We are in the throes - temporarily I hope - of another cold wave. Recent mornings have brought temperature readings of 16⁰ F. Early bloomers outside in the garden are frozen stiff. But it's spring in the cold frames. If you look carefully, you should be able to make out four flowers of Iris unguicularis, the Algerian iris. To the right of the iris is a white-flowered Cyclamen persicum. And then there are the primroses. These are garden forms derived from Primula vulgaris (long known as P. acaulis).
What a pleasure it is on a day like this to bundle up, go out into the garden and open the frames to find a sight like this! This really cheers me up. And it matters not if the temperature again drops: all of these plants are snug in the cold frame.
The iris took a couple of years to dig in and begin to bloom: but you can see that it's now putting on a good show. The cyclamen was purchased either late in 2011 or very early in 2012: these deliciously scented plants bloom for months - they will probably still be in bloom in April! I bought the primroses last week at the grocery store. They cost all of three for five dollars: what a deal! In the house they would probably last only for a week or two before the heat gets them. In the cold frames they will go on for weeks as long as they are watered regularly.