Hamamelis and Hummers–5 Things

Hummingbirds and Witch-hazel.

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’

I don’t know how this escaped my notice all these years, but it appears that the hummingbirds LOVE Witch-hazel–Hamamelis. The boys and girls were out there this morning drinking to their hearts’ content.

I scoured Google images for one of a Hummingbird enjoying the nectar of the Hamamelis, without success. And try as I might, I couldn’t get one myself.

So I’m afraid you’ll have to take my word for it–and the word of multitudes of garden writers like Ciscoe Morris in Seattle.

And here are a few other items of interest about the lovely Hamamelis species:

  1. The most commonly noted virtue of the witch-hazel is its fragrance. And indeed, if you’ve smelled ‘Arnold Promise’ or ‘Pallida’, you’d have to agree. But before you buy that ‘Diane’ (above) or ‘Jelena’ you’ll have to choose either colourful flowers or fragrance. ‘Diane’ reputedly has “subtle fragrance”, but it’s too subtle for my nose.  ‘Jelena’ has no fragrance.
  2. The shape of the Hamamelis is also delightful: some like ‘Diane’ and ‘Arnold Promise’ are vase shaped, others much rounder.

    Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’. This pic is from 2015 when I still had a tiny front lawn. (Chafer beetle- and raccoon-assaulted as you can just see on the right upper corner.)

  3. Hamamelis, according to Cass Turnbull from Plant Amnesty ( highly recommend her pruning videos) is an “untouchable”. You will quickly destroy that desirable branch structure if you are a little too aggressive pruning her. Hamamelis easily suckers, which means you could have a shrubby messy hedge instead of a tree before long. The suckers must be removed and the earlier the better. If they’re only a couple inches tall when you notice them, removing them won’t do the tree any harm at all. On the other hand, if you’ve planted it a bit too close to the walkway or drive, and feel the need to remove some branches for convenience sake, you may end up with not only more suckers, but watersprouts as well. That’s shoots/branches that appear from some random spot on other branches or the trunk, and most often with a different appearance from the rest of the tree. Avoiding watersprouts is a good think. So plant your Hamamelis where it will have room to grow to its full natural size, only ever cut branches when you really have to, and cut whole branches, don’t “heading-cut”.
  4. Fall colour: hard to beat. Nuff said.
  5. Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’ from Oct 2017.

    Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’ from Oct 2017. This isn’t even late day sun; apparently it’s 10:24 am.

Dull Day in Feb

It’s almost always a dull day in Feb, but unlike many “northern” places, and unlike last year, this dull Monday is mild, as has been the whole winter season.

Hence, spring-ish garden pics–same plants I show you most years!:

Sarcococca–spectacular fragrance at my front door.

You can imagine how adaptable Sarcococca is: it’s growing in never-amended soil, between concrete and asphalt, in a bed that is 12″ wide and about 9′ long.

one of the many newer upright hellebores–stlll can’t find a tag…

There’s really nothing like seeing big red or white or creamy green clumps of hellebores sprouting up through mounds of wood chip mulch!

Helleborus Spring Promise ‘Elly’. Spring Promise is a series from Helleborus Gold Collection. Most have a very upright flowering habit.

Another untagged hellebore. Can’t even find a google image that has the same colour and petal (actually sepal) shape.

Galanthus nivalis

Euphorbia x martinii

again

Iris reticulata ‘Clarette’

Now here’s a shrub/small tree that no one should be without–Hamamelis–Witch hazel.

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’

‘Diane’ isn’t very fragrant, but she makes up for that lack with outstanding colour. It would be even better if the background weren’t so dull. If you have snow on the ground, you’d appreciate those little spidery flowers much more. Two alternatives both for a climate like mine, and for fragrance, are ‘Arnold’s Promise’ and ‘Pallida’. Both have light-coloured (creamy white to yellow) flowers, so they show up better against the brown ground, and they are wonderfully fragrant. When I bought ‘Diane’ it was billed as ‘fragrant’, but it’s not at all. Maybe I should splurge and find room for ‘Pallida’.

Viburnum tinus ‘Spring Bouquet’

Viburnum tinus ‘Spring Bouquet’

 

 

 

 

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