Things continue to pop!

Jim McKenney
Thu, 10 Mar 2016 07:42:02 PST
Daily temperatures above 80 degrees F are being reported here and there in the greater Washington, D.C. area this week. Big, old hybrid witch hazels have been making a dull red haze over parts of the garden for weeks. Magnolia stellata is in bloom, and local vernal pools are noisy with the calls of wood frogs, spring peepers and chorus frogs - maybe some cricket frogs, too. A north-bound chevron of geese made up of about ninety geese went over on February 29. Winter aconites are about over here, as are early snowdrops. The strange weather pattern of this winter had both of these ready to go weeks ago. But then a turn in the weather (including deep, persistent snow) stopped them. When the snow melted, they both looked a bit shopworn, and some of the long-delayed flowers never really recovered. 
Tommies are at their height, and every day something new joins them. 
In the cold frames, Iris lazica has joined Iris unguicularis and I. cretica in bloom. The latter two have been in bloom most of the winter. In the same frame, Cyclamen coum and C. trochopteranthum have been blooming for weeks. Two friends independently of each other went down to the recent open house events at Plant Delights and Pine Knot: both came home with Cyclamen coum 'Porcelain'.
Little Narcissus 'Mite', a near copy of N. cyclamineus, is blooming now, too. 
Signs of rodent activity have me wondering what is really left in the garden now. I think there is an active rat colony. 
Colchicum hungaricum is blooming, and the early frits are pushing up.
It's been a rough winter, but not a cold one. We have probably had only a few hours of zone 7 weather (zero F to 10 degrees F), so except for those brief dips, it's been another zone 8 winter. But those brief dips can take a bite. 
Jim McKenneyMontgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where Helleborus foetidus (a favorite) and the garden hellebores are putting on a great show. 
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