Good Grief!

img_8229Yes, you are right, it’s a witch hazel (Hamamelis ‘Spanish Spider’) and yes, it’s the end of September!

It was only a year ago, after a period of monthly tree watching of Hamamelis ‘Amethyst’, that I realised that the flower buds of witch hazels were formed several months earlier than you might expect, certainly during the summer. Inspection of my collection of small trees in the last few months certainly showed a promisingly good crop of buds on all but one, and I was especially pleased to see them on ‘Zuccariniana’ (below left) which has had two seasons without flowering. I did give it some dedicated watering earlier in the year, and a dollop of compost, but then moved the compost away from the trunk after reading that they are shallow rooted so as not to risk burying it too deeply. It has still been fully clothed with leaves both years, so I wasn’t too concerned, but nevertheless jolly pleased at the prospect of flowers on it again. Not so H ‘Pallida’ (below right), which is budless and will therefore be flowerless this winter, and which has already started turning autumnal. This one has definitely been on the dry side, having been under the shadow of the rampant dog rose, recently severely pruned back, in the woodland edge border.


Checking back on my blog, I was similarly taken aback by an unseasonal offering on H ‘Jelena’ at the end of September last year – but that was a single flower, not a whole blooming twig of them! What on earth will tomorrow’s rambles bring?

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15 Responses to Good Grief!

  1. Christina says:

    We often forget that flower buds may form the season before that actual blooming and that the plants need additional watering then, Camelias are another that must have water in late summer to produce their winter flowers.

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    Our native witch hazel (H. virginiana) blooms in the fall. Maybe they have some of its DNA!

  3. Hmmmmm, I will have to go look at my Jelena. Interesting.

  4. rusty duck says:

    I am keeping a close eye on ‘Diane’. The buds are swelling fast..

  5. karen says:

    Just going out to check on mine now. You’ve got me thinking….

    • Cathy says:

      I think I will need to make it part of my autumn routine now, checking them daily – but I don’t know if any of them have produced early blooms before I noticed that single one last year. Perhaps they did and I never noticed… 😉

  6. The dry summer will certainly affect the buds and flowers we see this winter and coming spring.

  7. Goodness that is early. Perhaps the very wet winter and spring followed by hot summer days are the cause? Certainly odd.

    • Cathy says:

      Buds are opening on other ‘branches’ of this one now – but so far none on other witch hazels. There was only the odd 2 or 3 on Jelena last year.

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