Tree Following: Expectation Mounts!

IMG_3432IMG_3436I have to say that the little witch hazel, Hamamelis vernalis ‘Amethyst’, which I am ‘following’ and posting monthly about for Lucy’s tree following meme has changed very little from last month, although there are a few leaves with a slight yellowing round the edge – unlike the rest of my witch hazels which lost their leaves several weeks ago, apart from my favourite ‘Harry’ which is still as green as ‘Amethyst’ although carrying less leaves than her in the first place.

As well as monitoring Amethyst on a monthly basis, this tree following has also prompted me to check the other witch hazels on a regular basis too. I am glad I did so because I have found the tiniest hints of flower colour on several of them – and I do mean TINY, but it’s enough for expectation to begin to mount! Could I get photographs of this specks of colour?! No I could not – I had perfectly focused grass, stems, paths, but evidence of the emerging flowers seemed to be beyond me and my camera. Below on the left you can see the best of the bunch (on Harry, even though he is still fully clothed and was one of the last to flower last season), and on the right still tightly closed buds on Amethyst.

budsIMG_3433So, although summer is past and winter looms, albeit mildly, there are already gems to look forward to and, although Amethyst is small, there is still a mass of flower buds all up the stem. As she is new to me this year I barely know what to expect from her, other than an illustration on a website, so I am as excited about her potential as anybody. In the meantime, I am wondering whether to move her a couple of feet away from her existing position, as I had forgotten that underneath the large lead effect pot that began disintegrating was a gap in the paved area where we once had a mammoth cordyline. Although she is fine where she is for now, in 10 or 15 years time she may be projecting out over the adjacent steps…. decisions, decisions. While I ponder, I shall visit Lucy’s blog to look at links to the trees other bloggers are following – do go and have a look as well.

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31 Responses to Tree Following: Expectation Mounts!

  1. Christina says:

    It is very interesting that two of the witch hazels still have their leaves and the others none at all. I wouldn’t have expected them to be so different. It just proves how important it is to really understand about the cultivar you are buying if you want it for a particular feature. I found the first flowers on the Iris unguicularis the other day which is a sign winter is here but also promise of spring too so I understand your pleasure with the buds on the Hamamelis.

    • Cathy says:

      It is proving to be an interesting exercise! I bought some I unguicularis in spring after seeing them flowering on Anglesey in Dec last year and I did have a look for buds the other day – but nothing yet.

  2. Chloris says:

    I am really looking forward to seeing the flowers on your Amethyst. I have never come across it before. Did you buy it at Bluebell Nursery?

  3. They are like children, when you start to look that closely you start to notice they all vary. Some vary slightly and some quite a bit. The water they get, sun, protection from cold, the bugs that infest one and not others all plays a part.

  4. hoehoegrow says:

    You can never take anything for granted in gardening can you ? Plants will do their own thing regardless ! Bet you can’t wait to see the flowers.
    You have also given me a timely reminder about ‘Tree following’ so I had better get out and see what my fig tree has been up to.

    • Cathy says:

      All the anticipation and variation in timing just adds to the enjoyment, I think – and yes, plants just do what comes naturally! Did you get many figs this year? We only had a few ripen, despite the good summer.

  5. I also have a small witch hazel that has changed to lovely yellow, but no flowers yet….how nice you will have some soon.

    • Cathy says:

      They are only tiny specks of colour, Donna, and I don’t expect to see fully open flowers for some time yet, possibly January – but then again with the oddities of the weather, who knows?!

  6. wellywoman says:

    It is a great exercise in makes us look that bit closer. I would love a witch hazel but their slightly sprawling habit means I don’t really have the space for one here. I await, with anticipation, the flower buds. 😉 Spotted buds on my sarcococca today, can’t wait for its fabulous scent.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, their shape could be an issue – I suppose I am lucky that I have appropriate locations for them in my garden and am hoping to make room for another one in my new shrub border (waiting till I can buy one half price, like last year!). I too spotted buds on my sarcococca recently!

  7. rickii says:

    My Witch Hazel ‘Diane’ (red flowering) has a different (yellow flowering and earlier) one growing out of its middle. I tried cutting out all of that growth, but it comes back with a vengeance. Guess I’ll just sit back and enjoy the two-for-one show. I added another, ‘Early Bright’, which is purported to be quite fragrant, but as I read your post I’m thinking I put it too close to the tree peony.

    • Cathy says:

      How odd to have your two-tone Diane, rickii – I wonder if it’s a throwback to when the original one was first grafted as i believe all cultivars are grafted. I think I could learn to enjoy the novelty! Although they are very slow growing their shape is an important consideration as some are ‘urn’ shaped whilst others spread out more. How close to your tree peony is it?

  8. Cathy I had to laugh at your trying to take photos of the tiny buds as this is exactly what happens to me! frequently, how exciting to have buds at this time of year, almost makes winter worth it, Frances

  9. Ah yes, witch hazel buds, terribly difficult to get decent photos of, but goodness don’t they get the excitement going! It’s really interesting hearing how ‘Amethyst’ compares to your others, how different their leaf colouring and dropping habits are. Looking forward to seeing the flowers – but that does mean you may have to follow her in to the New Year, doesn’t it?! Oh, and I would definitely move her sooner rather than later, they don’t enjoy disturbance, so put her where she will still be happy in ten years would be my take.

    • Cathy says:

      How long are we following for, Janet? I assumed it was on-going.. Where the witch hazels are must make a difference too – the one I am looking out for now is H zuccarineana which is the only one that does not seem to have flower buds. Will these come later, or is it for some reason not going to flower this time round? I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t been inspecting them whilst watching the Amethyst one….

  10. bittster says:

    Amethyst looks very lush and happy and full of promise. I’m also looking forward to seeing what the blooms turn out to be. I’m going to guess they’re not yellow! 🙂

  11. CathyT says:

    I googled both ‘Amethyst’ and ‘Harry’ because I didn’t know them. If they live up to their pictures, you’re in for a treat, aren’t you? I’d like to plant witch hazels here, but I’m a bit nervous because (as you say above) they are so expensive. I think the tree following meme is such a lovely idea. It’s too late today for me to run out and do it with my walnut – but I’d like a picture before it loses its leaves. Lovely to have a record – and especially for you because you are following a youngster!

    • Cathy says:

      We have lots of trees around the garden but I didn’t feel motivated to do the tree watching with any of them, but thought it would give a different slant following a young tree instead. I lost two or three witch hazels when I first tried them because I planted them on the fringe of the little woodland but it must have been too dry – they have thrived where they are planted now and the older ones are becoming more established (the ones I have had for about 10 years). I bought ‘a few’ more last year, two with ‘half price’ vouchers which made them quite reasonable, and have tentatively eyed up a space in the new shrub border for another one..

  12. Lucy Corrander says:

    It’s a bit unnerving arriving at a meeting of witch hazel enthusiasts when one knows nothing. It’s good to see (roughly!) the little flower buds – but that tinge of yellow is exciting too. Change always is.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh but I am no witch hazel expert, Lucy – I just have several! I will certainly become wiser to some of their habits with this tree watching lark though 🙂

  13. Anna says:

    Oh she seems in no rush to change into her winter wardrobe Cathy which must be a pleasing state of affairs 🙂

  14. good to be following a tree that still has the best to come!

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