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February 2006

The week of the 13th we went into a bit of a cold spell. The overnight temperatures consistently fell below freezing and it will be interesting to see how all the 'early risers' have fared. A quick look on Friday night, the 17th, showed the scapes and flowers on Helleborus 'Ivory Prince' lying like a limp rag, but it looked as if the Dicentra spectabilis alba seems to be holding up. A closer look on Saturday morning will paint a more complete picture.
Helleborus 'Ivory Prince'And as you can see, the Helleborus looks rather faint, but not just this one, the one at the other end of this planter doesn't look much more erect.

While the Dicentras planted in the ground seems to be still quite straight, there is one planted in a one gallon pot that looks faint like this Helleborus.

The trend for the next week is for temperatures to pretty much stay above freezing and we'll see how well all these recover.

front yardThe two Hellebores are in the North sideyard and see no direct sunlight at all this time of year. The northern bed in the frontyard however is a different story. Just look at these Daffodils, Peonies, Tulips and Hyacinths. While these may have been faint when dawn breaks, they quickly straigthen themselves out again when the morning sun warms them up.

Iris reticulataCertainly there is plenty of new growth on all the Bearded Iris we have planted and potted, but this time of year we have to make due with the miniature ones, like this form of Iris reticulata. And they're cute, they provide some much needed colour to brighten up otherwise still pretty dull looking beds.

Purple SageWhile you end up having to do some looking around for the next bit of colour in the yard, you cannot help but notice the way Mother Nature gives us things like texture to add seasonal interest to the garden, like this Purple Sage leaf for instance.

Licorice fernsI must admit I don't normally think of ferns as being evergreen since most of the 'volunteers' we have in the yard die back every winter, but this planter with Licorice ferns has been green all winter. Admittedly the pot is in a sheltered location, but all around this pot has died back over winter, except for the fern.

Dicentra 'Luxuriant'Here it is, the last weekend in February and before I ventured out to take some shots around the yard, I spent a half an hour or so looking at a picture show on my DVD player off a back-up CD-R of digital pictures taken in February and March of 2004. It was quite the eye-opener to see what is ahead of where we had it two years ago and what is behind. That's right, BEHIND. For example, Crocus were in bloom in lots of areas of the yard in '04, this year, while you can see SOME, they're not near as plentyful as 2 years ago. The main blooming of Crocus in our yard is definitely behind, probably set back somewhat by the cold spell we had 2 weeks ago.

Perennials however generally are AHEAD of '04, by about 7-10 days I'd say. You can readily see it on things like the Peonies and Bleeding Hearts, like this Dicentra 'Luxuriant' for instance. You may recall my mention of a D. spectabilis being rather droopy after the week of night frosts, well, it is recovering quite nicely and the ones planted in the ground look as if they haven't skipped a beat. The other plant that has come back nicely now that we have had mostly temperatures above freezing this week, is our 'Ivory Prince' Helleborus hybrid. It's not quite as erect as it was at the beginning of the month, but it's a far cry from the faint looking afair you saw at the top of the page.

It'll be March soon, like in a couple of days. Here's hoping we have a March with lambs at both ends and no lions in between.