This signature collection of Madison Square Park Conservancy grows in its 6.2-acre free public park in midtown Manhattan which welcomes 60,000 visitors a day.The Hamamelis collection is extensive for the garden’s size, comprising five species and 70 cultivars. The bright colors and scented blooms attract people into the park from autumn into late winter, even during the coldest months of the year. The Conservancy hosts interpretive public programming and offers garden walks to connect park goers with this collection.
The goal of the collection was to develop an urban reference garden for Hamamelis with a focus on hybrid cultivars. Witch-hazels shrubby habit screens traffic and provides shelter for birds. They are shade tolerant, allowing specimens to thrive in an urban jungle of buildings and dense tree canopies. Hamamelis virginiana, native to New York City, is the earliest to flower and of far-reaching ecological importance to many varieties of caterpillars and birds who use Hamamelis for shelter and food in urban areas. Late-season flowers provide a vital source of nectar for pollinators.