Yes, that’s right, the astringent you probably have in your medicine cabinet comes from one species of this lovely shrub, whose leaves turn a vibrant yellow in the fall.
A few weekends ago, arborist and KIB Tree Teamer Andrew Hart and I planted two Witch Hazels in my yard. My newborn daughter’s name is Hazel, so this is a way to celebrate her, and to provide a plant she can grow up with. (No pressure – but if you see me, remind me to water them, ok?)
We planted vernal witch hazel, Hamamelis vernalis, (vernal, or spring-blooming) which is native to the Ozark Mountains areas of Missouri and Arkansas, and is renowned for intensely fragrant yellow and red flowers. It is the earliest shrub to flower in spring (always a welcome sight after an Indiana winter). And yes, I’m looking forward to when the green leaves turn a spectacular golden yellow in the fall! Which witch hazel is right for you?
Witch hazel is a great plant for gardening beginners (like me), because it has few pests, and can tolerate part-shade or full sun, and poorly-drained clay soils. It doesn’t require much maintenance other than regular drinks of water, and it should attract some new birds and bugs to my backyard. It already provides a beautiful sight every time I leave the house.
Now, to find a witch costume for my little girl for Halloween…
What are you planting in your garden this fall? Any fall beauties that you recommend? Let us know by posting in the comments section.