Today the moon is new so, according to this version of the Ogham calendar, we’ve just entered the Month of the Hazel or the Month of the Crabapple. I say ‘this version’ because people don’t always agree about the Ogham calendar. Here’s another description of the Ogham. But never mind the controversies. Let’s admire the hazel tree.
The hazel (Corylus avellana) can be found growing in woodlands in lowland parts of the British Isles and in other parts of Europe too, also in parts of Africa and Asia. It’s not very tall, often found in the understorey. That means that taller trees grow alongside it and, when they’re in leaf, the hazel thrives in their dappled shade.
In modern times the demand for hazel wood is less than it used to be but people still maintain coppices of hazel and other species. Some of the coppicing is done by volunteers and it was with The Conservation Volunteers (formerly known as BTCV, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) that I first learned how to coppice hazel with a billhook. If you’re in Britain and you’d like some healthy outdoor fun that’s useful, try this. The coppicing season will start soon and you could do a lot worse than to get out there with The Conservation Volunteers.
Oh and I nearly forgot to mention the hazelnut. This is one of the best sources of plant protein, suitable for humans, that grow well in Britain. For some people hazelnut allergy is a real problem but if you’re not allergic, you can enjoy many good hazelnut dishes.