by: Les Lutz, Director of Horticulture
This article first appeared in the Sandwich Enterprise and is posted with the paper’s permission.
The days are getting longer and, even though the snow seems to never end, there are signs of life in the garden. One bright spot in the Garden here at Heritage is a species that has been in flower for over a month now: Hamamelis (Witch-hazel).
There are several species that do well on the Cape and the one that is readily available in the trade is Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’. This amazing plant came into flower in late December and has been in continuous flower ever since. That’s an amazing eight weeks. The cultivar ‘Arnold Promise’ was developed by Arnold Arboretum (of Boston) and is considered one of the best of the cultivars. It’s a beautiful clear yellow with strap-like flowers that are wonderfully fragrant.
Three other cv’s of Hamamelis x intermedia that everyone should have are ‘Jelena’ , ‘Ruby Glow’ and ‘Diane’. ‘Jelena’ is a beautiful copper color and ‘Ruby Glow’ is coppery-red in color whereas ‘Diane’ is a beautiful red-flowering form. Either can flower as early as November (or as late as November – depending on your perspective) and here at Heritage ‘Jelena’ is still in flower now in late February. What an amazing show and as if the flowers in mid-winter aren’t enough, they’re also fragrant!
Many people that hike find the native species Hamamelis virginiana growing in the banks along lakes and streams. Hamamelis virginiana typically flowers in fall. And, in case you’re wondering about the name Witchhazel, yes, this is where the popular astringent Witchhazel is derived. Specifically from Hamameilis virginiana and apparently it was first used by Native Americans and even now forms the basis of many medicinal products.
If you’re looking for a small flowering tree that has multiple season interest, why not choose one of these wonderful plants. They have wonderful medium green foliage, beautiful fall color, and depending on which species or cultivar, offer a show for much of the fall and winter.