Arnold is tardy

‘Arnold Promise’ (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’, below) is running a bit late this year. Typically, ‘Arnold’ flowers a week or more earlier in this garden than the red flowered ‘Diane’, which is now beginning to bloom in mid February. But, thus far only swelling buds are evident on ‘Arnold Promise’, and there is no sign of its yellow flowers.Arnold Promise witch hazel in mid February

In fact, this is not the ‘Arnold Promise’ that my observations on flowering time are based upon. That one finally succumbed to constant dampness along the southern border of the rear garden a few years ago, and a new shrub was planted thirty feet away, but in considerably drier ground. The new ‘Arnold’ is a fine shrub, relatively full and three and a half feet tall, but of course it cannot yet match the one that was planted two decades earlier.Jelena witch hazel in mid March

There are a number of reasons why the new ‘Arnold Promise’ should flower later. Possibly, the new planting site does not have the same sun exposure, though I suspect that the positioning is quite similar, and reckon this is not the cause of its lateness. Closer to the house, the orange flowered ‘Jelena’ (above) is planted in a bit too much shade so that it forms fewer buds, and also it begins flowering at least a week later than ‘Diane’ (below) and a few weeks later than ‘Arnold’. I don’t believe that ‘Jelena’ will be as floriferous as ‘Arnold Promise’ given any exposure, but certainly the shaded spot diminishes its flowering and accounts for its later blooming.Diane witch hazel

The new ‘Arnold Promise’ gets plenty of sun, and more sun through the winter since it is thirty feet further from the maples and tulip poplars that line the southern border. By my best guess, I suppose that ‘Arnold’ is delayed because it is newly planted, and flowers and foliage are often a bit tardy in arriving on plants that are still getting adjusted after their transplant.

In another year or two, I figure, ‘Arnold Promise’ will get back to flowering the second week of February, a week earlier if the winter is mild, and a week later in a cold one, but always a week earlier than ‘Diane’. But, if it doesn’t, it will not  be a great surprise, and I will have to adjust my expectations. In any case, I am happy to have ‘Arnold Promise’ back in the garden after a short absence.

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4 thoughts on “Arnold is tardy

    • I heard reports in the area that some hybrid witch hazels were flowering in the warmth of December, but I think those were much closer to Washington DC, which is a good bit warmer than I am. In the winter I can run ten degrees colder than in town. We’re expecting low sixties this weekend, so I expect this will get Arnold and Jelena into bloom.

  1. Here in the Boston area I have a “Pallida” that came into flower during a thaw in January. The flowers seemed to have survived the record cold we had here last Sunday (-17!!) and have now unfurled again. On the whole it’s been a warm winter — warmer than last year certainly — but no more so than in Virginia, I’m sure. Could it be that Pallida just flowers earlier than other cultivars?

    • Happily, after two recent winters with multiple nights below zero, this winter the coldest weather has moved north and our coldest nights have been seven or eight degrees above zero. This has left flower buds on several plants marginally cold hardy plants undamaged, so there will be blooms for the first time in several years. I don’t have experience with ‘Pallida’, but it is just as likely that it is located in a micro climate that encouraged early flowering.

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