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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday: Bee-Witching Flowers

 I planted them for their fragrance and they brought me pollinators in the middle of winter.


Hamamelis vernalis is a lovely native shrub that blooms when you have just about given up hope that winter will end and warmth will return to the world...Unless, you live in my Middle Tennessee garden and you're wondering where the heck winter has gone!



 But, I am not complaining, just saying...I am crazy about these unusual orange/yellow/reddish colored flowers with four crepe paper streaming petals that furl and unfurl with the days temperatures. They smell of spicy vanilla and on warm days perfume the garden. I planted them for the fragrance. When you smell them, you will want them in your garden, too.


It's no accident that most winter blooming plants have some fragrance...Nature had to insure that insect pollinators could easily find their way to a plant that blooms when most of the garden is fast asleep. I've seen honeybees in the garden but,  have only seen small gnats and  flies  visiting my beautiful fragrant flowers! 

If you want to grow this  Central South/Southern native tree  just give it a partially shady location with good morning sun,  moist acid  soil.  It tolerates Clay and Limestone, so, I am pretty sure you can have success with it, too.  It has great fall color, attracts pollinators, blooms for almost two months and will colonize.  Mine is a species but, there are marvelous cultivars if you are so inclined!


I always think of mother when ever I see the  vernal witch hazels blooming.  They bloom in the winter of  life  and that is how it was with my mother.  She bloomed in the winter of her life.  This is what I wrote:
 
I Planted It For My Mother
The spring she passed away.
For remembrance
For honoring
and because planting a witch hazel was
a funny nod to our complicated and loving relationship.
Hamamelis vernalis blossoms in the winter
When we have just about given up hope
that spring will ever arrive.

On warm days
the crepe paper streamer petals unfurl and
its sweet scent drifts about.

Believe me when I tell you this~
I know that my mother is somewhere laughing
that her remembrance tree is a witch hazel.




I'm smiling thinking about her...and I'll be smiling tomorrow when I  walk the garden and see the blooms starting to unfurl in the sun.
xxoogail




Thank you for stopping by and welcome to Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday celebration. WW is about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Remember, it doesn't matter if they are in bloom or not; and, it doesn't matter if we all share the same plants. It's all about celebrating wildflowers. Please leave a comment when you add your url to Mr Linky. 




Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone."

47 comments:

  1. I have enjoyed finding your blog! I once had a perennial garden, a wildflower garden, and a rock garden at my home in Nashville. Your photos make me nostalgic. Now I garden in pots on an apartment porch. But I can enjoy your garden through you photos!

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    1. Betsy, I am so glad you found C and L...I know that if/when we move to an apartment I will need a balcony/patio. I have seen very creative container gardening and imagine yours are...gail!

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  2. Gail, I love that you have witch hazel blooming...this native will be planted in my garden this year...we are in winter and here nothing blooms in winter...it knows better...so enjoyed your verse about your mom!!

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    1. Donna, It's a beauty and I am glad i added them to my garden. Thank you....I hope my mom is still smiling. gail

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  3. Dear Gail, what glorious captures of the nearly, dare we say practically perfect witch hazel? Our Diane is unfurling as well with the warming sunshine. So am I.
    xxxooo
    Frances

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  4. Dear Gail, I love your witchery posting! This is the first time I've joined your wonderful meme. Thank you for hosting. P. x

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    1. Welcome, I hope you continue to participate and share your wildflowers with us all. Thanks, I think my mom would love it. gail

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  5. Gail,
    These are fantastic photos, you make them look so interesting. Most would not see the beauty you see.

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  6. What a beauty. If I was a pollinator I would want to reach into those beautiful blooms to be caressed by the warm colorful folds and sip nectar on a cold winter day. Happy wildflower Wednesday.

    P.S. My PPPP is a beautiful dark green. It has never frozen to the ground this winter. Such a strange year, but I am thoroughly enjoying it.

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  7. Good Morning dear Gail. Your brilliant and beautiful photos so perfectly reveal the miniature fireworks that Witch Hazel displays. Paper streamers is a more apt description. Gorgeous joyous colors! Something that blooms in winter . . . be it plant or person . . . inspires fortitude and hope in all of us. What a lovely remembrance for your mother. How sweet to believe she is tickled by your choice. Long life to your graceful Hamamelis and your heart full of smiles. Carol

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    1. carol, Thank you! Your WW post is incredible~I love those critters and keep hoping more move in here. MY mom had a great sense of humor. gail

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  8. Such a lovely post, Gail. The blossoms do look like crepe paper streamers--perfect for a winter party for any pollinators in the vicinity.

    I don't have time to participate in WW this month, but I'll be around to visit the other participants, too.

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    1. That's okay Rose. Really, soon the spring bloomers will be wanting your attention and for you to brag about them! gail

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  9. Gail, that brought me to tears. I loved it. I don't have the native vernalis, but do have 'Diane' and 'Arnold Promise.'Mine are only peaking as of now. I think I need the vernalis too. I love that your mother is laughing somewhere.~~Dee

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    1. Dee, I know she is! She would have loved my blogging and making life long friendships with other gardeners. xoxogail

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  10. I have seen this lovely plant in several gardens, and now I think I will add it to my list of plants to plant this year. I am always looking for plants with winter interest...love these photos of the winter display!

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    1. I hope you do. It's a treasure...the pollinators who venture out on those early warm days will send kisses your way! gail

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  11. I have one Witch Hazel, Feurerzaube, just starting to bloom. Love the clove-y fragrance of the natives. Maybe this year will be the year I can plant one.
    Lovely poem and thoughts about your mom. Super photos, I know capturing those blooms isn't easy.

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  12. I can't say that I have ever saw witch hazel before. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Ken, They're pretty terrific and might be in a nursery this next month. In case you wanted to sniff them out! gail

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  13. I always look forward to the witchhazel flowers Gail though mine are not natives here. My Jelena is out in flower but I've yet to see a pollinator about despite our winter being so mild. A lovely reminder of your mum too to have in the garden.

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  14. A lovely plant and remembrance! The flowers are beautiful. I wish I could smell it!

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    1. Indie, I wish you could too...it's a sweet scent. gail

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  15. I always try to write about a native plant that is blooming on my own property. But my present garden is new to me, so I wrote about my new neighbor's winterberries! I don't think H. vernalis is supposed to be hardy in my area, but I am certainly tempted to try.

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    1. Kathy, I loved those winterberries! Sometimes I do share plants that I am planning to add to the garden~It's a good way to introduce them. xogail

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  16. Hi Gail! I posted about Frankfurt Botanical garden. Majority of its plants are native for Central Europe. Thanks for hosting WW! I love your photographs and especially - your little poem!

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    1. Tatyana, That was a gorgeous garden! Thank you for sharing. gail

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  17. thank you for having this wonderful series!

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    1. Arati, I am so glad you think so! gail

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  18. Lovely pictures, I just adore witch hazels. I'm still waiting for mine to start blooming. They are one of natures miracles.

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    1. Barb, That's a good way to describe them, miraculous blooms in the middle of winter. xogail

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  19. What a wonderful tribute to your mom, and the Witch Hazel captures are among the best I've seen. Especially the last one with the blue/gray background. Stunning! Thanks for hosting this meme. I'm going to try to be better about joining in regularly--especially this spring!

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  20. Gail,
    Great photos!
    And I enjoyed reading your tribute to your mother.
    Thanks for hosting Wildflower Wednesday!
    Lea

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  21. Now I'm officially jealous. I saw orange flowered witch hazel in NYC when we went to see the gates. It is simply too cold for it here. It's a beautiful sight when blooming especially in the snow.

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  22. No wild flowers or even wild weeds here. looking forward to them both.

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  23. These flowers look like an old species, they are very beautiful and very well captured. I haven't seen it yet in person! I again forgot the Wildflower Wednesday, so i need to wait for another month, haha! I actually have a draft already and i forgot the days.

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  24. Your witch hazel is lovely. I think planting a shrub or a tree is a great way to honor a loved one. Yes, I suspect your mom is smiling! I planted 'Anna Belle' hydrangeas in memory of my mom, who had that name. I confess I also planted a weeping Japanese maple in honor of a beloved pet!

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  25. For Gailforce from another South African fan!! Today I bring a wild jasmine, with flower spider, waiting, for the bees.

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  26. Gail, your vernalis is just lovely, and I'm sure your mom is well pleased with the tribute - there are tipularia leaves in my woods, but wildflowers are in the future so far...

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  27. The first time I was introduced to Witch Hazel is was by you and your post a couple of years ago about your Mom. Now everytime I see a Witch Hazel the plant, or even the liquid Witch Hazel on the drugstore shelf I think of you and your Mom.

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    1. Darla, That makes me smile...xoxog

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  28. What a nice way to remember your mother, even if the relationship was complicated.

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  29. This is a lovely post, Gail. Touched my heart and made me gently wistful about my father, who bloomed ere summer arrived. It'll be a whe
    Ile yet before the hhamamelis blooms here despite the weird weather.

    A note also to invite you bloominganswers.com, my newest adventure. It not Blotanical but we are having fun.

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  30. Witch hazel is the best! I love how you have to look kind of close to see the color and then WHAM there it is! :)

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  31. I enjoyed reading about your witch hazel, and how it is the memory plant for your mother. The photos and poem are lovely! I have joined in, late, as I frequently do. It's not much of a post, but maybe next month there will be more to see. Still, I enjoyed the walk around the yard today.

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  32. Hello Gail, I must get witch hazel for my garden. Yours is beautiful. P. x

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  33. Found this post and LOVE both the plant and the poem! Thank you so much. Truly lovely post and I've added this witch hazel to my planting wish list. As a beekeeper late-winter nectar is life or death for pollinators so I want to focus on this bloom time - also want to try pussy willows for this reason. Thank you. Love your blog!

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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