i was recently asked if i could write a bit about hazelnut trees .. the person who asked said she was always so taken by the catkins that cascade down from slender stems .. sounds so poetic, somehow ..
i can remember catkins on trees from when i was a little girl, living on the prairies .. i didn't know the names of the trees, or even that the hanging clusters were called 'catkins' ..i learned that later on in my life .. catkins .. an essential aspect of the winter flowering garden ..
my more recent experience with hazelnut trees and catkins was with phil .. i must have walked into his yard more than a hundred times without even realizing the trees were there .. then, one late december, early january day, phil introduced us .. he took me to see a trio of spindly, yet graceful small trees growing along the side of the golf cart shelter, on the boulevard .. their branches were adorned with catkins .. he said the trees probably wouldn't do very well, as they were overshadowed by a towering maple .. not enough light .. nonetheless, he loved that they were there as they are, indeed, among the hardy entities of the winter flowering garden ..
now, years later, as i watch for them, it seems one day they are not there, and the next time i look, they are .. poof .. another pleasureful display of magic .. catkins stretching out .. loosening .. transforming into fluffy cat tails ..
and then, miracle of miracles .. miniscule flowers at the tips of buds ..
the trees produce a few nuts, as well, although really it is the presence of the catkins and the tiny red flowers that make the biggest impression ..