January can be a long, dark and cold month with seemingly little going on in the garden. However, to think like this would be wrong, for there is a group of shrubs that bring vibrancy like no others can to the New Year garden.
The spider-like flowers of witch hazel, or Hamamelis to give them their botanical name, look delicate and frail but for six or eight weeks from late December through to mid-February they are perhaps the toughest of all winter flowering shrubs. The thin, strap-like petals form a profusion of flowers clumped along the stems. The usual flower colours are yellow or orange and these remain the most popular but in recent years several red or deep purple varieties have been bred. Many varieties have a sweet scent and the majority are also noted for their autumn colour with leaves turning yellow, gold or orange during October and November.
Tough, winter flowering, scented and with good autumn colour, what more could you ask for in a shrub?