A week or so ago I went for a walk at the Morris Arboretum on a day with lovely weather, when it had warmed up just enough to make a winter walk delightful. I came around a bend in the path and encountered a cloudy vision of yellow – a witch hazel in full bloom.
It’s not the best picture, but mind you I took it with my cell phone. This closeup didn’t come out too bad:
Isn’t that pretty? Witch hazel blossoms are such amazing things.
And yet -why, why, why, I wondered, why is the Morris Arboretum’s witch hazel in such a glory of bloom, while the best my witch hazel can do is produce a few straggly blossoms in a sea of bare branches?
Granted I am no professional gardener. Clearly my witch hazel is not as beautifully pruned. But is it too much to hope that maybe next year, I could get blooms on most of the branches instead of just a few?
Note those wooden stakes around the witch hazel in the first photo. I am going to have to add something like that to my shrub soon, to keep the deer from rubbing their antlers on it. The other day Mr. Zuska and I saw SEVEN of them waltzing their way through our backyard.
I bought the witch hazel at one of the Morris Arboretum annual plant sales, for two reasons. One, it is about the only thing that will bloom at this time of year, and it’s so nice to have something to bloom when everything is so bare. (That is, if it blooms!) And two, because it is a native plant, although the particular cultivar I have may or may not be close to the properties of the true native Hamamelis virginiana. In any case, according to the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources, it has “low wildlife value”. Oh well. I still want it to bloom. Maybe next year.
Just thinking about past MA plant sales got me all excited, and I went browsing on their website to get info about this year’s. Sadly, there is no Morris Arboretum plant sale this year, due to construction of a new Horticultural Center – plant sales resume next year. Now where am I going to go dump all my plant cash? I know! On that native plant landscaping plan I want from Yellow Springs Farm!
Here’s hoping that if you have a witch hazel, it is blooming gloriously for you.