Even in the ‘banana belt’ of Canada we celebrate the signs of the spring to come. Our annual Flower Count might be an in-your-face promotion for our tourism industry, but in reality it’s as much a mental health exercise for locals. It’s good for our souls to get outside & search for signs that the grey skies & depressing drizzle of our west coast winter will one day fade in the spring sunshine.
Their name speaks for the hardiness of this winter bloomer. I’m always excited to see their tentative arrival in early January. By February they’re into full show.
Click here for more info on snowdrops.
2. hardy cyclamen
Even though they’re tiny, the brightness of this exotic looking flower draws the eye from across the winter landscape. It’s a close cousin to the cyclamen that bloom in early fall.
aka: cyclamen coum
Can you believe there’s a cyclamen society?
3. dwarf iris
Here’s another little flower that in my mind looks too exotic to grow in Canada. Considering this iris, and the cyclamen above can both be found in Russia proves that exotic doesn’t just mean tropical.
aka: iris reticulata
It’s even received an Award of Garden Merit!
Just being a winter bloomer automatically qualifies hellebore for space in our borders. The evergreen foliage adds interest to the garden for the rest of the year. Win Win!
aka: Christmas rose or Lenten rose
These days there are many choices of hellebore.
5. winter aconite
This gem is actually a distant relative of hellebore. Go figure. One of the best similarities between these 2 is that neither are bothered at all by deer.
There’s some better photos in this article.
Crocus are my valentines tradition. When searching for a bloom in our garden in mid February, crocus never let me down.
aka: crocus 🙂
I’m naturalizing some crocus in the lawn.
7. winter jasmine
This specimen is from a cutting that DS stole from Government House during the New Year’s Day Levi a few years ago. He decided we NEEDED it in our garden too! Wasn’t that thoughtful?
aka: hardy jasmine (not summer jasmine)
The gardens are lovely at Government House.
Oregon Grape is the native mahonia to these parts, but it doesn’t bloom until early spring, so I understand why some folks plant this ‘outsider’. It will bloom as early as December.
aka: winter sun
Mahonia varieties grow all over the world.
9. pig squeak
It’s a traditional favourite for our area, probably because of the winter blooms, and the unusual fleshy leaves. But also because it is super hardy & tolerates neglect.
Sometimes they’re called elephant ears.
I thought they were just grocery store annuals, but when they finished up in the spring, I plunked them into the garden just in case. They came back – – every winter!
They’re not just a grocery store annual.
So there’s my list. 10 bloomers in February – who would think there are that many? There’s sure to be space for some other early bloomers as I find them; perhaps some rhododendron, camellia, or witch hazel…
© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2013
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