Sun breaks are the best breaks to have, especially after yesterday's snow. Tessa over at Blunders with shoots, blossoms 'n roots recently commented about my reference to this quirky phrase, a noun here in the Pacific Northwest to describe momentary bouts of sunshine. I'd never heard such a thing until I moved to Seattle, where Fall through mid-Spring is a palette of gray cloud coverage as common as Starbucks drive-thrus.
Now I know exactly what it means. It signals it's time to stop what you're doing, if only for a minute. Lift your face toward the sky and drink in that lovely wash of sunshine that could be gone before you know it. It also means I snatch up my camera and go check out what's happening in the garden.
Even the hellebore are standing up a bit straighter, turning up their usually averted faces. This dark beauty is between a large rhododendron and a camellia. It's the only "black" hellebore I have right now, but I'd like to add more. It usually takes a week or two longer to open up, but I think it's worth the wait.
Witch Hazel is finally coming out of its shell. This is a new addition to the garden and its fragrant blooms have been long awaited. It was especially tense around here when the tree was doing nothing while I was seeing similar plants in full show on other sites, such as Frances' Fairegarden. There is one wee problem. This is supposed to be "Diane," featuring redder petals. Could this be an impostor? Well, another look at Frances' posts shows she has a "Diane" that came in yellow at first. I will wait and see if this little lady warms up.
Stems on the Japanese Weeping Willow (Salix integra 'Hakuro Nishiki') are brightening up, adding some late winter interest in the backyard. This dwarf variety will put on creamy white leaves dappled with flecks of soft green. These plants tend to weep more as they age. I'm guessing the stiff limbs on mine are indicators of its youth. I've let this one go wild and crazy because I loath pruning ... too much pressure. Y can cut it back to clean it up in early Spring for more dramatic leaf and bark coloring. For now, mine is catching the sun breaks just fine.