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One of the reasons many of us live in the Pacific Northwest is the natural wonders that amaze us all. On this blog Seattle Times writers and photographers will share their explorations of the natural world from snowcaps to whitecaps. Write us at with your own sightings, questions and wonders to share.

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February 22, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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See (and smell) it now: witch hazel at Washington Park Arboretum

Etheral, otherworldly witch hazel lives up to its name. The time to see this spectacular plant in bloom is now, in the Witt Winter Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum.

Like other species of very early flowering plants, witch hazel really packs the fragrance, the better to attract pollinators at a time of year when the pollinator pickings are slim. From winter honeysuckle to daphne, the size of the fragrance far outdoes the size of the flowers on these early bloomers.

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Witch hazel is aglow at the Washington Park Arboretum

Lynda Mapes photo

The winter garden is replete with these lovelies and they are in full bloom right now. So whether you are looking for ideas for winter landscaping, or just want to remember in winter was strolling a fragrant, flower strewn path feels like ... the arboretum winter garden is the place to be.

Inspired to grow some yourself? Here is more on witch hazel in Pacific Northwest magazine from garden writer Valerie Easton.

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Witch hazel is particularly fragrant, the better to attract pollinators when they are scarce in late winter.

Photo by Zack P. Krieger

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