My witch hazel is in bloom

ginny12February 19, 2011

Winter is over! It always ends here when my witch hazel opens as it did today, Feb. 19, about on time. It's always something of a miracle to see flowers in bloom this early and no matter the weather. Guess that warm spell did the trick altho this is about average--maybe a couple of days early.

It's Arnold Promise, and it's never failed to keep that promise.

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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I really really hope that's true! My Arnold Promise (a little bitty shrub) started blooming this week too. I was out today staring down at it for a long time and a passerby asked me if I'd lost something. I hope it's winter that's lost.

Claire

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 5:45PM
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hunt4carl

My Arnold is also keeping his "promise" and started blooming a few days ago
when we hit 61âÂÂ. . .but it sure feels like winter again tonight - howling winds
and 23â ! I just grit my teeth and mumble aloud: "Just two weeks before the
Philadelphia Flower Show. . .

Carl

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 10:36PM
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javaandjazz(z6 CT)

Lucky you, that's great! Mine is still buried under snow.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 8:36AM
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diggingthedirt

Yes, it seems like spring is on the way, despite the snow! Here are a couple of shots from the past few days (witch hazel and heath, who start the show at this time of year.

Diane: From latewinter2011

Arnold Promise: From latewinter2011

Erica carnea:
From latewinter2011

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 11:27AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Nice pics Dtd. I like your trellis. I just tromped out into the yard with a flashlight to check my Arnold Promise! It isn't blooming at all yet, not even unfurling one petal. But it's got a goodly amount of buds - so it should be a decent show this year. Last year was a bust for some unknown reason, it didn't have hardly any blooms at all.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 7:54PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

My 'Diane' is still completely buried and the H. vernalis shows no signs of swelling buds. Hard to believe that by mid-March last year we had no snow left.
Most years it's the last week of March before it's worthwhile going to look at the witch hazels. Much of the year I don't mind our weather, but usually during March I start getting anxious for spring and wish that the snow would disappear over days rather than weeks. So I'm a bit envious of those of you seeing signs of spring.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 10:25AM
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ginny12

Several of you have mentioned that your witch hazels are still buried under snow. That must mean they are very young plants. Mine is over 20 years old and the size of a small tree. I have to hack off three or four feet every year to keep it in bounds.

Maybe older, more established witch hazels bloom earlier. I also deliberately planted this smack up against the south side of the house to bring on the earliest possible bloom.

Lastly, I only have the one witch hazel, 'Arnold Promise'. I don't know how it compares to other cultivars in terms of bloom time but it is the cultivar most widely available at nurseries in my area so I am guessing that early bloom is its big appeal.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 9:23AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

My Diane has about 5 years in my garden and was a decent sized shrub (maybe 3'x3') when I planted it. It tends to grow a bit wider than tall - Chris Lane in his book on witch hazels gives its ultimate size as 2.5m tall x 3m wide. However, I'm at the northern edge of the range for H. x intermedia cultivars, so I don't expect that it will ever reach that. I am grateful for the snow cover since it helps with protection on those cold winter nights. Mine has grown slowly and since we still have about 3 1/2 to 5 feet on the ground (depending on the drifting) it is still buried. (My shorter compost pile is also completely buried, and last week when I mistakenly stepped off the path I've packed out to the compost I instantly sank to my hip and had a hard time getting free . . . we are still in full winter mode for a few weeks.)

From what I read, neither Diane nor Arnold Promise are especially early bloomers when compared to other witch hazels though they are compared to almost any other woody plant in this area. I think the appeal of AP is the scent and the bright, relatively large flowers, while the deep red-orange color is the appeal of Diane. I would love to have an AP or an Angelly or one of the other scented, yellow, large-flowered H. x intermedia, but Diane is the only one I've ever seen around here, and mail order ones are so small.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 8:11PM
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ginny12

I hope you will forgive me if I disagree re Arnold Promise. I do not know of an earlier bloomer, unless you count fall-blooming witch hazels and I don't. I'd call those late bloomers. AP's early and reliable bloom is what has made it the best-seller it is.

And there is not the slightest whiff of fragrance from AP either, despite what some books say. Wish it did. I've checked out others besides my own and no fragrance at all.

An unfortunately large number of garden writers repeat information they have read, not what they have experienced first-hand. Can't comment on the particular person you mentioned.

Again, sorry to disagree with you as you are certainly an experienced gardener.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 5:09PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I've had the Arnold Promise for about 4 years now, and it's about 6 x 6 feet. It didn't bloom much last year, but as I recall from years before that it does indeed have a fragrance, however, I've only noticed the fragrance on very mild days. Checked it today, and it is just starting to open up the very first buds. Will have to confirm the fragrance on this!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 7:34PM
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diggingthedirt

My AP is a small tree; not small enough considering how close to the house it's planted.

Diane is usually a little earlier for me, but that may be the site. H. molis, one of the parents of x intermedia, is the earliest bloomer, so there may be a lot of variety in the timing of the named cultivars.

The OSU website says:
Hamamelis x intermedia - hybrids of Hamamelis japonica (Japanese Witchhazel, contributing heavy fragrance) and Hamamelis mollis (Chinese Witchhazel, contributing hardiness, fall color, and crinkled petals with wavy margins) constitute some of the best early-blooming Witchhazels in commerce today...

So it's not just garden writers who think it has fragrance. Maybe there are super-noses out there who can detect a scent, but I'm not one of them.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 8:48PM
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diggingthedirt

Follow up: Here, Diane is about 10' tall, and Arnold's more like 15'. Both are more or less vase-shaped; my Arnold's got to be at least 15 years old, and Diane about 10.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 9:29AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Well, Ginny -I'm definitely repeating what I've read, so I'll bow to your greater experience. My only H. x intermedia is my Diane. Just for your info, Chris Lane has the British national collection of witch hazels, so probably some of the difference between what New England gardeners experience and his book relates to location and the milder British winters courtesy of the Gulf Stream.

Often scent is pretty personal. I know that my H. vernalis has a clear scent only on days that are warm enough that my nose is thawed enough to smell. I haven't noticed any scent to my Diane, but it always seems to be surrounded by snow as it blooms and it is much shorter, so closer to that cold snow. I'll have to check again this year.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 10:52AM
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raysinet(5)

Hello Everyone,

What wonderful pictures; I'm so glad you posted. I just finished preparing a garden bed in the front and side of my house, and planted a witch hazel--which I got in the mail this evening--at one corner.

I'm wondering if veteran witch hazel owners here have any recommendation on how far it need to be from the corner of the house. I can see that the full grown size of the one I have, Hamamelis Mollis "Wisley Supreme" is something like 10 or 15 feet. But, I can't quite picture the form of it. Any recommendations would be quite welcome. I'll try to post a picture tomorrow, as well.

I can't remember when I've been so excited for a plant! Thanks again for the great photographs.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 11:43PM
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diggingthedirt

The helpful MOBOT (Missouri Botanic Garden) website has a good description and a couple of photos, and, by the way, they suggest that you monitor the base for suckers if you want yours to be tree-shaped, and not run. The form may be different from the H. x intermedia cultivars we were discussing here, since H. mollis is just one of the parents.

Wish I'd read that a few years ago, because I removed a nice 'Jelena' when it started to sucker. I thought it had to be a failed graft, but now I'm wondering if it just inherited a running habit from one of its parents.

Here is a link that might be useful: wisley supreme at mobot

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 7:27AM
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