Great colour, great texture: what's not to like?

Following my tree: June

Finally the corkscrew hazel (Corylus avellana ‘Red Majestic’) has leafed out.

The colour and texture of these leaves caught my eye last year.
Impulse buying: not a great idea.

The rich deep burgundy leaves are the main reason I bought the small tree last year. The leaves and the wonderfully contorted branches.

The twisted branches create a confusing outline on the small tree,
 but in a close-up they are fabulous.

As a small tree, the corkscrew hazel looks quite silly, in my opinion. When it’s bigger, will it be better? A photo sent by a friend from Newfoundland shows her version, coated in ice.

Susan’s tree, and her photo.
When I enquired about the tree’s history, she replied with this:

I bought Hazel about 15 years ago and she sat at the bottom of my shady steps not doing very much except greeting family and friends. Then, three years ago I decided to build a barn /garage attached to the house by a breezeway. Hazel had to be moved. She reluctantly was carried in the spring to the back of the house to my kitchen garden where she sat surrounded by kale and carrots. She gamely made it through this demotion and last spring she was rewarded with a new position of greater stature, the beginning of the three tier 90′ long stone wall. There she now sits, growing in her new shadier place but with far more responsibilities…guarding, a large perennial garden. I’m not sure she likes the shade but she’s growing with just a little help of vitamins. She can still look out at her carrots and kale.

My friend prunes the tree with purpose: she lops off branches in the winter to use for Christmas decorations, placing them in steel milk buckets outside the front door. 

My tree is quite pathetic in comparison. I am increasingly certain that I’ve put it in the wrong place. If it does grow into an attractive tree, it will need a more prominent location. But for the time being, I’m happy to hide it amongst a muddle of plants in the lower garden’s lakeside border.

The tree is now about 3 ft tall.

I’m sorry I choose to follow this tree. There were other choices I could have made, better choices. The linden tree that stands at the end of the lawn, for instance. It is glorious in summer,

In summer, when the tree is in bloom, bees come buzzing.
Sitting under it then is like sitting inside a beehive. A natural high from a natural buzz.
in autumn mists,
The mists make the tree look even more romantic.
and in winter.
After the ice storm I feared the tree would split under the added weight. We cabled it and crossed our fingers.
It seems to have straightened itself because the cables became looser in the spring.
It looks good even in spring, leafless, when a circle of muscari suggest the shadow the leaves will cast when fully formed.
I will plant more muscari this fall to fill in the gaps in this circular planting.
Or instead of the linden I could have followed the birch trees that were bent almost in half during last December’s ice storm. I wrote about trying to straighten a few of these in this post. (The post starts in Florida but ends in Quebec, with photos of the same winched-up birch tree.) Some of the trees didn’t respond well to being winched up; they have been removed. The ones on the drive are still being held with wires,
Birch trees on the drive: can you spot the wires?
The wires are almost impossible to see, except from one angle.
Even here, the wires are hard to see. And who looks straight up?
The only time I do it is when I lie on my back. Which I’m not likely to do on a driveway.
Just below the drive, one tree has almost straightened itself.
When I look at this tree,
I hear my mother telling me to stand up straight.
Another group in the vicinity is totally stoop-backed. We may remove these, which is a pity. But the mess of birch leaves mixed with poplar leaves is not a pretty picture.
I’m afraid these trees have to go.
But sometimes, the arched trees work together to create a picture as pretty as any you’d want to see. This natural archway on a path through the woods is the sort of tunnel gardeners work hard to achieve. 
If I add nets, does this tunnel become a ragnaia, a feature in Italian Renaissance gardens?
Thank you, Nature.

  • What amazing trees! I love the deep red of the corkscrew hazel, fantastic colour.

    • I agree, it’s a fabulous colour. Now, if the tree itself will only shape up….

  • The linden is truly majestic, isn’t it?

    • Yes, in every season. Truly inspirational.

  • A birch tunnel, how wonderful!
    I think the contorted hazel is less appealing in its summer coat but in winter its naked outline is wonderful.

    • I came upon the birch tunnel by accident — and was enchanted by what I saw. I agree, the outline of the tree, particularly coated in ice, is very appealing.

  • Compared with some of the other trees you show, the little corkscrew is . . . is . . . is a bit little! But its leaves are a lovely colour and the twists of its twigs fascinating . . . and your post has turned out like a fairy tale. There are all the beautiful trees – then there’s this funny, characterful, colourful, slow-to-do anything corkscrew hazel. And isn’t the second picture down also elegant?

    • Lucy, you are right.. living in the country and coming across the unexpected does feel like a fairytale. I enjoy reading all the other tree posts and knowing what so many people in so many different areas are doing. Thanks for hosting this.

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  • I guess I can see why you wouldn’t care for the small corkscrew hazel – it looks a bit scraggly. But what an amazing form and beautiful colors! I had never heard of it before, neat to see.

    • Hollis, I think one of the joys of blogging is learning from others. I’m glad you learned about the corkscrew hazel. And I agree — the colour and form are amazing. That’s why I impulse bought it. And maybe when it grows up, I’ll love it. Hope so!

  • That hazel is a bit horrid, however well it grows. Love the leaf colour but you can get that without all that distortion. Nah, nasty.

    • Impulse buy, what can I say? and having invested (even a few dollars) I’m not willing to pitch it. Yet. I keep thinking that in the right spot, when fully grown, it could be fantastic. (Ok, so I’m an eternal optimist.)

  • Than you, Pat for highlighting trees.

    • You are welcome, Amy. Tree following is fun. Certainly it makes me pay attention to details.