I am a gardener.
As a botanical artist, I use my garden as the inspiration for my work. I also use it as a fitness gym to keep me healthy, strong and flexible. The other side benefit that no gardener ever mentions is that the more gardening you do the more ice-cream you can eat without gaining weight. Isn’t that enough reason to take up gardening?
My witch hazel, otherwise known as Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’, begins blooming in February in my neck of the woods. I’m located in zone 6, on Long Island, NY in the United States which is latitude 40.900N and longitude -73.343W. The elevation is listed as 59 feet but I’m at the top of a series of hills so I’m a bit higher up from the town harbor. This means that I get a little bit more snow than other parts of my town and it lasts longer.
This photo was taken on March 1, 2008 and it shows the view from my kitchen window. Looking slightly left, through the V shaped branches of my Paperbark maple, you can see the witch hazel in bloom. I planted that shrub in August of 1999 and it lights up the garden for close to two months beginning in February.
I positioned it as a focal point to pull my eye out to the woodland walks. I wanted to see the cheerful yellow color from warmth of my kitchen without having to brave the elements on a cold late winter day. It is such a welcome harbinger of spring that it often seduces me to brave the cold to see what else might possibly be in bloom so early in the year.
Ribbons of paper thin confetti dangle from the branches as if in anticipation of celebrating the spring season.