Hazel the Witch

October 19th, 2010

Yellow-flowered witch hazel

I made a note to double check my modest little witch hazel. They bloom about this time and I hadn’t crouched down to double check that it was indeed blooming – sure enough. Quarter-sized yellow spidery flowers had opened up right off the older parts of branches.

It’s quite wonderful that a shrub of this name blooms around Halloween in our neck of the plains. Probably the latest blooming shrub/tree there is in these parts. If I still had my toad lilies, those would also be blooming about now.

Witch hazel is either a big shrub or small tree – 10 feet in height. I planted mine on the west side of our house amongst iris, poppy, daylilies, coral bells and columbines. It gets the hotter sun of the day. Though it prefers more acidic moist soil, it is somewhat tolerant of other types. I’ve added compost, manure and leaves to the surrounding soil. I plan on using some extra straw around it as well for a little insulation. This is its third year – it’s scruffy looking with its highly textured leaves, gnarled branches and rough dead-gray bark. But I like the interest it gives this time of year – just hope it grows up a ways so I don’t have to crouch and dig for its interest.

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