Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Witch Hazel, How Do I Love Thee? December 4, 2008

Filed under: shrubs — greenwalks @ 12:54 pm
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Let me count the ways…

1. Your delicate early hints that fall color change is beginning

Witch hazel two-tones leaves

2. The beauty of the sun shining through your turning leaves

Sun through witch hazel

3. The royal carpet you spread on the path beneath you

Witch hazel leaves falling

4. The way your leaves change in stages, so that many colors are present both on each leaf…

Multi-colored witch hazel leaves

5. …and on the tree as a whole

Witch hazel in early fall

5. The full splendor of your autumn display

Fiery witch hazel

6. The number of leaf colors and sizes you provide for my favorite leaf collector

Collecting witch hazel leaves

7. The odd little yellow flowers you put out this fall, out of season and not true to your usual color

Witch hazel weird extra fall flowers

8. Your lovely upright vase shape, most apparent after the leaves are gone

Witch hazel in late fall

9. Your flower buds in fall, full of promise against a partly-cloudy sky

Witch hazel flower buds against the sky

and, lastly,

10. Your most marvelous feature, the delicately fragrant, sea anemone-like orange flowers you burst forth with in January, which happened to coincide last year with one of our rare snowy days here in Seattle

Snow-dusted witch hazel flowers in winter

This is the best thing by far that we inherited from the previous gardener at our place. He didn’t know the variety, but I am guessing it’s Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena,’ since my plant book says it has coppery orange flowers and that its fall foliage is orange and red. I take my daughter’s picture in front of it every fall at the peak of its color show – I hope to put all the pictures together someday for her so she can see how she and the tree grew. (Many witch hazels stay pretty small, so they are a great choice for a not-too-big garden or a parking strip!)


10 Responses to “Witch Hazel, How Do I Love Thee?”

  1. Aerie-el Says:

    That is so cool, and what an original idea, that you’re documenting your daughter’s and the tree’s growth.

    Witch hazel is one of my very favorite trees, though I have yet to add one to my garden (but I will eventually!). The first time I recall having come across one was at the old Heronswood Gardens on Bainbridge Island. It’s unique structure and incredible floral fragrance stopped me in my tracks, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

  2. Kanak Says:

    “…I love thee to the depth and breadth and height..” Loved your title and post so much that I couldn’t resist adding this line!! The changes with the season beautifully depicted in your photos!

  3. Racquel Says:

    What a lovely little tree for any size garden. I like the many seasons of interest it provides for you, it’s going on my wish list for sure!

  4. Oh that’s so pretty! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a witch hazel, though of course I’ve heard about it all my life. Isn’t it used as an astringent, or antiseptic, or something?

  5. Kim Says:

    Lovely post – I really liked it!

  6. easygardener Says:

    They do have such pretty and unusual flowers – and the fragrance is a bonus. Nice to inherit something so attractive.

  7. Jen Says:

    You’ve really sold me on this. I’ll have to look for it at the nursery next time I’m there. It looks pretty with snow on it, too.

  8. Megan Says:

    You too, then? Both my witch hazels bloomed out of season this year. Yes, that’s what my ‘jelena’ looked like before, then this year it bloomed yellow. I have no idea if its reverted forever, or if the coppery flowers will be back next year, but I hope they will be. As long as I’m hoping and the witch hazels are doing things out of character, I hope they bloom again this winter, like they should.

  9. Ronnie Says:

    I love Witch Hazel too! Thanks for dedicating a post to this wonderful plant.

    Also, I included a link and wrote a little bit about your blog in an entry of mine today.

    I continue to enjoy your blog!


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