Surprising blooms

Unsurprisingly and typically, I’m clueless to explain why ‘Jelena’ witch hazel is flowering in September instead of mid-February. No unusual weather event explains this, and this is not a single flower or stem, but every bud on every branch. Four other winter flowering witch hazels nearby show no sign of imminent flowering, or even swelling buds.

Jelena witch hazel flowering in September. Typical flowering is in February, long after leaves have dropped.

Out of season flowering is not unusual for azaleas and forsythias, certainly some others, but never witnessed with witch hazels in two decades or so that one or another has inhabited this garden. Despite my pleadings to the contrary, I am at least as observant as the next gardener, but this, I can’t figure. Very likely, this will be the first, and last time that ‘Jelena’ will flower so early.

There is always something of interest in the garden, much more than only fascinating foliage and beautiful flowers. I am delighted to watch carpenter and bumblebees “rob” nectar from toad lilies (Tricyrtis) by penetrating the underside of flowers (above and below) rather than dipping in through the too narrow opening that smaller bees enter with ease.

Is this learned behavior? Or, an innate sense? In any case, it is interesting to see bees adapt, a necessity during periods when flowers are somewhat more scarce.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Jacque Towner says:

    Just saw a hummer sampling the recently bloomed toad lilies in my yard–they are next to a humming bird feeder which has been in great use the last couple of weeks, so I’m glad to see the lilies are a benefit for them. I’m in Rappahannock County, your neighbor.

    1. Dave says:

      I haven’t seen hummingbirds in the toad lilies, but the flower is the shape they’re typically attracted to.

  2. tonytomeo says:

    How odd. They are always on a strict schedule even here where our winters are quite mild. I would expect them to bloom at odd times here, but they do not.

  3. Kate Hartland says:

    I noticed at our local garden center, all the Jelena witch hazels were blooming. I too thought it strange. Thought they might be mislabeled. But it seems not.

    1. Dave says:

      The environment in the garden center where plants are above ground is unnatural, but it is curious that Jelena is flowering. As usual, there are too many complicating factors to understand why.

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