Tag Archives: corkscrew hazel

Reflecting on My Tree — and On Other Things

November 9th, 2014 | 10 Comments »

Last week I wrote about reflections in the garden. I intended to continue the theme this week… and I will return to it. But this week I’m reflecting in a different way, looking back at where I’ve been, considering where I’m going to go.


We leave our mark wherever we go.
We leave our mark wherever we go.


For the last few months I’ve been taking part in a meme organized by Lucy Corrander of Loose and Leafy (great blog name, Lucy!). Starting in March this year, I’ve ‘followed’ a corkscrew hazel that I planted in 2011. I’ve chronicled its growth, the way its leaves changed colour over the months and how its branches became increasingly twisted. And every month I have disliked the tree more and more.


The twisted branches need space to show their sculptural qualities.
The twisted branches need space to show their sculptural qualities. The ones at the base of the tree are too close together. They rub against each other. Not good.


I thought I was ‘following’ my tree in the same way I would ‘follow’ a garden guru:  paying attention to what the guru was saying and thinking about how I could use the advice.

But I was wrong. I wasn’t ‘following’ at all. I was out in front, too busy talking to listen. So I missed the message my tree was sending. Help! I’m in the wrong place! Move me. Please!

Tucked in among other plants, too close to an attractive neighbour, the attractions of the corkscrew hazel were obscured. Cutting back the surrounding plants gave an open view and created a  space quiet enough for me to hear what the tree was saying.

Why did I plant it here in the first place? Clearly it is  the right tree in the wrong place.
Why did I plant it here in the first place? Clearly it is the right tree in the wrong place.


Reflecting on the eight previous blog posts I’ve written about this tree makes me realize that I’ve been blaming the tree for my mistake. Today, when I went out to dig it up, to dispose of it, to throw it away, I noticed a small bud. Two buds, in fact.


A promise of things to come.
Buds are a  promise of things to come.


Those buds reminded of why I bought the tree in the first place: the roughly textured, crinkled burgundy leaves. The buds looked the same, like leaves to come.

So I’ve changed my mind and given my corkscrew hazel a reprieve. How could I get rid of it? It was trying so hard to please.

In the spring, when the hazel comes out from its winter wraps, I’ll find a better spot for it, someplace where it can stand on its own. The twisting branches suggest that a place where a path splits or changes direction might do. Or maybe I’ll plant it by the pond, where shadowy branches will create reflections of their own.

A twisted tree is reflected in the water in a San Francisco garden.
A twisted tree is reflected in the water in a San Francisco garden.


I doubt I’ll write about the tree again. Or at least, not this year. Perhaps a few years from now, when my tree has grown enough for its merits to shine, I’ll bask in its reflected glory.

Time will tell.

Following my tree: October

October 14th, 2014 | 11 Comments »
Yesterday was Canadian Thanksgiving, a holiday that usually coincides with the best colour of the fall season. This year, colours hit their peak a week or so ago, and are still going strong. They were, and are, spectacular! [caption id="attachment_1285" align="alignnone" width="1000"] I haven't enhanced the colours. This is really what the view over The Skating Pond looked like at the end of a beautiful day.[/caption] Not so the colours of my poor little corkscrew hazel. I'm starting to feel sorry for the tree: it is trying so hard and simply


Following my tree, down a colourful garden path

September 7th, 2014 | 9 Comments »
It's that time of month again, time to write about the tree I started following in March this year. My corkscrew hazel (Corylus avellana 'Red Majestic') is looking about as tired as the rest of the garden -- late August and early September are not prime times at Glen Villa.Something is eating the hazel leaves.Something likes the leaves of this corkscrew hazel.They are welcome to it.The leaves are looking decidedly weary. Not to mention spotty and full of holes.So instead of writing about this unattractive tree, I'm writing about some


Following my Tree: August

August 3rd, 2014 | 13 Comments »
Corylus avenllana is the proper name of the tree I am following, corkscrew hazel is its common name, and Harry Lauder's Walking Stick is its nickname.This nickname was what attracted me to the plant many years ago. That and a photo of a full-grown plant.This photo of a full grown contorted hazel is from the on-line site Dave's Garden.I loved the twisted branches and knew it would be an outstanding plant in winter months, with the contorted branches silhouetted against the snow. Plus I was intrigued by the name. Who was


A different way to follow my tree: July

July 7th, 2014 | 12 Comments »
The Corylus avellana 'Red Majestic' has grown in the last month -- not much but enough that its head now rises above the wooden rail that marks the back edge of the border.The colour of the leaves reminds me of Heuchera 'Palace Purple.'I chose this tree because of the colour of the leaves, and I continue to find them a wonderful contrast to the blue spruce and the sharp green of amsonia. Unfortunately, to see this colour contrast you have to stand at the edge of bank, a precarious position


Following my tree: June

June 8th, 2014 | 15 Comments »
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


Following my Tree: May

May 11th, 2014 | 6 Comments »
After a month away, it feels good to be home again in North Hatley. I was travelling for four weeks, first in southern Africa and then in Italy where I co-led a group of women through gardens that ranged from the first century A.D. to a contemporary art installation garden that is still very much in progress. I'll write about those Italian gardens in future posts. But today, it's time once again to 'follow' my tree.The development over the last month has been... disappointing. Yes, my tiny little corkscrew hazel


Following my Tree

April 9th, 2014 | 4 Comments »
I was hoping that on this, my second 'follow a tree' post, the Corylus avellana 'Red Majestic' would have shed its winter coat.  After all, the first week of April is over. But that hasn't happened. Along with all the individuals I met up with, wandering around Montreal last week, (and wrote about here) his Majesty is still wearing his robes. Unlike those tidy city dwellers, however, he is looking quite disheveled.I promise, there is a tree hidden under the burlap.And ground under the snow. There are promising signs. Like these


Following a Tree

March 12th, 2014 | 8 Comments »
Lucy Corrander, an English garden blogger at Loose and Leafy, has invited bloggers from around the world to join her in 'following' a tree.Her invitation really caught my attention. It sounded like a great idea ... a good monthly discipline and a way to focus on the changes that occur in a tree over a entire year.So once a month from now on (or so the plan goes), I'll be writing a short entry about the tree I've decided to follow, noting how it changes and develops, month by month.Picking