The first freezing precipitation of this winter is pelting the house. Yesterday, on a cloudy but warm afternoon, I visited Duke Gardens to see what was in bloom. A few buds were starting to pop on the tulip magnolias. They are very susceptible to frost, so these adventurous buds may not survive the storm.
Fortunately, most of the buds are still neatly enclosed in their furry coats.
Duke Gardens is conscientious about labeling plants, but they neglected to tag the flowering fruit tree below. Japanese apricot? Japanese cherry? I lean toward apricot because it seems far too early for cherry blooms.
I don't want to give a false impression that spring is here in central N.C. Here is the view from the garden's famous terraces. Note the unlabeled flowering fruit tree in the top left.
Paperbush was in bloom in several spots in the garden, including in large pots. The flowers are fragrant. I'll add that to the growing list of plants I'd like in my next garden.
This is one of the most natural-looking water features I've ever seen.
It seems early for hyacinths, but here they are.
An Algerian iris. These small irises are charming, I think.
A path lined with hellebores (aka Lenten rose).
A bed of winter jasmine grows alongside the path next to the pond.
Hope you enjoyed the short tour!