Harry Lauder's Walkingstick - Inspired by Disneyland Paris
Last Summer, we visited Disneyland Paris and one of the things that both Natalie and I were struck by was the landscaping outside of Phantom Manor. They had these trees that were all curly and the foliage looked like it was dying and twisted. A little bit of digging when we got home turned up that the trees that we were seeing were most likely Harry Lauder's Walkingstick. It was then that I started to think about contorted trees as a thing - and (potentially) a thing for our own yard. I mentioned in this post about a contorted Larch tree that I thought it was interesting to consider adding to our yard.
I've been giving a lot of thought to the types of trees we should be adding - and have posted about most of them. Getting a contorted tree was tops on my list for this season.
Well...on a recent Sunday, we took a drive out to The Growing Place in Aurora where they had their nursery set up as a 'drive through'. You stay in your car and drive through the shrubs, perennials, annuals and trees. I don't exactly know how it happened, but we were driving down the tree aisle and we kind of stopped at a spot and what was right next to our car? A contorted tree. That was all curly. A quick glimpse at the tag and sure enough: it was a Harry Lauder's Walkingstick tree.
Nat and I didn't skip a beat and both thought that we should grab it. And we did. Here it is below:
The bamboo rod that the tree came with had broken/snapped-off, but because it had a hollow core, I was able to snake a smaller piece right through the middle and then used some padded wire to affix the top of the tree to the support. If you look on the left of the tree, you'll also see another bamboo support. I stuck that one in the edge and trained up some of the lower branches. When we got the tree, a few of those were laying down on the ground - and I figured it was better to get them more upright. I'd like to (at some point) limb-it up to be more tree-like with a single trunk, but I'm going to leave this lower branch on the trunk to help thicken it up while it gets established.
The tag that came with the tree (shhh...not a shrub despite the identification here) shows off the flowers/fruits that hang from a mature tree. And remind me that it belongs in "full sun".
Here's a closer look at some of the curly, contorted branches with some buds about ready to burst open.
Here's a closer look at some of the lower curly branching. Quite a neat tree.
But, where to put it? It isn't called for in our plan and deserves a spot of importance in the full sun - which we don't have tons of. That means it can't go too far in the back and has to be a little closer to the house. What about right outside the screened porch? Or closer to our patio like these boxwoods? Or as part of the 'stream' project that I've dreamed about? We'll have to figure it out soon because this tree is going in the ground shortly.
I also have another contorted tree trick up my sleeve that I'll post about soon.