Friday, June 19, 2009

The Flax recovery corner

I couldn’t just toss them out, so when I went about digging my dead (?) Flax earlier this spring I planted them in a hidden corner to see if they would eventually show signs of life. The corner is not ideal, only limited sun and I have to go out of my way to water them (and we all know what happens when you put something in an out of the way place right? You forget about it). Yet there are several actually showing signs of life!
I left a few others where they were; they had a couple surviving leaves and were in areas where I could try to overlook them while they struggled back to their former glory. My attempt at patience is being rewarded with new growth, it is slow going but I have hope. And speaking of new growth I found these little shoots…
I suspect they are the beginnings of a future Cordyline forest! When we cut down our defoliated and mushy former 6ft Cordy’s (winter damage) I was adamant that we leave the roots, hoping perhaps they were still alive. A couple of weeks ago these started growing, and they are growing fast! At this rate I completely expect them to be taller than they replacement Cordy’s (planted to the east of the deceased ones) by the end of the summer.

I really like this discovering new plants in your garden thing, I could get used to it!


  1. You never know what signs of life might be hiding in the roots of perennials that might surprise yours did! Yay!

  2. It is so nice to see plants got revived ;-) Cordyline forest... good idea! Some of cordylines are really nice especially those coloured with pink or red. Have a great weekend!

  3. I like what you did - you gave a poor thing a chance! This is what I do, plus I usually say:"If you want to live, you'll survive!" My flax is also recovering from a wet and cold winter, but my gorgeous cordyline is for sure dead! I can't believe your cordyline is spreading! Maybe, it needs to grow free and not in a pot (like mine)!

  4. Congratulations on finding survivors. I think at least half the trick is having the patience to wait it out. Good call leaving the roots of the Cordylines, hopefully an established root system will help you quickly recover some of what you lost last year. I finally gave up on my yellow wave, it just didn't look like there was any hope, but I have one of my purple leafed flax making a slow recovery. I just hate how long it takes to start to look right again. Next year, I'm wrapping everything in insulation.

  5. Island Gardener, funny that in this instance I'm happy about the roots growing new shoots but I read so often about people trying to get all the roots of something dug out so that they don't. We think of the visible parts of the plant being the "life" when really there is so much that we never see.

    Stephanie, I have one of the Cordy's you describe with the pink/red but it's not hardy here so it has to stay in a container and come inside for the winter.

    Tatyana, at first when I saw them I thought they were weeds, there were so many! I pulled but they were not coming out (thank goodness),it is really odd that the multiplied like that.

    Megan, oh god...the patience. Not my strong suit. One of my yellow waves is struggling behind the other. I should be prepared and purchase insulation in September or October and have it all ready to go. It's that having to react when it's cold and icky outside part where I fail. When we were in Eugene last April I found the coolest big burlap coffee bags for 25cents at a small coffee shop, I bought a bunch. They are great for protecting things and look good too.

  6. Hi Loree,

    Love your observations about the Cordyline.

    Wrapping is great! So quick, so easy (with frostcloth and clothespins, it's a breeze) - and your tender evergreens barely notice it was a bad winter. Yesterday, I visited a guy who simply dug up his big flaxes and Coprosma and stuck them in the garage during the deep freeze. So smart! He made it sound very easy and quick. Personally, I wrap. But maybe I'd try digging if I had a big plastic tub (kiddie pool?) set up in the garage to heel stuff into...

  7. Thank you Kate! Wrapping seems so overwhelming but hearing you call it easy is inspiring. I don't think I'll risk another winter without having the supplies ready to go. Digging them? WOW now that sounds crazy. I don't think I could do that...

  8. Don't know how I missed this post on Friday, but I have to comment on the flax recoveries: I like your idea of digging and moving the nasty looking ones that might not make it. Right now, I have some goofy looking flaxes myself: all little short leaves and only about 12" tall. So they're being overwhelmed by the winter-loving grasses and robust groundcovers. Mebbe they'll do something, mebbe not this year.

    Wrapping IS easy, dg, just like Kate promises. I like to secure the bottoms of the wrapping with heavy rocks or broken pavers, too. That way the wind is less likely to rip it free of its clothspins.


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