I wandered around my garden late this afternoon. There wasn’t much colour to speak of, leaves needed raking, and weeds were growing, but there was something to cheer me up.
This Witch-Hazel tree, a native of China (Hamamelis mollis), is bursting with flowers at the moment, and always manages to flower for Christmas Day.
It is also a favourite food for the Feathered Thorn larva (Colotois pennaria) a very understated UK moth usually found flying round your gardens from September to November. Apparently it gets it’s name from the male’s feathery antenna.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
As you can see from this picture below, each long yellow petal of the witch-hazel unfurls itself from a small red bud.
It lost it’s golden leaves a good month ago, so it now looks like a tree covered in tiny yellow fingers, and the smell is intoxicating!
Both Witch-hazel photos taken by me
If you plant one tree/shrub in 2008 I’d suggest you make it a witch-hazel. They don’t grow too big, they have lush large green leaves in spring, orange/red leaves in autumn, are great for wildlife, flower at Christmas and smell gorgeous – what more could you ask for??