Harry Lauder's Walking Stick Tree Planted: July 2020


The story of our contorted tree starts with a trip to Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris back in the Summer of 2019.  Nat and I spent a day there during our visit and we were both struck by the trees and foliage that the Imagineers planted and nurtured around their Haunted Mansion.  The queue is outdoor like at WDW, but it winds through a garden full of weeping and contorted trees and shrubs.  It gives off quite a look - one of decay, dying and ill-looking horticulture. 

Based on that trip, I included the idea of buying a 'contorted tree' on my 2020 to-do list#13 on the list was to buy a weeping or contorted tree.  I suppose that I could have crossed that off my list when I bought the tiniest of tiny contorted trees online this Spring with my small Cortorted Hortsmann Recursive Larch

But, I couldn't stop at one contorted tree.  So, when we were doing a "drive through" nursery run to the Growing Place during the early stages of Covid quarantine and spotted a Harry Lauder's Walking Stick - which I believe is what they had at Phantom Manor - we bought it on the spot.  In late April, I posted photos of the tree, but didn't get around to planting it until right before the 4th of July. 

Now, having that tree on hand, coupled with another item on my list (#14) - which was to try to build a 'nook' or hidden area.  I've often referenced this list of eight garden design principles (including the one from Ralph Snodsmith about digging good holes) and I kept coming back to the idea of a nook. 

I've posted a few times about nooks.  First about the Japanese design technique called 'miegakure':
If you want to make a small outdoor space more interesting or appear larger, you can use an ancient Japanese design technique known as miegakure or ‘hide and reveal.’ This entails partially obscuring a view or features in a garden to create an illusion of distance.
Then more specifically on a Japanese Moon gate

The placement of this contorted Harry Lauder's Walking Stick is going to serve as the beginning of a focal point AND the beginning of a little area of miegakure. To accomplish this, I started to look at the landscape plan and where it called for the beds to jut a little more out into the yard.  I picked a spot on the northside that has a little bit of a break in the canopy to allow *some* dappled sunlight in and began to remove the sod.   You can see that in the photo at the top. 

I had a large guacamole hosta on hand that I wanted to fit into the same bed, so I kept removing sod  until I connected this new bed with the existing perimeter beds.    You can see in the back of the photo below two more Guacamole Hostas that I planted at the base of the London Planetree from earlier this Summer


Due to the Automower wire, I still have a little bit more work to do to get this bed into shape, but what we have here is a start.  



This is the last tree that we had on hand for the year, so it seems that we'll likely stop with any new tree planting for a while. This is our second contorted tree and gets us to tree #50 planted since we moved in. That feels like a pretty incredible milestone. 50 trees planted across four growing seasons.

(For now...) 44 of those trees still alive. 50 trees over 4 years = 12.5 trees planted on average per year - up from 12.25 on last post. This is the 15th tree of this season, so I'm well above the average right now.
2017 (9 planted. 3 Died. 6 of the original annual total alive now):

1. Flowering Pear in backyard on north side.
2. Flowering Pear in front yard by garage. (LOST and replaced)
3. Japanese flowering cherry
4 and 5: 2 Lindens that I espalier'd and placed by the south fence line near our kitchen windows.
6. A Dawn Redwood from Earth Day 2017 (LOST and replaced)
7. Nat's Saucer Magnolia in our front yard
8. A Corkscrew Willow all the way in the back (LOST)
9. A Crimson King Norway Maple near the trampoline

2018 (17 planted. 2 Died and weren't replaced yet. 2 were replacement from 2017. 15 of the original annual total alive now):
10. Another flowering pear from Earth Day 2018
11. Red Maple Sun Valley tree from Earth Day 2018.
12. Weeping Cedar tree - our first evergreen.
13. The weeping flowering cherry tree that the Babe planted for Earth Day 2018.
14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. These Frans Fontaine Hornbeams
22. A replacement Chanticleer Pear tree (3" caliper) out front by our garage
23. Our second evergreen - a short Fraser Fir Christmas Tree out by the trampoline. (LOST)
24. This Canadian Hemlock that is the first of nine that our landscape plan calls for in the backyard. (LOST)
25. Our replanted/replacement Dawn Redwood. Same spot as the first.
26. This teeny-tiny Bald Cypress that I planted in the front yard, in between our driveway and our neighbor to the north.

2019 (9 planted.  1 confirmed dead.  2 troubled. 8 of the annual still alive.):
30, 31, 32.  This second set of three small Canadian Hemlocks along the north fence line.
33.  My new Weeping White Spruce that will only grow about 4' wide placed near the fence line alongside the espalier'd Lindens.
34.  A NEW Dwarf Alberta Spruce planted near the south fence line.  Our first "dwarf" tree.
35.  This new Hakuro Nishiki Willow (Dappled Willow) tree planted close to the flowering cherry on the southside.  

37.  A very thin Lombardy Poplar tree - columnar form - in the way back wood chip area.
38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45.  These apple trees in a Belgian Fence espalier.
46.  A small Northern Red Oak tree - our first Oak tree planted.
47.  A 'decapitated' Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud that I planted on a whim.
48.  A replacement (from the nursery) Lavender Twist Redbud planted close to the brother.
49.  A tall(ish) London Plane tree that suffered some transplant and frost shock, but seemed to recover. 
50.  Our second contorted tree - this one inspired by Disneyland Paris: a Harry Lauder's Walking Stick tree.

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