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Crocus poking up

Categories: Blooms

After a week of pleasant weather, March has returned. Beware the Ides of March indeed-this is Vermont, and 50 degrees in March does not mean spring is upon us. Fortunately, the plants are right on time. This week in blooms, we’re seeing the first crocus coming up. More

First Plant in Bloom-Spring?

Categories: Blooms

Hopefully you’ll be suffering the vertigo as gladly as I-posting on snow removal last week, and on the first flower in bloom this spring the next.

Ozark Witch Hazel

Ozark Witch Hazel-click for close-up

We’re starting the year in blooms the same way we ended the year in blooms, with a Witch Hazel. This one is Ozark Witch Hazel, Hamamelis vernalis. A smaller witch hazel, this one should top out in the landscape at 8-10′ tall and wide. Like the others, spectacular fall colors in hues of yellow and golds. Native from Missouri to Louisiana and Oklahoma, the flowers open very early in the spring, a 4 calyx flower with the ability to close up and wait should the weather turn cold again. This can extend the blooming time for 4 weeks or more. Down south they suffer from an inability to drop their leaves, hiding the lovely flowers, but does not seem to be an issue this far north.

Many cultivars have been selected, most trending toward red. The cultivar I bought for my house (and saw blooming yesterday) is “Purpurea”, aptly named once you see the blooms. The foliage should have a purplish tint all season-I purchased it in the fall with a spectacular red purple color.

Purpurea Ozark Witch Hazel

Purpurea Ozark Witch Hazel-click for close-up

 On campus, the witch hazel is blooming just east of the Garden of the Seasons, as a cluster of three in the swale. They were only planted a couple of years ago, so, while well established, are just beginning to grow and fill out. A book I got for my birthday, Lives of the Trees, states the witch in Witch Hazel comes from wych, or wican, meaning flexible or springy, like the hazel. Furthermore, the latin Hamamelis comes from hama, meaning together, and melis, meaning apple, for their tendency to fruit and flower together. This happened on campus in the fall, but this spring we are only graced with the seed pods on the spring witch hazel scattered amongst the blooms. 

Am I making the call to say spring is here? Heck no. Am I hopeful? Yeah. Lots.

Fall Foliage Pictures

Categories: Blooms, Trees

We’re on the downhill side of fall foliage at Middlebury now, but here’s some pictures while it lasts.

Witch Hazel

Categories: Blooms, Trees

I fear this may be the last post this year about things in bloom. I was trekking across a tiny dusting of snow on top of Mt. Abe on Monday after all. There are plenty of things in bloom: asters, Japanese Anemone, still some Black Eyed Susan. But I’m writing about a tree, of sorts, Witch Hazel, Hamamelis virginiana.

Witch Hazel in Bloom

Witch Hazel in Bloom

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Scholar Tree

Categories: Blooms, Trees

There is a great tree in bloom right now, I suggest dropping everything to go see. It’s the class tree for the class of 1940, planted in front of the Emma Willard House (Admissions). Called a Pagoda Tree, Chinese Scholar Tree, Japanese Pagodatree, the latin name I learned in school was Sophora japonica, but I’ve just learned this has changed to Styphnolobium japonicum. (You’re on your own for pronunciation there) The creamy white flowers are similar to our ubiquitous Black Locust, or to the great Yellowwood. More

Black Eyed Susan

Categories: Blooms

Rudbeckia fulgida \'Goldsturm\'

Surprisingly, nobody has said anything yet. Look all around on campus, in all the new plantings, and you’ll see Black Eyed Susan, Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’. I’m waiting for the question, What’s with all these Black Eyed Susans anyway? More

Littleleaf Linden

Categories: Blooms, Trees

Another tree is in bloom right now, it’s that sweet smell you probably get a hint of once in a while. It’s Littleleaf Linden, Tillia cordata, related to our native Basswood, Tillia americana. Here’s a picture of the bloom.

We’re home to the state’s largest Littleleaf Linden, by Warner Science.

Tuliptree

Categories: Blooms, Trees

Twice today people came up to me, (speaking English, they were staff, not Language School)(I took Russian in Prep School, forgotten most of it), asking what these particular trees were in bloom on campus. Liriodendron tulipifera, Tuliptree, is flowering all over campus right now. More

Roses

Categories: Blooms

It must be the middle of June, the roses are in bloom. Go look at the split rail fence next to Bowker House. No, I have no idea what kind of rose it is, but the whole crew here sure likes them.

Across the way at Bowker Barn are some pink ones, planted last year. I know which ones those are, it’s a hardy climber called William Baffin.

White Fringetree

Categories: Blooms, Trees

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, after all, it’s snowing in June. Yeah, Lilacs are nice, and the Bridalwreath Spirea was nice for the 3 days it bloomed this spring, but, oh, to have something spectacular bloom in June, when everyone and everything is a little more relaxed, the crazy spring fever starting to abate, now that’s a shrub worth talking about. More