African Garden + [Great Blue Heron]

Spring Begins: March Bloom Day

While Capistrano has its swallows, the return of the Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets to Squirrelhaven signals the true beginning of spring. By yesterday afternoon, all the ice had melted from the pond and only a small mound of snow remains by the front curb. The balmy weather last week (50s and 60s (13-17C), with lows above freezing) has woken the flowers from their long sleep, although the weather will turn nasty again as the rollercoaster of spring continues its run. Despite the extended period of snowcover, the garden is right on track.

Galanthus elwesii (giant snowdrops) are at their peak of bloom.

These early bloomers have been joined by the blooms of Hamamelis x hybrida 'Sunburst' (witch hazel).

They've finally opened fully.
The little crocuses

here C. chrysanthus in the shade garden, and Crocus tommansinianus out front, have just started blooming, as have the little winter aconites.

I'm confused about the identity of this plant, whether it is Eranthis hyemalis or Eranthis cicilica. The latter plant has more finely divided leaves, which leads me to believe that mine are E. cicilica.
The hellebores are about to open. Helleborus niger, the Christmas rose, is usually the first to open.

Helleborus 'Walhelivor' (Ivory Prince™) isn't far behind,

but Helleborus x hybridus 'Pink Lady Strain' rebloomer is still acting very strangely.

When the snow finally melted from on it a few days ago, there were a couple of tattered blooms on the plant and this fresh bud. This plant is in the last group to emerge from the snow because it grows in the shade of the south fence. The other 'Pink Lady Strain' hellebores are just sprouting new growth.
Finally, another surprise:

This pansy emerged from the snow with a bud. I've never had a pansy make it through the winter before, much less do so ready to burst into bloom.Has spring come to your garden?

Visit Carol, of May Dreams Gardens, the hostess of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day to see what's blooming all over the world on the 15th of the month. Happy Bloom Day!
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Don't forget to enter to win a Seed Keepers Kit.