The Last Week of Winter, in Bloom

Two Mondays ago, March 8, when I went to put away my trash can, I noticed the witch hazel. I noticed it by scent–it’s a wonderful scent–a little spicy, but neither heavy nor overwhelming. The plant is a good 50 feet from the sidewalk. In the light of morning, I noticed that its flowers are all going wah hoo! The petals are sticking straight out.

Witch hazel celebrating the warm sun. Photographed on March 9, 2021.

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The Annual Witch Hazel Watch

December and January were pretty warm, relatively speaking, and I was wondering how it would affect the witch hazel. Last year this plant bloomed on January 15; not this year. My guess is that the plant did not know that it was officially winter. The ground was not frozen at this point.

Witch hazel flower buds. Photographed on January 2, 2021.

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Sort of Winter…

I passed a neighbor’s yard on my lunchtime walk, and noticed that the Lenten roses were erupting in flower stalks. I knew I had to check my witch hazel.

Witch hazel. Photographed on January 15, 2020.

It’s blooming. Those are not the only flowers, either. At least a quarter of the buds are open. Those little petals roll up like blow ticklers when the temperature drops below freezing; a cold front is breezing in right now.

This is certainly a little early. Earliest? I am not sure. I will have to check.

Witch Hazel

The witch hazel is making its move from interesting winter flower to green shrub in the background.

The witch hazel is leafing out. Right now, the shrub looks like it is covered with little green vertically corrugated candles. Photographed on April 25, 2019.

The leaves remain deeply corrugated as they unfurl and reach full size.

The Answer Is February 3

What was the question? When will the witch hazel bloom?

Closeup of three witch hazel flower clusters with unfurling petals.
Witch hazel in bloom. Photographed on February 3, 2019.

Last week, snowstorms and windchill warnings; this week it has reached 50°F twice. Icy rain will follow later in the week, which could make commuting far too exciting.

…And When Do Those Flowers Fade?

April 11, 2019. At this point, they are pretty well gone. Two weeks ago, they started crinkling up as it got warmer, but the scent was amazing  into the first week of April.

Fading witch hazel flowers. Photographed on March 23, 2019.

That’s the end of the winter flowers. Spring is here.

November: Dark Days and Erratic Weather

We’ve had snow, icy fog with heavy frost, rain, and plenty of gloom. Dark days, yes, but I am not going to talk about the thick, dark clouds—they  have no redeeming characteristics.

Snow

We have awoken to snow-covered plants and cars several times already. This is my kind of snow: pretty, and not sticking much to any pavement that would require shoveling.

Autumn clematis seed clusters seem built to hold snow caps. The seeds are furry. Those green tendrils are not attaching them to the plant—they are at the other end, and will fluff out into feathery plumes that probably help keep the seeds aloft. Photographed on November 18, 2018.

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Winter Seems to be Winding Down

I stepped out this morning just to see daylight, and found that there was only one small patch of snow left in my yard. We had quite a pile after the last set of snowstorms, especially in the spot where the driveway snow and the sidewalk snow were piled together.

Photograph of late winter flowerbed edge showing a very small remnant of snow
Is this the last of this winter’s snow? Photographed on February 25, 2018.

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Something’s Blooming—Even in January

The witch hazel bloomed on January 21.

Generally, the only month without something blooming in the yard is December. The witch hazel that is currently in bloom usually blooms right at the end of January, but in winter 2015, which was memorably wicked, this shrub did not bloom until March 11.

There is one detail: the flowers are quite small. This shrub forces me out the door to look for these flowers. When it drops below freezing, the petals roll up tightly inside the sepals; when it’s warm, the petals unfurl and flutter like tissue paper.