Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Nutty December 3, 2009

Filed under: fall,fauna,trees — greenwalks @ 10:33 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

After our witch hazel (Hamamelis X intermedia ‘Jelena’)’s leaves do their spectacular fall color thing and then turn to a crispy brown carpet for the winter, there’s not much to look at until the tree puts out its fragrant red-orange flowers around January. Not that I’m complaining! To only have a few months of boring-ness in a deciduous tree, that’s pretty impressive.

But this year I noticed something I hadn’t before – squirrels searching the branches for something tasty. One day I looked out and saw one happily munching away:

Squirrel Nutkin

On what, though? Not the flower buds, I hoped! Or the bark. Then I saw a second one:

Peacefully munching squirrels

Sorry for blurry photos – taken through a window on with my crummy camera on a gloomy day. Couldn’t believe it when I finally noticed the third one on a different branch (at this point they are all at about the same level in the tree, evenly spread out – can you spot them?:

Squirrel haven

No fighting, no biting – a peaceable kingdom. Pretty rare – usually they are tearing up the place, chasing each other around and chattering like demons. I went back through my photos from earlier in the fall and found a close-up of the hazel ‘nuts,’ which I’d promptly forgotten about. Are these edible for humans, or only birds and fancy, sometimes mischief-bent rodents?

Witch hazel "nuts"

Moot point this year, anyway – they seem to have got ’em all!


6 Responses to “Nutty”

  1. Squirrels. Grrrr. Still if they are momentarily distracted from their destructive ways by the nuts, so be it.

  2. Megan Says:

    Hazel nuts? Interesting. I had no idea. I’ll have to go see if my trees have any of those. Of course if the squirrels like them, mine could all be gone too.

  3. Bonnie Story Says:

    Wow, would my two little terriers love to be there!! I never thought of it: Hazel=Nuts! I’m glad you pointed that out, I might never have put that together! Thank goodness they are not shredding the flower buds. The witch hazel flowers in late winter/early spring are so sensational and so nourishing for the eyes of the gardener in winter. I have one that blooms the same colors as yours – FAB – and I have a buncha baby WH trees (of unknown lineage) that just might be mature enough for a bloom or two next year – I’ll be watching. Great shots of the squirrelies!! Keeping a safe political distance from each other, that’s cute. Cheers, Bonnie

    PS: That is so neat that you can see The Brothers too!! They are a real visual touchstone for us here. By the way, the Costco store parking lot in Silverdale has a view of the Bros that is awesome!! Of all places…

  4. easygardener Says:

    I like the way they have themselves evenly spaced so there is no friction over territory. So well organised that it’s frightening 🙂

  5. Catherine Says:

    Three together peacefully eating in a tree, that’s amazing. I had not idea about then nuts. As long as it’s not flower buds. I think the tree still looks very interesting, nice shape it’s got.
    BTW thanks for the info on the lily name. I decided to take off the common name even though that was on the tag. I wonder why the nurseries wouldn’t change the name or just the botanical name?

  6. Jen Says:

    Well, there must be plenty of nuts there then if they’re not fighting over them! I wonder if they’ll tell all their friends. Squirrel party at Karen’s house!

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