Sunday, March 7, 2010

Witch Hazel at the Historic Gardens

My quest to find a few signs of spring took a big leap forward today with a trip to the Historic Gardens in Annapolis Royal. Trish Fry, the Manager of the Gardens, had mentioned at the end of last week that the witch hazel plants had come into bloom. At this point in the winter, I am excited to see anything remotely reminding me of spring. So, camera in hand I made my way to the Gardens on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon. What better time to get a few pictures of our first blooming plant of 2010. When I arrived at the Gardens, I thankfully met Trish (a superb photographer) who was heading out to take some pictures of the blooms herself. I am sure that she saved me at least a half hour of wandering around wondering where the witch hazel bushes were.

I must admit that I vaguely recognized witch hazel as a medicinal plant but, I really did not know much about it. I was interested to learn that extracts from the bark and leaves have uses ranging from aftershave to treating hemorrhoids. I ask you, what more can you ask of a plant? Well, evidently branches were also used for dowsing as twigs from the hazel were used in England. If only I had known this when I made my post last month about the instructions for making a divining rod from 1766. I also think that the witch hazel's ability to launch mature seeds some 10 meters is fairly interesting. I will try to remember to watch for flying seeds as I walk through this part of the Gardens in the fall.

The one oddball picture in this lot is of some snowdrops which were in bloom on the other side of the Gardens. Snowdrops are always a sure sign that warmer weather is eventually on the way (plus or minus a few more snowstorms). I should also take this opportunity to once again remark at how lucky we are to have a facility like the Historic Gardens in Annapolis Royal.

All for now,

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