Even in this cold week there are plenty of flowers out there: hellebores, snowdrops, early daffodils, camellias, crocuses, and flowering Japanese apricots......these are some of the late winter stars that I would love to have more room for in my garden. But like everyone else, I am ready for the spring bulbs to really get going. This year I am psyched about the Spanish bluebells that a neighbor gave me last year. (That's them pushing though a mat of pine needles in my backyard). Hyacinthoides hispanica is a classic "grandmother bulb" that will take dry shade.
Even though the 12 inch spikes of lavender blue flowers will not be noticed for another six weeks or so, I am enjoying the rays of new foliage right now. Spanish bluebells naturalize freely and can be considered a low-maintenance landscape addition. If you see a neighbor who has them, just ask if they have any to spare. Some folks also call them wood hyacinths.