Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Trimming the Phoenix canariensis

I took this photo back in 2006. I had worked hard transforming what was a paddock into our vegetable garden . I wish that I had known about the "no-dig" method back then !  I carefully marked out and dug out these vegetable beds .
 I dug and dug and dug and weeded and pulled out great clumps of grass and earth .
   Bent double I threw out rocks and stones into my wheelbarrow and heaved it all to one far off corner of the garden , clods of grass thrown off from my big old fork on to the surrounding Cornish hedges with a thud ! ...and a groan !
   Don't get me wrong , at the time I was a whole lot younger and fitter and I was loving it and the satisfaction from seeing it all come together and getting lovely fresh home grown vegetables too .
 I,m more of a "No-dig "kind of a gardener these days !
  I planned these four vegetable beds to be in the shape of a Celtic Cross and we bought a Phoenix canariensis and planted it into the middle .
You see what I had in my mind was this ......

                                                Today 2020
It has become more and more fabulous as the years have rolled on by ! It can be seen from the top of our lane . Like a gorgeous green fountain !

So every year after the Winter storms and gales, I give it a bit of a tidy up by taking off a couple of the lower leaves , pulling out any weeds , sharpening up the edge of the grass and putting a fresh mulch of  wood chippings around the base .
 It is beginning to get a nice shape to it and I am trying to cut it to give it that nice pineapple look  .
  The best way is with a chain saw ...  I think I,ll pass on that !  So a few at a time , I,m cutting them with my big ratchet loppers .

Starting from the lowest leaves and being very careful of the horrible sharp spines , which like narrow fencing swords , can run you through !
  A few years ago , I had to have antibiotics after a particularly painful stab became infected .  Nothing so bad this time , but it did get me three times , once in my thigh and a couple of stabs in my hand .
  I,ll be fine !
   I am patched up with couple of plasters and smell of TCP !


      The most evil sharp spines are at the bottom of the leaf fronds , so I am very careful to carry the palm leaves towards the upper middle part of the leaf .

                                             Once bitten , twice shy !

Looking a whole lot smarter now .
    Next job is cutting the grass around the vegetable garden . So please excuse me , I can't sit here chatting to you all morning ....I,m off to pull out the lawn mower ! lol !
    Bye for now ! x


  1. I trim our trachycarpus in the same way but fortunately it isn’t as spiky.

  2. Trachycarpus is a beautiful one , almost cuddly in comparison :) ... I will be tackling my two next , actually I only need to take off one or two of it's leaves from the bottom . The other one that I have is Chamaerops humilis . It is quite hardy , but I recommend wearing gloves while taking leaves off as it is another spiky one ! These palms all look so elegant though I think .