Yeah! the last warm days gave a big early blooming. We don’t often think about bushes for winter flowers. Actually it’s a really active moment for some of them. Today I will keep focus on the deciduous bushes which are flowering right now.
During my last walks in the parks my view was lit up by the magnificent Hamamelis and its scented flowers. We usually see this name more on the hand creams but it’s first of all a bush. Witch hazel is its common English name. The story about the botanical name is that it’s Greek and means Hama for “together” and mêlon for “fruit or apple”, actually the fruits from the last season are on the branches in the same time as the flowers of the new season. This plant is winter-flowering with in yellow, orange or red flowers in clusters with ribbon-shaped petals.
In the witch hazel there are two groups of origins, one with the American species and one with the Asian ones. The best-known American one is Hamamelis virginiana, this bush has the particularity to have the first flowers in the fall among the dead leaves. the other one is H. vernalis.
The Asian ones have flowers on the bare branches in January-February. The Hamamelis mollis (mollis means soft) is from China and the H. japonica from Japan. The horticulturalists crossed these two species and created a larger range of colours. The H. X intermedia (X is here for crossing) is the most-known, it’s probably the plant than you will find in a plant nursery.
After the flowering time, oval leaves appear, they are dark green and look like hazel tree leaves. In the fall they become a flamboyant yellow to finish the season as they started.
If you are interested in witch hazel I will advice you to follow the link below about a fabulous plant nursery in Kent, UK. http://witchhazelnursery.com