At this time of year, I hope you’ll forgive me for some image repetition. Which gardener isn’t obsessed with every sign of change and any hint of a bloom that comes mid-winter. And yes, technically, we’re still in the middle of it!

If you’ve read this blog, you know about my affection for witch hazel, that work horse that provides winter interest and vivid fall foliage. Even the leaves are interesting all summer long.

My luck hasn’t been very good when it comes to getting what the label says, though. I now have three that were potentially labelled as one variety and ended up being very different. This one is a case in point — it was billed as Jelena. Its flowers are similar, but the leaves have turned a clear, vivid gold each fall instead of the oranges and reds many report for Jelena. But then this site says they can be golden orange, so who knows? Another one I bought that was also labelled as Jelena has reddish-orange flowers and vivid red fall foliage. There are several other cultivars it could be.

Would the real Jelena please step forward?

Anyway, who really cares which witch hazel it is? It’s a wonderful specimen. And a fun little mystery that may never be solved.