Godless in the garden


Godless in the garden

Discussing all aspect of gardening.

Location: Planet Earth
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Comment by Joan Denoo on November 18, 2016 at 2:30am
Comment by Daniel W on November 18, 2016 at 12:22am

Joan, I feel that way too.  The elms and chestnuts are past, so I wonder what kinds of big trees we can grow for a changing world?  Maybe we will wind up with forests of eucalyptus in warmed areas, and ginkgos or metasequoias in temperate zones.  Each yard can be an experiment for the future.  Down the road, a family grows hardy bananas.  They dont fruit, but how odd looking here.  maybe we'll see bamboo forests.  It grows well here too, and windmill palms.  The world is full of species to try and play with.

Comment by Joan Denoo on November 17, 2016 at 11:42pm

Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia glipistroboides is a beautiful tree. It should do well in your climate. The tree trunks develop interesting patterns if not limbed up while they are young. At least that is my understanding. Thought extinct, the Dawn Redwood has a long history that stretches back into the Age of Dinosaurs. The last Ice Age wiped out all known groves. A small grove was found in China during WW II and then after the war, seeds were distributed worldwide  There is an extraordinary specimen in front of Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

The favorite picture I have of that ancient species is 

It will be a good companion with your ginkgo biloba tree that was also thought extinct. Ginkgo is found in fossils dating back 270 million years. 

You will have an ancient grove of splendid trees. What a great legacy you leave. 

Comment by Daniel W on November 17, 2016 at 8:06pm

Spud, with 3 inches of concrete, you have a great start at a heat sink for your plants!  Or a passive solar collector for a greenhouse!  My figs are against a south wall, but it's wooden so not much heat retention.

Sometimes I channel my emotions by planting a tree.  I've been struggling with my elderly doggies' struggles, but they remain comfortable and happy - looking.  I decided to plant a tree as their memorial, as well as because I love planting trees, it makes me feel better.

This was the choice, which I mentioned before.  Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia glipistroboides.  By coincidence, Portland Nursery got in a shipment of conifers last week.  I used the method detailed by Linda Chalker-Scott, washed off all of the existing soil, pruned off potentially girdling roots - minimal but not zero.  If it grows, which I think it should, it could become a very beautiful tree.  They grow fast, 3 feet a year once established.

It's hard to see, but the tree is about 8 feet tall, to near the top of the pic.  Ning is 5'10.

I still find it incredible that a tree can have so few roots and survive, let alone thrive.  But this is how most of them start out from the nursery, and so far I've only lost one, a madrone.  Which are notorious for being killed by transplanting.

Some trees can be grown from root cuttings.  I don't know about Dawn Redwoods.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I planted the prunings in a garden bed, next to gingko seeds planted last week.

Comment by Joan Denoo on November 17, 2016 at 4:55pm

Spud, your plan sounds like a delicious one, especially with you south facing wall of concrete. I look forward to learning about its progress!

Comment by Idaho Spud on November 17, 2016 at 2:31pm

Daneil, thanks much for the article on fruit walls.  I'm definitely going to use those ideas to grow my favorite warm weather fruits.

I'm thinking pomegranate, watermelon, muskmelon, grape, and maybe even pistachio & banana.

The south side of my house will be a good start because the wall is about 3 inches of concrete.

Comment by Joan Denoo on November 16, 2016 at 8:34pm

Daniel, your article on the development of greenhouse fascinates me,  especially with the note :

"The greenhouse was invented by the Romans in the second century AD. Unfortunately, the technology disappeared when the Western Roman Empire collapsed. The Romans could produce large glass plates, and built greenhouses against brick walls.

"Their technology was only surpassed by the Dutch in the 1800s. However, the Roman greenhouse remained a toy for the rich and never became an important food supply."

An interesting history of the greenhouse. Thanks. 

Comment by Daniel W on November 16, 2016 at 7:25pm

Chris, you are very fortunate to have a source of cherimoyas!  As far as I know, they are completely tropical.  It's been many years since I tried one.  Thanks for the reminder!

Cherimoyas are a botanical cousin of Pawpaws, a native American fruit tree.  Pawpaws grow just fine in temperate Northern climates.  Some have been successful as far north as Southern Canada.  They are not known to be successful in the Pacific NW where I live, because they bear late and need a long warm season. It's possible that to few people have tried, for us to know.  Pawpaws are considered difficult to transplant so you need to start with a very small tree, 1 foot tall or so.  They are slow growers.  I have 5 pawpaw trees, from about 18 inches tall to about 8 feet tall.  None have borne fruit yet and I can't promise that they ever will.  I hand-pollinated them this year, knowing that they are not pollinated by bees and need pollen from a different variety.  They set fruit that fell off.  We'll see.


Fruit walls, urban farming in the 1600s.  Basically, using walls as passive solar collectors to push growing zones, getting fruit further North than otherwise possible. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on November 16, 2016 at 2:58pm

cherimoyas, season: March through May.

flowers are almost never pollinated by their own pollen, so they must be quickly and carefully hand-pollinated with collected male pollen.

White variety: has fewer seeds, a firmer texture, and sweet and juicy taste.

Booth variety: carries a strong papaya flavor.

Pierce variety: considered one of the tastiest, extra-creamy texture and peachy taste.

Selma variety: distinctive red-flesh and hints of raspberry flavor.

To eat a cherimoya, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the velvety spoonfuls, peel and cut into cubes for salads, or puree and use in pastries or tarts.

Make sure to remove the large black seeds which are inedible.

I wonder if they will grow inside? I'll have to experiment. 

Now, I am all ready, starting in March, to try a new fruit. 

Thanks, Chris.

Comment by Plinius on November 16, 2016 at 5:07am

The greengrocer said cherimoyas are magical health food, but I'm not sure. The taste is sweet and aromatic, very nice! You open the fruit when it turns softer, inside are white pulp and many black seeds. Eat the pulp with a spoon and spit out the seeds.


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