Jelena love

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena'I can’t take my eyes off her. Or my camera away from her. I also can’t help wondering if I would be as enraptured if Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ bloomed at a normal time with other normal spring, summer and fall blooming plants instead of the middle of a white-out winter. — But the flowers are weird enough and its fragrance sweet enough that I’m pretty sure it would be my favorite thing in the whole world whenever it bloomed. 

I also can’t help wondering why the fershlug this witch hazel blooms now instead when pollinating insects are out and about. I’m sure attracted to her but who else would be? Syrphid flies are early but I haven’t seen any yet… (Hamamelis virginiana, which blooms in the fall, is similarly handicapped. I read that winter moth might provide pollination service for it in return for nectar.) My guess is that Jelena and her kin (‘Diane’, ‘Arnold’s Promise’, etc) are all for show at least in this neck of the woods — H. x intermedia being a cross of a couple of Asian species, not anything native. I’d be pretty sad about that if I didn’t enjoy the show quite so much. It must go on. Brava, Jelena. Applause, applause! 

Do you know of any wildlife that might love this plant as much as you and I do?

Indoor flowers for winter happiness

Camellia 'Minato-No-Akebono'Lately every time I open a door to the plantry — whenever I come and go from the house — I am hit with a light clove-y (or is it cinnamon-y?) pink fragrance that makes me dim my eyes and suck in deeply through both nostrils. I’d use every pore if I could. Especially whenever it’s too cold to smell much of anything outside or on those rare days the neighborhood is damply downwind of the town’s biosolids compost facility. (It’s great stuff but super stinky.) The source of the perfume is a little camellia I picked up at Logee’s a few years ago and it is blooming more heavily this year than ever before. Its tag is long gone and it doesn’t appear to be in their catalog anymore but I did a quick internet search: although this rings no bells at all, it looks like a Camella lutchuensis ‘Minato-No-Akebono’. During the summer it hangs out with everything else in the partial shade of my deck and right now it’s seeming to enjoy the chilly temperature fluctuations out in the plantry (from the 60s during the day down into the 30s on very cold nights). Last year I brought it into the living room (which has a more consistent temperature around 60F) for its bloom period and it didn’t put on anywhere near the same endless show.

purple shamrock - Oxalis triangularisWhich isn’t to say that my living room is flower-free right now. Oxalis triangularis is going nuts blooming though it hardly needs to. Its largish burgundy leaves that fold closed like upside-down butterfly wings are plenty entertaining enough. Not to mention tangy and delicious. From what I understand, this plant wants to go dormant though it has never indicated such a desire to me. I hope, since dormancy might only last 4-6 weeks, that it won’t particularly miss it. Or perhaps these flowers are its last hurrah.

Do you grow either of these plants? Do they make you as happy as they do me?