Monday, March 26, 2012

Palms in the Garden

Palms are great for creating a tropical atmosphere in the garden.  I’ve purchased and acquired several palms over the years, half of which I've kept in pots. There are so many different kinds so I’ve been trying to learn how to identify the difference between them. The learning curve involves understanding how they grow including knowing how big they get and hence where to plant them.

One palm I bought about 6 years ago and planted on the edge of the bush was a Bangalow palm. I bought it when it was small but it was starting to get quite big for the place where I put it so I realized I needed to move it. However, transplanting it was not going to be easy.

It was in a very awkward spot and the root ball was so big it was going to be too heavy to lift. As usual rather than asking anyone to help me, I figured out how to do it on my own using the McGyver approach. I used a couple of ratchet ties strapped around the root ball to lift it out of the hole. Then I wrestled it into the wheelbarrow ready to move. 

What I love about mature Bangalows is their lovely smooth bright green trunk. I knew just the place for it on the approach to the sleep out. 
The bangalow will grow a lot bigger than this yet. I wouldn't want to transplant one that's any bigger than this. I love the way it catches and filters the afternoon sun in its new location. 

My next task is to move a nikau palm which I now realize is also in the wrong place (pictured next to the Bangalow in the picture at the top). I also have a Phoenix palm which I've decided to remove altogether as these grow to a massive size, far too big for my garden.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Sleepout #7: Getting it finished

I’ve been terribly distracted over the last few months with some difficult personal issues that have taken my attention away from the garden (or at least keeping my blog up to date). Anyway, I was determined to finish off what I started last summer when I built the sleepout. It has been in a semi-finished state for months while I waited for the summer to roll around again.
One of the more pressing jobs I had planned this summer was to finish off the deck as it’s been a bit of a safety hazard.

I’m pleased to have finally got it finished, but it’s a shame it took so long because as you can see, the part I did first (last summer) has already discoloured compared to the bit I just finished. This is also one of the drawbacks of being surrounded by trees.

Another important job that needed doing was to brace all the sub-floor foundation posts...

The fact that it wasn’t braced properly was bugging me all winter especially when I was lying in bed and my wife got up and was walking around on the deck or inside the sleepout. It's really amazing what a difference the bracing makes. Now when she walks around, I’m barely aware of it.

Next, I need to get some underfloor insulation organised before winter. It gets pretty cold in the sleepout at night from June-Sept even though it’s well insulated in the walls and ceiling.

Read part 8 in this series here.