Of hope…of faith…of tomorrow

Last week, my son came home from school, proud of the new word he learned that day.

“Dad, I know what vernal means,” he beamed.

“You do? What does it mean?” I replied.

“Well, it’s kind of like spring,” he correctly answered.

I smiled and asked him, “Do you know that plant in the backyard that has the yellow-orange, spidery flowers on it? The witch hazel. Well, its real plant name is Hamamelis vernalis, which means it’s a witch hazel that blooms in the spring time.”

The vernal witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) not only blooms in the spring, but is the true harbinger of the new growing season in my garden. Along with the Helleborus sp. that bloom at its feet, the witch hazel is the first color that wipes away the dull tones of winter.

So today, on a day when I woke with a serious longing for spring, I visited my witch hazel to feel the hope held in each of her pubescent buds.

I smiled broadly when I saw her branches covered with these tightly wrapped flowers-to-be, holding in the hope contained in each new season. I don’t know how many of them will bloom this year, nor if they will trend more red or yellow. I don’t know when the first bud will open, nor how long they will last. But I do know that my witch hazel — my H. vernalis — helps me believe that no matter how dreary, dark and endless the winters of our lives may seem, that spring does come. She protects the history of each year underneath her bark, but this simple shrub is more than anything else a symbol of hope … of faith … of tomorrow.

Published by Christopher Tidrick

Be real. Love always. Share beauty. Lead well. Learn more.


  1. Christopher, I sooo get this. When I include a H. vernalis in a design, I talk to the clients about the intimacy of the little spidery flowers, but what a blessing amidst the long dark days of winter. I too find hope this. How lucky your son is to have a Dad with such an eye for the details!



  2. I will never again look at my witch hazel without remembering fondly our fun times with them last year! I wonder which color mine will bloom this year, too. Last year, they were reddish. The year before, yellow. I haven't checked mine yet this year to see how they're doing. I do remember seeing that they they were loaded with buds a month or so ago, though! 🙂



  3. Anne, intimacy is a great word to describe the flowers.

    Kylee, I too remember the race to bloom last year. We have a bit of a competitive streak going don't we? 😉



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