Cheerful Winter Bloomers

By Jan Vinyard

Isn’t it hard for gardeners to be without bloom in the garden? You bet it is! The answer to that issue is to find things that bloom at unusual times, such as in winter. IN THE WINTER? That’s right! Our Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) has been blooming during all of these nice winter days. Cheerful, fragrant, dainty little yellow ribbons of flowers are delightful! They usually bloom November through March. Flowers open on nice days, close when it is cold, then re-open when it is warm again! We do keep them well watered in their present nursery buckets, and that pays dividends in the yard and garden, too. Our Vernal Witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) has not yet begun to bloom, but will doPlantCollections_WitchHazel_573 so soon. February and March is the classic bloom time. Their flowers are also interesting little strands or ribbons of happy yellow color. Both of these Witch hazel selections have fragrant foliage that offer nice yellow fall color. Clean, upright branches look pretty in winter light.

Witch hazel shrubs have a nice oval upright form and can be used as either specimen shrub or in a mixed shrub border hedge. They grow well in partial shade such as open woodland, or in full sun when kept well-watered. These shrubs will naturalize well in sites with good soil and good drainage. Mix Witch hazel with Viburnum ‘Shasta’ or Viburnum ‘Summer Snowflake’ to achieve nice textural contrast and differing bloom seasons. In shady area, Red Twig Dogwood shrubs make great contrast in color and texture.

Witch hazel can be planted anytime that the soil is not frozen. Find the right spot, dig a hole, and plant a few Witchhazel shrubs for year-around pleasure in the garden!

Jan Vinyard, along with her husband Wayne, once owned and operated Longview Gardens, located in Kansas City, Mo. They both are reaping the benefits of retirement.

Photos courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden.


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