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Whidbey Island Landscapes

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Witch Hazel

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Pallida'

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’

The exquisitely fragrant, spidery flowers of witchhazels are a welcome winter surprise . Here is Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’ now blooming in my garden.  The bonus of planting a witchhazel is that it also has beautiful fall color.  The wide shape and relatively high branching habit of witchhazels allows and calls for a primarily evergreen underplanting of  lower companion plants –  late-winter-interest ones  such as hellebore,  sarcococca, cyclamen coum, gladwynn iris  or summer-interest foliage such as ferns or grasses. Witchhazels thrive in rich well-drained soil, but also tolerate sand and clay if drainage is adequate. They like  a location with full sun to light or open shade.  The best flowering is encouraged with regular water during dry spells, but they can also tolerate less water after they’ve established.   Minimal pruning is needed and is preferred to maintain its graceful  form.

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Crocosmia – do you have to go so soon?

The last of the crocosmia flowers in my garden will be just a memory by the end of this week.  I grant them a well-earned rest after starting their show in mid summer and continuing the run all through late summer and into fall.

Crocosmia or Montbretia are native to South Africa. There are hundreds of beautiful, easy to grow cultivars on the market.  (See   Crocosmia do best in fertile, moisture retentive, well-drained soil.  They will grow and flower in sun or part sun, but excessive shade may cause them to sprawl. Some are clump-forming and others tend to spread about.   There is some disagreement over whether to cut back the brown foliage in late fall (seems to me this is a good idea to prevent disease) or whether to allow the dead foliage to protect the corms over the winter.  The larger flowered cultivars can be a bit tender, so maybe this is a good alternative for them or you could give them a light mulch instead.  Buy the corms in spring or as plants later towards the summer.

Here are the cultivars I currently grown in my garden.  I think I’ll look for ‘Emily McKenzie’ next spring . . . .

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘George Davison’ is a vigorous clumper with beautiful red and orange buds and first to flower.

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'George Davison'


New this year, from a friend  is C. crocosmiiflora ‘Colton Fishacre.’  Look at that bronze foliage.

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Colton Fishacre'

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Colton Fishacre'


Crocosmia ‘Star of the East” is a  spreader, that usually has these fantastic dark orange seed pods when the flowers are finished.

Crocosmia 'Star of the East'

Crocosmia 'Star of the East' seedpods


Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Severen Seas’ with brilliant reddish-orange tubular flowers and golden throats and a favorite among the hummingbirds was a choice gift from a friend.

Crocosmia 'Severen Seas'





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