This is the first online issue of HAMAMELIS-news, the digital newsletter about Witch Hazels. The Kalmthout Arboretum was given the International Cultivar Registration Authority in 2003 for the genus Hamamelis. This newsletter has been created to inform you on a whole variety of topics concerning our beloved winter flowering shrubs and their names. It will be published two or three times a year for you to enjoy. We appreciate your comments, so do not hesitate to contact the editor. Owing to an error made by our external database manager, some of you may have received a Dutch sports newsletter. We apologise for any inconvenience.
In 2005, the Hamamelis website was launched in English and it has recently become available in other languages too. This website gives you all the information on the origin and botany of the genus and is a practical guide for growing them in your own garden. It features a list of all the cultivar names and gives you the opportunity to register your own names. Furthermore, the photo gallery makes it easy to compare different plants and choose some for you own collection. You will also find an extensive bibliography on Witch Hazels and international links to national collections, gardens open for visit and other useful organisations. We appreciate your comments and will continuously add new facts and pictures. You can help us to make this site the standard reference site for Hamamelis.
J.H.M. Van Heijningen died after a period of illness at the end of last October. Unknown to most people, he was a passionate Hamamelis selector. Even though this was just his hobby, he selected several of the most beautiful and highly appreciated cultivars. Every year, several hundred interested visitors came to his nursery near Breda in the south of the Netherlands. He told every one of them his passionate story about Witch Hazels.
His most known selections are intermedias: ‘Angelly’, ‘Aphrodite’ and ‘Aurora’. He recently selected new and promising cultivars, which his children will hopefully make available for sale in the near future so everyone can enjoy them. It are also intermedias with cultivar names starting with “A”: ‘Alexander’, ‘Amanda’, ‘Amanon’ and ‘Arnhem’.
Every year, the Arboretum in Kalmthout near Antwerp in the north of Belgium organises the Hamamelis Festival. It is a vast celebration of winter flowering plants. It all started more than 30 years ago and still attracts several thousand visitors every winter.
The collection currently has more than 100 different Witch Hazels and includes the oldest and largest specimens in Europe.
The collection garden is open for visit from January 15th to February 18th, every day from 10 am to 5 pm.
> Miss Hamamelis 2007
On Sunday January 28thwe will be holding the Miss Hamamelis 2007 competition. Visitors will be invited to bring a flowering branch of their own Witch Hazel to the arboretum. All entries will be put on display and both a public and professional jury will judge the entrants. The most beautiful flowering branches will be honoured with the title “Miss Hamamelis 2007”. There are four different categories and one overall winner: best yellow, best red, best orange and best fragrance.
This exhibition features cultivars with a woman’s name. We will present each cultivar with its passport and coloured autumn leaves in front of the mature plants in the garden, accompanied by the portrait or picture of the woman who gave her name to the cultivar. Come and meet these fantastic women - Angelly and Nina to name but two - and enjoy the beautiful plants that bear their names. January 15thto February 18th.
> In honour of Jan Van Heijingen
A small exhibition has been organised in honour of the late J.H.M. Van Heijningen, featuring items from the family archives and a selection of beautiful plants in the arboretum garden. January 15th to February 18th.
> International Helleborus Show
From February 8th to February 11th, the best mother plants from the famous Belgian and Dutch Helleborus nurseries will be on display in the historic Vangeertenhof.
This exhibition is a must for all hellebore lovers!
This cultivar was named in 2002 and will be available in the European nursery trade from January 2007. It is a de Belder - Hemelrijk selection named after Cyrille, the son of David and Chantal Bömer two nursery owners from Zundert in the Netherlands. It is an interesting cultivar with an unusual colour. The plant is vase-shaped when young, with a tendency to spread later. It is a moderately fast-growing selection. It has yellowish-green leaves in summer but unfortunately no autumn colour. It flowers from mid through late winter with flowers that are straw-yellow, flushed strawberry red from base to midway with a slight spicy fragrance.
> Hamamelis mollis 'Fred Chittenden'
This clone was named in 2003 by the Royal Horticultural Society (UK) to avoid any confusion with the widely grown and well-known Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’. It received an Award of Garden Merit in 1932 as H. mollis var. pallida. As this plant is not the same as H. x intermedia ‘Pallida’, it has been named after the long-serving director of the RHS Garden Wisley.
The original plant still grows in Seven Acres at Wisley. This cultivar is not widely grown and rare in collections. The H. x intermedia ‘Pallida’ is far superior to this plant.
This cultivar is an upright form of Hamamelis mollis with a rather twiggy growth. It is moderately floriferous with sulphur-yellow, sweet-scented flowers from early through midwinter.
The original description of Hamamelis mollis ‘Fred Chittenden’ was published in the nomenclatural notes in “The Plantsman”, June 2003.
> Hamamelis x intermedia 'Pallida'
This cultivar has been raised at the RHS Garden Wisley in 1958, but until very recently it was known as Hamamelis mollis ‘Pallida’.
There is no precise record of the origin of H. x intermedia ‘Pallida’ but the original plant certainly still grows at RHS Garden Wisley. According to various anecdotes, the plant was raised from seed from a neglected nursery in the south of Holland, probably what is now the Kalmthout Arboretum. However, there is a more plausible explanation of its origin: it is probably a spontaneous seedling of Hamamelis mollis var. pallida (now called H. mollis ‘Fred Chittenden’) pollinated by a nearby growing Hamamelis japonica ‘Superba’ or H. japonica ‘Arborea’. Nevertheless, we will never know its true origin for sure.
Nowadays, it is the most propagated cultivar of all Witch Hazels and sets the standard to judge all others. It received three stars at the Royal Boskoop Horticultural Society trial in 2002, the highest award, and it was given the Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society in 1993.
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’ is a rather small, spreading Witch Hazel with yellowish-green leaves that turn bright yellow in autumn. The flowers appear early to midwinter with a sulphur-yellow colour. From a distance, one can smell the strong sweet scent. It performs well as a garden plant and is strongly recommended for those who have a limited space to plant Witch Hazels.
The “Witch Hazels” monograph by Chris Lane and the Royal Horticultural Society (UK) is still highly recommended for all Witch Hazel enthusiasts. Chris Lane’s dedication to collecting, growing and studying the Hamamelis genus over the last 25 years has resulted in this extremely well researched and readable book on one of the finest and most attractive garden shrubs.
This account will undoubtedly be an inspiration to many gardeners. Although Witch Hazels have long been valued in gardens for the beauty and fragrance of their winter-borne flowers and fine autumn colours, there has been no book to champion and extol their many virtues until now.
International Registrar: Ir. Abraham Rammeloo BNT | Redaction: Ellen Lutgen, Abraham Rammeloo | Editor in chief: Abraham Rammeloo | Pictures: Ellen Lutgen, Abraham Rammeloo, Gilbert Uitdenhouwen, Willy Heuysdens, … | Previous issues in the archive on the website | Free subscription by e-mail | Heuvel 2, B-2920 Kalmthout, Belgium | T +32 (0)3/666.67.41 | F +32 (0)3/666.33.96 | firstname.lastname@example.org