Crocus gargaricus and Crocus fleischeri both opened today. The former is a intense chrome yellow and the latter dull grayish white on the exterior with striking glowing red styles: both very nice for a late January day. Although it's so-far been a mild winter, some plants are biding their time. Jasminum nudiflorum is well budded, but the first flowers have yet to open. Wintersweet and witch hazels are in full bloom, and Helleborus foetidus is developing rapidly. The only snowdrop to bloom so-far is Galanthus elwesii, and I have not seen buds or blooms on Iris unguicularis. Lots of sprouts of various bulbs are up at ground level. So maybe there is an irony in these mild winters: will some plants bloom later rather than earlier because they are not getting their chill requirement on schedule? Jim McKenney Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7 where seedling Paeonia californica - a hellebore-like peony - has foliage up in one of the cold frames.