Tree Watching: a Growth Spurt

IMG_5145When I measured my witch hazel Hamamelis ‘Amethyst’, the tree I am observing for Lucy’s tree watching meme, it seems to have put on a growth spurt, now measuring 95cms which is nearly 20cms more than when I first measured it in October last year! I might measure it again to double check, but of course as a young tree it has every right to get taller…

The sun was such today that a photo without shadows was going to be impossible, but even with the shadows you can see how fresh and green and fully clothed the plant is. All my witch hazels are now in a similar state of leafiness, including H ‘Zuccarineana’ which was the one that was almost flowerless this winter, thus thankfully showing she is still alive and happily kicking. IMG_5146

A close up picture shows the spent flowerheads and the leaves in more detail, the leaves very similar to an ordinary hazel but with less serrated edges. This similarity is purely superficial as they are not closely related at all. The origin of the ‘witch’ in witch-hazel appears to be in the Middle or Old English wiche or wice, meaning “pliant” or “bendable”. The use of these and hazel twigs, both equally pliable, as divining rods may also have influenced the “witch” part of the name.

More about witch hazels next month! In the meantime do visit Lucy’s Loose and Leafy blog to observe the progress of other trees.



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10 Responses to Tree Watching: a Growth Spurt

  1. It is wonderful to see them all growing, lush and green Cathy. I look forward to learning more about the witch hazel. A most intriguing tree.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh definitely, Donna – I was pretty sure H ‘Zuccariniana’ was OK despite the lack of flowers and her leaves have confirmed this

  2. Hollis says:

    Interesting … I always thought they were a witch’s hazel. too literal as always 😉

  3. garycdavis says:

    I have never had much luck with Hamamelis, must try again as they are so pretty in the spring.

    • Cathy says:

      Hi Gary – I lost my first couple, planted in my woodland. They actually prefer sun to the light shade of woodland edges it seems and mine have thrived since – including one I rescued from the woodland and replanted elsewhere. They have their autumn colour and then the promise of flowers in winter and early spring – do try again…

  4. A very pretty little tree. How large do they get?

    • Cathy says:

      In the UK usually only 3-4 metres (perhaps 2m in 10 years, so slow growing) and they are not densely foliaged so don’t give much shade

  5. Brian Skeys says:

    Our witch hazel grows so fast we have to do a little careful pruning to maintain an attractive shape with manageable size. They do make a wonderful contribution to the garden landscape.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, the pruning will come here in time too, Brian. My tallest is about 2m but a very open shape so I tend to prop it’s stems up to stop them overhanging the path

  6. 20 cms is encouraging. I didn’t know about the ‘bendy’ bit in ‘Witch’.
    Apologies for being late. I’ve been away a lot. Blame it on the sudden summer!

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