Sunday, March 14, 2010

PLANT OF THE WEEK: Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane'

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane'
Witch Hazel
What we all need right now...

'Diane' is the most gorgeous red-flowering form of Witch Hazel, and has received a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit for being such a great plant.

At this time of year, when there is so little color in the garden, besides white, dirty white, gray-white, brown-white, stick brown, and the dark green of our tired, broken, snow-embattled evergreens, the unique coppery-red flower petals and their crazy zig-zaggy form stand out strikingly-- a true natural beauty and that bit of garden pizazz that we all need right now.

It's also a knockout in fall, when the leaves turn a lush bright orangey-red or yellow. And not only is it a beauty, but a smart multi-tasker--its fruit, flowers, and next year's leaf buds all appear on the branch simultaneously, a true rarity among trees.

You know what else is cool? The seed capsules explode at maturity in fall (about 8 months after flowering in late winter), ejecting the seeds with a snap to send them over 30 feet away!

Easy to grow, requiring only average, well-drained soil, in full or part sun, reaching about 12 feet with a vase-like spread. Remarkably care-free, and very resistant to pests and disease.

top photo courtesy of White Flower Farm

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