LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Monday, February 23, 2009

Arnold Always Promises and Delivers

I rarely see a barber shop with its candy-striped pole any more, but when I was a little girl they were common. One of my earliest memories is that of going to the barber shop with my daddy. I loved the haircuts, shaves, and conversations. I loved the lollipop the barber always gave me. Most of all I loved the intoxicating smell of the witch hazel the barber used as an astringent.

It is not surprising then, that one of my very favorite plants is Arnold Promise, a bright yellow witch hazel. While very attractive, Arnold is not so interested in looking good. He does what few other plants will do. In February when other plants are sleeping, Arnold gets dressed up in his yellow finery and blooms for us. You can't imagine the excitement around here when Arnold begins to bloom. This blooming plant marks a passage of time for us.

Arnold's blossoms spread throughout the plant...bright yellow on bare stems. When enough blossoms are open, the heavenly fragrance wafts through the air and you no longer have to stick your nose in the plant to smell it. Your mood is uplifted the minute your walk outside.






Arnold has showy green leaves all summer. They turn a beautiful orange in the fall. If you live in the proper area, consider getting your own Arnold Promise witch hazel. It will bring more joy than even the first crocus or daffodil. I promise.


20 comments:

Cedar ... said...

What a lovely promise of spring,... blooming in just the right cheerful color and just at a time when we are all ready for some springtime thoughts! Lovely!

troutbirder said...

Amazingly we have TWO in our small town. I know that smell but never thought as to what it was. Now I know. Very nice tribute to Erma. She made me laugh.

Lynne said...

Are they hardy up here?
I'd give my eye teeth for some of that color!

Cicero Sings said...

.... hmmmm ... I wonder if it would grow here?

George said...

I think it's wonderful to have any blossoms in February. The fragrance would be just an added bonus.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Neat promise of Spring, Carolyn..I think that Crossville still have some barber shops with those barber poles!!!!

The smell I remember is those horrible perms that I used to get.. Do you remember the old rollers which hung down from the ceiling????? GADS--that was FOREVER ago...

Thanks for the memories.
Hugs,
Betsy

Betsy from Tennessee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Betsy from Tennessee said...

I'm sorry. That stupid word verification messed me up and my comment posted twice... DUH!!!
Betsy

Ruth said...

I used to use witch hazel on my pimples :-)
I have never seen one growing around here, but then I have never really looked.

Vickie said...

Nice to have something so showy blooming early. We have a few daffodils opening and some crocus if you're alert. Looking forward to some warm spring weather.

Janie said...

This looks like a beautiful plant. Yellow blooms in February would bring some much-needed spring cheer.
Erma Bombeck's writings always made me laugh. She was a great lady.

Bird Girl said...

Oh, I just enjoyed this post immensely!!! I want an Arnold! Do you think they do well here in PA? Isn't amazing how strongly fragrance is cemented into the memories of childhood - beautiful! Your daddy, the barber shop and witch hazel! Thank you for this wonderful memoir!

Jayne said...

It's so wonderful to have something in your yard that blooms early and lets you know that spring is really coming. I may have to get an Arnold of my very own!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

I had not seen witchhazels around here before, until I stumbled upon someone's last week. What a nice spring surprise, to find blossoms in January!

Karen said...

I think I might get some. I've seen it around, but didn't know what it was called.

TheWritersPorch said...

I don't recall ever seeing a Witch Hazel although I keep it on hand.
I'll have to see about getting one of those. My maternal grandfather had a Barbershop when I was growing up. I loved to visit him there!
Carol

Coffee with Cathy said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely. I can almost smell spring! Thanks so much.

Kallen305 said...

I don't think I have ever seen witch hazel in bloom before. It is lovely.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments. Arnold Promise grows in plant zones 5-8. To find your Plant Hardiness Zone, go to http://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/ushzmap.html
Scroll down and click on your area to see what zone(s) you are in.

Lynne - I think you are iffy for Arnold Promise but you might ask the local nursery.

Betsy - You must have lived in a really small town. Even I don't remember those rollers that hung from the ceiling. I've seen them in movies, but not in person.

Bird Girl - Thanks. Some parts of PA might be suitable; some not.

Nina - Yes, it is a great surprise, not diminishing as time goes by.

Carol - What fun to have had a grandfather with a barber shop. I remember being so in love with all the action. I sat quietly in the chair with my lollipop just taking it all in.

Arija said...

Witch Hazed is so special but won't flower even in my mountain garden, it is just not cold enough.