Thursday, August 18, 2011

Stalking Uncle Filbert






I would not consider myself a stalker, unless we are talking about gardening and a particular shrub/tree that I've been looking to purchase for the past three years. I've been wanting a gnarly tree for my back property- the kind of tree that looks as though it was transplanted from a story written by Edgar Allan Poe. I picked the contorted filbert (Corylus avellana), also known as "Harry Lauder's walking stick," or "corkscrew hazelnut." The name Harry Lauder's walking stick comes from a Scottish comedian who performed in the early 1900's using a crooked cane.


I've read that the contorted filbert is a true plant lover's plant. This is one of the most interesting mini trees I've ever seen, but I was not going to spend $90 for it, which is the going rate for a contorted filbert. After all, it might be a grouchy tree that's hard to grow. I'd be mad if I bought an expensive shrub and it died. So, I stalked a group of them at a local Lowe's until today, when they were marked 75% off. I got mine for- wait, are you ready for this?- $21. What an exciting day for a gardener into weird gnarly trees. Of course, after I planted it I poured the remainder of my bottle of water over it, christening it Uncle Filbert.



Some Facts about my new pet tree, Uncle Filbert:



This tree/shrub originated in Europe. Some sources claim it was discovered in England during the mid-1800s and used as a fence around crops. It's a deciduous shrub which grows about 10 feet tall and 8-10 feet wide and likes part shade/part sun. What makes this little tree so cool are its twisted and spiraling branches, twigs and leaves. In spring it develops 2-3" long, yellowish brown catkins (flowers). The leaves turn yellow in the fall. In the winter, especially during a snowfall the shape of the branches make an interesting natural sculpture.




I'll be photographing Uncle Filbert each season so you can see how he changes. I bet you're totally excited about that ;)






"I have drunk ale from the Country of the Young
And weep because I know all things now:
I have been a hazel tree & they hung
The Pilot Star & the Crooked Plough
Among my leaves in times out of mind." -W.B.Yeats


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Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.

Fondly,

Loren Christie

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