Witch Hazel, an Antidote for Winter
Our witch hazel blooms are curled up tonight as the temperature drops and the snow falls. There are several types of witch hazel, ours being the Hamamelis vernalis. During thaws in January, the buds start to open up, first from the bottom of the bush, then up until the top. If the thaw isn’t long enough for all the blooms to open, it waits until the next one and opens up some more. The flowers are about ½” or a little bigger, so quite small but abundant, looking like little ribbons. They are easy to overlook if casually walking by, but if you take the time to stop and look closely, they are wonderful. The blooms curling up during cold spells is a mechanism that preserves them.
The ten footer we have is almost completely budded out, and will stay that way throughout February. On a warm sunny day it can be quite fragrant, and can be a bit of a mystery if you haven’t noticed the blossoms. It is quite a spirit lifter during the cold and grayest days of the winter, a promise that spring is eventually going to arrive. The small flowers are durable when picked, and are a wonderful offering to make, if the fact that something grown in your community is preferable to some hot house rose flown in from who knows where. If there is more to making an offering than merely flashy visuals, witch hazel would be a must for any temple grounds, even as far North as US horticultural zone 4.
Information about witch hazel.