by Leslie Cox; Saturday; January 2, 2021

Rain gaugeWill the rain never stop?!! In the last eight days we have had 245 mm of rain…213 mm has come down in the last 4 days! The advisability of building an ark is getting some very serious consideration given how close the rising water is coming to the back door. Ground is so saturated at this point, the rain water is just puddling. Not good.

Turning out to be a real La Niña year…as forecasted. Unfortunately, John is wondering why at least some of this rain we are getting now couldn’t happen in the summer when we really need it for the garden. That would be nice.

However, in spite of all this rain, there are some surprises in the garden.

Right off the top, I am impressed my ‘Panda Face’ ginger, Asarum maximum, is looking so stellar right now. Usually by this time of year it is looking quite ratty in its evergreen state. It is especially surprising since I had not laid any protective fir branches over the ginger patch before the first frosts hit towards the end of October.

This plant has taken a long time to establish but then I am pushing its Zone 7b listing in my front garden. And other than giving it good drainage at the edge of my island bed, it is getting more sun than is probably good for it. As a native to the low elevation forests in China, this ginger would much prefer part shade or deeper to the 5 – 6 hours of full sun it gets in a Black Creek garden. There is such a thing as being kind to your plants and giving them the growing conditions they would prefer.

Helleborus x ballardiae 'HGC Pink Frost'


At least my hellebores are happy. Am very pleased to see fresh flower buds appearing. Fingers are crossed they will open sometime this month. ‘Pink Frost’, Ivory Prince’ and a double white which was mislabeled at the nursery are all set to put on a winter display. Hoping my latest additions…‘Penny’s Pink’ and ‘Anna’s Red’…will also set a couple of blossoms too.


I have a pink Ashwood hellebore seedling which has been readily seeding over the last couple of years so perhaps the offspring will have flowers this year. And the double white I mentioned is also very fertile…producing masses of seedlings every year. Keep hoping one of them will produce some interesting flower colours since my Helleborus niger is in close proximity. I know it will not cross with ‘Ivory Prince’ or ‘Pink Frost’ as they are sterile. But think of the lovely double pink flowers that could be had if such a crossing were possible.


early primulaWhile we are speaking about flowers…it is a good thing we do not have to wait another 77 days until spring for the primula blossoms! I have noticed quite a number of open flowers and new buds forming on the purple-flowered Primula vulgaris plants. None on the white-, pink-, or yellow-flowered primulas yet, though.

But isn’t it nice to know we have rounded the corner on the Winter Solstice and the days will now slowly lengthen as we count down to the Spring Equinox?!