When my sister visited over the holidays, we, of course, got to talking about our childhood. One of the things she reminded me of was discovering a witch hazel tree behind our "new" house (the second house we lived in.) Growing up in the woods, we didn't see many flowers, other than a few wild varieties. But here was a tree blooming in the winter! It was like a miracle to us. Although the flowers are quite small, the fact that they bloom in January or February increases their impact greatly. Here's a photo of our witch hazel in full bloom.
When I took classes at Longwood Gardens, and studied flowering shrubs, the professor was not at all enthused about forsythia. He felt the flowers didn't make up for the fact that it was a plain green shrub the rest of the year. But sometimes with plants, they only need to do one thing, if they do it really well. And those sunny gold flowers early in the season, when we're tired of winter, seem to be quite enough. Witch hazel flowers are in the same category.
Baby seedlings continue to grow in our basement. Even at this tender age, characteristics of the mature plant develop. In this photo of blue flax, you can see the fine, blue-gray foliage typical of the plant. Individual flowers bloom only a day, but the plant flowers a month or more.