Tuesday, 10 December 2013

I covet no more!

When I first joined the blogging world a little over a year ago one of the first plants that really grabbed my attention was the winter flowering shrub commonly known as Witch Hazel.  Many bloggers were posting delightful pictures of these beauties.  The more I saw, the more I wanted!  As my mother used to say 'my eyes were bigger than my belly'!

Rosie over at leavesnbloom posted a blog about the selection of witch hazels she grows in her garden up in Perthshire (around 40 miles north of here) - I knew then that they might be a suitable candidate for my garden.  I made visits to a few local nurseries in the hope that I could source a specific cultivar.  Alas, it was not to be!  It was by this time around February therefore possibly a little too late.   A mental note was made to try again this winter.

I made an early start on Sunday morning.  No, not to go plant shopping but to finish purchasing all the gifts for Christmas.  I was very thorough - list in hand off I headed.  The early bird catches the worm and all that!  I had no issue in finding a parking space unlike the queue of shoppers waiting to enter the mall car park a little after 1pm just as I was leaving.  As I was driving home, my son called to tell me that my brother and his kids had turned up unannounced.  He knew I would have a car load and would not want them to see where I had been.  It was cold and wet.  I didn't relish the thought of joining a queue to get in somewhere else.  What could I do to pass the 30 minutes or so until they were gone.  A quick u-turn saw me heading straight for a local plant nursery - I'd be able to get a bite to eat and a warm drink.  I'd check out the sale tables, there are often bargains to be had at this time of the year.

As is usual with these kind of places you must enter through an indoor shopping area first.  It was packed!  Santa's Grotto in the corner was the reason - I didn't think the car park was particularly full but the Christmas Muzak could be heard a mile off.  I was kind of put off a slice of cake and a cuppa.  Now I don't mean to sound Bah Hum Bug but as I had just left a shopping mall full of similar scenes, I wasn't in the mood for anymore.   

I pulled open the double doors to make my way to plant section - the area directly outside there is reserved for seasonal plants all year round.  It's a very tempting area and I've been bitten many a time!  This visit was not unlike any other, my attention was grabbed.  Groups of plants, standing tall, displayed beautifully, in the midst of these groups were a variety of tall shrubs but what stood out more than any other plant was an array of Witch Hazel shrubs.  All adorned with yellow, red and orange coloured ribbon like flowers.  I immediately began checking the labels, ignoring the yellow flowered variety, it took me a while to find the one I was looking for.  There was a point at which I thought I was going to disappointed again - but no, there was an even bigger selection down in the shrub section.  My luck was in!  There she was!  I say she because the plant I was looking for was named after the plant breader's wife.  Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena' is according to the RHS one of today's best cultivar of Witch Hazel.   This cultivar has been awarded their Award of Garden Merit, which is always a good sign that you've chosen a great plant.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena' (agm)
I need to find the perfect planting spot for her yet, she is said to prefer an open but not exposed site.  I do wonder though if that's a bit of a contradiction.  A little research is needed but of course, if you grow Witch Hazel, I'd love to hear of your experiences in how it copes with different situations.  My soil conditions should be just right -  the lovely deep, neutral to acidic soil in my garden will be suitable.  

She will be under planted with some bulbs and possibly some Hellebores - there is little available to buy at the moment but I'm sure come the New Year I'll be spoilt for choice!

I hope all your Christmas plans are on schedule and like me well organised, for a change! 

47 comments:

  1. Wonderful! I love them, especially the orangey/red varieties. I planted one earlier this year so I am waiting to see what happens... it does have flower buds so fingers crossed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll be looking forward to seeing yours too Jessica. Good to read you've plenty of buds. It's a waiting game now isn't it

      Delete
  2. That's either serendipity or Santa Claus looking out for one of his favorite Christmas-shopping elves. Congratulations on finding your witch hazel! I'm sure you'll find the perfect place to put her and, in the meantime, she can sit pretty in her nursery pot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed Kris....I have been a rather good girl this year ;)

      Delete
  3. You certainly have found the best orange witch hazel. I have the "Jelena" for 3 years in my garden now and the shrub is doing great, full of promising buds at the moment, so we shall see in January when it is not freezing.
    The best thing is to put it as soon as possible on the right spot in the garden. Wish you luck with your witch hazel and will meet again on your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to have your endorsement Janneke. I'm sure you will see it again!

      Delete
  4. Go on, say 'Bah humbug' Why not? The whole Xmas thing has got out of hand, especially when it interferes with the serious business of buying a Witch Hazel. H.Jelena is lovely. I used to have a fabulous one called H. 'Strawberries and Cream' but I had to leave it behind and I never found another one. They seem to like moisture, plenty of compost and shelter from wind. Good luck with your lovely Jelena.
    Chloris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chloris - I agree things have gotten out of hand. I'm so pleased I don't have young children nowadays - there is so much pressure!
      Thanks for the tips on positioning - one thing my garden does have is nice moist soil, so that's one need taken care of!

      Delete
  5. I can’t think of anything better to spend 30 minutes on than some retail therapy in a garden centre – although I do it online these days (and I do it often, too often for my bank account). What a good find! I have no experience with Witch Hazel, but like you I have wanted one for a long time. I have however nowhere to put it so I have to just enjoy it on your blog, looking forward to seeing it in flower.
    By the way, I also spent some time buying plants today, bedding plants for my front garden window boxes. OK, I know it is December but you wouldn’t think so from the temperatures we have. I have bought some absolutely gorgeous primroses, next year I hope they will have become big enough for divisions and I can use some for plant swap. http://www.plantmenow.co.uk/primula-belarina-amethyst-ice.aspx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't mind you sharing mine Helene :)
      That's a lovely Primula. Very similar to P. Miss Indigo. Of course a trip to the nursery never involves just buying 1 plant. I got a new Primula too - P. Corporal Baxter. It looks rather tattie at the moment but it will liven up soon enough.

      Delete
  6. A Christmas gift from you to you. I'd love to see a photo of your witch hazel in leaf as no-one every seems to show one and I'm curious as to whether they look like the standard hazel leaves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do enjoy giving myself Christmas gifts Sue - they are always garden related too ;)
      I keep in mind that you would like to see the leaves when they appear. They are also said to have lovely autumn colour, so hopefully a couple of seasons of interest.

      Delete
  7. That's always a great feeling to finally find the plant you want. I don't personally have any and no room left to put one but admire them also.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cher, in moving the shed (getting done on Saturday) I will have a few more metres of fence to cover - ideal planting opportunities for some others on my wish lists.

      Delete
  8. Great you have a suitable slightly acid soil. I have three, all partially shaded for part of the day but otherwise in full sun. I reckon they are pretty flexible as to light as long as they are not in very heavy shade. I find they tend to make a flat fairly spreading shape and I prune mine a little to keep it more upright

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your advice Roger, much appreciated. I've noticed when doing my research that they tend to spread out a bit in the way you describe.

      Delete
  9. haha - I could so relate! I have read about everyone's witch hazels and have coveted having one. I finally put a poor little specimen in a much-too-small space. If it lives, I'll be surprised, but it made my cravings for one go away! Yours, however, was chosen with thought and determination. I hope you find just the right spot for it and that it gives you many years of pleasure. I just hope I don't start coveting yours! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish yours well Holley - will be looking forward to reading about it in the future.

      Delete
  10. I only grow Hamamelis mollis but find it very reliable although, now it has grown into its neighbouring shrubs, I do have to give it a prune immediately after flowering to maintain the desired shape. It is growing in a raised area of soil with trees either side, so the ground tends to be on the dry side which does not seem to affect it although it receives a peat mulch every year. Witch Hazels do look really well as a stand alone subject if left to their own devices and you even get autumn colour in the leaves but as it is not evergreen this does not suit everyone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for all those tips Rick - they are most welcome. I doubt I have the space to grow it as a specimen on it's own - although the label states 1.2m - according to the RHS it will be more like 4m!
      Typical plant labels!

      Delete
  11. You have made a wonderful choice there, and should have years of delight from Jelena. I have 2 yellow ones that are absolutely covered with buds, so hopefully there should be a good display of flowers. One of mine is Hamamellis mollis and has a wonderful perfume that drifts around the woodland and H. Arnold promise which has a perfume like seville orange peel ! Maybe I ought to add an orange or red one?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pauline - I will be looking forward to seeing yours on your blog when they flower. I'm sure an orange or red one would compliment those yellow flowers. Your garden is way bigger than mine and you have space to afford another.

      Delete
  12. A great purchase Angie ,I am looking forward to my Diane come to bloom in the Spring Angie.

    I was wondering if I could place a witch hazel in between my rhode rums in front garden ,what do think Angie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm presuming that this is Kath - if not I apologise :)
      Final height and spread according to the RHS is 4m, although pruning will be necessary in my garden. It will depend on how much space you have between those Rhods.

      Delete
  13. Oooh, how lovely, and somehow even better because it was an accidental shopping trip that netted your target. Like you I have been seduced by with hazels on other people's blogs, but I was lucky enough to inherit one when we moved here, currently smothered in promising fat buds. Mine is growing in a veyr exposed postion in my front garden, where it cops the worst of the cold northerly winds, but on the other hand it is a predominantly milder maritime climate and very free draining soil so perhaps that is why it is clearly thriving. Enjoy your new purchase, and finding the perfect position for it - somewhere you can see it from indoors and close enough to a path to be able to smell the flowers, but where there will be other things to draw the eye when it is clothed in its rather plain green leaves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Janet, although kind of bought on impulse as it was an unplanned trip to the GC, it's not my usual impulse buy as it was on my list.
      Thanks for letting me know on the conditions you grow it in. It can get windy here so that's helpful. I think that adding plenty of soil improver or grit, the drainage will be addressed. There are few images around of it in summer where it has no interest but I managed to find some which led me to think that it would need a partner that can distract!

      Delete
  14. what a lovely christmas pressie to yourself Angie, Frances

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I much prefer these type of pressies - that way I know I get what I really want :)

      Delete
  15. I'm glad you have your heart's desire. Witch Hazel is a fascinating plant, isn't it? I don't have any here in my garden, but it grows wild in the woods near here. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How lovely to having it growing wild nearby. I am unfamiliar with it but from the images I can see online - I have a vague feeling I've seen in somewhere but can't put my finger on it!

      Delete
  16. It's always wonderful to find the one you like so much. I am sure you will find a great place to plant it.
    Have a wonderful sunday Angie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marijke - I'm glad I held out, which really is unusual for me!

      Delete
  17. Lol....your detour was meant to be. Enjoy your new purchase. Merry Christmas & a Happy, Floral New Year too x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was obviously meant to be, that what I said too! All the best to you and yours too x

      Delete
  18. I love your story and that makes your finding even more special! It's always wonderful when you find that perfect plant...now the fun of finding the perfect spot. Merry Christmas and Happy Gardening!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I've already said, I'm so pleased I held out to find the one I really wanted - I think I have finally decided, well almost, on where it's going to go!

      Delete
  19. Mine is still small and has not flowered yet...I hope next year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know how you feel Donna - I've waited ages on some shrubs flowering. Next spring should be the first time all my Camellias flowers, if judging by all the buds I have. I do hope you don't have such a long wait!

      Delete
  20. Hi Angie, what an enjoyable post to read. I am so happy for you that you found not only a witch hazel, but the exactly the one you were looking for. It certainly looks beautiful! Now I just keep my fingers crossed for you that it will do well in your garden! Happy Holidays!
    Christina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christina, thanks for that. A big thanks for wishing it well too. I just hope it reads these posts. Happy Holidays to you too!

      Delete
  21. My garden centre - I gaze longingly at dogwoods I have no room for and laugh at the dead plants in their sale section.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Esther, I gaze longingly at lots of plants I can't have - my garden dreams are filled with 'if only' ;)
      Odd you should mention dead plants in the sale section. I had a quick scoot around a major GC chain on Sunday and their sale section was full to bursting with obviously dead plants. Odd! Even I'm not that naïve but there must be some that do buy these offerings.

      Delete
  22. The loud Christmas playing on the PA of every store you walk into brings out my inner scrooge as well. Enjoy your witch hazel - sounds like a winner!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tell me about it Jason! My mother is a nightmare in stores at this time of the year. If I didn't know any better I'd have said Dickens must have met her as some point in his life!

      Delete
  23. Good choice, Angie! I have H. Diane and H. mollis which I both love dearly and they're not fussy one bit. Have you ever been to the Arboretum Kalmthout in Belgium? They have a large Hamamelis collection and the De Belders bred a lot of the now well known, treasured cultivars there. You'd be in heaven :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. I hope your brother doesn't read this blog :-P. Uh! you are lucky to find your plant; I never find them in local stores. And, always need to order. Let us know how everything goes with witch hazel.

    ReplyDelete
  25. That is a really beautiful witch hazel. I have one that has orange flowers, I'm not sure of the name, it might be Jelena, but it might be something else. I hope it grows well for you. Thanks for the comment you left after visiting my blog, Bonney Lassie. My cultural heritage here in the U.S. is Scottish, my mom was born in Glasgow, and my husband is English, but he grew up in Edinburgh and went to the University of Edinburgh. So when we moved to the town Bonney Lake, I decided to call my blog Bonney Lassie.

    ReplyDelete

Your comments are appreciated. My blog is currently experiencing issues with some readers reporting problems when posting their comments. Please bear with me whilst I try to rectify the problem.
I have temporarily switched on word verification. I apologise for this, personally, I don't like it either, I am hoping this may help.