Crocus blooms spread wide to soak up the sun. They're hanging on just as winter has done, much to the chagrin of many a gardener. These sweet flowers have gotten me through the last month, when it seemed like nothing was willing to shed a little light on a dark and dreary garden. They've also managed to keep their tops while most of the crocus at the front of the house have been decapitated during the night by some heartless beast (slugs?).
Looks like the Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape) is busily developing blooms under a cloak of spiky purplish foliage. This West Coast native is often found along city streets and around trees in parking lots because it's rather hardy even when exposed to the heat of summer. It really thrives in shade, however, and produces berries that are tart but apparently make a tasty jam.
Thanks to many helpful garden bloggers, I now know it's sarcococca under the rhododendron by our front step. This bit of information allowed me to add another plant to the garden. I can't resist it's evergreen habit and lovely scented blooms. I've placed it near the path leading to the backyard so I'll get to enjoy it during my many, many trips back and forth.
Another perfumed plant is Pieris japonica, or 'Andromeda,' just starting to fill out with its creamy cascading flowers. We moved this large evergreen shrub away from the foundation of our house during the backyard renovation. Now it's by the stairs to the upper deck. It's new location will provide for better viewing from the back of the house. It's especially delightful when new pinkish bronze foliage forms as the flowers fade. A word of caution, the leaves and flowers are toxic if ingested.
Hyacinth is starting to open a bit and add to the aromas around the garden. The blue hyacinth is in a pot on the deck, and it's just ahead of several I planted beneath the Pieris. I'm not quite sure about the color of the latter flower, perhaps it will be a pale orange like sherbet. Right now I'm not digging it.
Hens and chicks are nestled in a nearby pot. These were pinched several years ago from a rock wall along a city street. Yes, I know there's some debate about whether this behavior is a gardening no-no. I haven't helped myself since this plant, though!