Witch hazel's (Hamamelis) are a group of
winter flowering shrubs. It is worth checking before buying as
many have good scent and fabulous autumn colour too.
The common name witch hazel comes from the Old Englishwice,
meaning 'pliant' or 'bendable' and hazel because the plant in leaf
bears a resemblance to hazel, although it is not related.
The scientific name Hamamelis, means "together with
fruit". This refers to the shrub's habit of having flowers together
with the maturing fruit from the previous year (the fruit or seed
capsule splits explosively at maturity with enough force to send
seeds up to a distance of around 10 metres).
It would take too long to mention all the varieties we grow at
Ness but they are planted throughout the gardens. It is well
worth exploring this January and February. Two, of particular note,
are a nice specimen of Hamamelis x intermedia
'Pallida' (good scent and autumn colour) which lives at the top of
the main drive (on the right hand side before the gates to the car
park) and the fabulous Hamamelis x intermedia
'Diane' which can be found in the water gardens (right hand side of
the main path as you head for the Rock Garden)
All Hamamelis are easy to grow with no real care and
attention needed so long as they are planted somewhere they like;
sunny or part shade avoiding excessively wet or very well drained
soils. They suffer from pest and disease with no pruning required.
Other than that, make sure you can provide enough space (sizes vary
depending on variety so check but somewhere between 3m to 8m after
15 years or so).