Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hamamelis for Valentine's Day...


It’s that time of year; the Hamamelis (Witch Hazel) are blooming all over town. I’ve even spotted a few in flower at the local nurseries…what a great time to buy one since you can be assured you’ll get the color you want!

I’ve had a long time crush on the crinkled paper-streamer-like petals. But when everyone else gushes over the fragrance I just smile and nod and wait for the conversation to move on. Unfortunately I’ve never really been able to smell Hamamelis. Oh on occasion I’ve got a small whiff, just a faint odor, nothing powerful certainly nothing worth talking about. All of that changed on February 2nd when I visited the Elk Rock Garden at the Bishops Close.

Maybe it was the time of day, or the sheer quantity of plants but WOW, it was intoxicating. The two photos above are of Hamamelis mollis in the Chapel Garden. Below are the moss covered trees in the Parterres.

I have no idea which is which but according their website these are the ones they’ve planted: Hamamelis mollis, Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena,' Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold Promise,' Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena,' Hamamelis x intermedia 'Pallida.'

Which do you favor the orange or yellow flowers? For me it’s the orange…but this is another of those plants I’ll enjoy in someone else’s garden.

Or as a cut stem like they were here in the gardeners "office"…

And speaking of cut stems…happy Valentine’s Day! May I suggest a cut branch of Hamamelis for your sweetheart, who needs roses!?

28 comments:

  1. And a Happy Valentines Day to you too! Witch Hazel does make a cool alternative to roses (as long as the 'witch' bit doesn't get misconstrued, hehe!). Love the specimen covered in moss, an indication of the moisture and purity of the air in that garden :)

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    1. Let's just hope anyone savvy enough to have given hamamelis for Valentine's Day only used the botanical name!

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  2. They are beautiful, love the blooms and the moss. Happy Valentine's Day.

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    1. Glad to read you're keeping the plants for Valentine's Day theme Shirley!

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  3. I love the orange too...or the deep reddish ones...although the yellow is more visible from a distance. I admit, I've never noticed the smell either...not for lack of trying! I dearly wish I had room for one..but yes, I just enjoy them in other people's gardens :-(

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    1. If you really want to enjoy the smell maybe you too should take a trek to Bishops Close!?

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  4. That's one of my favorite features of Elk Rock Garden. It's pretty intoxicating when they're all in bloom. But seeing them there so mature always leads me to a similar conclusion to yours: I don't have the room for even one, so I need to enjoy them outside my garden.

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    1. It seems many that I see around town are smallish, leading one to think you could tuck a plant in just about anywhere. But yes, after seeing these beautiful monsters I realize that's crazy thinking!

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  5. Is the large evergreen plant in the background of the second picture a Magnolia Delavayii? How do they do in Portland? Happy Valentines day.

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    1. It is, good eye! You know I really have no experience with them so I can't speak with any authority. I do know branches were part of the HPSO winter interest display at the YG&P Show...so somebody else is having success growing them!

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  6. In this case I'm all a out the yellow. I think it pops on the branches more! I love all that moss on those trees too!!!

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    1. True you can see them from a mile away too!

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  7. Beautiful flowers! I've long been intrigued by witch hazels, and we finally planted one at my in-laws. They don't grow down here in the hot flatlands, alas. I also love the moss hanging from the trees in your photos!

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    1. Ah...it comes in handy to have a large garden annex to the north!

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  8. I love the orange flowers best. I have one, but it only has two measly flowers on it. Hopefully, it will like where it's planted and get bigger and lusher as the years go on. There's no scent from it unless you really bury your nose in the bloom. But that's ok, there are three sweetbox blooming right near it, so they provide all the fragrance I need right now.

    Happy Valentine's Day, Loree!

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    1. Two is a start Alison! Next year hopefully it will be covered...

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  9. Love the moss! I'm in the orange/red camp regarding color and everytime I see these at nurseries, I run over and try to catch a whiff but have never noticed anything other than a little bit of a clean smell when a bloom is pretty much inside a nostril. It's nice to know that I'm not alone there. I planted one years ago in my garden but it's now in such deep shade in the summer that it still puts out leaves but it doesn't have the tissue paper streamer parts of the flower just the little brown calyx thingies. I keep thinking of cutting it down.

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    1. Uhm...probably too big to dig out and bring to a plant exchange eh?

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  10. I don't know if I've ever actually seen the genus name for witchhazel before. Crazy!

    I'm all for the orange, but if I ever get around to planting one of these the main criterium would be fragrance.

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    1. You've got the room for it right Alan?

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  11. I have never smelled it....

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    1. Do they grow in your area Sharon?

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  12. One plant completely alien to my climate, so I will enjoy it from further afar. Lovely photos! What a fabulous garden.

    One thing I do have is that Cosco footstool, circa 1950, though mine's still got the original paint job and very little rust. Family heirloom. I'm amazed--a google reveals they still make those things!

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    1. I think my grandparents had one too! Although I picture theirs being white. I wonder where it ended up?

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  13. 'Jelena' is the orange one; both Arnold's Promise and Pallida are yellow. Glad you got to experience the fragrance, it is delightful isn't it?!

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    1. It really is, it felt so wonderful to finally "get it"...

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  14. Great photos and I love the moss. My 'Westerstede' has still not bloomed for my in Chicago here although last year it bloomed from the end of January till the 1st of March!

    How does 'Pallida' perform in your climate?

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    1. Jim I have to admit complete ignorance about 'Pallida' and all other Hamamelis...I just don't have any experience with these plants!

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