Saturday, November 5, 2011

Unexpected rewards amid a lifting fog

Yesterday morning was the coldest so far this autumn. A smoky fog raising from the still warmish Lake Washington blanketed the surrounding hills where we live. In the backyard, our terrace looked like an ocean liner ploughing through the milky haze, with leaves of fire-engine Euonymus and golden Hamamelis shining like bright lanterns in the mist.

When the fog started lifting, I discovered tall whips full of spidery witch-hazel flowers peeking out from bare branches at the back of the border. It turned out that the Hamamelis with bright golden leaves had been grafted into a stock of Hamamelis virginiana that now flowers for the first time.  H. virginiana is a hardy native from the eastern North America that grows up to 6 meters, and it is a common practice for commercial growers to use it as a grafting rootstock for the more tender Hamamelis varieties. I'd been thinking of cutting off the vigorous suckers for some time, but hadn't gotten to it. And looking at the sunny little tassels, I don't think I have heart to do so at least until the flowers fade. Sometimes you get an unexpected reward for being lazy...

More posts about witch-hazels, one of my favorite winter flowering shrubs:

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