It's a dreary, overcast, raw February day, & spring is weeks off. But there's color in the garden! I just checked the witch hazel. Both 'Jelena' and 'Arnold Promise' are about to bloom. These witch hazel cultivars were a present from Paul Young, who grows magnificent specimens in his garden. The chubby buds on 'Jelena' are robust orangy-earthy tone, and 'Arnie" is boasting a hint of his bright yellow. When we get a warm day, perhaps above 40 degrees, they'll both unfurl their bright little banners of color. They are often fragrant, and the scent wafts over the White Pine Garden while I clear it of winter debris.
And take a look at the pieris! These set their flower buds the previous season, and they sit, patiently awaiting the blue skies of March to burst forth. But they give us a color present while they wait.
Both pieris and witch hazel are easy shrubs for the shade garden. Deer disregard pieris, but you'll have to spray repellent on the witch hazel. It's worth it for the preview of the season to come, isn't it?