Monday 11 February 2013

Hamamelis at Arboretum Kalmthout

An unnamed witch-hazel catching the sun at Arboretum Kalmthout on Saturday.
Although I went to Belgium at the weekend for the snowdrop event at Arboretum Kalmthout - more on that soon - I took the chance to see the justly famous Hamamelis collection in the arboretum too. Witch-hazels have been grown at Kalmthout since the 1930s, when Antoine Kort started growing seedlings in the then nursery, but its fame developed after Robert and Jelena de Belder began to grow seedlings from 1954 onwards, releasing the first selections in 1969. Since 1993 the arboretum has been owned by the Province of Antwerp, and the 'Hamamelisfeesten' (festival) is an important feature in its calendar, allowing visitors to enjoy big, mature specimens such as are seldom seen elsewhere. With many of them growing in 'glades' between other trees, and with numerous conifers as backdrop to their colours they are particularly well displayed. It was a cold day, with snow lying in patches, so unfortunately the scent was not very noticeable, but this hardly diminished the pleasure. All the named plants shown are cultivars of Hamamelis
× intermedia, with other images showing the sumptuous massed banks of assorted cultivars.

 'Diane' was one of the early de Belder selections to be released and still one of the best 'reds'.

'Arnold Promise'





The uniquely large flowers of 'Aurora'

'Rubinstar' - a pretty colour but the persstent leaves are regrettable.


  1. Thank you for posting this; it is a genus I have been looking at recently.

    I note you only show the reds in close up views.

    In the ‘landscape’ do they disappear into the background?

    After much thought about which to have I have settled on simple H.mollis. Do you think any of the hybrids are better?


  2. Chad,
    You are right, I think, that the reds don't show too well in the broad landscape, though my choice of images was dependent on what I @Chad

    I think most would agree that one of the H. x intermedia clones is almost always a better bet than H. mollis. For landscape effect it is still difficult to beat H. x intermedia 'Pallida' - see my post of 10 January.


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