Finally, signs of spring!

A mild winter day was welcome after the deep freeze of January (and the natural gas bill that accompanied it -- yikes, it was at least a third to a half more than we'd ever paid before!)

More importantly, signs of spring are popping --dandelions are in flower and the early yellow jasmine (the Asian shrub, not our native Carolina jessamine) is in flower in our neighbor's yard.

It's welcome.

Buds are swelling, and the Carolina Jessamine flowers will pop forth soon.

It's not been a good year (so far) for Asian early-bloomers.  Camellias, etc. have not fared well, dropping lots of buds, being frosted, etc. 

The Professor Sargent in front our house is full of brown, frost-bitten flowers at the moment, unlike in previous years.  

Here's what it looked like in 2011.

Professor Sargent camellia, 2011

But the first natives are creeping into sight -- early Trilliums at the SC Botanical Garden have already popped up.