This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info: guerinw@gmail.com

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hybrid witchhazels in full bloom

close-up of strap-like petals
There's a nice planting of witchhazels at the south end of the Exhibit Museum on the U-M campus. The one with the yellow flowers has a very pleasant fragrance that travels far. I was ready to identify it as Hamamelis x intermedia "Pallida," which is the selection I grow (and cherish) in my own garden.  Give this plant five or so days of warmish weather in February or March and it will come into full bloom -- and it will retain its beauty even after the thermometer does its inevitable subsequent plunge. Browsing through images on-line, however, I realize this campus specimen could just as well be "Arnold's Promise," which got its name from Harvard's famous arboretum in Boston. Or it could be "Westerstede." Or . . .

The witchhazel with the reddish flowers is probably the hybrid "Diane." The flowers looks great close-up, but the plant in bloom is pretty drab when viewed from 6' away. All these Asian hybrid witchhazels are fantastic plants, but my experience is that they never look better than when you first get them from the nursery.  So heck, just replace them every decade or so. It's well worth it.

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