bloom, I think that its my favourite of the Galanthus we have in the garden. Large showy flowers with wide glaucous foliage on a short compact plant. My original stock came from Richard Hebda, curator of botany at the Royal B.C. Museum and unabashed Galanthophile, his plants came from the garden of Doris Page, hence the cultivar name.
"Pink Dawn "Viburn
Viburnum cv. 'Pink Dawn' is the spring workhorse of the bed by the front door, the garden where perfume is criteria for inclusion. Usually in bloom by November, with a pulse of blooms opening in every mild spell through February. This winter it is a particularly good year with such moderate temperatures and the blast of perfume comes right into the house when you open the front door. The deer have never touched it and now it towers well above their reach.
Sources: Thimble Farms on Salt Spring Island has most of the plants mentioned in this blog, look for thier Heleborganza this spring www.thimblefarms.com/hellebore.html