I wanted to share with you one of the delights of February: the sublime witch hazel, Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida.’ This is truly one of my all-time favorite plants, and I think you can see why, seen here in full flower amongst my collection of antique glass. Witch hazels are hugely under-appreciated in American gardens for reasons I’ve never understood. Not only do they flower for a full month, often beginning here in Boston in January, but the branches are wonderful for cutting and bringing inside. No particular forcing technique is needed – just snip and place in a vase – enjoying the highly fragrant flowers which last almost two weeks indoors. Magnificent! In fact, I’ve started collecting witch hazels; last year I planted a reddish flowering variety ‘Jalena’ and will be adding an even deeper red, ‘Diane’, this spring. (Note to those interesting in bringing branches indoors: not all varieties are equally fragrant. ‘Arnold Promise’, another favorite, has almost no scent, so chose carefully.)
For more on witch hazels, including care instructions for these almost indestructible plants, visit my 2010 article HERE.