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January 2005

We started the year off with a balmy 4º C, but by January 6th we were below freezing and it had started to snow! By the 8th we had quite the accumulation as you can see.It is now January 15th and the snow is still with us, although we are expected to rise above freezing for the next week with lots of rain, more the sort of thing we expect to see this time of year.

A nice, thick blanket and because we have had more than a week's worth of below freezing temperatures we will likely see a reduction in the number of garden pests this year.

Plus, a blanket like this is conducive to keeping the bloody rodents away from the lily and tulip bulbs! One of these pesky critters has been very persistent at digging down to one of our biggest lily bulbs, this bulb must be close to 5" and it doesn't seem to matter what we drop down the hole it digs, including dog droppings, it was not deterred from its digging activities by the time the snow started. Must admit I cannot wait until we can see the subject location again to confirm that indeed the snow was a good deterrent.

Talking about rodents, this rat has now developed an appetite for Helleborus flowers and buds.I just couldn't believe my eyes this morning when I saw what you see here: flower stems with the buds or flowers completely missing. No a sign of them anywhere. The sad thing is that before the snow cover came upon us, we easily had a dozen or more flowers and buds on this plant.........Time to catch us another rodent. Quickly.

Touch wood and whistle, so far that pesky rodent seems to have not discovered as yet the other Helleborus we have in the same bed, at the other end. It's a new addition for us called 'Ivory Prince', planted late in the fall.Ivory PrinceStill kinda small, but it looks as if it's quite happy in it's new environment, so here's hoping it will give us more flowers next year. This picture was taken January 29th and it would appear that it'll be another week or so before we can expect to see a flower open.

A pleasant surprise for us on January 29th was the discovery of the first of our 'Iris Reticulata' flowering in the front yard.Iris ReticulataThere are of course the expected 'Snowdrops' popping up everywhere, but this was almost unexpected. We have a couple of different cultivars and I must admit I'd forgotten we planted these in the front bed:)

Along with the Iris we also see the first flowers on the Primulas. It'll be a few weeks yet though before we can expect to see the annual 'sea of purple' from the Croci and the Primulas.