Many of us might be more familiar with the witch hazel concoction sold as an astringent, bug repellent, and disinfectant for wounds.
However, the witch hazel is actually a shrub. There’s a North American witch hazel, Hamamelis virginiana, a Japanese witchhazel, Hamamelis japonica, and a Chinese witch hazel, Hamamelis mollis.
Along one of the new pathways in the cemetery’s most recent expansion area, there’s a lovely grouping of a hybrid of the Japanese and Chinese witch hazel, called ‘Jelena.’
On a clear, blue sky day, the magnificent coppery, spidery petals of ‘Jelena,’ can be viewed from a distance. If you get up close, you’ll soon realize that the flowers are really a mixture of red, orange, and yellow, and they are fragrant.
All witch hazels are easy to grow. The native witch hazel is happier with some afternoon shade, while the Asian witch hazel’s fall color will be much more brilliant if given full sun.