Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Witch Hazel - Is It or Isn't It?

I have been whining and lamenting all over the blogosphere about my lack of witch hazel blooms. Time after time, I see yellows, reds, oranges, and even yellow AND orange together in beautiful photos on other blogs. Some are in the same zone I am, so why don't I have blooms?

I bought a witch hazel last summer and though I really wanted a Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane' or 'Jelena' (any of the redder ones), I couldn't find them and settled for a common yellow one (Hamamelis vernalis). It was nicely shaped and a bargain I couldn't pass up.

It was beautiful last fall when its leaves turned a gorgeous golden yellow color and I looked forward to seeing winter blooms. Witch hazel is completely new to me - mine is the very first one I've ever seen in person. Can you believe that? They're even native here!

When I started seeing blooming witch hazel photos popping up on other blogs about a month ago, I made the cold trek out to the back of the property and inspected ours. Nope. No sign of blooms. There were several larger brown things attached to a few branches, which appeared to be shells of previous blooms, but nothing except teeny tiny round leaf buds all over the shrub.

Today was a gorgeous late winter day. No sun, but the temperature reached 55° and snow was melting fast. The ground even had a little "squish" to it when you walked on it. I took a look around the yard and in the gardens and was happy to see swollen buds on all the lilacs and the new viburnum that I thought I'd killed by letting it get too dry after planting last fall had buds on it, too.

I thought I might as well have another look at the witch hazel, and hmmmm... It looked a bit different than it did before. I saw leaf buds on the ends of the branches - some even looked like they were actually leafing out - but those clusters of little round balls hanging all over it were much bigger than the last time I checked. Could they be flower buds?

Logic tells me that they are, but I don't want to get my hopes up just to have them dashed. So you tell me! (Keeping fingers crossed.)


Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Yes, those are flower buds! Yay!

BTW no fed up with snow but with rain, lots and lots of rain.

Kylee Baumle said...

Yolanda Elizabet ~ YAY!!! It's just covered with them!

By the way, thank you for answering this so quickly. It's hard to type with crossed fingers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kylee, I second what YE said, yes those are flower buds. I thought H. vernalis bloomed in November, that's when they do here in TN anyway. You might have a long wait, but if they are swelling now that would mean they are going to bloom this spring. Hooray! Your bush is a nice size too!

Nutty Gnome said...

Great Kylee - you got buds!!!
It won't be long before they burst open by the looks of them. That's quite an impressive display from a new tree. Well done you!

tina said...

It might be blooms. But don't worry if it is not, it might take it a year for the vernal witch hazel to get going. The blooms will come:)

Unknown said...

Yea, Kylee, they are, they are, they are indeed hamamelis buds. Yippee! I'll wait to celebrate the blooms with you, as mine are still quite literally buried in know...;-)

Kerri said...

Yay Kylee! I'm excited for you! My first sighting of Witch Hazel was at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens in NYC last March, and of course I now want to plant one too!
The fall foliage is gorgeous!
Yesterday was sunny and gloriously warm (comparitively) and we're expecting even warmer temps here today. Ahhh!

Dave said...


Yours have done much better than mine! The deer munched off half of each witchhazel. I think I'll be waiting another year for blooms.

Phillip Oliver said...

I have the same problem and I've been thinking about doing a blog post on my disappointment with witch hazel. I have all those buds too but never attractive flowers. And those brown dead leaves cling to the shrub all winter long. :(

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

At first I feared that you had Hammamelis virginiana and had missed all the blooms last fall. Then I saw the photo of the buds. Dave & I have similar problems, only with me it was the squirrels. Fortunately, I was able to get the repellent on before they clipped off all the buds.
If you look closely every day, you will see color showing. On the next warm day after that, the petals will probably unfurl.

Kit Aerie-el said...

That is so cool that you'll have buds! That's one of my favorite trees, and I don't have one yet! In the meantime, I'll vicariously enjoy the buds now and blooms later via your blog photos. :)

garden girl said...

Yippee - buds! I've been bitten by the witch hazel bug myself after seeing their pretty selves all over the blogisphere. They're awfully pricey though!

I was looking for 'Diane,' but since I couldn't find one at a price I was willing pay, settled on 'Jalena.' Since I've never seen them in our local nurseries, I found mine online. She's small - only a one-gallon pot, and since they are fairly-slow growing it's going to be awhile before she makes any impact, and probably awhile before she blooms too.

I'll be keeping my eyes out for a more substantial specimen in the meantime.

Yours is a nice size and was gorgeous last fall Kylee. I'm looking forward to seeing those buds once they've opened!

Marie said...

Great post! Beautiful photos :)

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

I've never seen witch hazel in person so you're one up on me now! ;) I really hope those are buds. You deserve to get your wish.


Gail said...

Kylee, H vernalis blooms in late winter...H virginiana blooms in the fall! Yours are right on schedule! The fragrance will be worth the wait! My H in nashville is still in bloom, on colder days it folds up its petals for protection! gail

Shady Gardener said...

Kylee, I need to read all the comments above a little better. I know Nothing about Witch Hazel, either. It's getting to be an interesting subject, however! :-)

Kylee Baumle said...

Frances ~ Time will tell, but from the comments here from those who know more about it than I do (that wouldn't be hard!), it looks like we just might get some blooms! :-)

Nutty Gnome ~ I tried to keep it watered well, but there were some times when I was a bit lax about it. It doesn't seem to have bothered it! :-)

Tina ~ I'm hoping that it will go ahead and bloom, but with our nutty spring weather, anything could happen!

jodi ~ I'm so happy to hear all the encouragement here! I hope you got the couple of days of warm temps that we did, so more of that darn snow you've got goes bye-bye!

Kerri ~ We had a couple of nice warmish days, too, but the wind is howling out there right now and we may get snow showers this weekend. UGH!

Dave ~ Well, the rabbits are the big destroyers of things around here in the winter and they managed to chomp off a few of the witch hazel branches. Not too many though. If they'd just eat them, but they simply hack them off and go on their merry destructive way!

Phillip ~ Mine didn't keep more than a few dead leaves, but we're so out in the open and the winds we get around here didn't give them much of a chance to stay on. The oak trees on the other hand - those aggravate me to no end. They're very dirty trees, pretty much all year round, and we have several very large, old ones.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter ~ Sorry about the squirrels! We had a couple of warmish days, but the entire next week starting tomorrow is supposed to be cold again. Typical late winter weather. But now I feel encouraged about the possibility of having flowers!

Arie-el ~ Oh you can bet I'll post pictures if I get blooms!

garden girl ~ I know what you mean about being pricey! This one was $30 and for the size it was, that was fabulous. One of the local nurseries had had a 'Diane' and it was not a whole lot larger than this one and it was $99. When I saw it, it was marked sold, but I wouldn't have paid that anyway. So I guess I did see one before I bought mine, but I didn't study it since the price tag blew me away. LOL.

Marie ~ Thank you.

Cindy ~ Awww, thanks Cindy! This is all new territory for me, so it's a learning experience! My mom said she's seen native ones blooming in the woods and as much as Romie and I go traipsing through the woods, you'd think we'd have seen one, but we haven't. Probably just not at the right time.

Gail ~ Yes, I thought vernalis bloomed in late winter, so that's why I was keeping a closer eye on it lately. When I first looked at them a few weeks ago, they were smaller, so I think we're in business! And I totally forgot about the fragrance. Bonus!

Shady Gardener ~ Yes, they've been quite the topic of conversation on many blogs, haven't they? I think it's because here in the north, we get excited about anything blooming right now! ;-)

Anonymous said...

So I'm not the only one who wanted one because they were seen pop up on garden blogs.

I'm going to buy one this year just because of the pics I've seen.

Kylee Baumle said...

MrBrownThumb ~ Yes, it was on other blogs where I first saw a witch hazel and last year, I was on a mad quest to find one. Didn't find the one I really wanted, but this one was only $30, so I snatched it up. Hopefully, we'll have a few warms days soon and it will open up those buds!

Suggestion for buying one: Look early and buy it when you see it, because last year, when I was looking for them, every place was sold out and they told me they always sell out quickly. I told them, "Buy more next time!" LOL

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