Snowdrops and witch hazels
There are thousands of snowdrops in bloom right now and though it’s pretty tough to measure our ‘Mile of Snowdrops’ we can’t be far off when you count up the Springwoods, the Broadwalk and around the lakes etc
Also definitely looking out for our the hamamelis (or witch-hazels) as horticulturist Daryll Little explains:
“Witch hazels burst into clusters of flowers, borne on bare branches, during the winter months. Their spidery petals creating a splash of colour whilst exuding a spicy scent.
Examine the flowers more closely and you can see how varied the petals are, being crimped and twisted and some with folded petals, making them appear much narrower whilst others are flushed with pink-purple. In the centre you will find the calyx in varying shades of maroon.
The common name of witch hazel comes from the North American species, Hamamelis virginiana, the commercial source of the witch hazel astringent. Early New World settlers used its branches for water divining.
The Chinese witch hazel, Hamamelis mollis, forms a large, open shrub, producing yellow flowers which are one of the most strongly fragrant. Hamamelis ‘Brevipetala’ is a more upright form with dense clusters of short-petalled, deep yellow flowers.
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The Japanese witch hazel, Hamamelis japonica, is upright and open, with leaves turning yellow in autumn, followed by fragrant crinkle- petalled, yellow flowers in mid-late winter.
Hamamelis vernalis, the Ozark witch hazel, native to America, is a tall, upright shrub, producing a profusion of tiny, pungent, pale orange-copper coloured flowers.
Hamamelis vernalis ‘Sandra’ has strong yellow flowers and magnificent autumn leaf colour.
Hamamelis x intermedia, are a group of hybrids, in a range of colours from the palest yellow to dark red. Some to look out for are ‘Arnold Promise’ with large yellow flowers, ‘Jelena’ has leaves that turn to bright orange and red in autumn, followed by masses of orange flowers. Also, ‘Pallida’ has bright, sulphur-yellow flowers. Then there is the darkest brick-red of ‘Diane’ and copper-red of ‘Ruby Glow’.
So, take a closer look at the witch hazels which can be found mainly on the Broadwalk and along the Lakeside beds.”