While people are adjusting to the addition of SNOW in the city and on the Greenway, the plants are on autopilot and letting the weather and temperatures guide them. For visitors, the snow adds a clear, clean backdrop to the plants, emphasizing the profile of dark stalks and highlighting the colors of stems and branches. The gentle dance of shadows on the white canvas of snow adds another dimension to the winter elements in the garden.

Cornus alba 'Baihalo' (Ivory Halo)

Cornus alba ‘Baihalo’ (Ivory Halo)

Echinecea purpurea seedhead

Echinecea purpurea seedhead

The tried and true bloomers in the early months of the year are the Witch-hazels, with Hamamelis x intermedia one of a number in the genus. These small to medium sized, deciduous trees are renowned for their classic vase shape, confetti inspired blooms, and wonderful, haunting fragrance. There are a few varieties throughout the parks with a nice collection in the Fort Point Channel Parks. Some are tucked into the beds where they are a harder to find, but there is a nice group planting under the Maples near the intersection of Oliver and Purchase Street.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold's Promise'

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold’s Promise’

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’

With the colder weather their fragrance is repressed, but when warmed with sun you can be surprised by the subtle and sweet scent caught on a breeze. The flowers are currently just emerging from their buds, and the narrow, crinkled, spider like petals are starting to stretch out from their protective, light brown sepals. There are a number of cultivars here, including the red blooming ‘Diane’, the orange tinted ‘Jelena’, and the popular, most fragrant ‘Arnold’s Promise’.