Witch-hazel, more formally known as Hamamelis, is a deciduous shrub that produces blooms over the autumn-to-early-spring period, depending on the variety. The Hamamelis Jelena seen below adds a welcome spot of colour to a winter woodland garden in February.
The spidery tendrils of this Hamamelis shrub form clusters of fragrant flowers on bare branches, a brave appearance when temperatures hover around -6° C. Like last year, our temperatures have been fluctuating for most of the winter but this year we have received far more snow. In fact, we’ve experienced a series of blizzards blowing through the area about once a week during February; and each week, mere days afterward, when much of the snow has melted and the roads are clear again, the next cycle begins. Another symptom of climate change, perhaps?
The most recent “blizzard” was a freak storm that prevented the club’s guest speaker from reaching Chester for the February 18th meeting. Gamely rising to the challenge, however, about 15 club members sallied forth to engage in a planning session instead, and were rewarded by hearing an interesting update on the work of the committee that is organizing this summer’s Flower Show and Tea. The full schedule of the Show’s competitive classes will be published on the blog in March.
Another note of interest to many local gardeners is the annual plant sale curated by the Atlantic Rhododendron and Horticultural Society. The sale includes a wide variety of rhodos and azaleas, plus magnolias and other shrubs. Advance sale orders are available only to members but the public is invited to attend the May 11 sale in Halifax. Details are available on the group’s website: http//www.atlanticrhodo.org