It is a family tradition to walk up the hill and into the woods this time of year to seek out the witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) blossoms. This is a native shrub or small tree that prefers moist, acidic soil–which we have in abundance.
This is a plant that has romantic connotations for me. (Narcissus is another one.) I already told the story in a previous post, so I’ll just quote myself here:
The first autumn we lived here, my husband took me up in these woods. He was obviously looking for something, but I couldn’t figure out what. Finally, he stopped and said, “Look up.” There before us was a rather large witch hazel completely spangled with the feathery blossoms. I was enchanted. It looked like stars had fallen and gotten caught in the branches.
It’s been a long time in coming, but I think we finally have a witch hazel year equal to that memorable, almost mythic one. Honey, are you up for a walk?