I got a stick in the mail today- shipped from Winnipeg in a long, six-foot box lined with brown paper.
T & T Seeds tells me that this stick is a Hazelnut- a Flibert Hazelnut (hybrid of American wild hazelnuts with their better fruiting cousins in Europe)- and I can only trust them that this is true.
At the base of this stick is a bulbous growth wrapped in twine mesh. Inside the mesh is a root ball hugged by cedar shavings to help with the shock of the trip in the back of a Canada Post truck. Obedient as I am, I followed the directions and now have the root ball soaking in a mop bucket, accompanied by a High Bush Cranberry that at least is leafing out and looks somewhat like the bush it will be.
In the bazooka sized cardboard box, I also pulled out two, four-inch lingonberry plants, a Ben Nevis Currant, some onion sets and seed potatoes. In baggies were five other plants: three are a I've-fogotten-the-name-of-perennial which I purchased with no research (the flowers nearly burst out of the catalogue!). Two of the baggies are clematis plants, one purple and one red, but you'd never know it. Seriously, all that is in each labelled sandwich bag is a mass of tangled, thick roots. They also look dead, though on very close inspection I found a hint of a bud.
My girlfriend ordered from T & T Seeds last year and had warned me of the sorry state of affairs that I'd receive in the mail. All her sticks and roots magically sprouted life and grew with vigour. In her experience, I find my hope that hazelnuts will grow from what appears to be a dead twig weighed down by its weird tumour.