Plant of the Month
‘Diane’ Witch Hazel
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’
Location: Grid T-4 North end of the Asian Pergola
I think Witch Hazels are another flowering shrub which are not planted nearly often enough. They are hardy, intermediate sized plants with showy, unusual flowers and often vibrant fall color. What’s not to like?
The problem is that they flower so early that they are all done blooming before anyone thinks about planting in the spring and they likely have forgotten how striking the Witch Hazel was clear back in February. They often start to flower in February and even the latest cultivars are finished by March.
In an attempt to do my part to remedy the shortage of Witch Hazels we planted 11 new cultivars of Asian Witch Hazels last year. The collection was sponsored in honor of Marjorie Stohs, long time Moscow resident by her friends and family.
‘Diane’, is often noted as being ‘the best red flowering Witch Hazel’ and whatever pigmentation is happening in the flowers seems to carry over into the fall color. It is vivid red and almost translucent with sunlight behind it.
November switched from mild ‘Indian Summer’ to early winter very suddenly. That started with a couple of inches of heavy snow on the 1st, followed by a weekend of high winds. Both of those things are hard on trees, especially when the earlier mild weather kept leaves from dropping. Three trees were total losses in the new Arboretum along with four in the Shattuck. Then there were multiple broken, damaged trees that needed attention from a chain saw. Fortunately, we were able to get some help from the campus grounds crew and their bucket truck and brush chipper, so most of the damage has been cleared.
The other challenge presented by the early winter weather were the 500 spring flowering bulbs that were to be planted along the new rock step project in the European Lilacs. Fortunately the weather broke for a little while on Saturday, the 5th and we snuck in and got them in the ground, finishing just before the next round of snow fell that afternoon.
Perhaps our biggest accomplishment was planting the strip above the new rock wall at the south end with a mix of Palouse Prairie native plants, including 23 different wildflowers and seven grasses. Thanks to the Latah Soil and Water Conservation District and Thorn Creek Native Seed Farm for their help.