Better Dead Than Alive

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Harry Lauder’s walking stick in winter: what a charmer!

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In full leaf, the same shrub is just about the ugliest plant you can imagine.

Some plants look better when they aren’t covered with leaves. This is certainly the case with the shrub commonly called Harry Lauder’s walking stick or contorted filbert (Corylus avellana ‘Tortuosa’). It is absolutely stunning in the winter when its gnarled and twisted branches are visible to all, but what an ugly plant it is in summer when it is covered with misshapen, twisted, and bumpy leaves that hide the beautiful and curious branches from sight.

My suggestion? Find a dead specimen in the nursery and plant it at home. That way the plant will be attractive in all seasons… and the price ought to be excellent!

How The Twisted Shrub Got Its Name

20160126C.jpgIn case you wondered, Harry Lauder (1870-1950) was a Scottish music hall and vaudeville comedian and singer, especially popular in the early 20th century, famous for such songs as “Roamin’ in the Gloamin”. He used to appear on stage wearing a kilt and using a twisted cromach (walking stick) as a cane.

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