Witch Hazel in January!
Okay...I confess. It was January in Portland...more precisely on Sauvie Island at Sean Hogan's phantasmagoria called Cistus Design Nursery. There were a dozen or more things blooming in the area: Iris 'Katherine Hodgkin' and Iris unguicularis in full force, Camellia japonica and C. forrestii, Daphne bohlua and D. odora, and time and again I would catch the bewitching fragrance of Sarcococca....But there is something about witch hazels that really captured my imagination.
That's Linda Buley, a grower in the Portland area who produces standards on witch hazels (many selections) as well as other unique plants. She's hawking her wares at Cistus: I wish I had the cash and that she had some wares in Denver: it would be wonderful to have a small, treeform witch hazel in my back yard. As it is, my 'Arnold Promise' is still in tight bud (and hope it got through the -20F of the other night OK)...
So if you live near Portland, shimmy on down to Cistus and pick one of those treasures up!