Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Emergency Tree Surgery.

yesterday was beautiful but windy. very windy.

late in the afternoon, darin called for me to come outside. i went out and saw that the pyracantha / yaupon holly [1] along the driveway fence had blown partly over and was blocking the garage.

after the judicious removal of a few branches and some clever propping up with bags of dirt, we solved the immediate problem.

the tree is covered so heavily with berries right now that it is very top-heavy and had no chance against the wind. unfortunately, this problem will certainly recur as long as the tree is allowed to continue growing in its current manner.

i'm torn about what to do. the tree has become so unbalanced [2] that i don't think we can reshape it successfully at this point. but we need / want something there to screen the fence. i could try vines of some sort, but the neighbors already have a monstrous lady banks rose on their side and i think introducing vines would create a massive mess.

[1] i'm waffling on the identification of this tree. i need to do more research to pin it down.

[2] i think the tree was originally meant to be espaliered against the fence. there is no other explanation for its placement in this location because, with the fence on one side and the garage / driveway on the other, the tree can't project more than about two and a half feet from the fence.

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Monday, April 14, 2003


the "thorny tree-thing" by the garage is not a yaupon. it's a pyracantha coccinea (firethorn, appropriately enough).

it's a nice enough looking tree -- great clusters of white flowers right now; later it will have bright red berries. but it has the wickedest thorns of just about any plant i've ever encountered. and it grows so much we have to prune it three or four times a year to allow access to the passenger side of our vehicles and to avoid snapping off auto antennas when we back out of the garage (replaced one antenna already).

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Friday, January 03, 2003

Potting Gardenia Cuttings.

today i finally got around to potting the gardenia cuttings that have been in the windowsill since august. these will (hopefully) replace the previously potted gardenia cuttings that succumbed to cats and lack of water. i have my fingers crossed that the shock of being in soil after 4+ months of being in water isn't too great.

the "parent" gardenia has recently started new growth, including what looks suspiciously like flower buds. unfortunately, i expect most / all of this growth will get zapped by cold.

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Sunday, December 29, 2002

Meyer Lemon Tree.

my christmas present to darin. he had mentioned on many occasions that he would like a citrus tree, and meyer lemons are supposed to do well in houston. we will keep it in a pot for easier removal to the garage when we're expecting colder temperatures.

lemon lemon
(l - r) flower buds on the lemon tree and tiny baby lemons

since it would have been hard to hide (not to mention wrap) a lemon tree (even a small one) for our holiday drive to arkansas, i left the tree at buchanan's native plants and wrapped an actual lemon to give to darin on christmas day. we picked up the tree today, following our return to houston.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Edibles, Shrubs & Trees | Permalink | Comments (21)

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Rooting Gardenias, Again.

i have four more gardenia cuttings in water, even though i have two successful gardenia rooting experiments in pots.

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Monday, July 01, 2002

Random Gardenia Flowers.

the lonely gardenia bud finally bloomed yesterday. close inspection of the smaller gardenia bush revealed a couple of belated buds there, too, although they're at least a couple of weeks behind this one. i wonder whether these belated blooms are appearing because i trimmed / pruned both bushes after the main bloom in late may? i've forgotten whether gardenias bloom on old or new growth...have to check on that later.

the rooted gardenia remains green and (slowly) growing. it's accompanied by a gardenia stick, which does, in fact, have roots. no leaves on the stick yet.

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Friday, June 21, 2002

Gardenias, Again.

the larger gardenia bush is confused, i think. it has put out a very belated a flower bud.

i've been semi-successful rooting the gardenia cuttings. the one that i potted is still looking very green and perky and has even begun to show signs of new growth. unfortunately, the second cutting lost all its roots and seems to be on its way to becoming just a stick in water.

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Wednesday, June 05, 2002

Gardenia Growth.

the gardenia bushes that i pruned are now putting out new leaves. and a second gardenia cutting is putting out roots.

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Monday, May 27, 2002

Yaupon Holly.

the "thorny tree-thing" described in my previous entry is almost certainly a yaupon holly, which is native to texas. here are info and pics courtesy of the texas tech dept. of plant and soil science. i'm amused by the scientific name - ilex vomitoria.

searching for the yaupon holly also turned up this essay on hollies on a site called soul of the garden. the writer is based in austin, texas.

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Sunday, May 26, 2002

Growing Gardenias.

i didn't even realize we had gardenias until they bloomed. obviously, i haven't been giving them any special care, but they seem to be doing just fine despite what might be considered trying conditions.

the larger bush is almost five feet high, now that it has been propped up. this particular bush got mashed down last august when our house was re-roofed prior to us moving in. all fall / winter the bush was left prone; finally in february or march we put a cinder block under what appeared to be the main trunk. despite all the neglect, in late april / early may the bush was covered in flower buds and erupted into full bloom with dozens of super-fragrant flowers.

yesterday afternoon i did some maintenance pruning in an attempt to improve the shape of this bush. i saved some of the cuttings to try to root them. i'm also trying to root some crape myrtle cuttings.

the other gardenia is much smaller - about two and a half feet tall. it's next to / underneath the recently identified star jasmine between the back door and garage, squeezed into a tiny patch of soil bounded by the driveway (concrete) and deck (wood). last fall darin "pruned" it rather brutally (he isn't allowed to prune without supervision now), but did no permanent damage. despite the abuse, this bush also bloomed beautifully.

this afternoon i pruned the second bush slightly, as well as the star jasmine that was threatening to engulf it. i think having a bit more space and light will help the gardenia.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Shrubs & Trees, What's Blooming... | Permalink | Comments (55)