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Posts Tagged ‘yellow winter blooming flowers’

When I was a small child we used to play by the hill which was close to our house. One day as we explored the trails at the bottom we discovered these strange nut-like things in the shrubs and took them home to show our parents who told us they were wild or Beaked Hazelnuts(Corylus cornuta). We then had to gather them in their itchy prickly cases as they were still green. We knew if we waited to long the squirrels would get them and would leave the empty and decayed ones behind.

Common European Hazelnut, Corylus avellana.

Common European Hazelnut, Corylus avellana.

Later on we found our grandparents had a large Hazelnut bush but it was different; it was the Common or European Hazelnut (Corylus avellana) which is grown as a commercial crop. It’s nuts are much bigger and their casings are much smaller and less prickly too. Many years later having moved far away to Vancouver Island I was out with my sister and her young son at Denham Till Park and guess what we found, an old Hazelnut grove!

Old Hazelnut Grove at Denham Till Park in North Saanich.

Old Hazelnut Grove at Denham Till Park in North Saanich.

I had by this time shown her the ”very cool’ Corkscrew Hazelnut( Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’) which was located at the library in Sidney near were she lived.

Corkscrew Hazelnut, Corylus avellana 'Contorta'

Corkscrew Hazelnut, Corylus avellana 'Contorta'

It’s interesting to think that a plain straight branched plant can give us a twisting ‘sport’ which was found accidentally in a Gloucestershire hedgerow in the 1860s. We must thank the unknown person who stumbled upon it and had the foresight to save it for all in the future to enjoy. Corkscrew Hazelnuts shine at this time of the year with their pale butter yellow catkins hanging amongst the mass of writhing branches which reminds one of Medusa’s tresses.

The Male Catkins Hanging in the Medusa-like Corkscrew Hazelnut branches.

The Male Catkins Hanging in the Medusa-like Corkscrew Hazelnut branches.

 If you see a Corylus avellana ‘Contorta you are not likely to forget it, even the leaves have a wierd look to them because they have the same kind of slight twistiness to them.  As you can see this can become a large dense shrub which should be given a spotlight like location to show itself off. Most of these shrubs are grafted which can lead to problems from the under-graft sending up straight shoots which must be removed as soon as they can be easily handled. Spring is also a good time to do any pruning for the odd awkward branches that need removal.

Vigorous Shoots Coming up From the Under-graft Should Be Removed Now.

Vigorous Shoots Coming up From the Under-graft Should Be Removed Now.

These are slow growing shrubs which can grow to 8-10ft by 6-8ft wide.  Corkscrew Hazelnuts are easy to grow as they are not fussy about soil as long as it’s well drained. they do best in full sun or slight shade. It is best to select your plant when it does not have its’s leaves yet as you will be able to see it’s form better.  Although this is a ‘nut’ plant do not expect any to be produced.  It looks delightful under-planted with low growing plants which bring attention to its attractive bark.

The Attractive Bark on Corylus avallana 'Contorta'

The Attractive Bark on Corylus avallana 'Contorta'

 Links to Learn From:  

European or Common Hazelnut : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corylus_avellana

Denham Till Park in North Saanich:  http://www.northsaanich.ca/Municipal_Hall/Departments/Parks_and_Trails/Parks_Information/Municipal_Parks/Denham_Till_Park.htm

Corkscrew Hazelnuts : http://www.mobot.org/GARDENINGHELP/PLANTFINDER/Plant.asp?code=C360

                                            http://www.rhs.org.uk/whatson/gardens/harlowcarr/archive/harlowcarrpom05mar.asp

 

Who knows what treasures you will find here next time.

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I Remember when I was going college I walked every day to get the the bus. I used this time to learn the 300 or so plants which were required  for me to pass the program. Fortunately in the few blocks to the bus stop there were many plants on the list.  As the seasons progressed I saw the changes that occurred with each of the plants I studied from fall, through winter and into spring. I would never have noticed the bushy shrub-like tree which I stood in front of every morning until it burst into bloom at this time of the year.  To my delight it was a Cornus mas or Cornelian Cherry Dogwood which produced a spectacular golden display before most other plants are in bloom.  I never saw another one until….

Cornelian Cherry Dogwood.

Cornelian Cherry Dogwood.

This tree is in the Doris Page Winter Garden at Glendale Gardens

Bejeweled Branches of Cornelian Cherry Dogwood Flowers

Bejeweled Branches of Cornelian Cherry Dogwood Flowers

I regularly visit the Glendale Gardens and found several in bloom, WOW is all I can say. This year since I knew I would write about Cornus mas I have been on the hunt for others and have struck several golde(en) bonanzas. I looked in the usual places and was not disappointed, two at Government House and two at Finnerty Gardens.

Huge Cornelian Cherry Dogwood on corner of Trutch and Fairfield.

A Huge Cornelian Cherry Dogwood on corner of Trutch St. and Fairfield Rd.

The real surprise was on the way to Government House driving along Fairfield Road. I saw an incredible huge example at the corner of Trutch Street. and Fairfield Road. I am so glad to find a Cornus mas that is on a street side instead of of a park or fancy garden. This is a highly traveled site that anyone can go by and enjoy the beauty of this tree.

The male stamens are really noticible here.

This wonderful  plant comes from central and southern Europe and also is found in Western Asia where its large ‘cherry-like’ fruit is used  for making  jams and sauces. In Armenia the fruit is added to Vodka to flavor it.  The deep red ripe fruit is an oblong drupe which is up to 3/4in.  long by 1/2in wide and contains a large stone. Several Cornelian Cherry Dogwood cultivars have been selected with unusually large fruit for commercial production.

Cornus mas clad in its Summer Suit.

Cornus mas clad in its Summer Suit at Glendale Gardens.

The best thing about Cornus mas is that it is easy to grow and will fit into many planting schemes. It works well as a  specimen or in a winter garden, in a natural or woodland setting. As it has a small stature of no more than 25ft by 15ft it will fit well into many small urban gardens. It also looks good in small feature groups or in a mixed shrub border where its bright flowers will standout from the dark background.

Attractive mid-green foliage of Cornus mas.

Attractive mid-green foliage of Cornus mas.

It is the least fussy of the large Cornus (Dogwood trees) and will tolerate any soil from dry to quite wet. It grows best in full sun to part shade which is especially needed in hot drier climates as the leaves are thin and loose moisture easily. Cornus mas plants take pruning very well and is often shaped into a several stemmed small tree which helps to show off the attractive flaking bark.

Well pruned Cornus mas showing the attractive bark.

Well pruned Cornus mas showing the attractive bark.

There have been several well known forms of Cornelian Cherry Dogwoods which may be available in your area.  ‘Aurea’ with golden leaves, ‘Variegata’ which is edged in cream and ‘Elegantissim’ with pink or golden highlights are some of the foliage forms. There are also golden and white fruited forms known. On top of these there  are  pyrimidal, dwarf and extremely cold hardy (‘Ukraine’ tolerates -30f.) selections available. Zones 5 through 8.

Links of the Week:

To learn more about Cornus mas go here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/howtogrow/3308195/How-to-grow-Cornus-mas.html

or here:  http://hcs.osu.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/co_mas.html

Until we meet again on Wednesday for a new clue and the start of a new story.

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I am a Glowing Golden Globe peaking out across Southern Europe and all of Asia.

Glowing Golden Globe

Glowing Golden Globe

I often am found in the forest, but not always.

Green Ruffles

Green Ruffles

I have a green ruffle around each of my flowers.

I am dainty yet stocky all at the same time.

Golden Eye

Golden Eye

Buttercup is one of my more famous cousins. Now can you guess who I am?

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