Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered – by these colourful, beguilingly fragrant Witch Hazels at RHS Wisley

A fine day yesterday, after that miserably wet weekend but still, having a day off, a chance to head over to the RHS gardens at Wisley.

My mission: to stop by the Alpine House, take in a few snowdrops, inhale my first fragrant dose of Daphne bholua, bag the first of the Hellebores and of course, to be captivated by the Witch Hazels, Hamamelis, in the woodland gardens. These proved to be quite the stars, and I wandered very happily along the winding paths of Seven Acre Wood and marvelled at these beauties.

I hope you do to, and if there is a collection near you, and it is the season, make a point to go out and acquaint yourselves with them personally. Backlit by winter sun, with a hint of blue in the sky and enough warmth to free their fragrance, well, you won’t regret it.

More there are on the slopes of Battleston Hill and I have in past years, catalogued these extensively in these pages. I’ve been through Seven Acre Wood on more than one occasion of course too but my delight in these strange flowers is undimmed, with their elusive but spicy scent and colours from pale straw through to rich orange, reds and golds. There is an excellent collection in the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire as I recall – have a look through my archive for details here if you would like.

In the Plant Centre, they had a number of varieties for sale – these are the bench cards for them.


and from my own back catalogue –

The masthead image for the website at the time of writing is the fine Witch Hazel, Hamamelis x intermedia Copper Beauty, one of my absolute favourites for the intensity of colour and length of these spidery petals. It is synonymous with Hamamelis x intermedia Jelena and in the catalogue under both names.

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