Credit: Roy Forster

Turkish hazel are smart little buggers...

What to do when you're stuck in the ground and it's time to find a mating partner? This challenge has faced plants for eons - and they've devised innumerable strategies to solve the problem. Get another creature, a bee for example, to move your pollen - that's one possibility. But what if it's too cold at bloom time? Harness the wind! This Turkish hazel (Corylus colurna) produces long, pendulous catkins of male flowers, from which the pollen floats on a breeze. Note the bare branches - many wind-pollinated flowers are borne early, on bare branches, before leaves develop and block the air flow. The female flowers are the tiny red ones right on the twigs - once pollinated, they will develop tasty nuts by autumn. With more than 30 years experience in horticulture in B.C. – in wholesale, retail and at VanDusen Botanical Garden for a decade – Carolyn Jones brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to GardenWise and www.gardenwiseonline.ca as staff horticulturist.