I've been watching the forum since New Year's, looking for signs of early perennial returns or volunteers in everyone's garden. So I guess I'll jump in and hope that others will add to my humble offering. The snowdrops arrived and were with us all too briefly - a couple of days of snow and sleet ended that visit. Here in the usually mild(ish) mid-Atlantic, we have been seeing daffodil and iris foliage for a while. The deer that have become increasingly invasive are munching the iris leaves, which they usually don't want, but they keep growing anyway. The only bloom right now is in hellebores. They are not my favorite flower, with their nodding habit - I feel like I have to lie on the ground on my back and gaze up into them to see the flower faces. But my neighbor B. has passed along a variety with an upright habit, which also grows in my deepest shade, and the eight plants (all transplanted fine), bigger every year, are blooming now. The stems and flowers are like a yellow-green torch atop darker green lower leaves and make a brave stand in the lower corner of the yard, even viewed from the windows.
In other news, I am satisfying flower-hungry family with vases of those evergreen branches which I can reach or, if lucky, find as windfalls. The hemlocks are a favorite with their tiny cones, but all branches are graceful and fresh and much appreciated during these flowerless months.
Elizabeth, Gardening in Zone 7, Mid-Atlantic
“Animals are something invented by plants to move seeds around. An extremely yang solution to a peculiar problem which they faced.” -- Terence McKenna