Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sort of Ikibana

   I had to prune our contorted hazelnut a week ago. It was encroaching over the sidewalk and into the area where we keep our trash cans. I thought I should do something useful with the prunings so I put together a kind of sort of Ikibana center piece for the dining room table. I'm sure it doesn't meet the rules for a true Ikibana but it reminded me of the Ikibana displays I've seen at the Seattle Flower and Garden Show. Linda interfered with my sense of artistry a bit by clipping off the catkins.  She got tired of wiping up pollen. Its amazing how much pollen can be produced by just a few little hazelnut catkins.

My contorted hazel centerpiece

   I was actually hopeful that the hazel nut cuttings might grow some little rootlets as a willow branch would do. I even put a little rooting hormone in their water to encourage that. Their leaves started to develop so my hope was growing.  That hope was dashed a few days later by a knowledgeable bee store customer who has a significant experience propagating hazelnut trees.  Apparently, they are very difficult to root. It requires both a heat bench and rooting hormone. Even then, the best they get is just a few percent of the cuttings take root. Hazel nuts are generally propagated by grafting, just like fruit trees.  They use Turkish root stocks for the contorted hazels as they are less inclined to sucker than American root stocks. The contorted hazels, also known as Harry Lauder's Walking Stick, stay relatively small as long as they don't produce suckers. If a sucker is allowed to remain the suckers will grow straight and tall,  much larger than the contorted hazel would ever grow. So far our contorted hazel has produced no suckers so I'm guessing it was grafted onto a good Turkish root stock.

   I think I should also give a little progress report on our hen duck.  I haven't seen her off the nest in over a week.  She is persevering in her determination to produce ducklings. She hisses at me whenever I go into their pen to change their water. I'm taking that protective behavior as a sign of a strong mother instinct. I think we are still on track to have duckings hatch out sometime around my birthday, April 14th. I will have to put out some food and water sources appropriate for ducklings before I leave for California to get the bees. I think I may also have to remove my shortest water container lest a duckling get into it and drown.

Mon Cherie Canard giving her best threatening hiss

    Ducklings are not born water proof. Their oil glands aren't fully functional until they are about a month old. Until that time their mother oils them down so they can swim. Even with that waterproofing from their mother they can't necessarily swim for long periods of time. I've heard of young ducklings drowning in water containers. I'd rather not leave a potential hazard in the duck pen. I'll also spread some fresh straw in their pen before the ducklings hatch.

    This afternoon we are driving over to Ellensburg to attend my grand daughter Britton's baptism. I'll be working at the Beez Neez right up until one o'clock when Linda is going to pick me up. I was very happy the baptism was moved back three hours from the original time. That way I won't have to abandon Quentin at the store all day on a Saturday during our busiest time of year. I will feel a bit odd working at the store with a white shirt and tie but that will be easier than trying to change into church clothes right before we leave.  While I miss having the Tunnells living nearby in Monroe, I'm grateful they are still relatively close. Its just a two hour drive to Ellensburg.


1 comment:

  1. We were so happy that you were able to make it! I bet your customers liked the white shirt and tie :)