January surprise

I’ll be honest, lately I haven’t been looking too closely at the witch hazel (hamamelis ‘Jelena’) I had planted in back of the house. January is too early for it to bloom, and there hasn’t been much going on.

It’s placed to provide a view from one of the kitchen windows.  To inspire in the late winter (the tiny flowers), summer (the interesting leaves) and fall (dramatic color). It’s intentionally placed among a planting to minimize one of those awkward spots with the “ugly necessities,” including the basement Bilco doors and the air conditioning compressor.  That’s not the main view, but it’s not the part we want to be seeing.

Now it’s the focal point of an area I planted last year with some cherry laurels, salvia, and white echinacea. The cherry laurels should grow just large enough to obscure the compressor in a few years, but still be far enough away to leave a service and ventilation area.

Cleaning snow off the walk today, I noticed Jelena is already starting to bloom.  Last fall, I wasn’t certain the variety I bought at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum plant sale was correctly marked, since the fall leaves were a clean, bright yellow rather than red or orange red the variety is known for. The leaves were still beautiful.  I reached out to the plant sale coordinator and she noted others were observing the same and we surmised that this might be the result of the weather — a whole lotta rain and rather warm, late fall.

What’s blooming certainly looks like a Jelena. It should be blooming in February or March in our area, though.  Maybe I should chalk this up to more unseasonable weather and global climate change.  I should mention, a few weeks ago, I also noticed forsythia buds in the area starting to break.

I’ll just enjoy this nice surprise and try not to dwell too much on the fact that there’s a weather apocalypse!