Hummingbirds and Witch-hazel.
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:
- 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.
- The shape of the Hamamelis is also delightful: some like ‘Diane’ and ‘Arnold Promise’ are vase shaped, others much rounder.
- 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”.
- Fall colour: hard to beat. Nuff said.