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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Late July Update: Zone 7 Palm Trees

Hi everyone, sorry it's been quite a while. I recently visited home to see how things were doing in my parents yard. Things are growing a little bit slower. It could be because it's a cooler summer than usual up there this year, or maybe it's just because I wasn't there to keep things fertilized BUT the exception to that rule are the palms. everything is growing pretty well.
I lost my sabal birmingham this winter, but everything else is recovering.
I have 2 sabal minors, a chamaerops (mediterranean fan palm), Rhapidophyllum hystrix (Needle palm), 3 Trachycarpus fortunei (windmill palms),  and a Livistona chinensis (Chinese fan palm).
Here's how they all look!

My Chamaerops in the ground since 2010

Sabal minor also in the ground since 2010. It used to be much bigger. It's strunken in side over the past few years. 

My other Sabal minor. Planted this one in 2015. It had a massive scale infestation which nearly killed it. It seems to be overcoming the scale. Unprotected last winter.

This trachy was also unprotected this past winter. And it did pretty well! Believe it or not, I've had it since 2007. It spent a long time in a pot. It was my first "hardy" palm.

And the king and queen of the backyard, my two trachycarpus. They were tiny palms when I planted them in 2009. They have a really nice growth rate and are now over 6 feet tall. Lots of fresh fronds on it this summer. I think they'll start flowering next year.

Love the silvery coloration underneath the fronds.

And my needle palm is in its second year. No protection this winter and past winter and no issues at all!

My Blue Chamaerops is much smaller and was never protected. It totally defoliated this past winter, but it's coming back. They are pretty hardy. I think in a sunnier and drier spot it'd be happier. I've had it since 2010 so it's SLOW.

My Livistona has also been in the ground since 2010 and is basically a dieback perennial. Totally defoliated this past winter. Not a hint of green. I thought it was dead, but it came back! All it needs is one more frond on each trunk and it'll look full again. 

And onto a few of my tropical palms. 
My coconut palm is still in it's original pot. I bought it in 2009! It's a pretty care free palm. I just bring it in when the nights get chilly and keep it by a sunny window. 

My Adondila ties the yard together. This year it's a little less full than other years, but overall still healthy and happy. Also a pretty care free palm indoors and out. It overwinters under the skylight in my parent's kitchen.

My bottle palm is a little trickier. Last summer it had a ton of green fronds going into spring and then they all got sun burned and it looked awful. But it's looking much better this summer. Another frond or two should really give it a nice look. In the meantime the trunk is looking great! 

And while my Livistona outdoors struggles, the two I have indoors are really healthy and happy! They've seen temperatures in the 20s and spend a pretty good amount of time outdoors during the winter. The cordyline also spends a lot of time outdoors.

Queen palms are very tricky as indoor palms. I've struggled with them, but I got this one for $30 at the end of last summer and it still looks presentable so overall I'm happy with it. It really needs to grow another frond or two before winter to look good. The trunk on this one is actually larger than the one in my yard in Florida.

And a few bonus pictures. Snug Harbor on Staten Island had a few great looking additions. Plenty of healthy basjoos, several nice sized monkey puzzle trees, and even a few palms. I figure those palms go indoors during the winter.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A few early summer photos from NYC

My parents have been updating me with photos of my yard back up in NYC now that I am living in Gainesville. Things are coming along really nicely. My gardenias up there look WAY nicer than the ones I am growing down here in Florida.
Here's a few photos. I'll have a complete update from the yard sometime in August!

If you look carefully you'll see HUNDREDS of baby plants growing on the agave stalk in front of that second window. It took about 1 year (much of that time inside the garage) for the stalk to fully mature. My Loquat is right in the center of this photo. It's getting pretty big! It had no major issues with minimal protection last winter. Definitely a great zone 8 plant! Not as hardy as Fatsia. My basjoo has grown more since this photo was taken a few weeks ago. Maybe one day it'll establish itself into a nice clump!

How amazing is this Frostproof Gardenia? I got it from home depot for 15 dollars. It's awesome!

Crown Jewel is another winner for northern yards wanting to grow gardenias.

This is the most dramatic hardy gardenia I've grown. It did not receive much protection last winter and it's as happy as it can be. This variety is "Summer Snow". It blooms all summer long and the blooms are really large. It's a very showy variety and I'm surprised it's as hardy as it is. 

My Plumeria "Jenny" never fails!

My Cordyline is probably pushing about 8 feet tall. I can't believe how fast it's grown in just 4 years. The Livistonas look happy without me, but the Adondila in the corner is overcoming some sun scorching on the fronds.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Unkept Corner of the Yard

Japanese umbrella pines are pretty formal plants, but I have it growing as the focal point of a wild part of my backyard and I think it works pretty well (Maybe I'm just saying that because I'm living a 1000 miles away now and can't go out to weed every day!). The violas took the spot over, but at least it's blocking other taller weeds that would pop up in its place.

Friday, June 9, 2017

New York Loquat (from late May)

Loquats are surprisingly hardy. Mine was really put to the test and saw temperatures in the mid teens. There was some leaf drop, but no die back.
Here's a lackluster photo of the backyard. Things are slow to come back this year with all the rain and cool weather in the Northeast, but hopefully I can come home to visit in a few weeks and clean things up for the summer. The roses are loving this weather and the spanish moss survived the winter on my Crape Myrtle which is exciting!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Hardy Ground Orchids Bring More than Just a Tropical Touch

Hardy Ground Orchids need to be more popular. Their bloom time is short, but their flowers are unbelievable. I don't know how they aren't more popular in both formal and informal gardens. They fit so well into both and are another lower option for shade gardeners. Does it get any better!

This is the second year I've had my ground orchids (Bletilla striata). They require really no care or looking after at all. I bought it with about 4 bloom spikes. This year it looks like it's tripled that number. Next year I think it'll be a very noticeable clump.

They come up at a time where the hostas are not at their tallest so they mesh together really well and make great companion plants.

Bletilla striata is not evergreen, but it still deserves a spot in your yard!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Azalea "Garden Rainbow": An Incredible Deciduous Azalea!

Garden Rainbow is a great variety of Azalea that I bought last year from Rare Find Nursery in NJ. It's the first Azalea I've grown and probably will not be the last. It loses it's leaves during the winter, but puts on an amazing show in late spring.

The blooms start off yellow and as they age they turn a pinkish orange and eventually red. The effect is a multitude of warm colors on the plant all at once. It's kind of the same idea as a "yesterday, today & tomorrow" plant which is a popular one in the south.

If you look at the previous post you'll see the entire plant underneath my Ashei Magnolia.

The variegated plant underneath the azalea is a Vinca. I don't recommend you buy those. Very invasive!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

My Unprotected Fatsia Japconia

I bought my Fatsia in September 2015 while on a trip in Newport Beach, CA. Usually when you're growing marginally hardy plants it's better to find a cold growing that has a history of acclimating their plants to cold. But although Fatsias are common plants in the US, I've never seen one for sale in my area.

So I took a risk buying it and I am glad I did! I planted it very late in the year (another thing not to do when you're trying to grow a borderline hardy plant, you want to plant it early in the season) so I gave it protection it's first year. But this winter it got absolutely nothing at all. And it did great! It was a mild winter (even my Soft Caress Mahonia's survived without protection and they are a zone 8 plant), but I still think its survival is impressive.

It's already grown a lot of fresh leaves. That's the nice thing about Fatsias, although they are evergreen and shade tolerant, they are not slow growing and will outgrow winter damage quickly.