Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fatsia polycarpa 'Needham's Lace' a rebirth...

The photo below was taken last November, at that time I was singing the praises of my Fatsia polycarpa 'Needham's Lace'. I was also coming to terms with the fact I needed to move it to a better location, as it was leaning further and further out and blocking the entrance to the garden.

What I didn't know at that time was a severe cold snap was just ahead. While the plant survived, the growing tip was zapped hard. Come spring I moved it, and it struggled to live...

But live it did and what do you know, eight new "branches" began growing. The death of the growing tip acted like a pinching back and things were going to get interesting!

The problem was the old leaves looked ratty and were out of scale with the new growth. It took me a few days to work up the courage but finally I decided they had to go.

It's like an entirely different plant!

Tall trunk...

Kind of an odd shaped thing.

At least the trunk is attractive.

And those leaves are once again making my heart skip a beat.

Not that it was easy to cut off all of these...

But I think I made the right decision...

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

35 comments:

  1. You really take your heart in your hands when you do something like this. The garden is one great big experiment. Such a fab plant. I have to figure out what to do about the growing tip on my blue atlas cedar, which has died back. I've researched how to alter one of the branches to turn it into a new growing tip, but it says the best time is the winter. So I'll be experimenting on it this winter. Wish me luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh good for you Alison and yes I do believe you can make it happen, what an experiment that will be! Do you know why it died back?

      Delete
  2. Looks good -- I don't think I would have been able to remove the older growth. Maybe I would have though, as this year I'm being less emotional with pruning and so forth..

    So the old leaves just got pulled off? I don't see any remnants on the trunk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you would have Alan. I resisted but in the end it just looked bad, all tattered and scarred. I waited until the new leaves were ready to take over and just held my breath.

      I cut them off, you can see a bit of the remaining parts in the photograph below the words "tall trunk" - those bits will fall off in the coming weeks and leave the great marks along the trunk.

      Delete
  3. You are such a brave gardener! You mad a good choice and the new growth looks great! Cistus is coming to the Fronderosa Frolic this year and they've agreed to bring me a couple of these. I'm very excited and promise not to kill them this time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A couple? Oh where ever will you put them?

      Delete
  4. As others have said, definitely the right choice and it will have a couple of months to fill out and look even better by the end of summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At which point I'll worry about it if the cold hits, after last years experience.

      Delete
    2. You could try having a bit of fleece at the ready for the worst nights, and just drape it over the plant for the night and before heavy snow.

      Delete
    3. Yes I suppose I will, although hopefully we won't see a repeat of last winter...

      Delete
  5. Nice success story and just shows how tough this beauty is! The newer leaves does look a lot better and without the old ones it now looks less congested and you can appreciate the lower branches even better. Brave move but a nice result!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Less congested, yes! Instead of a green blob it has interest again. Would you believe I just cut off a few of the new leaves too? They were laying on the ground and that's not good.

      Delete
  6. You're inspiring me to do some drastic path clearing. After seeing how great the change looks, I know your bravery paid off in spades. (I made a gardening pun, tee hee.) Thanks for setting a good example.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay for inspiration! Paths are best when the plants that surround them are part of the experience, but you shouldn't have to fight your way through like your getting on the NYC subway.

      Delete
  7. Another fatsia that should be available in LA. I'm making a list. In my next life, I'll be a plant broker. I think this is the route I need to take with that pseuderanthemum, just whack it back completely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heck that fatsia isn't even available here in Portland. Cistus has it and that's pretty much the only place you can find it. (do I see a mail-order in your future?) About that pseuderanthemum, I bought one at Annie's last year (Fling) and LOVED it all summer, of course it died come winter. When I started trying to find it here in the spring I was not successful, then just last week I discovered a healthy bunch of them at my New Seasons (a local Whole Foods). Crazy!

      Delete
  8. Loree my friend, you have balls of steel!

    I would not have done the same thing to my Needham's form. Saying that, I do think that you have done the right thing because everything was getting out of balance.

    Talking of my Needham's form, it also had its growing point frosted out a couple of years ago, but it decided to produce 3 new growing points from the very top and it has done very well this summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! There's something I've never been told before.

      I was expecting that if it did pull through the new growing point(s) would be near the top, obviously it had other desires.Glad to hear yours is doing well.

      Delete
  9. We've been here long enough that quite a few things are in need of some fairly drastic pruning. I'm too timid and R is too bold...what to do? Follow your shining example, of course. Now where are those "powder milk biscuits" to help me work up the courage "to do what must be done"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had to look up the reference. That's one show I've never enjoyed, much to Andrew's dismay.

      Delete
  10. Sometimes you just have to take a risk and follow your instincts. The plant has already shown its resilience - I expect it'll beef up again in time. I love the trunk - it looks as though it's tattooed with boomerangs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Boomerangs, I like that.

      Delete
    2. I thought you were making reference to Prairie Home Companion in your FB post. It wears thin after a while, but I remember being charmed by it at first.

      Delete
  11. So, one of my favorite features of this post is the pre-removal view of the privet area, totally unrelated to the topic ..how splendid that all turned out ! On the subject of Fatsia, it really is mystifying that some of these cultivars are not available in zones like mine and Denise's where they are reliably hardy. Maybe in Denises case it is Fatsia fatigue..when I worked in the garden center in San Diego back in the old days, I didn't care if I never saw another Fatsia again, I was sick to death of them. And back then by the way, they were Arailia japonica.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's kind of crazy right, to see how things looked just last fall.

      This one is hardly available anywhere Kathy, still very rare, much more so than the "spiders web" which everyone seemed to be drooling over in the Fling gardens.

      Delete
  12. That trunk is attractive, looks like it has little boomerangs printed on it. Hooray, it pulled through!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think this plant is so attractive...and now, with the new growth shining by its own, it is wonderful again! It would have taken me a lot more to get the courage to cut the old leaves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know, you're pretty strong I think you could have done it...

      Delete
  14. I don't think I would have bothered in my big yard to remove the old leaves. Eventually the newer ones would mature to match the old ones more closely. But in a smaller garden the effect is much more important and it looks great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The old ones had been through a lot, a bad winter and a near death experience (when the plant was moved) they were uglier than they look in the photos, I think you would have done the same. Thanks!

      Delete
  15. Can we get a 2015 update on this plant please?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's doing amazing...lots of growth over the summer and it's pushing out it's first ever blooms. There will be a photo included with Sunday's (the 15th) Bloomday post.

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Comment moderation is on (because you know: spam), I will approve and post your comment as soon as possible!