Yes, 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?