Contorted Filbert and partner plantings

chilinobeansJuly 17, 2008

Hi everyone! I'm still pretty new here so I hope I'm posting this in the right place. I tried the forum for my region but still no bites, so I'm hoping someone here might be able to guide me in the right direction!

I've recently purchased a Contorted Filbert (Avellano Contorsionado) and plan on using it as a specimen plant. I'm having trouble coming up with other plants that would do well to compliment the filbert and make the garden beautiful. I'd prefer perennials but am not opposed to using annuals, especially as a border. I appreciate any ideas from people with more expertise than myself.

Just some things to note, I live in Louisville, KY (zone 6) and will be planting this garden in an area that receives full sun, mostly morning with a few hours of afternoon sun.

Thanks in advance.

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The most noticeable thing is the dense puckery blob of green it becomes in summer. Needs flowering climbers to liven it up at that time. Small-growing annual kinds could be used until it gets big enough to support something like a clematis.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 6:01PM
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I favor making the filbert more of a specimen, treating it as background in spring and summer, for coneflowers and blackberry lilies. Frame it with ornamental grasses, red-twigged dogwoods or coral bark willow. Accent these with fruit bearing shrubs, perhaps cranberry viburnum or winterberry holly.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 11:23PM
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If you have a space that can offer up the filbert close up, I think it works best. Bboy mentioned that it is pretty nondescript when in foliage. I agree with that take unless it is close to the observer.

The Harry Lauder Walking Sticks that I think of from memory are all those in court yareds, passages between buildings, or in patio plantings - all viewed only up close and all by far the most dominant or even the lone plant in its portion of the composition. When seen this way they are of great interest. When seen the way Bboy described, they are easily missed as he points out - also can negatively affect the resto of the composition which I think he also eludes to.

What circumstance did you see one in which prompted you urge to get one?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 11:54AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The main interest comes from the catkins and contorted branches, seen during winter. So it gets put where it can be seen from indoors during inclement weather, or otherwise close at hand. This is what makes the summer aspect awkward, and calling for assistance.

Another, commonly seen example is saucer magnolia. Its picturesque branches, large fuzzy buds and large, profuse early flowers (unless frosted) are delightful in winter, its coarse and boring summer foliage like an overbearing relative who comes and stays for months each year.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 5:03PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Now, now, Harry is a great guy...if a little homely clothed. Naked he's STUNNING. I've been growing Harry in a pot for ten years now, and he's never let me down. In fact, I just gave him a new home this spring--if he ever needs to move again I'm going to have to break the pot:

I agree, he works best as a specimen. Just check out the shadows he casts! In the winter, his nekkid form is displayed to great advantage against the blank wall behind him...

He will be very happy in full son. In the ground he will get quite large, and his drooping branches will give solace and hiding places to numerous fledglings. I've a friend with one planted in-ground, she says the cardinal fledglings hide there until they can fly properly.

I wish I'd stolen the photo Ironbelly posted of the amazing Harry Lauder planting...his, I think. Truly spectacular, Harry was the star of the bed supplemented with...sedums was it?


    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 9:38PM
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I'm the kind of person that sees a 3 legged dog as adorable, unkept buildings as art and trees that my customers call "ugly" and think we haven't watered properly as charming. That's how I fell in love.

How I committed to Harry was his economical sense, I got a great deal. Let's just say 98% off his regular price made any cold feet warm and increased the urge exponentially.

Keep the input coming, as I'm always interested to see different perspectives and ideas! I'm going to do a little more planning before planting and hopefully I'll be able to post a beautiful picture once all is done! Thank you all so much!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 10:35PM
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bindersbee(6a UT)

You know that Harry has a much sexier cousin- the variety 'Red Majestic' which has burgundy foliage as it emerges in the spring that fades to green in summer. Not sure about fall color but this new variety definitely gives Harry a nice make-over and extends the interest.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 1:18AM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Oh dear, I shouldn't post when I'm exhausted and two Bass Ales deep--I can't believe I substituted "son" for "sun". Homonyms have ever been a problem for me!

Be that as it may...

bindersbee--I've seen Red Majestic...but not grown it. I'd love to hear feedback from anyone who has. We had some at the garden center where I work...but we've gotten no feedback from customers as yet. I remember it being significantly more expensive than our standard Harry Lauders.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 8:29AM
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deltagirl(6b Mid TN)

I desperately want to plant a contorted filbert in an area on the west side of my house. The site is perfect for enjoying the shape of the tree in the winter. However, it is shaded in the summer by box elder (south) and honey locusts (north). The is very light, but little direct sun. Hydrangeas, ferns and azaleas generally grow well in this area. Of course, in the winter, the leaves are off the trees. Has anyone been successful in growing a contorted filbert in this lighting?

One landscaper suggested a shasta viburnum, which I think needs even more sun. What do you think?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 1:03PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

I think Harry would grow there. You might not get the cool blooms...but the plant should be fine. I say this because I saw one being grown in fairly deep shade at Tony Avent's open house this spring. I was astounded, as I though Harry needed full sun and I was pushing the envelope. I didn't have my camera with me...but Tony Avent's Harry Louder looked QUITE happy.

I'm going to plant one in my backyard this fall to see if I can replicate Mr. Avent's success.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 1:10PM
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deltagirl(6b Mid TN)

I so appreciate your response and am very happy you think my spot wold be a successful placement.

Do you have an opinion on the green filbert vs. the red filbert? I generally do not like purple leaves in the summer, but are there other advantages?

Good luck with your Harry Lauder!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 2:00PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

deltagirl...I don't really have an opinion. My gut is that the green cultivar will have an easier time of it than the red.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 2:35PM
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