Tree Watch …and They Are Off!

IMG_3696Three or four sharp frosts have finally done for the leaves on the Hamamelis vernalis ‘Amethyst’ that I have been watching for a few months as part of Lucy’s tree watching meme. They have all made a rapid transition from green to yellow or somewhere in between, although most are  still clinging onto the plant itself – no doubt ready to be blown off by the next significant gust of wind.

IMG_3700It was the same for ‘Harry’, the only other still-clothed witch hazel, and any other deciduous tree in the garden that still retained its leaves – an interesting observation, although not scientific enough to prove anything, as aspect and variety and other variables will inevitably play a part as well as temperature.

IMG_3699Observing this witch hazel regularly has inevitably also meant a closer observation of my other witch hazels, and comparisons between them in terms of leaf fall and flower development. Some of them have clusters of flower buds all the way up the stems to the very tips whereas others have them mainly on the lower parts – Amethyst seems to fall into this latter category. All  have a relatively good sprinkling of buds except for H ‘Zuccariniana’ which has virtually none, and having lost its leaves far earlier than the others I am waiting to see whether the flower buds develop in a different way.

Although there are specks of colour on most of them already, I wouldn’t expect to see any flowers opening before January – but with the oddities of this year’s weather anything is possible. Amethyst is, however, the only H vernalis that I have and although reputed to flower between January and March I will keep an open mind. Perhaps January’s post (which I now realise is only a month away – doh!) will be a taster of what is to come – so do come back then and have another look as well as popping across to Loose and Leafy to check out other tree watching posts. Thanks to Lucy for facilitating this.

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15 Responses to Tree Watch …and They Are Off!

  1. Hi, I’m fascinated to know what a witch hazel looks like in full dress, so to speak! If you have a mind to put a photo or two of that in a forthcoming post, I’d love to see them. I’m always looking for deciduous trees for our zone that are also useful as far as providing a particular medicinal service. We have evergreens everywhere here! Oh, and magnificent Japanese Maples, but I do miss more deciduous trees. Thanks! Cheers and happy holidays to you. I post new material on the second Wednesday of the month.

    • Cathy says:

      I don’t know how easy it is to distil ‘witch hazel’ for medicinal use but I will look into that for a future post too. They are particularly valuable here for their winter flowers of course, sometimes accompanied by fragrance

  2. rusty duck says:

    I’m amazed you have any leaves left at all.. mine departed weeks ago!

  3. bittster says:

    Witch hazels and snowdrops seem to do so much in shortening winter. To think you might already have blooms in a month really gives me hope for the next season!

  4. Christina says:

    Like Frank above, I do find talk of new buds on plants that should be flowering in spring very heartening rather than plants like my Chiosya which shouldn’t be flowering at all are full of flowers. I think in some ways winter is shorter for gardeners as we are out looking for signs of spring before they would be obvious to others.

    • Cathy says:

      You are so right Christina – and I was genuinely surprised when I realised that next month IS January and we might be seeing witch hazels in bloom 🙂

  5. I love witch hazel and have a native Hamamelis virginiana about 3 feet tall. It is supposed to flower in fall, but it has not done so yet. I hope this coming fall it has loads of flowers finally. It is interesting how similar trees in the garden behave differently.

    • Cathy says:

      I must look up H virginiana to see how it compares with japonica and vernalis – and also where H vernalis is a native of. Hope your tree flowers this year

  6. Chloris says:

    I am almost as excited as you are to see your Amethyst in bloom. This is such an exciting time for you with all your lovely witch hazels.

  7. Anna says:

    I imagine that if the predicted gales come down as far as you Cathy that the remainder of the leaves will fly off into the stratosphere tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing your ‘Amethyst’ in flower.

  8. coastcard says:

    I’m amazed to see those leaves still! My silver birch was slow, but is bare now.

  9. kate says:

    Ditto – also amazed at the leaves. But how lovely!

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