WitchHazel ‘Arnold Promise’ Still Wearing Its’ Winter Cloak

Hamamelis 'Arnold Promise' Not in Bloom Yet
Hamamelis 'Arnold Promise' Not in Bloom Yet

I’ve been feeling restless lately.  This happens when winter merges into spring. The early March landscape in New England may be snow covered as it is as I write this or thawing to a condition we call ” mud season”. Spring thaws and freezes come and go, but mainly the gardens look a mess. The seed heads that look charming in the snow look ghastly to me without it. I have to resist the urge  to go out and cut them. The recent 9 or 12″ of snow kept me from doing that as its too soon to lift that winter protection. And as it turns out I learned last week at the Ecological Landscaping Association Conference that the migrating birds use those strewn stalk and seed heeds for food.

But the restless expresses itself inside my home. Like the transition garden, I suddenly find the comforting clutter of winter–the piles of books, journals, magazines, collections of candles on tables and mantles, throws and the like–claustrophobic.  I want to clear surfaces and dust deeply.  A minimalist modern look appeals to me now. So the nesting impulse that I follow in the fall, I reverse. Some might call it spring cleaning. I call it spring ‘clearing’.

Usually in February or March I force forsythia stems that I’ve cut from the garden to flower. I find the bright yellow perfectly cheerful, a promise of spring that I can’t force outside. Except that forsythia bush grows where I used to live, not here.

Yet, in this garden, grows another even earlier blooming  yellow plant to cheer me.  The shrub Witch Hazel (Hamamelis) ‘Arnold Promise’ often blooms by late February reminding us that spring is indeed on its way. But not this year.  I suspect the cold temperature and high snow level must be delaying its’ promise.  Peering out the window I see a wonderful winter silhouette casting fabulous shadows. The photo above shows it as Monday’s  snow storm left snow flowers. An earlier blog spoke of the phenomena when branches capture snow–so enchanting in December and January, but now I look for spring flowers.

My solution? A wreath of bright yellow silk forsythia flowers to grace my front door now, greeting me and all with the colors of spring as I wait for the witch hazel to fulfil its promise.

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