mahonia bloom garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest

10 February Faves

Even in the ‘banana belt’ of Canada, we celebrate the signs of the spring to come.  Our annual Flower Count might be an in-your-face promotion for our tourism industry, but in reality, it’s as much a mental health exercise for locals.  It’s good for our souls to get outside & search for signs that the grey skies & depressing drizzle of our west coast winter will one day fade in the spring sunshine.

Snowdrops - January 31, 2013
photo by SVSeekins

1. Snowdrops
Their name speaks for the hardiness of this winter bloomer.  I’m always excited to see their tentative arrival in early January.  By February they’re in full show.

aka: Galanthus

Click here for more info on snowdrops.

hardy cyclamen coum, persian violet, eastern sowbread, round-leaf cyclamen, C. coum, Cyclamen orbiculatum, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

2. Hardy Cyclamen
Even though they’re tiny, the brightness of this exotic-looking flower draws the eye from across the winter landscape. It’s a close cousin to the cyclamen that bloom in early fall.

aka: Cyclamen coum

Can you believe there’s a Cyclamen society?

iris reticulata
photo by SVSeekins

3. Dwarf Iris
Here’s another little flower that in my mind looks too exotic to grow in Canada.  Considering this iris, and the cyclamen above can both be found in Russia proves that exotic doesn’t just mean tropical.

aka: Iris reticulata

It’s even received an Award of Garden Merit!

Helebore - full bloom in march
photo by SVSeekins

4. Hellebore
Just being a winter bloomer automatically qualifies hellebore for space in our borders.  The evergreen foliage adds interest to the garden for the rest of the year.  Win-Win!

aka: Christmas rose or Lenten rose

These days there are many choices of Hellebore.

eranthis, winter aconite, Vereyesque aconites, cyclamen coum, galanthus, snowdrops, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

5. Winter Aconite
This gem is actually a distant relative of hellebore.  Go figure. One of the best similarities between these 2 is that neither are bothered at all by deer.

aka: Eranthis

There are some better photos in this article.

crocus cluster
photo by SVSeekins

6. Crocus
Crocus are my Valentines tradition.  When searching for a flower in our garden in mid-February, crocus never let me down.

aka: Crocus  🙂

I’m naturalizing some crocus in the lawn.

winter jasmine, winter-flowered jasmine, jasminum nudifolium, Jasminum sieboldianum, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

7. Winter Jasmine
This specimen is from a cutting that DS stole from Government House during the New Year’s Day Levi a few years ago.  He decided we NEEDED it in our garden too!  Wasn’t that thoughtful?

aka: Hardy Jasmine (not summer jasmine)

The gardens are lovely at Government House.

mahonia in February
photo by SVSeekins

8. Mahonia
Oregon Grape is the native mahonia to these parts, but it doesn’t bloom until early spring, so I understand why some folks plant this ‘outsider’.  It will bloom as early as December.

aka: Mahonia ‘winter sun’

Mahonia varieties grow all over the world.

bergenia - pig squeak
photo by SVSeekins

9. Pig Squeak
It’s a traditional favourite for our area, probably because of the winter blooms, and the unusual fleshy leaves.  But also because it is super hardy & tolerates neglect and DEER.

aka: Bergenia

Sometimes they’re called elephant ears.

photo by SVSeekins

10. Primrose
I thought they were just grocery store annuals, but when they finished up in the spring, I plunked them into the garden just in case.  They came back – –  every winter!

aka: Polyanthus

They’re not just a grocery store annual.

So there’s my list.  10 flowers in February – who would think there are that many?    There’s sure to be space for some other early bloomers as I find them; perhaps some rhododendron, camellia, or witch hazel

© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2013

P.S.  You might enjoy these stories:

6 thoughts on “10 February Faves”

  1. My grandfather always grew cyclamon in pots along the side of the house, on the driveway made of little white pebbles. As kids we loved to fill up the pots with pebbles and drive him wild!

  2. Very nice to read about these spring wonders that grow in your neck of the woods. Not so in AB – though the snow continues to melt!! DS got a laugh at his mention

  3. Up here in Kamloops signs of spring are arriving! crocus are showing,and snowdrops,and my delphiniums are sprouting,and faithful rhubarb is a mass of bright red buds–my fingers are itching! I have bought several miniature roses over the winter and plan to plant them in front of the standard size roses next week. I have hardened them off in the sideporch so think they should do well.


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