Friday, October 13, 2006

Witch Hazel

A cold wind whips along the avenue, scattering dead leaves and stirring up trouble. Dark clouds drift across a pale moon. And, all that once bloomed is done for the season. Or, is it?

A bit of odd magic is brewing... from one strange creature, just getting started.

Witch Hazel is a peculiar shrub, flowering in the dead of winter. It begins with brilliant autumn foliage during late fall. Come January, crooked, twisted branches burst forth with spidery, yellow blooms.

A good spell was cast upon this odd fellow, back in the Middle Ages. Witch Hazel limbs are used to divine - to find underground water - where conventional technology cannot.

While it can't be explained, other than to acknowledge that it's true,* diviners find water with amazing accuracy, where random drilling has little success.

Witch's Brew: Tannins and volatile oils in Witch Hazel make an effective natural astringent for treating eczema.

American Witch Hazel provides lively color in the dead of winter, when nothing normal should be blooming. Plant it in a shady spot, keeping in mind that any self-respecting shade trees will have given up the ghost when this bewitched little bush hits its stride. Hardy to USDA zone 3.

* Journal of Scientific Exploration, Stanford University, March 1995. Researchers observed two thousand divining cases prior to well-digging. The success rate of diviners in Sri Lankha was 96 percent. They predicted water depth with "amazing accuracy." Nearly all cases occurred on lands where random drilling for water had little to no success.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate -- Do you also have the nickname Hazel? I found this witch hazel page you have and saw we had a bit in common. From one witch to another... visit me on 360.


(and happy Solstice)

Hazel Kate