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Corkscrew Silhouette

Corkscrew Silhouette



The unusual Corkscrew Hazel is one small tree that is a real showstopper in a late Spring and Winter garden. Not only is it a fantastic little tree within a planting scheme, it also looks so visual as a single tree in a planter or large pot.  This deciduous large shrub or small tree is as beautiful in the Winter months as it is in Summer. In fact, in my opinion it is at its best in late Winter and early Spring when the twisted branches are covered in masses of amazing little catkins which over time open up to become almost translucent with their delicate tassels.

Shape is another strong point of this tree and I love the way the branches twist and turn in a wonderfully gnarled way and this tree is often grown as a small bonsai like specimen tree for exactly this reason.It is also a great tree to plant for the wildlife garden as it attracts a variety of Butterflies, insects, birds and moths.

When, in late Spring the broadly ornate leaves start to unfurl the tree loses a little of its shape but this particular variety makes up for that with its unusual colour. The ‘Red Majestic’ variety has deep magenta leaves which really stand out in a scheme.

One other great thing about this small tree is that it is a very slow grower, only reaching about 1.8m-2m after 10 years, making this an ideal tree for a small garden, patio area or even a balcony.  Hazels prefer loamy soil but are really quite unfussy, doing well in most other soils too. They even do well in exposed locations so grow almost everywhere.  Combine with some pretty snowdrops and you’ll have a perfect planter for your small garden.

This lovely tree and planter was sourced at Homeland, Sligo.

Photo by Colin Gillen/


Photo by Colin Gillen/

Leonie Loves

Flower Power

When I was in transition year in school I did my work experience at a  Florist. I’ll never forget the smells of the flowers and how much fun it was putting together floral displays for customers. I think this placement really awakened my love of combining plants. If you’re interested in flower arranging then why not do a course in flower arranging with Ruth Monahan and her team at the Appassionata loves Flowers school?  What better way to celebrate mother’s day than booking in a course with your mum? For more go to:



The Fertile Rock

The Burren in County Clare is well known for its incredible Limestone hills and stunning planting. Also known as ‘the fertile rock’, the Burren, whose unique glaciokarst landscape was sculpted in the last glacial period, is home to three quarters of Ireland’s native plant species. Interestingly here you can find plants from all over Europe that naturally grow side by side. From 23 types of Irish native orchids to a rare sword-leaved Helleborine there is so much to discover here for the plant lover.  Fascinatingly, the majority of County Clare’s National monuments can be found in the Burren and highlights include ring forts such as Caherconnell to Poulnabrone-a megalithic wedge tomb older than the pyramids!

Why not get away and explore this stunning area and stay at the wonderful Gregans Castle Hotel? The gorgeous 18th century Manor house is set in the heart of the Burren and has beautiful gardens as well as spectacular views over the Burren and Galway bay. A perfect location to explore this stunning landscape from.

Early advance booker prices start at €179 per room per night and includes a full Irish Breakfast.


Reader question

Q      Hi Leonie,

Every year in Spring I regret not planting more interesting displays the previous garden. My garden looks great in summer, I have lots of pink and white  roses and a border with lavender.  In Autumn too where I have a lot of trees with autumn colour such as Japanese maples.  Spring however always looks a bit bare and boring, especially because the roses are bare. Can you give me advice on anything I could plant to make the garden more impressive at this time of the year?

Louise, Limerick

A  Hi Louise,

Thanks for your email. Your garden sounds lovely.  A good collection of roses is so pretty in the summer months. As you pointed out, in the Winter months roses are not the most visually appealing and though you have lovely Autumn colour, this won’t be visible in Spring. If I were you I would consider underplanting the front of the roses with masses of Spring flowering bulbs. Don’t just go for the obvious ones like yellow daffodils but rather take your cue from the existing scheme-you have pinks and whites and then you mentioned the lavender so purple too. These all work so well together to form a soft romantic scheme. Consider adding in a scattering of white Daffodils instead as a starting point. The Narcissus ‘Bridal Crown’ has an incredible scent or the Narcissus ‘Ice Follies’ blooms prolifically. Then add in some colour interest in keeping with your scheme. How about the pretty pale purple Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ (Reticulata) and for a stronger colour accent add in the scented Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Woodstock’ which is a stunning maroon purple. The key to all these is to informally plant them in informal drifts of the same plant and the more the merrier.

Happy planting!

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