Hamamelis Mollis revisited today when at its very best
There are a number of shrubs which flower in late Autumn and also in early Spring. Only two of which flower in the coldest months of January and February in Aberdeen come to mind. The evergreen shrub Sarcococca flowers in February in our garden. However the most striking one is the Hamamelis which flowers December/February I wouldn’t be without this one.
Many years ago our gardening interest took off. I was given a huge batch of a weekly publication (Garden news) I would read these most evenings absorbing as much information unaware that this was to become for the both of us a lifetime passion. Gradually I found whilst opening the garden news the first pages I would turn to was Geoffrey Smiths garden diary.
Not only his gardening knowledge but his way with words made him the most inspirational of all the celebrity gardeners and broadcasters. In fact when he stopped his article, Garden News was never quite the same.
The career of this Yorkshire man of course went much further than a newspaper article. He was made a superintendent of the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Harlow Carr at the age of 26, and continued to work there for two decades. Geoffrey also presented the BBC Gardeners world and also several series on BBC2. Sadly Geoffrey passed away in February 2009.The memory of this highly accomplished gardener will live on.
For me, today’s featured plant always brings Geoffrey Smith to mind. I had heard him comment more than once that Hamamelis Mollis (Chinese witch hazel) would not grow in his Yorkshire garden. Must have been something to do with the soil as Hamamelis thrives in our even cooler Aberdeen climate.
H/Mollis a very attractive winter flowering shrub. Between December and February the spidery sweet scented mid yellow flowers cling to the bare stems, very eye catching and unexpected in these cold wintry days. This robust shrub seems to thrive in Aberdeen.
Plant near enough a garden path or mixed border where it can also be appreciated from a window indoors. In Autumn the bright green leaves of this deciduous shrub turn a soft yellow.
Remove any dead or misplaced branches in early Spring and mulch with general garden compost.
The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit.
Hardiness – Fully hardy
Height – 9ft/280cm (slow growing)
Position – Full sun/part shade
Soil – Well drained neutral to acid
Arnold Promise is another form of Hamamelis worthy of a position in any garden. The one above is in our woodland area, out of sight from the house. She demands a visit to see her bright lemon coloured blooms which lighten up the garden even in the dullest of days. Usually by late February in one of the mild spells she sheds her flowers with a promise to return in the cold days of Winter next.
Do take care where you plant Hamamelis for they are rather expensive and do not take kindly to repositioning at a later date.
Hamamelis in the UK are generally disease resistant. It was however pointed out to me by Carolyn from Carolyns Shade Garden that she did lose a specimen to disease. The likely problems which I can find are, leaf galls, caused by aphids, or fungal leaf spots, a powdery mildew on the leaves is something else that can occur. Fortunately in my garden we have escaped these troubles.
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