The January thaw is an accepted part of weather lore around here–thaw being a relative term–meaning warmer than you would expect but not necessarily warm enough to melt all the snow. But this year almost all the snow did melt, save the piles that accumulate from removing it from the walk, driveway, and road. As a matter of fact, it was 58°F(14°C) on Sunday as I glanced at my phone and read “Winter Storm Watch in effect for Monday.” What? It’s gorgeous out! But–it is January, after all.
After several days of unseasonably mild weather, it’s easy to be seduced into thinking it will go on like that forever, so it was actually good to have that heads up. I made sure I took a walk in that lovely sunshine, and I also made sure to note the garden’s progress. The Christmas rose that was in bud in my previous post did indeed open up and bloom.Not only that, but more hellebores were getting ready to bloom as well. That reminded me that there used to be a different hellebore where ‘Pink Frost’ now grows. I moved Helleborus x sahinii ‘Winterbells’ to the foot of the lilac growing near the back deck. This is my most bloomingest hellebore of all (and the early-blooming Christmas rose is one of its parents). There’s only one problem: for me, it flops. So even though it blooms all winter under the snow, when the snow finally melts, it’s prostrate on the ground with its flowers in the mud. I had moved it to the base of the lilac, because that bed is sloped and I thought there was a better chance of the blossoms staying off the ground. As you saw, I was able to get a picture by putting the camera at ground level and angling it up. Perhaps I should consider some sort of support? I doubt I will get rid of it unless I can find another hellebore that blooms all year long.
My very earliest snowdrops (I knew exactly where to look) were also emerging.Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’ is an early blooming variety, but I also planted it in a warm microclimate. Details like that can make the difference–a difference of perhaps a week earlier bloom. Which, when you’re in the throes of cabin fever, can make a very big difference.
That was then, this is nowAgain. Oddly enough, the snow is reassuring, mostly because it’s expected. As much as I enjoy a long, mild spring, there is a sense that if you deviate too much from the norm, bad things will happen. What if this really were the beginning of spring? Would that mean we were in for a hot summer? Or even worse, a dry summer? With the return of snow, that anxiety has been alleviated.
But it won’t bother me at all to be done with snow and cold by March. Nope, not at all.