Tuesday, March 2, 2010

If Wishes Were Witch Hazels

Two years ago, I was on a frantic search for a red-blooming witch hazel (Hamamelis sp.).  My first choice was 'Jelena,' with 'Diane' being okay, too. Whichever one I could find would make me happy. Native witch hazels here are yellow, and that's fine, but I wanted a red one. To have a red flower blooming outside in late winter made me warm just thinking about it.

I did a little online searching and wasn't too excited about what I found. Oh, both cultivars were available from various nurseries, but the price was more than I wanted to pay. So I looked around locally and only found it in one place. It too was expensive ($99) and the lone shrub they had  was already sold anyway, just awaiting pick-up by its new owners.

When I visited another local garden center in the fall of 2008, I came upon a nicely sized shrub for a fabulous price ($30), but it wasn't red. It was a native yellow Hamamelis vernalis, the species meaning it blooms in the spring, rather than the fall. Here, they bloom at the end of February or beginning of March.

Hamamelis vernalis likes moist soils, but they'll do fine in just about any location you choose to put them. I located ours at the back of our property, where the soil does stay a little more wet, especially during winter and wet springs. Last March, we saw our first blooms, which were smaller than I had hoped for, but a lovely shade of golden yellow, as expected.

Last week, at the urging of fellow garden blogger Chris, I braved the cold and snow to see if the witch hazel was starting to bloom yet. Sure enough, there were several buds opening. But instead of yellow, they were red.  I thought maybe they were going to be red and turn yellow, but they're still red and show no signs of being yellow at all.

What gives?

Now, you remember I really wanted a red witch hazel, right? Several really positive things happened to me last week and I mentioned to Mom that perhaps I'd ought to buy a lottery ticket. This week has gotten off to a pretty good start, too, and now it would appear that I have an awesome ability to wish my plants to bloom in the color of my choosing.

This is getting kind of scary.


Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Cute post Kylee. I'm guessing you have 'Diane' which is kind of reddish orange at my house. After seeing a photo of MMD's Sunburst, I now want it too. I have witch hazel lust.~~Dee

Annie in Austin said...

It's been interesting reading your tweets about this Witch Hazel today, Kylee - and how odd that it changes.

I found this website about your plant and here's a quote from it, "Hamamelis vernalis shows an unusual color range of the flowers. Plants growing side by side commonly differ in flower color, varying from orange to deep red or, occasionally, deep yellow. Sometimes flower color varies on the same plant; e.g., petals that are initially deep red can later fade to yellow."

Maybe that's the answer?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Anonymous said...

I think you're on to something there. It's like a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Garden! Wish it the color that you want and it will be so. How fun!

Kari Lønning said...

It's nice to hear about something going well. The red is special!

Christopher Tidrick said...

You're going to beat me to full bloom, I think! Will have to get out tomorrow morning with my camera. Your color this year looks like mine always does, before it goes toward orange. Mine has never been as yellow as yours last year.

Kylee Baumle said...

Dee ~ It wasn't supposed to be a hybrid. At $30 for the size it was, I can't imagine it was either. But apparently witch hazels can change color!

Annie ~ Thanks for that info! Maybe these will eventually fade to yellow. I'll be watching them! These kinds of things make gardening so fun!

personalgardencoach ~ I'll try not to abuse my new powers! ;-)

Kari ~ I know my streak of good won't last forever, but I'm enjoying it while I can! ;-)

Kylee Baumle said...

Chris ~ Ooooh, that gives me hope that mine will stay more like this lovely red color! I'll be watching for your bloom pics!

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Kylee, the little I know about Witch Hazels come from the observations in the Learning Garden. Our Vernalis is yellow, and incredibly fragrant with the scent of cloves. Our Diane, is the orange-red and has a mild fragrance. So once yours opens a bit more...go give a whiff. Maybe that will give you the answer.

Connie said...

Another plants I'd like to own someday. I like the red blooms!

Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

Wow, that was lucky, now run out quick and get a lottery ticket.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Kylee girl make sure you GET a lottery ticket !!!
I have been considering a "Witch" tree too .. being a Halloween fanatic and all .. but how cool is this change of colour for YOU : )
I say .. many positive vibrations are in your areaso take advantage of it girl !
Joy : )

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I love how the witch hazels call us out of the house and make us trudge through the garden to find the first sign of spring. Mine had only one petal unfurled yesterday, but I'm hoping it will burst into full bloom this weekend. As for your now red blooming witch hazel, I guess your star really is on the rise.

Lona said...

What might have been a miss label may have turned out to be a blessing for you. Or as you say you just wished that baby into being red. It looks pretty against the snow Kylee.

Melanie J Watts said...

Kylee, that's awesome. You better quickly get a lottery ticket .

Nutty Gnome said...

Ha ha - buy that lottery ticket NOW!

I have a beautiful yellow witch hazel that smells divine at the moment but such is my ignorance I didn't know they came in red too!

Anonymous said...

I have some lovely peonies that I would love to be a paler pink, and I can always use more red flowers. So aim your wishiness over here and I'll put it to good use :)

Kylee Baumle said...

Janet ~ I intended to go out there tonight and sniff, but had some other things to do when I got home and before I knew it, it was dark. And cold. LOL. I'll check tomorrow!

Connie ~ So do I! I hope you get one!

Deborah ~ Oops, I knew there was something I was supposed to do on the way home!

Joy ~ I'm trying! :-)

MMD ~ We've been having lots of sunshine, so I hope it makes a LOT of things open up!

Lona ~ My guess is, if it's a mislabel, it happened before it got to the nursery. There's no way they'd sell 'Jelena' or 'Diane' for $30! I'm a happy girl either way! :-)

Melanie ~ I keep forgetting!

Nutty Gnome ~ I didn't know that either until just a few years ago!

Jennah ~ Consider it done. Let me know! ;-)

Beth said...

Kylee, the witch hazel is really lovely. I like both the yellow and the red flowers but am so glad you got the color you wanted - a nice surprise. Anyway it is good to see something besides snow in the yard and garden!

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