Corkscrew Hazel


By Schnobby

Photo By: Schnobby –

As a garden designer I find that creating a main and unusual focal plant in any garden enhances it charm and invites a welcoming interest. In particular, a shrub such as Corkscrew Hazel would be spectacular if included in a whimsical or fairy garden due to it’s gnarled branches.

Corkscrew Hazel (Corylus avellana “Contorta”), also known as Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick, is a deciduous shrub that grows to 8 to 10 feet in height and spread. It is hardy to USDA Plant Hardiness zones 4B to 8.  This shrub also features unusual branches, leaves and twigs which are twisted and showy yellow flowers. Unlike most hazel trees, Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick usually does not produce nuts.  However, it does look picturesque during winter due to it’s uncommon form made prominent by the contorted, bare branches against a snowy background.

Corkscrew hazel trees form aggressive root suckers that should be removed immediately as they occur to ensure optimum growth and prevent thickets. It will grow quite happily in moist, well draining, average soil. You can also grow it in a very large container.  Quality, well draining potting medium is recommended.

There are no serious insect or disease problems, other than Japanese beetles who will try to munch on the foliage. Handpicking the beetles and discarding is a organic way of removing them but natural pesticides will also discourage them.




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10 Holiday Gift Ideas for Gardening Enthusiasts

With Thanksgiving behind us and the holiday season officially upon us, here are ten inspired gift ideas for the gardener in your life.


Garda Dibble – The Seed Planting Gardening Tool $19.99

Ideal for small urban gardens, suburban plots, raised beds, containers, square-foot patches, and even salad tables, the Garda Dibble™ lets you quickly make straight, evenly-spaced holes for sowing seeds in vegetable, flower and herb gardens, creating neat rows and maximizing planting space—saving energy, time and money (no more crooked plantings, poking holes one-by-one, wasted seeds or crowded plants). Dimensions: 6″ square.

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Anna’s Garden Design – Online Garden Designs $99 to $499

This service allows anyone to create personalized virtual designs of outdoor spaces that are an extension of residential, commercial and public structures, with a focus on sustainable organic gardens, edible landscapes, pollinator and wildlife gardens, meditative and healing spaces, urban gardens, micro gardens and other specialty spaces.



Glass Greenhouse Ornament (Gardener’s Supply Company) $24.95

Each ornament is hand-painted and features beautiful detailing inside and out, making for a truly beautiful and unique addition to any Christmas tree.


Lavender Garden Pen (Uncommon Goods) $40.00

A gorgeous, fully-functional pen made from resin that includes pieces of organic lavender petals, seeds and stems.


2-in-1 Mulch Garden Fork with Ergonomic Design (Plow & Hearth) $49.95

The attachable mulch fork and spade head makes this ergonomic tool extremely versatile and very easy to handle.


Brass Jeffersonian Rain Gauge (Wind and Weather) $149.95

A unique gift for any history buff or weather enthusiast, this outdoor rain gauge is functional and artistic and would be a great focal piece for any garden.


Hydro Flask ( $25.50 – $129.47

Perfect for any gardener, this bottle offers TempShield double wall insulation to keep your beverages ice cold during soaring outdoor temperatures.


2018 Garden Calendar ( $25.00

A unique and gorgeous handmade item, this 2018 calendar is the perfect gardening gift and features 12 secret garden and nature photograps from various botanic gardens.


The Plant Whisperer Mug ( $12.95

This personalized “The Plant Whisperer” mug makes for a fun gifts anyone who loves gardening and plants.

seed-keeper.jpgSeed Keeper (Uncommon Goods) $19.00

This beautifully illustrated planting planner allows you to contain and organize your seeds safely.


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Garlic O’Plenty | A Quick Guide to Garlic for the Garden


Hardneck Garlic – (Allium sativum ophioscorodon)

Harneck garlic is one of two categories of garlic (the other is softneck) and is recommended for northern climates due to its need for a long dormant period, which ensures hardy bulbs and better flavor. The bulbs of hardneck garlic generally produce 4-12 cloves in beautiful, rosy hues. Hardneck garlic’s flavor ranges from potent to complex. The bulbs produce long, green stalks known as scapes during the spring and the scapes, which should be removed to promote vigorous bulb growth. Garlic scapes can be used in cooking and are perfect for game meat, vinaigrette and intense infused oils.

Each garlic category has separate varieties. The varieties of hardnecks are Purple Stripe (Marbled and Glazed Purple Strip), Porcelain and Rocambole.

Purple Stripe  (Recommended types)

Persian Star- known for their beautiful white paper skins and purple tipped cloves (8-10). The cloves are mild with a gentle spicy flavor.

Chesnok Red -the cloves are sweet when roasted, mellow but full garlic flavor. The skins are white and thin with purplish undertones. The bulbs generate 8-10 cloves.

Marbled Purple Stripe

Central/Northern Siberian – the bulbs (white-skinned with pink to purple undertones) produce 5-9 cloves. Perfect when roasted, the cloves are creamy with mild garlic flavor. If eaten raw, the cloves are very spicy.

Metechi – the bulbs (white, thin wrappers with a purple undertones), produce 5-7 cloves. The cloves are very spicy. This type stores well.

Glazed Purple Stripe

Purple Glazer – the bulbs have paper-thin skins with purple undertones featuring with tan to silver streaks. The bulbs can produce 8-10 cloves. The sweet cloves are good for eating raw or the entire bulb can be roasted. The skins are easy to peel and the bulbs store well.

Vekak – The bulbs can generate 10-12 cloves and the wrappers are thin and white until but becomes purple toward the interior.  It stores well. The cloves’ skin are brown or tan, and the bulbs can be roasted or eaten raw. It has a sweet but mild garlic flavor.


Romanian Red – the bulbs have paper wrappers which are light brown streaked with purple. Each bulb produces 4-5 cloves and they are very hot with a strong garlic  flavor. They store well.

Georgian Crystal – the bulbs (vigorous and hardy) are generally quite large and produce 25-30 cloves.  This type is one of the few hardnecks that can be grown successfully in southern states if given a little care. The wrappers (surprisingly durable) are white and tinged with streaks of light purple. The cloves have mild but rich flavor.


German Red – the bulbs which are brownish with purple streaks, produce 8-9 cloves. The cloves are rich and have a hot, spicy flavor that lingers. This type does not store well.

Amish – the bulbs which are brownish with purple streaks and produce 8-10 cloves. The cloves are a bit hot and spicy. This type does not store well.

Softneck Garlic – (Allium sativum sativum)

This category of garlic is generally found in supermarkets. It has a mild flavor and matures quicker than the hardnecks. This category is perfect for the southern garden and most types store well. However, the cloves can be very hard to peel in certain varieties. The cloves are used in mostly in prepared dishes, dressings and seasonings like garlic powder. The bulbs are also perfect for braiding.


Inchelium Red – the bulbs are typically large and can produce 10-12 cloves. The skins are white and durable. The cloves have a mild, rich and lingering flavor that is intense if eaten raw.

Sicilian Gold – the bulbs are typically large and can produce 10-12 cloves. The skins are white and durable.  The cloves have a mild flavor and are delicious raw.


Nootka Rose – the bulbs have thick, creamy white skins and produces 15-20 cloves. The cloves are mahogany-colored with red streaks and have a very bold, garlic flavor.

Silver Rose – the bulbs have thick white skin with rosy streaking underneath.  The bulbs produce 8 – 12 cloves. The cloves have a rich garlic flavor but it is not pungent. If the bulbs are stored long, they have a tendency to become spicier, especially if eaten raw.

I would be amiss if I didn’t mention Elephant Garlic – Allium ampeloprasum.  It is actually part of the leek family and has no cultivator. The bulbs are extremely large and can weigh up to one pound. It produces 5 cloves once it matures but does not store well. It has a very mild, onion like flavor and is excellent roasted, used in sauces, vinaigrette and stir fry.


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Five Shrubs For Your Winter Garden


(Photo by

For gardeners like me who live in a cold climate, the thought of the upcoming winter season can feel you with apprehension or dread. Winters here in New York state are brutal and long. The snow-covered landscape is barren and devoid of color. However, with prudent planing, your garden can provide an abundance visual appeal in winter for both you and wildlife.

Here are a few shrubs that I highly recommend for the winter garden

(Photos provided by Julie Makin, and Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension)

Common Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea): Hardy in zones 4 to 9, the berries of the shrub change from red to blackish-purple in late summer. The berries are a viable food source wildlife and are also safe for human consumption (used in pies, jellies and jams). The leave range from gold, orange or red during fall, providing a spectacular visual show. During the winter, the long woody branches creates a stunning form, especially after a fresh snowfall.


(Photos by

Cranberry Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster apiculatus): Hardy in zones 4 to 7, this small shrub is versatile and easy to maintain. The plants produce red to orange berries from late summer well into winter, producing berries  that are a viable source of food for wildlife. The leaves provide a lovely showcase of colors ranging from bronze to red to purple in the fall.

(Photos by By Sage Ross – Own work, Creative Commons) and

Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii): Hardy in zones 4 to 8, the leaves can range from red, burgundy, yellow, orange, green and gold, depending on the cultivar. The berries, which are consumed primarily by birds, are typically bright red. In the fall, the leaves die back and expose thin and woody stems. In various states, certain cultivars of barberry have become invasive due to the disbursement of seeds consumed by birds, so investigate what varieties are best for your area before purchasing.

(Photos by

Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus): Hardy in zones 3 to 7, this bush produces green to white berries from late summer to fall. The leaves stay green until they die in fall, so it offers no visual stimulation in the autumn. However, the white berries remain on the woody stems during winter (since they are unappealing as a food source to birds) and the whiteness of the snow only accentuates its wintertime beauty as a blank canvas.

(Photos by Julie Makin,

Winterberry (Ilex verticillata): Hardy in zones 3 to 9, the prolific female plants produce fruit that range from orange to red to yellow. The fruit are a main food source for birds and small mammals, but are NOT meant for human consumption. After the leaves have died back, the woody stems expose the remaining fruit. The effect is quite stunning against the snowy backdrop.


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Making Fragrant Potpourris


During this year’s growing season, I have been actively drying and saving various flowers and foliage to create garden crafts for the holidays. One craft in particular that I truly love is making garden potpourri.


I craft several different types from dried flowers, fruit and various herbs. Each mix has it’s own fragrant and wonderful bouquet. But my all time favorite is a mixture of rudbeckia and sunflowers. The vibrant colors and scents give me an instant boost during the winter months.


Listed below are a few suggestions to create your own unique potpourri, which is a very fun activity to do with children:


Cinnamon sticks

Citrus Peels







Scented Geraniums

Scented Salvia





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Fall Gardening


In my home garden, I recently finished sowing seeds and transplanting seedlings for the Fall growing season. I truly enjoy the freshness and quality of Fall’s seasonable vegetables and fruit. I am looking forward to the abundance of nutritious stocks I will be making at summer’s end, which will bring delicious flavors to warming soups and stews this winter.

(Gardadibble – Seed Planting Tool)

This year’s Fall garden will include the following:

Florida Broad Leaf Mustard
Danvers Half Long Carrots
Tokyo Long White Bunching Onion
Broccoli (Chinese)
Sugar Snap Peas
Dinosaur Kale
Little Marvel Dwarf Peas
Purple Top Turnips
Mini Greens Blend Lettuce
Detroit Red Beets
Space Hybrid Spinach
Georgia Collards
Ferry’s Round Dutch Cabbage
Broccoli Rapini
Dwarf Blue Kale
Gourmet Salad Blend Lettuce
Zermatt Leeks
Toy Choy Hybrid Pak Choi
Patricia Radish
Parade Onions
Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage
Bright Lights Swiss Chard
Scarlet Nantes Carrots

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A Dream Come True: Anna’s Garden Design

Anna's Gardening Antics & Musings


Hello my gardening companions. As you know, gardening and design are my true passions; my purpose. So, I am super-excited to announce the launch of my new garden design site, aptly named Anna’s Garden Design. This is a dream come true for me after years of study, real-world experiences and many personal sacrifices.

Basically, I provide an online garden design service based on my clients projections of their dream garden landscapes. I offer everything from basic design consultations to a full-scale site designs. Using information provide by clients, I create virtual designs and offer specific recommendations so that homeowners and business can create their own sanctuary entirely online, without the usual hassles or expense.

I would love for you to stop by my new site, Anna’s Garden Design , and let me know what you think. As always, I thank you for your time and support. Take care!

P.S. The…

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