Bloom of the Week, April 5th-11th, 2015

Aside from the tiny crocuses and snowdrops dotting the ground, the landscape in Eastern Massachusetts is more or less devoid of color again this week. One exception to the lack of color are the late Winter/Spring-blooming witch hazel varieties, which we have selected as our "bloom of the week."

 Hybrid witch hazel ( Hamamelis x intermedia ) in full bloom in Somerville, MA this week.

Hybrid witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia) in full bloom in Somerville, MA this week.

The predominant variety we see planted in our area is Hamamelis x intermedia, known as "hybrid witch hazel." This deciduous shrub can grow up to 15 feet in size and comes in several different cultivars. During the growing season it has simple egg-shaped leaves, turning a soft golden yellow during late Fall. The shrub is a cross between Asian Hamamelis species, so unfortunately it is not a native. That being said, it adds great visual interest this time of year and makes a beautiful, robust addition to a large foundation planting or woodland edge.

 Close-up of hybrid witch hazel in bloom.

Close-up of hybrid witch hazel in bloom.

There is also a late Winter/Spring-blooming witch hazel variety available, Hamamelis vernalis, that is native to the Ozark region of North America, which can serve as an American (though not exactly native to our area) substitute. Our truly "native" witch hazel, Hamamelis virginiana, is a late Fall bloomer and is a spectacular plant that will likely be a candidate for "bloom of the week" later this season.

 Hybrid witch hazel provides striking late-Winter/early-Spring color to an otherwise drab landscape.

Hybrid witch hazel provides striking late-Winter/early-Spring color to an otherwise drab landscape.

If you look carefully you will notice the crowns of many perennials starting to emerge from the soil, as well as buds forming on some of the deciduous trees and shrubs. The snow is pretty much all gone now and the lawns are starting to turn green. Now is an ideal time to get out and take care of winter damaged plants and do some maintenance on the lawn and garden. Please contact us you have any questions about how to get your yard back into shape after this winter.