Gardeners' World: Rachel de Thame discusses Hamamelis

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Gardeners’ World returned tonight for another winter special of the programme. Adam Frost hosted the show from his own garden while Nick Bailey visited the winter garden at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire. Gardening expert Frances Tophill also appeared on the show where she was seen exploring the great glasshouse at The National Botanic Garden of Wales.

And gardening pro Carol Klein explored the gardens of Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire.

The show also saw English gardener, television presenter and actress Rachel de Thame also appear on the show to discuss a “star of the winter garden”.

It can be tricky to find plants that add colour to your garden at this time of year.

But luckily, Rachel was on hand to share one that can add “daring colour and scent” to your garden during dark winter days.

She said: “Hamamelis is an unequivocal star of the winter garden.

“Famous for its spidery flowers that wrinkle out like tiny fireworks from each bare branch.

“They bring daring colour and scent on the darkest of short, cold days.

“Also known as witch hazel, and pollinated by night flying moths, they’re great as a cut flower as the delicate blooms are remarkably robust.

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“Bigger varieties can reach about six metres, like this hamamelis ‘Arnold promise’ with its sulphur yellow flowers.

“Smaller ones are nearer three metres but all with a gentle spreading habit and easily pruned in spring after flowering.

“As the flowering branches cast only delicate shade and give protection, they’re great for underplanting with spring bulbs or more permanent ground cover to show off their flaming colours.”

Rachel also discussed another variety known as “hamamelis intermedia” which she described as having tufts of pale yellow flowers.

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The plants that appeared on the show could be seen next to a sea of Corsican hellebores.

Rachel said witch hazel likes good drainage and some sun.

She continued: “Hamamelis like good drainage, and a sunny site, perhaps with some nearby shrubs for shelter.

“This is hamamelis intermedia ‘Rubin’ looking glorious surrounded by grasses and hydrangea seed heads.

“These really are plants that sing for their supper.

“Flowering for weeks and providing a focal point of feathery colour against the evergreens and ground cover of winter – they are a cold weather delight.”

Gardeners’ World can be streamed on BBC iPlayer

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