I went for a walk as soon as the clouds cleared this afternoon. Judging from the forecast, spring has finally arrived and the plants at the Arboretum are starting to show it. The flower buds of red maples are ready to burst. Snowdrops are the only form of snow left in the area. And crocuses have joined the snowdrops in flower, two weeks later than last year.
Tag Archives: witch-hazels
The snowdrops are out! We found them near the Explorers’ Garden on Bussey Hill, along the road near the sassafras, and in the marsh, poking out amongst grass and leaf litter.
This gorgeous variety of witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Hiltingbury’) also impressed us.
Next to the Hunnewell building, a shrub has been blooming bright yellow for quite a while now. Refusing to wait for spring, certain species of witch-hazel unfurl their petals as early as January. ‘Arnold Promise’ has a little more patience, waiting until the middle of February.
This past Wednesday, the Arnold Arboretum’s Nancy Rose shared the story of the plant’s origin. In 1928, William Judd collected seeds from a Chinese witch-hazel (Hamamelis mollis) growing in the Arboretum. Seven plants survived the germination process but none were like its parent. Judd deduced that the plants were a cross with the Japanese witch-hazel (Hamamelis japonica) planted nearby. The best of these plants, one that did not hold onto its dead leaves and whose flowers had long, bright yellow petals, was named ‘Arnold Promise.’
Arnoldia article on ‘Arnold Promise’ (pdf)
On Sunday, I joined an Urban Nature Walk in the Arnold Arboretum led by Jef. Last year at this time, a few magnolias, cherries, and red maples were blooming. This year, winter still held sway with temperatures in the 30s F, a cold wind, and patches of snow hiding in shadow.
Despite the cold, we found a few plants in flower. Skunk cabbages (Symplocarpus foetidus) were popping up near the marsh.
The rosegold pussy willow (Salix gracilistyla), native to East Asia, was also starting to bloom.
A light snow fell as I walked through Olmsted Park. I didn’t see a single bird in Ward’s Pond. It wasn’t until Willow Pond that I ran into the Canada geese.