Vernal Witch Hazel and Glance Under Hoop

March 15, 2014

Last week, as I looked at pictures of last year in the garden, I realized that it was time for the vernal witch hazel to bloom, so I went out in the snow to take a look.  Sure enough the bottom branches were starting to bloom.

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First yellow blooms on the vernal witch hazel bush.

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Stepping back to see the whole vernal witch hazel bush, which was planted in the fall of 2012.  Just the bottom branches are starting to bloom.

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Wednesday morning brought six more inches of wet, heavy snow, which weighed down the shrubs.  I had to go out to the yew bushes in the front of this picture and the viburnum in the very back and shake the icy snow off of each branch to keep them from breaking and get them to stand up straight again.  Then on Friday the weather was in the 50s and the snow started melting quickly.

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The ice around the low hoop finally melted enough so that I could open one side and get some fresh air in.  Although it looks pathetic after months of freezing weather, I was heartened to see the onions growing and new leaves on the kale and tatsoi.  I could probably throw some lettuce seeds in here in a little while and see what comes up.

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Although the yellow kale leaves are only good for compost there are new green leaves starting in the center showing that the plant is alive. So I should have this plant producing food again soon.

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The pak choi roots have sent up new leaves!  There were also a couple of leaf lettuce plants with new leaves.

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Strawberry leaves poke out of the snow in the garden.  I saw quite a few strawberry plants coming up, so once it is a little warmer I will need to clean out the dead material and extra vines around each plant.

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Various types of sedum are greening up around the garden.  I don’t want to clean up the leaves too much because we are expecting more snow and cold weather on Sunday.

Animal sighting:  I saw a skunk meandering near the little pond I can see from the window at work.  Later in the week I was driving through my neighborhood and smelled the strong smell of skunk.  Seems like the wildlife are ready to come out of their hibernation now, too.


11 Responses to “Vernal Witch Hazel and Glance Under Hoop”

  1. merindyandjason said

    Have you tried empty milk jugs filled with water inside the greenhouse for solar heating?

    • I have some empty milk jugs that I have used outside the hoop, and I could try them inside, too. I think I have more trouble with it getting too hot under the hoop during the day when I am at work and not able to open it up to get fresh air.

  2. Sharon K. said

    These were a delight–I’ve always wanted to try witch hazel. Thank you for sharing!

  3. prb said

    i agree Sharon – I’ve always thought about witch hazel – i think i will have to give it a try….as well as the hoop – that is so amazing all the growth going on with the winter we have had. the last heavy snow/ice bent my juniper completely over – seems to have recovered though.

    • JoePyeWeed1 said

      I don’t think there was a lot of growing during the winter under the hoop, but now my plants get an early start in the spring. The whole thing was kind of a hassle, but I think it can get better as the process is refined and maybe if winter next year is not so crazy! That wet snow this week was sooo heavy to shovel and hard on woody plants. Also, in case you were not aware, witch hazel and vernal witch hazel bloom at different times.

  4. The Editors of Garden Variety said

    I am happy to see your beautiful garden waking up. Very inspirational for me.

  5. bittster said

    Considering the winter you’ve had, the hoop house seems to have been a success. Keeping the wind and snow off does make quite a difference, I might have to give it a try.
    I like the with hazel too. You might want to check the long branches sprouting up from the base. Mine is grafted and it was the rootstock sending up sprouts, not the top part which I wanted.

    • Regarding the vernal witch hazel, I got it from Possibility Place, which just does native plants, mostly from seeds in the wild. So there is no grafting here. I think the lower branches are just getting more warmth form the sun’s reflection on the snow.

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