Witch Hazel

Ozark witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) is one of old Pa Pitt’s favorite plantings. It blooms in the dead of winter; it keeps its petals closed until a warmer day comes along, and then it unfurls its little red flowers and floods its surroundings with perfume. But if you bring in a few twigs and put them in a vase, you don’t have to wait for a warm day. The flowers will unfurl within hours, and then in a day or two the perfume will start filling your house. You can have a fresh bouquet from the garden in the middle of January.

The twiggy bouquets make an interesting display, and for some reason it occurred to Father Pitt that he should attempt to photograph one in the manner of the 1930s.

Witch Hazel in Bloom

Hamamelis vernalis

Ozark Witch Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) blooms in any warm spell from January through March, filling the air with a delightfully strong perfume. When the weather freezes again, the petals curl up and wait for another warm spell. The bush is not native to Pittsburgh, but it is requires no care once it is established, and it does not make a pest of itself.

Hamamelis vernalis