In between cold snaps and periods of constant rain, I go outside and see signs that spring is around the corner. Green leaves of extra-early China Pink garlic poke through the mulch.
Swollen buds of wintersweet (Chimonanthus) open demurely as a precursor of spring’s exuberance.
I’m always disappointed that the Chinese witch hazel that I planted years ago holds onto its leaves so that its fragrant blooms can only be appreciated up close while swaddled in rain gear.
To appreciate the true magnificence of the witch hazels in bloom, I took a trip to Seattle to visit the winter garden at the Washington Park Arboretum, associated with the University of Washington. Many hardy folks treated themselves to a weekend morning outing, many with our happy dogs, despite frozen fingers and toes. From afar, colors were muted, but massed in a way that dazzled our winter senses.
Get up close and we could appreciate the color, be amazed by the bloom’s structure and find the sweet scent.
But even more, one sees how gardens really are about so much more than flowers.