I should not be so enthused seeing our native, common witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana, below) flowering along a trail (on the WV/VA border) at 2900 hundred feet elevation this second week of September. While I’m happy to welcome cooler temperatures after a summer that is always too long and too hot, I’m in no rush for autumn to arrive since this necessarily means winter is soon to follow. This witch hazel is a harbinger that autumn is close, no matter my wishes.
But, I have a thing for witch hazels, with one or another flowering in the garden (at 600 feet elevation) from October into March. Yes, I watch closely in January as buds swell on Vernal (Hamamelis vernalis) and February flowering hybrid witch hazels (Hamamelis x intermedia), and rejoice at their first glimpse of color. While flowers in September or October join many other blooms, even the early flowering, common witch hazels are treasured.
I’ve started, stopped, then started again collecting late summer, early autumn flowering toad lilies (Trycirtis, above). There are clear distinctions between the coloring of flowers, but as the collection increases the differences from new to long established ones grown to the size of small shrubs become less obvious. There is always space to be found to add a prized toad lily, but when one is hardly different from the other I’m not inclined to dig out a variegated hummingbird mint (Agastache ‘Crazy Fortune’, below) to make room.