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Bewitching garden

Get 10 months of beauty from witch hazel 

EACH YEAR, SPRING BRINGS an intense desire to plant in the garden. Even in spring it’s important to consider all seasons when selecting plants because they all offer us a beautiful and changing prospective. Witch hazel, Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Aurora,’ is a favorite that provides year-round interest and should be considered for spring planting. 

Witch hazels bloom from winter to spring, and their flowers are unique. The petals are thin, wiry and intriguing. Sometimes the fragrance catches your attention before you spot the flowers. ‘Aurora’ has yellow petals that are orange at the base. The flowers are large in comparison to most witch hazels. To me, it is a subtle beauty that I like for my garden; there are many other colors to choose from. 

The plants grow 10–12 feet tall and can be equally wide. Most often they are planted as specimens, but I wish more were planted as a hedge or screen. The dense, textured foliage is perfect for providing privacy in a unique way.

Imagine a hedge that blooms winter into spring, textured foliage provides summer privacy and beautiful yellow to yellowish orange fall color—a full 10 months of beauty! 

Plant in full sun for the best flowering and in an average but well-draining soil. If pruning into a hedge, prune right after flowering as needed. This low maintenance, deer- resistant shrub is a welcome, beautiful, yet tough addition for planting in our Kentucky gardens.

SHELLY NOLD is a horticulturist and owner of The Plant Kingdom. Send stories and ideas to her at The Plant Kingdom, 4101 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40207.

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