Spring Witch Hazels

Today was gloomy but quite mild in temperature (60 degrees F).  It looks like rain this afternoon and through the evening.  The garden continues to come alive although we haven’t seen our early blooming witch hazels (Hamamelis sp.) blooming yet.  Different from our native, fall blooming Hamamelis virginiana, the selections featured in this blog offer early season interest.  These images show some exciting opportunities for early spring color with these witch hazel selections and you’ll see some that also have exceptional fall color like Autumn Embers™ vernal witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis‘KLMNINETEEN’) seen above with early flowers and the excellent fall color in the photo directly below…  The Ozark witch hazels (Hamamelis vernalis) are native to the south and central USA and prefer moist, acidic and rich soils.  Consistent moisture is important for these large shrubs (6′-10′) that will tolerate full and part sun.  The early, fragrant flowers emerge before the leaves and while small, offer excellent color with their wispy, “confetti-like” blooms.  It’s exciting to see so many orange, red and maroon blooming selections now.  Fall color is typically a decent yellow but some selections are being made for superior fall color.  Enjoy the beauty of these hardy (Z4) woody plants that should be blooming here in about a month (or sooner).  At the bottom of the blog is the hybrid witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’) which is a cross between H. japonica and H. mollis.  Hardy to Z5, this selection would be the earliest to bloom for us and the photos I’ve included are of a beautiful specimen up at Olbrich Botanical Gardens (Madison, WI) that I photograph every late winter.


We had a busy day at the gardens.  Cindy, Larry O. and Janice were on hand as grounds staff members.  Alan, Lloyd, Ron R., Dennis and Dick H. all worked out in the gardens on various projects including cutting down more of our ornamental grasses prior to spring.  Urban was in for some pruning in the entrance garden. Marv B. worked on staining new obelisks while Vern, Jim, Steve J. and Bob K. continued assembling more of these obelisks for the gift shop and Spring Plant Sale.  Gary worked on cleaning up our laser engraver and Peg was in for more work on plant records.  Kathy P. helped with some inside projects then moved out to the gardens for more “pre-spring” clean-up efforts.  Dr. Gredler was in for painting in the afternoon.  We also saw Rollie, Maryam, Chris D. and many others today.

‘Sandra’ vernal witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) – flowers above, fall color below

‘Diane’ vernal witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis)

Grape Fizz™ vernal witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis ‘KLMNN’)

‘Kohankie Red’ vernal witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis)

‘Christmas Cheer’ vernal witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) – above and below

‘Arnold Promise’ hybrid witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia) – above and two below