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Witch Hazel Season

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | Jan 16, 2017
Witch hazel season

In early January it is always lovely to walk out into a garden and discover flowers beginning to open on plants. This week the flowers on my witch hazel at home really caught my eyes as I took a walk around to see how everything was doing after the Christmas break. 

Early spring is really witch hazel season in my eyes as I find the plant is at its best now when it is covered in bright flowers. While the plant does offer some great autumn interest when the leaves turn colour, this really fails in comparison to the impact the red or yellow flowers have during the dull days of spring. 

I always find that witch hazel is extremely popular with customers in CountryLife when we have it in stock. At this time of year many people will take a look around their own gardens and decide they need more colour in it so set off on a mission to find something in the garden centre that will add that needed pop of colour. Witch hazel is always one of the first plants I recommend to people who come up to me in the garden centre with this problem. 

Witch Hazel is a must have shrub in my eyes for anyone with a medium to large garden where it can be allowed to grow in to a good sized shrub. It can of course be planted in a smaller garden too but it will need to be pruned yearly to maintain the size of the shrub. It is important to remember though if you are pruning a witch hazel that it flowers on the previous year’s wood so it is best to prune it when it has finished flowers so you do not loose out on the flowers. 

At the moment in the garden centre we have two different varieties of witch hazel on sale. The first is called Diane which has best red flowers in my eyes. They are a lovely deep red colour which I find really stand out in a garden at this time of year. The plant also has a beautiful scent which seems to waft all over the garden, especially in colder weather. 

The second variety that is always extremely popular with customers is one called Arnold Promise. This variety is a fantastic yellow flowering witch hazel which has flowers that are around 3cm in size. The flowers generally start to appear in mid-winter and will last for a good couple of months. Both varieties work well in full shade and also in partial shade meaning they can both be very versatile in terms of where you can plant them in a garden. 

Witch hazel is slightly more expensive than other shrubs you can buy but this is simply down to how the plant is propagated. You can’t take a simple cutting from witch hazel and grow it on, the cuttings have to be grafted which takes more time to do. Having spent many hours when I worked in a nursery before doing this very task I understand why they cost a little bit extra. But in general for the low maintenance plant you get in return it is a great investment to buy one. 

Witch Hazel in your Beauty Products

Witch Hazel is not only a great looking plant in the garden but it also has some medicinal properties too. If you look closely at some of the lotions and potions that lie around your bathroom or in your wife’s make-up bag you will see it is an ingredient in many of them. Witch hazel is an astringent and anti-inflammatory compound so can help to improve the appearance of your skin. 

Written by Malachy

Here to help! - remember if you have any questions feel free to pop into one of our garden centres or you can contact us on our Facebook and Twitter pages and email us at: hello@countrylife.ie

Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

We were shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category.