I am, but should not be surprised that the most shaded of three ‘Arnold Promise’ witch hazels is the first to flower. I figured it would be the last, but until this afternoon I failed to recognize that it is most exposed to the more southernly path of the winter sun, though this shines through a forested canopy.

Though ‘Arnold Promise’ is often dismissed by fanatics as too common, I am enamored by its bright yellow blooms, a color I see clearly despite my color blindness while the red ‘Diane’ and copper ‘Jelena’ flower alongside with less notice. Unfortunately, also with a deficient sense of smell, the scent of all witch hazels is rarely noticed unless a sunny February afternoon is exceptionally still. But, I require no sympathy since these very minor disabilities do not hinder my enjoyment as late winter flowers increase daily.

A cold, snowy January slowed the early flowering hellebores, but with several mild afternoons a number are nearing their peak bloom. Most are tardy from their typical early February peak, but flowers are likely to linger long into March, joined early in the month by fancy double flowered varieties.

Several of the oldest hellebores declined noticeably last year, an unfortunate consequence of prolonged dampness. I am curious to see if these flower, and today I see no indication they will. By early spring I will decide whether to replace these after raising the soil a bit, or to plant something more tolerant of damp soil. In any case, more hellebores are added annually to the many dozens, and after flowering I will look to move two and three year seedlings to give them more space.

Tardy snowdrops are coming on quickly, but in the same area there is no sign yet of crocuses or winter aconites. I watch closely for these since I have been negligent in planting so few. Foliage of daffodils has pushed through deep piles of leaves that insulate, and I think hold back flowering so that I often remove leaves from the clumps earlier in winter. Of course, all were under a slow melting blanket of snow until earlier in the week.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. sallysmom says:

    I have Arnold Promise as well. It is loaded with buds but none have opened. I am in the deep, deep south zone 8b

    1. Dave says:

      All the witch hazels are a few weeks late for me, but the vernal witch hazel that began in early January has stayed in bloom much longer. The flowering of the three Arnolds is dictated by cold, but the amount of sunlight also influences flowering.

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