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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Number One Early Blooming Woodland Shrub

The Why of Witch Hazel

At this time of year, especially in the cold zones, looking for colorful life can be difficult at best. That’s why we’ll do a #ThrowbackThursday post from last February on ‘The Why of Witch Hazel.’ There’s a list of characteristics to peruse, making this woodland shrub an all-time favorite. Take a #ThrowbackThursday peek back down memory lane. Just an FYI - with New England's harsh winter, there's a couple week lag time so keep your eyes peeled. Witch Hazel can be found in bloom right now.

Need more than 'The Why of Witch Hazel' to catch your attention? Here are two more characteristics to add to its extensive list. Where can you find this natural beauty for creating an eye-catching, early spring bouquet? Reminds me of a cross between Pussy Willows and Forsythia. 
The unusual blossom makes it perfect for a natural, earthy eye-catching bouquet.
And you can’t underestimate its medicinal purposes. The leaves and bark have beneficial properties. Here’s a Witch Hazel compress recipe, good for sunburn, swollen and inflamed joints, plus aching varicose veins.

Take 1 0z. (25g.) cut bark and 1 pt. (500ml.) water. Simmer together for 10 minutes. Strain and allow to cool. Dip a cloth in, wring and apply for a ½ hour, wetting it again as needed. And while you're nursing some of the remnants of the winter we'd rather forget, a nice spring shot might be necessary of that typical spring bouquet. 
We still love that spring bouquet of Tulips but urge you to try something different - Witch Hazel in a vase!
Even though Tulips shout 'perky' and remain a spring favorite, try filling your vase with Witch Hazel. You can’t beat the beauty and its many characteristics. As John W. Foster reminds us, “One of the strongest characteristics of genius is the power of lighting its own fire.” So if you need an early season spark, start with this magical woodland shrub. Find it growing in the woods or add to your plant list for your own garden space.

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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)