Saturday, April 12, 2008

Well, I finally bought a Bismarckia. Its not a huge one, but it did have to ride in the back seat, with me coming home from, you guessed it: the Flea Market. There are giant specimens available but I have always favored, for my purposes, using smaller plants and spacing them for their ultimate size. I moved a Cycas revoluta from a prominent position and planted the Bismarckia there. Interestingly enough, or not, looking at the picture, if the car, the palm, and I weren't there, you could see the cycad by looking directly through the crown of the Bismarckia! weird.

It is basically a blue fan palm from Madagascar. The glaucous bloom is not really visible in this picture, but it is definitely there. It is good to get this into the ground because it can grow as time passes. That sounds silly, but I spend a good deal of time urging clients not to put off planting the trees in their garden designs. We all, myself included, tend to temporize on what we feel are "big features", thinking, I guess, that we will have more money later and put in larger specimens. Well one of the good things about plants is that they grow for you; they grow everywhere, but they especially grow in Florida. If you plant a container tree, say 6-8' now, over the next couple of years, it may double in height, becoming the equivalent of a smallish B&B plant, and saving you hundreds of dollars. Planting small now versus big later gives you, in 2-3 years, a plant that is established (and so relatively carefree) versus a newly planted B&B that would require lots of attention. And you spent a whold lot less money.

I put a Bismarckia in the design for this garden; originally it was intended to go at the "street" end of sunny bed #1, visible in the picture adjacent to my head. All designs get altered somwhat in the installation. Sunny bed #1 is largely planted and we visually terminated it at the front. A windfall of large chunks of limestone provided an interesting focal terminus, and at this point to add a potentially quite large palm at the front would make no sense. The Cycas, though a beautiful plant, probably didn't deserve such a prominent position and now lives in a growing bed alongside the other property line. It has more than doubled in the year and a half it has been in the ground, and has gone from being a respectable 3 gallon plant to a smallish landscape cycad.
The garden progresses.

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