After a couple of crazy days away doing book stuff, it was so good to get home last night, even driving in fog and rain. This morning we woke to more fog and more rain, but when I looked out the window as I drank my coffee, I spied something...
The first snowdrop.
The change in the yard is amazing. Although some parts are still quite buried in snow, other beds are completely emerged, and the perennials and shrubs are yawning and stretching and thinking they should wake up.
Although this is a heather and not blooming now, its blazing foliage made it worthy of inclusion in this post. I can't remember if this is 'Cuprea' or 'Con Brio' or some other cultivar, but it's glorious.
I think this is 'Springwood White' heath, but these plants have been in the conifer planting out back for years, and long since lost their names. Since the 'Springwoods' are some of the hardier cultivars, I think my guess is valid.
Yes, that is snow behind this valiant spring of heath, again unfortunately a LostLabel. This was the second flower I discovered today in slogging around the garden. It is possible that I did a little bit of a victory dance. Possible. I'm not admitting anything.
Hamamelis 'Diane' is unfurling her colourful buds. A few more mild days and we'll have those gracious, curious tassel-like flowers gleaming in the spring light. The hellebores that live at her feet are still buried in snow, but other hellebores in other beds are showing up nicely and look great.
Normally, this cement trough from Ivan Higgins of Cosby's Garden Centre gets put into the greenhouse for the winter, but between windstorms, snowstorms, and other dramatics, it got buried in 4 foot snowdrift and only emerged a couple of days ago. Everything looks fine, although I'm going to throw some evergreen boughs over it to protect it from the vagaries of temperature that are bound to still happen.
The mild weather earlier in the week triggered the snowbirds to bid farewell to us and start on their journey north to their breeding grounds in the Arctic. I haven't seen any since Monday, and while I will miss them, I'm ready for this weather respite. And it was a huge delight to look out and find a whole flock of waxwings feasting on fruit that I had tossed out for our various avian visitors. They've dined on apples, grapes, orange segments, rose hips, but they really, REALLY like Anjou pears.
There's a lot of birdsong in the air, and even more bird activity around our place than we've enjoyed all winter as our feathered friends get the urge to begin courting. This little downy woodpecker was waiting for me to go back indoors so she could get some suet and seed. Doesn't she look like she's saying, "MOVE IT, LADY!"?
Although the garden and yard are a mess from months of winter, and really look their absolute worst right now...they also look fantastic because they are telling me that spring IS coming. It was fun to rake a bit of detritus up while I wandered around this afternoon, but I'm not declaring it spring yet. We know how treacherous our weather can be....