In My Garden, You Will Find: Corylopsis (Winter hazel)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Even though I am primarily focusing my gardening these days on Oregon and Willamette Valley natives, I still have spots in my garden for some longtime favorite non-native plants.  Many of these I brought with me from my rental, and have been growing in pots for many years.  A few, such as euphorbia, I will keep in pots, but as for the two varieties of corylopsis I had, they are now happily in the ground, growing beside other natives.

Corylopsis pauciflora (Buttercup Winter Hazel) originating from Japan
I love the Corylopsis pauciflora so much!  Originating from Japan, it has clusters of creamy flowers that hang down like little lanterns on reddish-brown branches.  The blossoms are starting to fade now, but this one was actually thriving to this height in a 1-gallon pot!  It will most likely get quite large here, maybe 12-feet tall.  I planted it a good 4-5 feet from the fence to allow for growth.

Amelia admiring a Corylopsis pauciflora much more mature in the Sellwood neighborhood.
We found a more mature one in the neighborhood of Sellwood in SE Portland a few weeks ago growing beside red-flowering currant.  Ours is also growing near red-flowering currant, as well as red-twig dogwood, mock orange, and Indian plum.

My other Corylopsis was only re-identified yesterday at Portland Nursery.  Thanks, guys!  I bought it there four years ago when I graduated nursing school, planting it in a 4-gallon pot that my old neighbor bought me as a graduation gift.  I knew the blossoms were very similar to the Corylopsis pauciflora shown above, but it bloomed about a month later and the blossoms were canary yellow.

I remember that it was sensitive to hot summer sun and sometimes got scorched if left under-watered in its pot for a few summer days in a row.  It has beautiful bright green leaves in the spring, which turn golden into the fall.  It grows much wider than it does tall, but might have been somewhat affected by its pot for the past few years.  I took a picture of it in full bloom down to Portland Nursery and they identified it as Corylopsis by its blossoms, then checked their database for varieties they had sold in past years.  It was then identified as a Corylopsis spicata "Gold Spring Spike Winter Hazel".

Corylopsis spicata "Gold Spring" in full bloom this mid-March
I'll be curious to see how this one does.  It's planted near native plants mock orange, Pacific Ninebark, sword ferns, wild ginger, common yarrow, and beneath four cedar trees.  I hope it does well--may need to water during summer until more established.  It will look nice as an edge to this particular garden bed.  It will take a few years to establish, but this particular garden design should eventually grow into a multi-layered understory for our backyard insects and birds.

Corylopsis spicata "Gold Spring" at edge of garden with Pacific Ninebark to the left and other native plants noted above but not visible in this photo. 
 And there, my friends, is a small window into my ever-evolving backyard habitat--a work in progress!

P.S.  As you can see, the rain has rolled back in after yesterday's BEAUTIFUL spring day.  Check out my post "First Day of Spring" for proof of how beautiful it was! 


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