Red-Headed Witch (Hazel)

15 hazel 01

Along the Southwest Corridor Park in Boston, I seek out these witch hazel shrubs every spring. There are yellow versions in the Boston Public Garden, but these are closer to my place, and their color is rarer than their more common yellow counterpart. The fragrance is slightly less compelling, but on such a windy weekend it made no difference either way. The scent of flowers is meant for still evenings and quiet mornings, preferably on the warm side.

While technically not “blooms” the colorful plumage seen here appears as such, making a magical impression of flowering wood. Like the American dogwood and the Judas tree, there’s something elegant and exquisite about a tree or shrub that blooms on bare branches, before the leaves show up. The Japanese cherry is another good example of this, as is forsythia. All is about to commence. We’ve waited long enough.

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