Forward March: Signs of a New Season

March 1st, 2018 § Comments Off on Forward March: Signs of a New Season § permalink

Vernal Witch Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) greets the sun

Although it’s a mostly-winter month —and oh how I dread the lion’s roar!— March is filled with the promise of springtime. Witch Hazel, Pussy Willow, Spring Heath, Snowdrops, Crocus: everywhere I look, the signs appear! And so I venture forth, into the garden, calling out the lamb.

Pussy Willow (Salix discolor)

 

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Photography copyright Michaela Harlow at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

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Forward, March . . .

March 1st, 2013 § 3 comments § permalink

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Pallida' ⓒ 2012 Michaela Medina  - thegardenerseden.com Not just yet, but in a matter of weeks, the Witch Hazels will begin to bloom (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’ in March of 2012). Read more about spring blooming Witch Hazels in my previous post, here.

Although March belongs, in large part, to Winter, this never seems to stop Spring from sending flirtatious hints our way. Just step outside, and already you will hear her sweet song in the treetops. Beneath the snow, below the cool, naked branches and icy stone, sap is running and life is stirring . . .

Sugaring-Season-Deer-Ridge-Farm-ⓒ-michaela-at-thegardenerseden Sugar Maple sap is running, and the local shacks are busy boiling (Click Here to Read About Maple Sugaring at Deer Ridge Farm, Guilford, Vermont)

Hamamelis-vernalis-in-the-Garden-ⓒ-michaela-thegardenerseden.com_ The buds of native, Vernal Witch Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) wait patiently for a warm sunny day, to release their honey-sweet scent into the breeze. Read about the Vernal Witch Hazel here.

Hamamelis-vernalis-Forced-Branches-ⓒ-michaela-thegardenerseden For now, this northern gardener must be satisfied with an armful of forced branches for her Eden indoors. Read more about how to force branches by clicking back to my previous post, here.

So when March snow falls softly, coating trees and obscuring the view, I remind myself that these are the last few weeks of Winter. Soon, her icy beauty will vanish and we’ll be saying hello again to coquettish Spring . . .

Black-Capped Chickadee ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina  - thegardenerseden.com Ever-wary of predators, a Black-Capped Chickadee surveys the feeding stations for safety before swooping in for a snack . . .

The Hills of Southern Vermont in Late Winter with Snow- Covered Trees ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina - thegardenerseden.com

Ermine (Stoat or Short-Tailed Weasel ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina  - thegardenerseden.comPerhaps the Ermine (aka Stoat or Short-Tailed Weasel) is hunting today? Read more about this fierce, tiny hunter in my previous post on the white-cloaked ermine, here.

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Beauty Emerging on the Vernal Equinox: A Warm Welcome to Spring …

March 20th, 2012 § Comments Off on Beauty Emerging on the Vernal Equinox: A Warm Welcome to Spring … § permalink

The Carpet of Rose-Tinted Spring Heath (Erica carnea) is Blooming a Full Month Early on the Ledges (read more about this lovely plant here) in My Garden This Year

More often than not, the first day of spring arrives with a bit of blustery snow, sleet or freezing rain here in Vermont. But if there’s one thing no New Englander can ever predict, it’s the weather. With sunny days and balmy temperatures reaching up to the seventies, this year, the Vernal Equinox seems a mere formality. Spring arrived weeks ago, and she’s really strutting her stuff. Should I trust this notoriously coquettish season? Is she here to stay or just to flirt? Only time will tell, but for now, I will stretch out like a satisfied cat on the sun-warmed terrace and enjoy the sweet seduction …

Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ Just Beginning to Unfold Along the Walkway

A Chilly, Naked Frog Warms Itself in the Sun, After Emerging From Cold Leaves and Mud

The Rich Rewards of My Early Morning Walks: Endless Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) Bouquets (read more about this native beauty and early season favorite of pollinators)

I Try Hard Not to Play Favorites, but Viburnum bodnantesnse ‘Dawn’ Always Melts My Winter-Weary Heart with Her Sweet, Cerise Color and Intoxicating Scent (read more about this exquisite shrub here)

Nature’s Beauty Suddenly Surrounds: Welcoming Pussy Willow on the Kitchen Island

In Full Bloom, The Stand of Vernal Witch Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) in My Garden Fills the Air with a Honeysuckle-Like Fragrance, Attracting Swarms of Buzzing Bees from the Meadow and Beyond (read more about the season-spanning beauty of witch hazel here)

Photographs and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina for The Gardener’s Eden. All photos, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions) are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Thank you!

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The Sweet Scent of Springtime: Bewitching Hamamelis Vernalis…

March 7th, 2011 § Comments Off on The Sweet Scent of Springtime: Bewitching Hamamelis Vernalis… § permalink

Sweetly Fragrant Hamamelis Vernalis: North American Native Vernal Witch Hazel, Cut from My Garden and Forced Inside

Copper-Orange Tassels of Witch Hazel Glow in the Afternoon Light

March, much like November, is a different month every year in New England. Some seasons, March skies are grey and late winter winds are cold; heavy snow falling long past the vernal equinox. And then there are years when March is soft; weeks of misty skies, melty temperatures and warm sunshine dancing on snow banks as they slowly disappear. This morning, I awoke to yet another ice storm —a quarter inch glaze coating trees and threatening my electrical supply— and a firm reminder that the chilly season of winter yet reigns.

Still —in spite of the relentless cold, freezing rain and mountains of snow— I know that spring is slowly coming. And during this time of transition, my anticipation always reaches a fever-pitch. I stalk the woody plants in my garden, watching for hints of color and swollen buds. And this year —with so much snow on the ground— I am especially grateful for the maturing shrubs and trees in my garden, rising above the frozen terrain…

In warmer years, Hamamelis vernalis —vernal witch hazel— blooms in early to mid-March. In colder years, this harbinger of springtime may be delayed past the equinox

Many of my favorite garden plants have two stellar seasons: spring and fall. And among my favorites, the family of Hamamelidaceae (the witch hazels) ranks very high indeed. Hamamelis vernalis —sometimes called Ozark or spring witch hazel— is native to the south-central regions of the United States and hardy in USDA zones 4-8. This is a tough, colonizing shrub; tolerant of poor, scrappy soil and a wide range of moisture levels. Vernal witch hazel is a great native plant for informal hedging, naturalizing along a woodland boundary or even for something as mundane as stabilizing a steep bank. Although her flowers aren’t nearly as large and showy as those of her more flamboyant Asian and hybrid cousins (read my post on Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’ here), the perfume of her early, coppery-orange blossoms is so sweet and delightful that their petite size is easy to overlook. She’s also a glorious sight in autumn, when her softly mounded form turns brilliant gold; shimmering against the blue autumn sky.

When warm temperatures arrive early in Vermont, the bloom of vernal witch hazel sometimes coincides with, or even precedes the spring equinox. But winter seems a bit tenacious this year; unwilling to loose her grip on the sleeping green mountains. Feeling a bit weary, I decided to give myself a spring prelude —as I often do— by forcing the branches of a few early blooming favorites. Late last winter, I pruned my Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ rather heavily; bringing a large armful of branches indoors for forcing. The scent was intoxicating. This year I allowed myself but a few wayward twigs from the delicious bodnant viburnum, and instead harvested a mass of Hamamelis vernalis (read more about how to force branches here)…

Freshly harvested branches of Hamamelis vernalis cut for forcing indoors

Once harvested and prepared, I placed the bundle of witch hazel branches in my cool cellar. Slowly, I am bringing branches upstairs to enjoy their honey-sweet fragrance —strong enough to scent an entire room— and delightful, sculptural form. By month’s end, various species of witch hazel will begin unfolding their blossoms outdoors, in my garden. But for now, I can enjoy a bit of spring here inside my home…

Wonderful warm color, festive form and intoxicating fragrance: who could ask for more than a visit from the good witch on a drab-grey day

Forced witch hazel branches fill my bedroom with the delicious honey-scented fragrance of springtime

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Article and photographs are copyright Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

Do you enjoy visiting The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through the affiliate-links here. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to The Gardener’s Eden, and will help with site maintenance and web hosting costs. Thank you!

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