A few days ago, the witchhazel near the building where I work went into bloom. Spring is in the air... literally! It's one of the earliest bloomers, and it has a scent reminiscent of ... lilacs and old ladies? Normally, I'd hate the smell, but with my cabin fever burning at full tilt, I'll take any bit of spring I can get. So, a branch of witchhazel (cut sureptitiously from the seriously overgrown bush I pass on the way from my car) now adorns my desk.
Witchhazel has the damndest little flowers, too. Strange, tiny yellow or red streamers that curl up in cold weather and unfurl when it warms. And the seed pods are little grenades, launching the shiny black seeds up to [insert unconfirmed internet-derived distance here]! Pretty cool. If only the bushes didn't look so much like formless blobs, I might plant one in my yard.
Speaking of which. Autumn's experiment of planting zone 6 trees in my yard seems to have been a dismal failure. I distinctly remember asking myself "After all, how many days below -10F have there been since we moved in?" Four or five months later, here I sit with major winterkill and one poor little Willow Oak that may not even have a single living branch. Oh well, if you aren't killing plants, you aren't growing as a gardener, right?