one of the surefire signs that spring is just around the corner is the very early blooming hellebores like these double bloomed pink oriental cultivars in my front garden. i snapped this picture last night using my tripod. the twinkle in the background are the white lights that i wrap the trunks of the potted trachycarpus palms in the winter to add a little sparkle to a gray vancouver day. i have started playing in my greenhouse this month and have planted some seeds, re-potted some tender plants and won my first battle of the year with aphids – and it will not be the last! in the garden there are more signs of life other than the ultra hardy hellebore blooms – other plants that died out with the december frosts are already peeking their heads out of the ground again. we shall see if they are punished for their exuberance.