First, a teaser of the Hellebore pics that are further down this post...
Each fall/winter I SUPER heavily mulch the strawberries with leaves, figuring there's a risk of smothering and killing off some. Since I always read about how you're supposed to rejuvenate your strawberry patch every few years, kind of "re-booting" it, and I've had no real signs of disease yet, this seems to be working out well. I don't know if the heavy mulching / thinning of the herd / giving younger plants room to fill in is what's working out, or if I've just been lucky about disease so far... Anyhow - just uncovered all the strawberries last week, and while there aren't many showing much green yet, there are signs of growth.
Here's the Serviceberry, loaded with buds that are plumping up quickly. This is an early bloomer, and will be covered in white flowers before too long.
Something else greening up (and even blooming) all over the place? Weeds! There's two here - I know the larger leaved weed is Creeping Charlie. I'm not sure what the stuff with the tiny leaves and white blooms is. No matter how much I try pulling this stuff out, it always makes a comeback.
The crocuses are definitely doing their thing...first were the yellows, and now the whites, purples and stripes are opening up around the yard.
This fruiting cherry (I forget which variety) looks like it's ready to have flowers burst open all over real soon. We're supposed to have some freezing night time temps in the extended forecast, so hopefully the tree's paying attention and will hold out on those blooms.
Here's another shot of those buds...
Dip down too close to something on the ground (like when taking pics of crocus blooms), and Daisy assumes there's something to eat or hunt and might come running over to investigate.
Sorry Daisy - really nothing too exciting here just yet...
Here's the Alpine strawberries around one of the cherry trees. Looks like they survived the extra cold winter just fine under their leaf mulch blanket.
Something's peeking through the leaf mulch at the based of this big Butterfly bush. I THINK it's Delphinium? I don't know why one is planted right on top of the other, unless perhaps the Delphinium reseeded itself a little ways over?
Couldn't get the cell phone camera to focus on this little guy - the lone Snowdrop. I think I need to plant more of these this fall - love them!
And here come the Hellebores! These guys were under HEAVILY matted leave that I'd piled on last fall. Some of them looked a little rough at first once I cleared the leaves off, but I think the buffering of those leaves (plus cold temps, obviously) also set back the blooming just a little bit more, and considering just how cold the winter was, protecting the buds and delaying their bloom was a good thing.
Dark purple Hellebore...
Sort of a mauve-y Hellebore...
See how black some of their leaves got? I came back later and trimmed off all the old leaves, making more room for the blooms to show off, and for the new leaves that are starting to come up.
These next pics were taken a few days later. The Hellebores are really starting to open up now!
It's so cool that you can have such vibrantly colored flowers in your garden so early in the season!
And finally - more crocuses!