Our plant of the month for January is Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’, a beautiful witch hazel that will provide year-round interest; and as a compact shrub, is perfect for Cambridge’s urban gardens.
As we approach mid-winter, ‘Diane’ is at its most dramatic, with eye-catching copper-red blooms on bare branches giving us a splash of colour in the January gloom. And the scent is one of hope for Spring – a sweet and spicy fragrance that really lifts the spirits.
Hamamelis x intermedia is a cross between Chinese witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis) and Japanese witch hazel (Hamamelis japonica) and is a relatively easy shrub to grow. It will do well in full sun or partial shade and likes well-drained soil. The only thing to be careful of is the wind, and Cambridge does seem to get the occasional gale, so try and plant in a sheltered spot in your garden. Eventual height is between 2.5m – 4m.
In Spring you can remove any crossing or dead branches and mulch generously with compost. You will start to see fresh new foliage appearing, and throughout Spring and Summer the shrub will be bushy and green. In Autumn you will be treated to another stunning display of colour as the leaves turn to bright reds, oranges and yellows before falling to the ground.
You can find ‘Diane’ at most of the Cambridge garden centres, but do get in touch with us for garden design ideas and planting plans that incorporate this versatile witch hazel.