It’s Witch Hazel Season at Green Spring

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There are creams and purples, brilliant yellow, bold red, and bright copper. They are the witch hazels of winter, and they are in bloom into March at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria.

Witch hazels are deciduous shrubs, often winter bloomers, that bring showy, spider-shaped flowers to months often viewed as pale in nature compared to other seasons. Some add a pleasing, spicy scent of allspice and honey.

They’re easy to grow, and they do well in a variety of soil and light conditions. They have no serious disease or insect problems, and if you’re looking to add something to your native garden, the hardiest among them is the common, fall-blooming witch hazel, Hamamelis virginiana.

Green Spring Gardens has more than 200 specimens of native, Asian and hybrid witch hazels. They comprise a nationally-recognized collection that has been developed as an accredited collection in partnership with the Plant Collections Network (PCN), a program run by the American Public Gardens Association. PCN is a network of botanical gardens and arboreta that coordinate preservation of germplasm, the living tissue from which a plant can grow, i.e. seed or a plant part. Member gardens make germplasm available for studies, evaluation, breeding and research. Green Spring Gardens has one of three national collections of witch hazels.

It’s an appropriate group of plants (genus) for Green Spring, because early American botanist Reverend John Banister discovered the common witch hazel in Virginia. He’d arrived in the Americas in 1678, and as a student of nature he sent to England hundreds of drawings and descriptions as well as seeds.

Visit Green Spring’s web page at to see a slideshow of witch hazels in bloom, then head to the park to see them in person. They are reliable and often pretty winter bloomers. You’ll see some as you drive into the park. Ask at the front desk of the horticulture center for more information about their locations and what’s in bloom.




More than 200 witch hazels beckon you to visit Green Spring Gardens during their peak bloom season, January through March. Green Spring is at 4603 Green Spring Road in Annandale.


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About Fairfax County Park Authority

About Fairfax County Park Authority HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 13 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2016. Today, the Park Authority has 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land. We offer 325 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park system is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: • Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist • Eight golf courses from par-3 to championship level, four driving ranges including the new state-of-the-art heated, covered range at Burke Lake Golf Center • Five nature and visitor centers. Also nine Off-Leash Dog Activity areas • Three lakefront parks including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter • Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel, as well as Chessie’s Big Backyard and a carousel at the Family Recreation Area at Lee District Park • An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter • Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s-era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel • Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent • A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly • A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale • Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community • Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center • Provides 263 athletic fields, including 39 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 417 school athletic fields. PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

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