At this time of year colour in the garden is at a premium, apart from evergreens and berries there are very few plants that offer much colour at this time of year.
The Hamamelis or Which Hazel is one such.
We came across a fine range of Hamamelis today at the local garden centre.
The name Hamamelis is greek for "together with fruit" and is thought to refer to the fact that the flowers, fruit and leaf bufs are all pesent on the plant at the same time in late winter. Commonly known as Witch Hazel, although it is not related to the Hazel tree.
The Hamamelis flowers for several weeks in December through to February. It produces an abundance of spidery flowers in clusters on bare stems, up to one inch long.
Flower colour, particularly in the hybrids can range from pale yellow, through to red and many of them have good scent, slightly sweet and spicy.
Traditionally they were often planted in dappled shade but grow and flower better in the open.They like a well drained soil to which compost has been added.
Any kind of soil will do except chalk or lime.
We did buy one of these fine winter flowering shrubs a few years back. I had the very spot for it...or so I thought. I should have checked what kind of soil it liked. I managed to plant it in a spot which had the remnants of lime mortar from an old building. The poor plant didn't last long...
It was an expensive mistake.
Having said that if you have the right conditions for it Hamamelis is a fine choice for some colour in the Winter garden.