As is not the least bit unusual, a prolonged and very early spring has been punctuated by a blast of cold weather and snow. And this may not even be the only punctuation! The quite mild weather of late Feb. and early March persuaded many plants to break their winter dormancy, during which they are quite cold hardy, and commence growth producing tissues and flowers which are much less cold hardy. During this cold snap the night time temperatures have dipped some 22 degrees (F) below freezing. Based on long experience, most of our cold hardy plants will survive even if damaged, but a few really tough plants simply shrug off these freezes. Today's FFF is a hellebore (Helleborus), a well known genus of tough plants in the buttercup family. Once they get established (they often take their time and need some TLC to get established) the plants deal with shade pretty well, their tough, dark-green, animal-resistant foliage will persist through the winter, and they produce large blooms quite early in the spring. Hellebores are a great plant in many of our gardens, although for a couple of decades falling into gardening obscurity, a trend recently reversed by many new varieties with more bloom colors. The image shows a cluster of blooms as they emerge from the snow, totally undamaged. Some larger, taller hybrid varieties were cut and have persisted pleasantly in a vase on our kitchen table for 10 days now. You really can't ask for more. These flowers are much better known in Europe than here in the states.