Buds A Poppin’


This is the time of endings and beginnings. Even though the hubbub of the holidays is not quite over inside the house, outside the time of the new has already gotten underway. On a rare day of almost warm, read above freezing temps, waiting for sunshine, it never happened, close inspection paid dividends of delightful surprises.


Not readily apparent, but visible to prying eyes, with new glasses from a real eye doctor!, the witch hazel Diane, Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’ has buds that are popping. Ever so slightly, the color of the petals is showing.


Oh happy day, oh wonders of nature, oh, but there is a minor flaw in this story of perfection….


…for Faire Diane, the title of last year’s post about this little tree’s history, click here-Faire Diane to view it, is stubbornly holding her leaves. We don’t remember this being a problem in the past, but there is only one thing to do, remove them. But wait, this needs to be captured and shared on the blog. Go get the camera before you pull them all off, woman!


Okay, we’re back. The insulting leaf is grasped tightly but carefully so as not to damage even one of these precious buds. Pull in the direction that the leaf stem is growing, gently. You might have to put the camera down and hold the stem to do this. Do every single one to have the prettiest flower show. Best to do it early, before the buds have opened, is the philosophy of the Fairegardener. As to the length of that thumbnail, we actually keep our nails trimmed short but leave the thumbs longer to use as tools, such as screwdrivers or to nip soft stems. Like a cocaine user grows a long pinky nail to scoop up the illicit dust, so I have heard, gardening thumb nails can be equally useful and much better for one’s health if difficult to keep clean.


This is what the future will be for Diane soon. This shot was taken February 10, 2009, but our records show there were fully open blooms on January 7 of last year.


What about our newer witch hazel, H. x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’? (Oh how I want to call this Arnold’s rather than Arnold, we went back and corrected the error in previous posts.) An anniversary gift last year from The Financier, Arnold had spent the winter in an Asheville greenhouse before being planted out late last January. Who in their right minds gets married in late January, one might ask? Every anniversary is cold and snowy, no matter where we have lived. Oops, straying off topic. Sorry, we got distracted there for a moment.


The point being made before the thought detour above is that last year Arnold did not bloom until Diane was nearly finished with her show. It is desired that they be open together, just to satisfy the hopeless romantic tendencies.


Even with new freshly ground glasses, finding some color showing in the buds was difficult if not impossible.


Ah, this one is about the same as those on Diane. Love is in the air…..


Arnold makes a fine companion to the fiery Diane, his lemony hue illustrated in this shot from late February of last year. These glimpses of what is to come help build anticipation for a new year in the Fairegarden.

Frances

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44 Responses to Buds A Poppin’

  1. Darla says:

    I was just thinking of the Witch Hazel the other day Frances. I don’t believe it would thrive here.. I do look forward to seeing it bloom through the lens of your camera….I’m sure when you considered when to get married, the winter seemed all to snuggly to resist…ahaha

    Hi Darla, thanks. The zones are 5 to 9, so maybe you could grow it. They are sometimes hard to find at nurseries, but worth the search. As for when we got married, that is a long story, but the weather forecast did not figure into the equation at all. AH πŸ™‚
    Frances

  2. LindaLunda says:

    Ohh its time for dragonfire again!
    Linda

    Hi Linda, nearly so. January is a new beginning with the flowers and the witch hazels will be the stars. There are many buds on both trees, the dragons have multiplied! πŸ˜‰
    Frances

  3. gittan says:

    Oh, I had almost forgot how beautiful they are!

    Hi Gittan, thanks. Me too, until the photos were being loaded onto some new devices to save them for posterity spurred us to go out and inspect the trees for color. A very happy surprise. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  4. Thank you for that breath of spring, Frances. It is still so snowy and white up at Kilbourne Grove. I have an Arnold Promise planted there, but no sign yet of yellow. I love the colour of Diane, and since she is earlier than Arnold, I will look for her to add to my garden.
    Hope you have a very Happy New Year.
    Deborah

    Hi Deborah, thanks. I am so glad to hear you have Arnold, he is a fine one, and the color of Diane is remarkable. The time of bloom makes these must haves for anyone who can grow them. A most happy new year to you too. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    oh Frances, you crack me up. I can just see you out there “helping” Diane getting ready for her debut. Happy day…

    Thanks Lisa, that makes me so happy to think of your delightful laughter! I can hear it now! Isn’t it funny how every garden task now needs to be documented, with accompanying photos? It does slow down the work just a little though. HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  6. Teresa O says:

    Oh to see the slightest color of budding spring excites me and pushes me toward my garden goals for 2010. Keep the photos coming, Frances…the inspiration in winter is needed.

    Thanks Teresa, will do! It was quite surprising to see the color, I would have missed it without these new better glasses. Some of these plants that can bloom even in below freezing temps are astounding. The witch hazels are must haves for those in zones that can grow them. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  7. Les says:

    Oh how this plant makes me regret not having a bigger garden. I noticed that this fall the local witchazel’s foliage had the beautiful color that is written about. Usually it is less than spectacular, perhaps it was all the rain. I am fond of ‘Jalena’ for its coppery color and ‘Pallida’ which I think is the most fragrant.

    Please have the happiest of new years.

    Thanks Les, and the same back to you. These witch hazels are not large at all, so far anyway. The fall color here was the best ever as well, and longer lasting. Jalena and Pallida, all of them actually are wonderful. Every winter I think we need to add more, but as you have found, the garden only has so much room and space is needed for the other seasons. Isn’t it always about balance? πŸ™‚
    Frances

  8. Linda says:

    After seeing witch hazel on your blog, I just had to have one. So last summer I ordered Arnold Promise. How big will it have to get before it blooms?
    Linda

    How wonderful, Linda, and thanks for reading! Arnold is supposed to be one of the very best. Ours was purchased loaded with buds and of a fairly good size. I don’t really know when they begin blooming. Diane was mail ordered and was quite small. It seems it was a year or two before there were buds. You can tell the buds from these photos, if you have anything that looks like that, as opposed to the leaf buds which are flat against the stem. Remember to water well, these are thirsty trees when young. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  9. As this is my first winter in gardening blogland, I was wondering what garden bloggers did over the winter. Now I know….even in the darkest days of winter, you have something growing. Cant’ wait to see the progress of the witchhazels.

    Hi Heather, thanks for being a regular visitor! It depends on where one lives, but here in southeast TN, gardening is a year around endeavor. Finding those plants that bloom super early, like the witch hazels and hellebores and planting early bulbs like the smaller crocus will give flowers at a time they can be greatly appreciated. We continue to add plants to the want list from other blogs that we otherwise would never have even known about. Too much fun! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  10. Gail says:

    Frances, I love the witch hazels. How could you not when they bloom in the winter and have such fun flowers. Your photos are splendid~~I had to run outside to see if there were any buds beginning to open on ‘Diane’…or on H vernalis. A see a tiny bit of opened bud on ‘D’! In the fifteen years I’ve had her she has never dropped her leaves until after she buds! Have a great day. Gail

    Hi Gail, thanks. The witch hazels should be more widely grown, like so many other plants. How wonderful you saw some color too. I would not have noticed if those leaves didn’t need pulling off, bringing me up close and personal to Diane. Funny thing, after taking the photos, I did not finish the job! I will be thinking of you. ❀ πŸ™‚
    Frances

  11. Wow! Frances these are such beautiful bud photographs. I think I love them as much or more by a bit, as the fully blooming tree. Lovely! I will have to see if those are hardy here… somehow I doubt it… I have some native in the woods but must add some to the garden. I look forward to your garden post in 2010! Best Wishes for the coming year! What a well manicured thumb! Carol

    Hi Carol, thanks. It is all about the time of year that these trees bloom, when little else is going on that makes them so special. They are hardy to zone 5, so maybe there is hope for you to get some? Well worth the effort to seek them out. I appreciate the thumb remark, but manicured here means well clipped hedges in the garden! HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  12. Yay! for finding witch hazel buds. I agree Diane and Arnold are striking partners! But I must ask… where were you getting your glasses previously, off some guy with a big coat in the alley?? LOL!!!!

    HA Monica, thanks. My previous glasses came off the shelf wherever I could find them, for cheap. I thought they were good enough but felt a real eye checkup was necessary as seeing had become more difficult. I told the doctor that I could see fine far away, but not up close. He said “You only think you can see!” He was right. I never knew Mr. Semi had freckles until I put on the new glasses and looked at him! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  13. It’s wonderful to see Arnold and Diane starting to show their colours. It’s so dark and wet here, that it was a joy to see their bright colours.

    Thanks Happy. Of course one can’t see those colors from the paths, but it is a look into the future that will be here soon as the new growing season begins. Anticipation! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  14. Rose says:

    How exciting to see some buds at this time of year! Here’s to a Happy New Year and a timely budding of Diane and Arnold at the same time!

    I’ve also always wondered who in their right minds gets married in late November. Hubby and I celebrated our 40th last month, but with Thanksgiving just passed, we were too tired to party:) I also wanted to correct one mis-impression I may have given you last time: my garden has some drifts of snow two feet deep, but we got only a couple of inches of actual snowfall. But the snow is falling again at this moment, so who knows?

    Hi Rose, thanks and the same good wishes for the new year back to you. Happy 40th to you. We are only coming up to 36, newlyweds. Looking at the weather on TV, it is difficult to tell exactly who is getting all that snow. But I know it protects your garden so wish for plenty to do just that. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  15. Autumn Belle says:

    Looking at some of the pictures, I first thought the trees are dead. What a surprise to see the red and yellow buds, signifying new beginings. They are alive and romance seems to be in the air. I too think the thumb nail is a useful tool, in the garden as well as the kitchen, e.g. when peeling oranges. I’d like to wish you a Very Happy New Year 2010. May all your dreams come true!

    Hi Autumn Belle, thanks and the same wonderful wishes back to you for the new year. Not dead, just napping with one eye peeking open to check the conditions for the coming blooms. Ah, peeling fruit with the piercing thumbnail is a very important task for that tool as well! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  16. Jen says:

    It seems that at this time, any splash of color is even more vibrant. There were slight touches of green in the urban forest the other day. It made my heart sing.

    Your witch hazel will be stunning.

    Jen

    Hi Jen, thanks and so true. We have to look a little harder now for signs of spring, but they are there and reward us for making the extra effort. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  17. Sweet Bay says:

    Those furry buds show so much promise! I love Witch Hazels too. I have a ‘Jelena’ seedling that’s 4-5′ high now and covered in blooms — and dead leaves. So many it’s not even worth it for me to strip the leaves, or at least I haven’t been motivated enough yet. So it’s a good thing that the fragrance is so wonderful! It can waft a good 30+ feet.

    Hi Sweet Bay, so many leaves is daunting, but once you begin the task, it really goes fast. Especially if you put the camera down! HA Jelena is a beauty, I always look at her at the nursery, but the coloring is quite similar to Diane in person. I don’t know which is the more vigorous grower, Diane has been a little slow to get going, but is doing well now. The fragrance is fabulous and does travel.
    Frances

  18. Balisha says:

    No wonder I have had no luck nipping off soft stems…no long thumbnail. A great gardening tip, Frances.
    Balisha πŸ™‚

    Hi Balisha, thanks for visiting. How funny, thumbnail as gardening tip! It works though, and you always have this tool with you. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  19. I learned the hard way how careful you have to be when removing those old Witchhazel leaves. I’m so jealous yours are budding already. I love them.

    Me too, MMD, that’s why I mentioned it. What a heartbreak to lose even one precious bud. I really had to search to find color, not apparent from the path at all. The leaf task brought me up close where the orange was noticed. Funny, after getting the camera and taking the photos, I did not finish pulling the leaves off, they remain as the photo shows. Must get back out there, when the weather permits. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  20. Catherine says:

    This was the time of year last winter that I started wishing I had a Witch hazel. How exciting that they are both beginning to bloom, I hope they do bloom together!

    Hi Catherine, thanks. It is now that we even remember the witch hazels are here at all. Long ago we saw an article about them in a magazine and tore out that sheet for the idea book, before blogs of course! We bought Diane from Wayside, expensive! and so small. Worth it, but I would look for a larger size and pay the extra money to get one with buds for more immediate gratification. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  21. Awk, already we’re getting into the ‘Frances’ plants have started to bloom” stage of winter! How time does fly. I know my hamamelis are long time from flowering, but somehow, when things start to show in your garden, I take comfort that spring will find US again, too.
    Diane is awesome, though I find Arnold Promise to be more fragrant, do you?

    Hi Jodi, you are too funny, thanks! I guess we are like a sneak preview for some areas. It still amazes me that we are growing the same plants so far apart. Arnold was new last year, but we did think he was much more fragrant, or more noticeable so than Diane. He is sited closer to the pathways and more in the open, though. Diane is backed by the dense Chamy hedge which blocks the wind. We shall report on the findings from 2010. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  22. Kate says:

    Note to self… try to grow Witch Hazel again. It just doesn’t seem to like me, even though I’m very fond of it! We’re hunkered down in a snowstorm here, today, so it was especially nice to see the promise of spring and these pretty buds.

    Hi Kate, thanks for visiting. Do try again, if possible. We found these plants need plentiful water when first planted, best in late winter here. Sort of slow to establish with smaller specimens as well. Good luck and do stay warm! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  23. Lona says:

    Witch Hazel always amazes me with its blooms in winter like my heather does. I so wish I had room for all of the flowers, shrubs and trees that I like. How many acres would that entail” LOL. If one had only known back then…
    Happy New Year to you Frances and I will enjoy 2010 with your wonderful advice, postings and pictures.
    Lona

    Hi Lona, thanks so much and the same good wishes back to you for the new year. Ah, more room, we can dream about it but wonder what we would really do with acreage. HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  24. Chickenpoet says:

    Okay, next time you ask me what I want for a present; I want a freakin’ witch hazel. Help you…Help me….to remember…..love, CP

    Dear Chickenpoet, you always make me laugh! We will try to remember. These trees can be difficult to find and are not in bloom when we are usually plant shopping together. I know they are in Asheville however. πŸ™‚
    Love, Frances

  25. leavesnbloom says:

    Oh I just love witchhazels – only my Jelena has peeped alittle to see what the weathers like and I think she’s decided she’s gonna wait alittle longer. Its at a very similar stage to yours. Arnold Promise is also a great one and a little later to flower than the others.

    Hi Leaves, thanks for that info. I was hoping Arnold was only late since he had been wintering over inside a greenhouse before being planted in my garden. This year will be a better gauge of the true timing, but every year is different it seems, with all the plant flowering times. Both are just barely peeping here too. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  26. Susie says:

    Oh, so beautiful…I just love seeing new & interesting things from around the country. Happy anniversary…we are Jan 14th (32years)….my DH coached college football at the time & we had to wait until football season was over!

    Thanks Susie. Happy upcoming anniversary to you and the coach! He might be interested to know that we spent our honeymoon going to a gym meet at Penn State 36 years ago. HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  27. Pam/Digging says:

    I do love your witch hazels. The yellow is my favorite—so sunny on a chilly winter day.

    Thanks Pam. Arnold is brilliant and will add a punch of sunshine to the winter garden. He is underplanted with white hyacinths, which may or may not bloom at the same time, depending on how long the flowers hang on. The new season will begin soon. Hooray! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  28. Hello Frances,

    Don’t you think one of the most beautiful sights in the garden is a flower getting ready to bloom?

    Hi Noelle, oh yes, very much so. A bud is as good or better than a bloom any day! Knowing when and where to look makes that anticipation last that much longer too. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  29. Phillip says:

    Frances, I think I commented in the past that I have a love/hate relationship with this plant. Mine holds on to the leaves all winter. I could pick them off but it would take me a long time to get them off. The worst thing though is that the blooms have never been pretty. I’m hoping it will do better this year.

    Hi Phillip, not pretty blooms? Maybe you need to squint your eyes! Or get new glasses! As for the tedious leaf pulling, once you get started on it, it goes fast. But I am a very detail oriented person. Give me a repetitive task of minute detail and I am in heaven. HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  30. Wow! It’s really hard to believe you’re looking at buds… we’re looking at a lot of snow, and it will stay that way for awhile! Beautiful photos, though. Thanks! πŸ™‚

    Hi Shady, thanks. These buds had to be searched out, I was surprised to see them. But photos from last year show blooming began on January 7, that’s not far away! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  31. Grace says:

    Hi Frances~~ I love how crystal clear your photos are. And of course the pleasant anticipation they create. Now if we can just get through the next month or so… Happy New Year!

    Thanks Grace, sometimes the light is just right and the wind stops. January is the slowest month here as well, even with the witch hazels and anniversaries. A happy new year to you as well. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  32. Jake says:

    That is great that you already have signs of next season showing themselves. That makes me look forward to see what might pop up out of the ground at my new house that I have not seen. I guess me being so much further north we won’t start to see the first signs of stuff for another month, month and a half.

    Jake

    Thanks Jake. How exciting about your new house. Do make notes the first year of what is there, where it is and when it appeared, you’ll be glad you did. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  33. This post made my think about a beautiful Swedish poem about love and it is called ‘It hurst when buds bursts’ by Karin Boye. Great poppin’ post Frances. I wish you and your family a Happy New Year 2010. Hugs and Blessings/ Tyra

    Hi Tyra, thanks so much for that and the best of the new year year to you and yours. Cool poem!
    Kram,
    Frances

  34. There’s hope in those buds! I love the reminders that our season of blooms really isn’t that far away after all.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR! πŸ™‚
    Cameron

    Hi Cameron, thanks and the same back to you for the new year. It won’t be long before all sorts of stuff is really happening out there. Hooray! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  35. Janet says:

    I remember your witchhazels from last year. Love the firey color of Diane and the fact that Arnold blooms after she is about done really extends the season. Looking forward to perhaps having a witchhazel or two or… in my SC garden.
    ps- we have a February wedding in St. Louis to get to……hope the weather is kind.

    Hi Janet, thanks. Your SC garden will be wonderful, and needs a couple of these great trees. Oooh, St. Louis in Feb, pack your arctic gear! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  36. Kathleen says:

    Hi Frances. You give me hope, finding buds on this cold winter day. I need to get a witch hazel so there might possibly be something exciting happening in my garden during this cold month too. I have to content myself with indoor blooms. I hope your dreams come true and the witch hazels bloom in unison and provide all of us with a dazzling display of color. Happy New Year!

    Hi Kathleen, thanks and a very happy new beginning to you and yours. While indoor blooms are very rewarding, especially if one has paph orchids!, things that show color in winter are worth searching out. If you can see them above the snow that is! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  37. Zach says:

    Oh, so this is what the buds look like. I remember seeing the buds after they bloomed, on your blog last year. When I first saw them, I was in total awe of it. I had never seen anything like this before. SO thanks for all the really cool pics!

    Hi Zach, thanks so much. The buds on any plant are cause for excitement, anticipation is just as important as the real event, IMHO. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  38. mothernaturesgarden says:

    My little world is so gray over here. A speck of yellow or pink would send me into euphoria.

    Hi Donna, you need one or more of these, pronto! Euphoria is good. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  39. Cheryl says:

    Amazing to see such glimpses of your colour in me winter wonderland. There is life after all ! Happy New Year Frances, cheers to a fulfilling year of peaceful gardening.

    Hi Cheryl, thanks and the same wishes for the best new year to you and yours. Seeing these bits of tiny color give such a happy hopeful feeling, even when there is much cold wintry weather ahead. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  40. Town Mouse says:

    Ah, I don’t know. Mr. Mouse and I seem to take turns being happy and exuberant. And it helps if to cheer up the more grumpy, not so fiery, not blooming right now. Seems like those Hamamelis know what they’re doing.

    Hi Town Mouse, thanks for stopping by. The witch hazels are extremely cheering, the time of bloom is all important. I check them every day for progress, it could be called gardening, couldn’t it? πŸ™‚
    Frances

  41. Tatyana says:

    I love the blooms and your sense of humor too, Frances! Many bloggers are talking about spring already, but I feel like I haven’t had winter yet! No snow, everything is green here in the PNW. I haven’t had my period of hibernation yet! Anyway, thank you for the post, have a great 2010, and I’d rather go take some calcium – I also want to have a screwdriver handy!

    Thanks Tatyana, glad you get the little attempt at joking around. But the screwdriver thing is true. I do take calcium and drink a lot of locally produced milk, skim of course. HA No real hibernation here, just the distraction of the holidays. My mind is drawn to the garden every January 1, searching for signs of spring and tasks that can be done even though there is much cold wintry weather ahead. May your 2010 be the best year ever. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  42. Cindee says:

    HI Frances,
    I also love witchhazels and I have a fabulous soource just down the road from me (Gossler Farms Nursery). I love Diana and Arnold, but Roger Gossler has also turned me onto some other great varieties. My favorite is ‘Fireglow’, it is very colorful and fragrant too. Another I like is purpurea – not too showy in the garden since the flowers are dark purple, but it knocks your socks off in a vase with other witchhazel branches.
    Love your calendar. What a great idea.
    Cindee

    Hi Cindee, thanks and welcome. I will have to check out those cultivars and have heard of Gossler Farms, thanks. The purple sounds dreamy. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  43. sequoiagardens says:

    Such a simple post, so effective. How DOES she do it every time, I ask! πŸ˜‰ My witchhazels were all grown from seed which I imported – I’ve never seen them here except in my own garden. They’re OK, considering. But the likes of ‘Diana’ and ‘Jelena’ I will never know *sigh* (And mine are also inconsistent in their clinging to old leaves!)

    HA Jack, thanks, you are so funny and sweet! How exciting to have seed grown witch hazels, a true gardening accomplishment. One would think if you can grow the species there, the fancy hybrid would be available somewhere. Maybe in time. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  44. My witch hazels are both native varieties and they just don’t bloom to the degree that your named varieties do. Yours are spectacular and it is wonderful to see those close-ups of the buds opening β€” you can almost hear them unpeeling.

    Hi Linda, thanks. The natives I have seen have smaller flowers than these hybrids, but are still wonderful. It took several years for Diane to reach this level of bloom, but she seems ready to go for this year. It is quite cold right now so I hope she holds those buds tight for a while longer though. πŸ™‚
    Frances

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