Catch the catkins while you can

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREENSPACES - Green­halgh is a hor­ti­cul­tural ther­a­pist at Iver Cen­tre

pruned after flow­er­ing in spring (whoops!) and pre­fer a shel­tered po­si­tion out of strong winds, although are fully hardy. They can be pruned to grow against a wall or used as hedg­ing.

Help­fully it is shade tol­er­ant so could go on a shady wall. Ours though, unloved and un-nur­tured is do­ing pretty well in full sun with the build­ing pro­tect­ing in from northerly winds.

The other spec­tac­u­lar tree in the gar­den at the mo­ment is the hazel, again show­ing off its male catkins against the blue sky. Its tiny red fe­male flow­ers are much less con­spic­u­ous (somebody else had to point out they are there).

So what are catkins? Ac­cord­ing to the in­ter­net, they are an’ in­flo­res­cence, or clus­ter, of sin­gle-sexed flow­ers on a spike’. They tend to be pro­duced on woody shrubs and trees such and can be a very use­ful source of pollen to bees and other fly­ing in­sects, although per­haps less so in Jan­uary when there’s not much wildlife around.

So, this year, I will at­tempt to be nice to the Gar­rya and prune it at the cor­rect time in the hope that next win­ter, its dis­play of catkins is even more beau­ti­ful when lit­tle else is around to en­joy.



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