Saturday, January 01, 2005

New Year's surprise

We were greeted this New Year's morning by my wife's discovery that one of our witch hazels was starting to bloom. Perhaps this is a portent that the coming year must surely be better than the previous one. Our hearts go out to all those people affected by the Southeast Asia tsunami. It was a depressing end to the year. Made me not want to blog for the last few days but I did anyway in a half-hearted way.

We have four witch hazels, two red Hamamelis x intermedia, Carmine red and Corylopsis, spicata actually a winter-hazel with drooping flowers in spring and the one that's blooming now the yellow probably H. japonica, Sulphurea--it's a guess, the plant didn't come with a tag. It also has a wonderful scent much like freesias I think.

The red witch hazels are just showing a bit of color in the bud opening and probably won't bloom for another two to three weeks. But I look forward to its much welcome color in mid winter. When I first saw the bloom I must say I was badly disappointed after reading all the hype of "bright winter color, and wonderful perfume" in various books and magazines. The color was a dark dull red. The scent subtle. But I think I will have a better appreciation of it this year since my judgment won't be colored by overly enthusiastic writing. It aint no camellia but has the subdued dignity of a winter plant.

Also the rest of the buds on the camellia are blooming again after the short cold spell. The temperatures went down into the low teens last week and burned the ends of the flower buds which turned brown but the inner part of the flower remains the vivid dark pink of my earlier photo. We are now in a warm period, today's temperature was well into the sixties. I was out in a t-shirt scooping out rotting leaves from our pond and pulling out the leaves and flower pods of the water lillies. Strange weather for January.

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