Sunday, March 7, 2010


I have an old witch-hazel Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena' which until recently sprawled diagonally away from the fence. It was at that time about 12' high,and then about five years ago I gave it a severe pruning.
This was followed by two years when it looked terrible, new growth seemed to hang down like a weeping mulberry, but through all this it continued to bloom profusely and when the leaves filled in they hide the worst of the ugliness.
Finally, it seemed to correct itself and now has a pleasant shape and has gained some of it's height and since it is limbed up to 6' it provides cover to the shade planting at its base.
I knew it would be spectacular in bloom this year, as the leaves fell in Autumn it was clear that the branches were covered in bud, and sure enough, in the warm sunny days of this weekend the flowers have glowed in the low light of the morning and evening sun.


kilbournegrove said...

Hasn't it been a beautiful weekend. I saw some snowdrops in flower at a park downtown. How are yours coming along?

Barry Parker said...

Hi Deborah,
Hasn't it been grand. I have some snowdrops almost in bloom in a sheltered corner. I think they are G. elwesii.
Have you seen the article on Snowdrops in the February issue of Gardens Illustrated? It has a very clear illustration of the differences in the markings of various varieties.

Meredith said...

Gorgeous witch hazel. I'm so glad she's recovered from her necessary pruning to make a splendid golden form in the landscape and brighten your early spring days. :)

kilbournegrove said...

There are still drool marks on the page. I am in love with Grumpy!

Carol said...

Clever title and beautiful photos and variety of your witch. I particularly love the light in the full shot. ;>)

James Missier said...

Are those flowers?

Edith Hope said...

Dear Barry, I do think that you were very brave to cut back your Hamamelis so drastically a couple of years back as they are such slow growing shrubs. However, it has clearly repaid you and is obviously, from what you say, now in good form.

It is surprising how often plants will respond after what I think of as a 'good heart attack'!!

Barry Parker said...

Hi Meredith,
It is gorgeous isn't it. I can't imagine why more people don't grow witch hazel, particularly here in this part of the world, where Spring is so short and late in coming. I've seen it bloom even earlier than this in some years and it really lifts the spirits after a long Winter.

Hi Deborah,
Grumpy is lovely and probably quite a large flower since it is elwesii. And what about the species crocus in the E.A.Bowles article?

Hi Carol,
Glad you liked the pictures, the low light this time of year can create spectacular effects.

Hi James,
Yes those are flowers. I'm not sure who the pollinators are at this time of year, but they must be around as the witch hazel has produced seed from time to time.

Dear Edith,
Yes, tough love seemed to have won out this time. Perhaps I've over-dramatized the whole process, but things did look a little desperate for a while. Like you I have a small city garden and, as you know, scale is an all important consideration to make full use of every space.
I knew some thing had to be done when a very experienced gardening friend came around to give me some constructive criticism. She took one look at the Hamamelis and an old Viburnum plicatum and said without naming any names " We all allow certain plants to get too big over time, and tend to not notice how much space they take up". Well the Viburnum is long gone and has given me a lot of new real estate and the Hamamelis has been given a new lease on life.