Those sexy winter witch hazels

After visiting the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s annual spring flower show in Philadelphia last week, I wandered over to Longwood Gardens, in nearby Kennett Square in the Brandywine Valley, to check out what was blooming at the Conservatory. The path from the main entrance to the glasshouses is really not that long but it still took awhile to get inside because the siren winter witch hazels were in their full and glorious distraction along the way. It’s amazing that the beautiful flowers of the Hamamelis will already unfurl in pom-pom like clusters along its naked branches in February’s sunshine and tolerate temperatures into the twenties by merely curling their long spidery petals back along the stems. Later spring plants must think they’re crazy but these winter-flowering witch hazels do attract all attention to themselves by unfurling for your pleasure when there’s so little else vying for attention against the gray and green drab. Not that these delightful flowers couldn’t stand up to the competition by display alone. They do also have another subtle, almost-secret weapon to draw you in. Don’t neglect to nose around the shrubs a little more closely: They’re often lightly perfumed as well.

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Primavera’

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Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Primavera’


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Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Ruby Glow’

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’

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Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’

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Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’

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Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’

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 Longwood Gardens

 Sources: Rare Find Nursery

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