Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, January 3, 2011

Anticipating The Year's First Blooms

The sky is blue and the air is cold over Clay and Limestone, but, soon the earliest blossoms will be greeting the day.

Don't look for the 'Feed me Seymour' blossoms of hellebores.

Or, the much lauded and dreamed of Tommies on a Hillside.

It won't be the the sweet ephemerals that frequent this garden.

Nor, the frost tolerant earliest daffodils or,

the smallest of the small bulbs.

That honor will go to Hamamelis vernalis. Our winter blooming native witchhazel; whose buds are fattening up for the big show. (In past years the blooming started this week)

I planted them for my mother the spring she passed away. (here)

For remembrance
For honoring
and because planting a witchhazel 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.

On, the other hand, Diane (Hamemlis x Intermedia) may surprise us and bloom before our sweet native!

I promise to keep you informed as events unfold in the garden! But, I'm rooting for Vernal Witchhazel to open first!



  1. Now that the holidays are past, spring can arrive anytime! My money is on the witch hazel, too.

  2. Anticipations indeed, wonderful post Gail. Although it seems to be so faraway...

    xoxo Tyra

  3. Just one more month of winter and then I might be ready for spring. Clean the seed starting area, clean the tools, organize the shed.....all have to be done first.

  4. Hi,

    Lovely photos and a wonderful tribute to your mother to plant one!

    I'd quite like Spring to arrive right about now, I don't really mind which flowers first - just as long as it's soon!

    We have Crocus popping their heads up and the odd Iris, no Snowdrops yet when really they ought to be the first of the bulbs.

  5. Hi Gail, it's so sweet that your first bloomer is also a remembrance of your mother. I lost my Mom this year, and someone told me that after a while the sadness goes and sweet memories remain, like the sweet blossoms your witch hazel.

  6. I remember the Witch Hazel from last year and how it reminds you of your Mom. I believe I read where it will actually grow here, one of my plants to check into.

  7. I planted a Diane hamamelis last spring, but I don't think I picked a good spot for its survival. I haven't totally given up hope though.

  8. A lovely post on so many levels, dear Gail. Looking forward to seeing the witch hazels, both of them, blooming in your garden!

  9. Lovely photos and tribute to your mother! I am looking forward to see which blooms first. I am ready for spring but still have some things on my winter to do list before it hits.

  10. Can't wait to see it! Although here I'm hoping to see a camellia bloom still - one is budding. Our witch hazels may finally bloom this year!

  11. I have one witch hazel and am really looking forward to it blooming. I miss the ones in the Learning Garden in Virginia. Your posting is the push I need to go out into the woods and see if the buds are closer to opening.

  12. Witch Hazel - I will have to add it to my wish list!

  13. Hi, Gail;
    Well, I want to stay here (on your blog) forever. Or at least for the next 4 months. Argh! Is it really that long before blossoms grace my garden?? Can I come live with you? :)

    Happy New Year. Love the Witch Hazel.

  14. This post reminds me of the Carly Simon song 'Anticipation'. Love it. Love these blooms too. Nothing in the offing here yet. I was jsut getting my garden journal ready for a chore list. Ha... Now that might happen sometime soon.

  15. I love witch hazels. It's wonderful how you think of your mom everytime it blooms.

  16. I know it's only just winter, but I'm so ready for spring already. Thank you for the sneak peek at what's to come! We're starting to see a few hints of spring here. I actually saw that some of the daffodils are up about 2 inches in the orchard. Roll on February!

  17. That hellebore does look like it escaped the Little Shop of Horrors! This is a beautiful post, I'm glad your witch hazel is in memory of your mother. It's such a special plant.

  18. Beautiful, beautiful post Gail! It offers us all hope at this chilling time. The light in all of your blooms is healing and inspiring. To think of spring. You are looking ahead, while I am looking back . . . winter is still a good time with us here. I hope the cold does not harm your witch hazels.

  19. Oooh, I love the Witch Hazel! It's so lovely that you planted it to honor your mom. You're right, they do give hope that spring will finally come.

  20. Witch hazels have such cool blooms! What a great way to remember your mother!

  21. It's true, we have to wait a little while for those beautiful spring flowers, so winter bloomers are invaluable. I really must get a H. vernalis. My Jelena seedling has been blooming a little bit but shirking in the recent cold weather.

    Planting a witch hazel in memory of your mother is both funny and lovely.

  22. I am looking forward to a few flowers as well, but at least in winter you are able to appreciate the structure of the trees. Your first photo shows them off well.

  23. So quiet here as the garden sleeps, thanks to your loving/lovely posts, whatever springs forward will bring us all joy, dear Gail. Hope for another beautiful spring sustains us all. Happy gardening year, dear friend.

  24. It's so energizing to think there will be blooms soon.
    I have wished for a witch hazel (and the perfect spot to plant it) since seeing them on your blog. Either one will be fantastic to see.

  25. Beautiful! My daffodils are just starting to peak through the ground.

  26. We have a saying in German "Vorfreude is the schoenste Freude" (looking forward to something is the best joy). I so agree...

  27. How I longing for spring.. but here it is soooooo far away!
    The snow is deep and its so cold yet!
    Lucky you!
    xoxo Linda

  28. Hi Gail

    Isn't it so exciting to know that soon our gardens will be breaking forth with beautiful blooms like the lovely photos from your garden. I cannot wait - though I've been enjoying these weed free months.

    I'm sure that vernal will flower first. Witchhazel is such a lovely shrub to have as a memorial to your mum.

  29. Gail, that is a wonderful way to remember your Mum. I love Witchhaazels, they look so delicate and yet flower in the middle of winter.

  30. Gail girl I want to squeeze one of these beauties in my garden some where .. this has puzzled me so often it drives me crazy .. I will find a way because you have sold me on it a long time ago and I am in limbo still! haha
    Happy New Year girl and I love those blue blue skies : )

  31. How exciting to have these winter blooms to look forward to so soon! Such a lovely tribute to your mother, Gail.

  32. Gorgeous first pic. I've seen some like that.
    Great way to introduce Spring. Love those Witch hazels. Must check to see if they will survive here.

  33. Beautiful post, Gail! Left me a bit teary.

    Hope 2011 is good to you and yours.

  34. I love our native witch hazels (and their Asian cousins, too). The fall-flowering Hamalesis virginiana is the standout in our garden, totally lovely in late fall.

    I'm not sure we have a H. vernalis -- I'd better check with my gardening companion (who's in charge of the arboretum planting diversity....)

  35. Hi Gail,
    I enjoyed the anticipation for what will bloom early in the spring. I keep forgetting to see if those witch hazels grow here, and how big they get. They sure are cool looking!

    Happy New Year!

  36. I love the remembrance of your mother. Touching, beautiful, sentimental. Lovely in a word.

  37. Witchhazels are beautiful flowers and very distinctive. One of those flowers that makes me wonder why they look the way they do. I wish I had room for one.

  38. Don't know why I never noticed, but you're absolutely right Gail - hellebore buds DO look alot like Audrey II!

    Love witchhazels - how fortunate you are having more than one, along with the lovely surprise of which will bloom first.

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