At this early date, there are two and only two blooming plants in the garden of ProfessorRoush; both falling somewhere into the ugly brassy or chrome yellow range of the flower world. Adding to my gardening irritation factor, they are also about 2 weeks later than in the average year. These lovely plants are, of course, some yellow snow crocus and my 'Jelena' witch hazel. I'm not at all sure that I like either of them, but now, a brief week or two past the snow and in contrast to the tired color of the dried grass everywhere else in my landscape, I suppose I should take what I can get.
My acceptance, nay, my naked lust, for snow crocus is based entirely on the fact that they are the first blooms I see every year. If they flowered in late April in the wake of larger and flashier tulips and daffodils, I'd never grow them. If they bloomed in September, just past the burning fires of August, I might give them the time of day but I also still might not grow them. They're just too low to the ground and small to receive notice. Still, I'm thankful every year when I see them in March.
Besides, I'm not that crazy about yellow flowers in general. I was interested to learn recently that yellow is supposed to be the color of the "mind and the intellect," for those who follow the "psychology of yellow," whatever that is. Yellow "relates to acquired knowledge," and "resonates with the left (or logical) side of the brain stimulating our mental faculties and creating mental agility and perception." It "talks," it is "non-emotional", it is the "entertainer, the comic, the clown." Poppycock! The only part of that I agree with is the "acquired knowledge" part. After years of hard-won gardening efforts, I acquired the knowledge that the first two plants that will survive a Kansas winter and bloom are two screaming yellow plants; snow crocus and witch hazel.
As for the witch hazel, my devoted readers know that I've struggled with it here on the Kansas prairie. I've never been impressed with the bloom and its impact on my Spring garden, but for the first time, I'm a little closer to tolerance for it. My 'Jelena' has finally bloomed with enough gusto that I can see that it is blooming over ten feet away. That's not much, but it's a worthwhile beginning on the road to acceptance, and what I've seen is enough for me to keep the plant around for another year of growth. Perhaps, someday, I can hope to see it blooming from the house windows so that I don't have to walk right up to the plant to check on it.