|The first flowers are a rich orange.|
Must bee the season of the witch!
|Later in the season the petals are yellow with reddish calyxes.|
They are quite the most unusual orange/yellow/reddish colored flowers with four, just four, crepe paper streaming petals that furl and unfurl with the days temperatures. They smell of vanilla and on warm days perfume the garden. I planted them for the fragrance. When you smell them, you will, 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. Those lucky enough to catch a pollinator visiting in the deep of winter describe seeing small flies and gnats...perhaps, even hoverflies.
|Hoverfly visiting a fall blooming witch hazel|
On really warm days there might be honeybees or even a few bumbles about. But, this morning it was 30F and, trust me, there wasn't a bee or fly anywhere to be seen. The flowers were unfurling in the sunshine and they smelled delicious. They seem to be saying, "Hello pollinators, I am ready for you!"
|Native to OK, MO, TX and AR|
You might well wonder how the flowers of Witch-hazel get pollinated if insects don't happen to be around? I'm glad you asked! They cleverly flower for months and months, giving flies, bees and other pollinators plenty of time to find the fragrant flowers. If that's not enough, they appear to be able to self pollinate.
|Prefers moist open woodlands in high shade|
But, sometimes, even a long bloom period and self pollination isn't enough. In my garden, fruit set on the H vernalis is low. There was one seed capsule on three good sized shrubs. But, I'm not worried; they are marvelous colonizers and I will never run out of witch hazel and that wonderful fragrance on warm winter days.
Isn't nature grand!
|A perfect flower for a small fly and they make me smile|
Now clever Mother Nature, would you please have a chat with Old Man Winter and let him know that gardeners all around the blogasphere really need a break. Thank you.
Keep planting for the pollinators!
You can listen to Donovan sing ~Must Be The Season of The Witch Here~
This post is part of a series on native pollinators in the garden
Part I~Now Is The Time To Bee-gin Thinking About Bees ( here)
This Is The Place To Bee ( here)
If You Could Plant Only One Plant In Your Garden~Don't (here)
Count Yourself Lucky To Have Hoverflies (here)
Bumblebee Hotel (here)
Still Taking Care Of Bzzness (here)
My Sweet Embraceable You (here)
A Splendid Creature For Your Garden (here)
This post was written by Gail Eichelberger for my blog Clay and Limestone Copyright 2011.This work protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.