Hamamelis – Popular Shrubs for the Garden
The Hamamelis are the Wych Hazels or Witch Hazels as they are perhaps better known and are very valuable because they flower in winter, on the leafless branches. These shrubs grow slowly, but will eventually reach a height of 10 feet or more, with a proportionate spread and so require a fair amount of room. However, in order that theand their fragrance can be appreciated, it is well worth planting them fairly near a pathway.
Hamamelis mollis is probably the best of the genus and it produces flowers from late December until late February or early March. These are golden-yellow blossoms, with strap-shaped petals that are about 1/2 inch in length. The leaves are large and turn bright orange in autumn before falling. There is a variety, pallida, with paler flowers.
Hamamelis japonica in contrast has less fragrant flowers and the narrow petals are wavy with the flowers surrounded by red bracts. It flowers at about the same time as Hamamelis mollis and has one or two varieties, including arborea, which is considerably taller, and zuccariniana with flowers of lemon-yellow.
There is a variety ‘Carmine Red’, so called because of the colour of its flowers and another variety ‘Hiltingbury’ from the hybrid Hamamelis intermedia, which has coppery-red flowers. ‘Copper Beauty’, sometimes known as ‘Jelena’, has flowers of coppery-orange.
These wych hazels do well in any ordinary garden, are perfectly hardy and need no other than the normal trimming necessary to keep the shrub in shape.