Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Tiny Treasures February 8, 2010

Filed under: flora,trees,winter — greenwalks @ 8:21 pm
Tags: , ,

I owe a big thanks to David Perry of A Photographer’s Garden Blog – without his post about and spectacular photos of the female flowers on his contorted filbert tree, I would never have known to look for them in my own garden. I bow to David’s far-superior eye, camera, framing and description and hope you will check out his blog if you haven’t already – he’s a master.

My “Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick” tree, planted by the previous gardener, has brought me much enjoyment every winter as its ridiculously curvy branches are covered in a busy array of grouped catkins. How can I have never noticed the “girl” flowers before? Well, because they are so absurdly tiny, probably less than 1/8″ across and sparsely scattered around the tree, placed kind of oddly at the spur where the catkins emerged. They look to me like fuchsia-colored baby sea anemones. Do they bloom for longer than a week? I can’t imagine so, but maybe they do. Their appearance has coincided with the end of the witch hazel’s blooming season, so the timing could not be more perfect.

Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ – if you live in Zone 4-9 and don’t have one already, you might want to start saving your birthday money so you can see this happen next spring… (Note: I think this is how all filberts act, not just contorted ones, so you don’t have to save so many pennies if you just want a straight-branch one!)

Harry Lauder's Walking Stick flowers

Contorted filbert female flower emerging

Contorted filbert female flowers and male catkins

Contorted filbert flower

Catkins and flower

Many catkins, tiny flowers

Gracias, David, for helping me see what was right in front of me.


14 Responses to “Tiny Treasures”

  1. These are wondrous photos… dancing across the screen! The movement is tantalizing. Isn’t it marvelous how we discover new things constantly in our gardens!! You have intrigued me enough to want a Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ of my own… for the flowers and the serpentine flowing limbs. They do have such character in a garden. David’s work is indeed outstanding! ;>)

    • greenwalks Says:

      Hi Carol – Thank you! Well, if you get one, just give it a spot where you will see it in winter and it has a good, plain, light-colored backdrop. I wish the fence that’s behind mine was lighter, so you could see the branches more clearly.

  2. Great minds think alike.. 🙂 Just a couple of days ago, I was intrigued by these little ones too on my morning walk, and now both you and David have been at the same task. I find the flowers quite touching, so small and delicate.

    • greenwalks Says:

      You are so observant, to see those flowers without being prompted. I had never realized they were there in all these years! Yes, so sweet, not the stars of the show by any means on that plant.

  3. blackbird Says:

    Great photos and I’ll keep my eyes open on my morning walk for these tiny treasures.

    I love that by photographing plants, you can enjoy them and learn about them on an extra-ordinary level.

    • greenwalks Says:

      BB, I agree – there are so many things I would miss if I weren’t out there looking to take pictures of them fairly often! I hope you get to see some of these teensy flowers before they are gone. You have to look really closely!

  4. Great photos Karen! Besides the spectacular little flowers I like the “hairy” branch too!

    • greenwalks Says:

      Thank you, Loree! I love those branch hairs too and never would have seen them without looking for the little flowers.

  5. Jane Says:

    Wow, what petit pow! The tiny flowers are such a lovely shape and color. Thanks for the glimpse into fairyland!

  6. Gee, the girls in the natural world are so shy and retiring. How did human girls get to be such sow-offs?

  7. Jane Says:

    Hmm, I thought I commented earlier, but maybe I goofed the submit part. These are lovely photos of a wonderfully tiny flower. I love how you likened them to sea anemones – they are very like that. Thanks for the glimpse of fairyland!

  8. Catherine Says:

    I’ve never noticed the flowers before either, they’re so bright I wonder how I missed them. I love those trees, they sure do add a lot of interest this time of year. Although this spring, I mean winter, there’s lots of things starting to bloom already.

  9. Bonnie Story Says:

    What sweet lil’ girls!! And here the big boys have had all the attention all along! Great post!!! Bonnie

  10. Megan Says:

    How sweet, I’d never noticed those tiny flowers either, now I’ll look when I come across this plant.

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