Interesting additions: contorted ornamental tree, shrub


By Charlene Thornhill - Contributing Columnist



There are two unusual trees/shrubs in our landscape that are interesting to look at and may not be understood.

In 1998-2000, I had the privilege to serve the State of Ohio as president of The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs Inc. Seventeen volunteer years of meetings, schools, traveling, organizing many events blessed me with meeting some of the greatest gardeners in Ohio.

I received so much knowledge from my parents as they were garden and plant lovers for years. How fortunate we were that they were still living at the time of my going through this office and could share all of the wonderful friendships and experiences the state office afforded me and my family.

In appreciation of the work and dedication, my very supportive husband Donn presented me with an unusual ornamental tree, ‘Contorted Snow Fountain Cherry tree,’ which I cherish. It is a small tree that is twisted or bent into a shape or position that is not natural but is nothing short of amazing. It is unique with twisted stems that bring an excitement into our garden space.

Ornamental cherry trees are known for their explosion of showy flowers in the spring. Flowering cherry trees are an excellent choice for home gardens as they fit in with many garden styles including tea gardens, cottage and country gardens. This striking specimen can serve as a focal point in any lawn area or courtyard garden because it requires minimal care. In addition to spectacular cherry blossoms, it provides year-round color and interest with seasonally changing foliage and attractive bark.

My parents presented me with a Corylus Avellana Contorta, Harry Lauders Walking Stick’ that, at that time, was a most interesting and unusual addition to the landscape. Now you see them readily available in garden centers.

It grows in a shrub form, with an array of twisted and contorted branches. Many people at first site are turned off by the appearance of this plant. Arrangers love it for creative designs in floral arranging. This contorted beauty is at its best in the winter months after the leaves have fallen off and you see all of the twists and turns.

The biggest problem with this shrub is the amount of suckering that grows up from the root stock. However, today through means of creative propagation, more and more of these plants are being grown on their own roots and this completely solves the problems of undesirable suckers. Another concern is Japanese Beetles love it so they will need to be picked off and destroyed.

While we’re in the garden and look at these gems it reflects great times with my parents and the wonderful friendships Donn and I have with all of our OAGC friends.

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By Charlene Thornhill

Contributing Columnist

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at chardonn@embarqmail.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at chardonn@embarqmail.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.