Friday, June 7

Giving them a second chance

When a plant looks dead we are always loathe to dig it up or throw it out. Maybe it's laziness and we don't quite get round to discarding dead looking plants but I prefer to think of it as giving the plants every chance to revive and show that the will to live is strong.

I have a houseplant in one of our bedrooms that really should have been consigned to the compost months ago. It has gradually been giving up its grip on life for quite a while and now it is completely brown but still it sits there just waiting for a decision on its fate to be made. My sister who is a soft touch for sickly looking plants has even told me that she would dump it.

But sometimes it is worth just waiting and watching. Sometimes miracles do happen. For instance our much written about Lazarus fig that in 2011 looked like this.
Now it looks like this and has lots of figs - well lots for us anyway.
Then there was the small fig in a tub on the plot that was definitely dead or was it? Well like the phoenix it has risen from the ashes or more accurately the soil. This has now been rescued before the linaria smothered it and has been potted up and placed in the garden greenhouse to hopefully grow on..
There have been other miraculous recoveries including the gunnera that Martyn posted about here. 

Then there is the tree fern. The winter of 2010-11 treated it badly. In March 2011 it looked like this.
Overly optimistic we hoped that the fleece had worked its magic and had protected the crown. We waited in hope that new fronds would unfurl from the top as they had done for several years previously. We stroked the crown hoping to feel the first signs of developing fronds showing that the plant had survived. All in vain - we had to accept that this wasn't going to happen and that the plant was dead.

We thought the trunk still looked quite good and other ferns had seeded themselves around the base of the trunk. A plan to keep the trunk in place was hatched. I decided to scoop a planting pocket in the top of the 'dead' tree fern and plant some type of fern in the pocket to create a pretend tree fern.

The term scooping describes how easy I thought this would be - in the event I used an electric drill, chisels, hammers and various other scary tools. The trunk was solid and I only managed this.
The planting pocket achieved was nowhere near large enough for the fern that I had bought specifically to plant. Instead I planted a self sown fern that I found growing in the garden hoping that it was an offspring of the large, shuttlecock type fern growing nearby.

There were also self sown ferns growing at the base of the 'dead' tree fern which was another reasons for keeping the planting in situ. I didn't want to disturb these  plants.
A large fern was growing in a pot next to the tree fern planter so I thought all the ferns at the base of the trunk were self sown plants. As it turned out although the largest plant, at the front of the tree fern trunk' was an offspring of a nearby fern it is becoming fairly certain - I'm convinced but Martyn isn't - that two of the plants are offshoots from the trunk of the 'dead' tree fern. What do you think? Has anyone had offshoots grow?
The fern planted at the top of the trunk survived winter. It's still only quite small and is dwarfed by the ferns growing below.
I wonder if it this tree fern will ever grow back to achieve it's former glory.
At least we have given it a second chance!





Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

20 comments:

  1. Wow, your tree fern was really lovely, I really hope it will come back again with a bit of TLC and a nice, warm summer - if we get that this year! I have also had a few plants I refused to give up and they have managed to spring back into life again against all odds. But I also have a few plants I really should have got rid of a long time ago, I probably could have been a bit more ruthless there - a 9 year old Viburnum is in line for the compost bin this summer and should gone there years ago.

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    1. I'm wondering how it will look if the side shoots start to develop trunks Helene.

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  2. With such a spectacular plant as that, it is definitely worth giving it a second chance -and maybe a third one too! Let's hope your offshoots really are from the original one. Lazarus II ?

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    1. I hope so too, Mark I was upset when it didn't grow again from the top.

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  3. The re-born fig tree with fruits is fabulous! Definitely a lesson learnt there.

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    1. It is at least one good reason to be tardy at throwing things away, Belinda

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  4. That is a seriously lovely tree fern, fingers crossed it regains its former glory!

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  5. Oh I LOVE that tree fern. Mine "died" in the snows a few years back and I'm still hoping it comes back. I had a fig too which I threw out, I really wish I hadn't now.

    Those same snows killed off my bay and palm tree yet both of those came back. A good lesson here to hang on to things.xxxx

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    1. We have a palm which came through that winter OK, Snowbird - in fact it will feature in a blog post shortly.

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  6. The tree fern is amazing Sue, just shows what a bit of tenacity can achieve.
    My 2 fig trees look pretty bare and dead unfortunately but I'm thinking I may just try your method and give them some time.
    I also have a houseplant - a big Ficus - that died which I was going to throw out but I'm having second thoughts now.

    Linda

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    1. Try a little TLC, Linda. Scrape of some of the compost if it is growing in a pot and give it some fresh and then give it a good watering and sit back and wait!

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  7. My tree fern looks the same as yours and I am still hoping, I grew sweet peas around mine last year as I was convinced the centre felt as if something was going to grow.

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    1. I hope that you are lucky Flowerlady

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  8. Just shows that it pays to leave things alone sometimes - nature will sort it.

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    1. Nature is just wonderful, Elaine

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  9. That fig is a real miracle, I always think much loved plants deserve a long stay of execution "just in case". But I suspect your offshoots are just self-seeded "normal" ferns...

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    1. Well I am still holing out for baby tree ferns Janet ;)

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  10. They certainly have gained new life Sue.

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