Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’
This witch hazel makes a magnificent shrub that is more compact and less unruly than some Hamamelis. The narrow, twisting petals form spidery flowers with a strong, sweet scent; they look fragile but are tough enough to withstand the iciest weather. This Hamamelis can also put up with a windy location, but it dislikes shallow, chalky soil, and waterlogged conditions will kill it, so it is always worth digging grit into the soil when you plant it.
HEIGHT/SPREAD Eventually 3m x 3m.
ORIGINS A hybrid of two Asian species; This cultivar was bred at Arnold Arboretum in Boston, USA.
CONDITIONS Well-drained soil in full sun or dappled shade.
SEASON December to March.
The other eight plants chosen by John Hoyland for winter interest are
Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’
Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘Winter Sunshine’
Heuchera ‘Jade Gloss’
Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’
Taxus baccata ‘Icicle’
Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’
Buy the December issue of GARDENS ILLUSTRATED (Issue 180) to find out more about them.
John's suggestion of gardens to go to see plants at their best through the winter months.
Winter is a time for walking through woods and admiring landscapes. The National Pinetum at Bedgebury is home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of conifers. In all there are 1,800 species of trees and shrubs from five continents, set among 300 acres of land. It is a magical place to stroll around, especially on bright, crisp winter days. The trees are given the space to grow as they would have in the wild, and the planting schemes underline just how beautiful conifers can be. Even a short avenue of mature Leylandii looks breathtaking.
Bedgebury Road, Goudhurst, near Cranbrook, Kent TN17 2SJ.
Tel 01580 879820, www.forestry.gov.uk/bedgebury
Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey covers 800 acres in North Yorkshire and is a Unesco World Heritage Site. The 18th-century canals, lakes and temples are surrounded by woodlands and a deer park, so there’s plenty of space to get away from the crowds and enjoy a quiet winter walk. The ruins of the 12th century abbey are especially atmospheric. It is not a place you can rush around, so allow plenty of time for your visit. Ripon, near Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG4 3DY. Tel 01765 608888, www.fountainsabbey.org.uk.
In Fife, the Cambo Estate is best known for its snowdrops, but even before they flower the 70 acres of woodland are a beautiful place. The woodland garden is full of the scent of winter-flowering shrubs. If it is a fine day, follow the path along the burn through oak, beech and ash woods to reach the sea. Cambo House, Kingsbarns, St Andrews, Fife KY16 8QD. Tel 01333 450054, www.camboestate.com
Photograph by Rachel Warne