I grow the Chinese Hamamelis mollis and it seems happy, having grown steadily since being planted four years ago. I have also added the rusty-flowered hybrid Hamamelis x intermedia "Aphrodite", the parents of which are H. mollis and a Japanese species, Hamamelis japonica. Witch-hazels are not found in Europe and are not at all related to our own native hazel (photographed in Byfield Pocket Park last spring) but their foliage and habit are broadly similar.
|Hamamelis x intermedia|
Both my Witch-hazels are in flower now and have a spicy fragrance, presumably to attract insects but I have yet to note any visitors. In fact it seems that, even in the wild, insect pollination is not commonly observed. The rarely-grown North American species, Hamamelis virginiana, flowers in late autumn and it has been reasonably postulated that all Witch-hazels flower in these chillier months to avoid competition for pollinating insects. I have to admit that if Hamamelis species grew in mid-summer I wouldn't bother with them but as I look out of my window now their appearance pleases me. My specimens also have glorious autumn foliage of crimson-orange - although they were a disappointment this last season.
|Hazel, Corylus avellana in Byfield Pocket Park|