Quietly and almost inauspiciously we have gone from fall into winter with the winter solstice December 22nd. The various incarnations of the ancient celebrations of the event are almost upon us and before you know it the days will be getting noticeably longer again. At least the new season started out better than the month did: on the 1st of December we found ourselves with the remnants and reminders of what some would be tempted to call the first snow storm of the season, which technically is correct of course since it is rare indeed to get a FALL SNOW STORM on the West Coast. With winter just having started, thank goodness we have yet to see the first snow storm of THAT season and with any luck at all we'll steer clear of them....Click here for a reminder of how we began the month of December.
Christmas Day was a fairly pleasant day weatherwise and while this Hellebore hybrid may not be the brightest of colours, it sure brightened the day by reminding us that the winter solstice has passed and this is the harbinger of spring to come. There would appear to be plenty of buds on this plant this season, let's hope we don't get a repeat of the rodent problem we had in 04/05 winter. Thus far there's no indication we do, touch wood-n-whistle.
Late in the fall of 2004 we planted another Hellebore: 'Ivory Prince', one of the very few Hellebore's in tissue culture - which is why it is fairly readily available and not overly pricey. We noticed over the '05 winter already that this cultivar is considerably later in flowering than the unknown ruddy red one above. If the weather stays fairly mild it'll be mid February at the earliest before we'll see these buds open up.
All said and done, the weather has been on the mild side, rather than the wild side. That all benefits the spring flowering perennials and bulbs. These 'Nora Barlow' Columbines for example are putting up new growth and there's evidence of swelling shoots on some Hostas, like 'Blue Mouse Ears' and 'Golden Tiara'. Let's just keep our fingers crossed we don't get hit with a late spring frost in March to set them all back.