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January 2006

We made it! Out with the old, in with the new. It's January 1st and the forecast is for wet weather, what else is new. The new year certainly has not changed anything in that respect, this will always be the 'Wet Coast'. We will live up to that reputation today and for the next 2 weeks or so according to the weather prognosticators. Oh well, it keeps the grass green....

We had 10 days or so of frost until the middle of December, but ever since temperatures have been between 5º and 13ºC. That balmy weather sure has brought up a lot of the early spring greenery and is proving to be quite the shot in the arm for our Helleborus. I hope the weather stays dry long enough for me to be able to take some pictures of them today. You may recall I said just before Christmas that I'd be surprised if either of the two we have would started to open its flower buds by the new year, but I may just have to eat those words, you be the judge. This was shot at around noon, January 1st, and it sure looks as if we have buds opening up on our ruddy red Helleborus. If it is a named cultivar, I truly don't know what its name is, but it's been a steady performer and welcome addition to our assortment of perennials since I got it from my youngest brother in the fall of 2002.

HelleborusBut, I DO know however what the name of this cultivar is: 'Ivory Prince', and it is steadily continuing from where it started last year, when it was first planted in this bed, though it quite obviously is a later bloomer than the other one.

It is also very gratifying to see we are not being plagued by a Helleborus loving rodent this year, we have plenty of blooms on this clump. While there may be signs of slug or insect damage, all of the emerging buds have become flowers rather than rodent fodder.

Helleborus Ivory PrinceA few more days of balmy weather and the flowers on the Helleborus are opening up like crazy. The red one's showing you would have seen January 8th is quite something actually, but the 'Ivory Prince' hasn't advanced much beyond what you see above.

SnowdropsSnowdrops are forming buds all over the yard. There's one in our washing machine tub off the patio that's getting rather fat as a matter of fact. These ones here, in the front yard, aren't quite as sheltered and only the occasional start of a bud is seen here on that Sunday, but they're not far behind.

It isn't just the Snowdrops, Hellebores, Iris, Daffodils and Tulips that are making their presence known, you see ample evidence of other plants responding to the warmer weather. Here's the top of one of last year's Maple seedlings just loaded with new buds and you can also see plenty of new growth on the Honeysuckles we have planted.

Saturday the 14th was a glorious day, nice and sunny. Great weather for taking the dogs for a long walk and for putzing around in the yard.

A number of our pots and planters still have Bacopa growing in them. This particular one is in a rather sheltered area on the patio and several times over the winter have we noticed flowers on it.

Just about 18 inches up from where we saw this Bacopa flower, we have this Snowbell showing itself. Though perhaps a little more exposed than the Bacopa, it's sheltered enough to be several days ahead of all the others popping up all over the yard.

Hosta Minute ManIt is with eager anticipation that we keep an eye on the Hosta roots. This one here is one of our 'Minute Man' roots and I'm pleased as punch that we have easily double the number of buds from what we had last year, when we had 3 plants on the root.

Peony 'Bowl of Beauty'Back in the fall we split up one of our Peony roots. We ended up with one 2 gallon pot, this one, and four 1 gallon ones of 'Bowl of Beauty'. When we split them up there were already new buds showing all over the place on these roots and they're getting bigger and bigger, as you can see.

That small patch of Snowdrops we showed a little higher up on this page now has plenty of flowers to show. Those are Primroses in the background to the left.

Dicentra spectabilisLate summer we took a few Dicentra cuttings to root and over the winter they spent their time nice and sheltered under the overhang on the south side of the house. They have stayed frost-free and a couple of them are starting the pop-up already. This one here is a small Dicentra spectabilis.

Dutch Iris have been steadily increasing their size and numbers. This patch is found in the backyard.

Iris reticulataJanuary 24th was just a fabulous day weatherwise. And it was a good day politically because the country had done what needed to be done: politicians like diapers should be changed regularly for the same reason. Anyway, I digress, I remarked when I left the house at around 7.20AM that there was this unusual reddish glow on the eastern horizon and we had a day of mostly sunshine, with a few thin, whispy clouds from time to time. It was also the day the first of our Iris reticulata showed it's face in our frontyard, which is about 5 days earlier than last year.

A few days later, on the 28th to be precise, another one showed its pretty face in the front yard.

Dicentra spectabilis albaElsewhere in the yard that day, the side yard to be precise, we have one of our Dicentra spectabilis alba poking its head through the leaf litter.

Dicentra spectabilisWe have a much larger root of Dicentra spectabilis growing in another bed in the backyard. It gets to such a size by early summer that we usually end up taking some root prunings to keep it under control and judging by how its coming up I think we'll have to do that again pretty soon.