Monday, August 2, 2021


What is "palmscaping"? Adding plants to your palm tree trunk, a plant version of tablescaping, or mantelscaping. Since our local (default) hardy palm—the trachycarpus—comes with a hairy trunk ready made for tucking things in and growing plants up, why not take advantage?

This Trachycarpus wagnerianus is home to a pair of Fascicularia pitcairnifolia. I wrapped them up kokedama-style and then tucked them into the trunk, at the base of a couple fronds.

The leaves usually blush a red color when the plant is getting ready to bloom. No blooms visible here, so I'm not sure what's happening.

The plants seems happy, sending out babies and all.

The cramsacaper in me also saw this as an opportunity to hang some Tillandsia usneoides. 

After taking photos for this post I realized I was slightly annoyed by the fact I'd decked out this palm with matching pairs, I'm not one for symmetry. I have another fascicularia with a bunch of pups, I'm going to have to harvest a couple and work in another kokedama on this trunk to keep things uneven.

Growing in the ground, at the palm's base, is Bomarea caldasii, only Zone 9 hardy this vine needs to get a move on and grow large enough to bloom before temps start to cool.

The next palm, also a Trachycarpus wagnerianus.

This one also has a Bomarea caldasii growing up it's trunk—I went a little bomarea crazy this spring—this one is a little ahead of the other in size.

I think I need a few small tillandsia to tuck in here as well...

The granddaddy, my Trachycarpus fortunei...

There's lots going on here! Massive quantities of Passiflora lutea, a couple of bomarea and some very large tillandsia.

A sneaky bit of Ipomoea Lobata (the fancy cut-leaf on the left) is also working it's way up this one's trunk. I planted it to grow on a nearby trellis but while I was unable to get out and about (ankle surgery) it hopped over to the palm trunk instead.

Cause there wasn't already enough going on here?

Looking up you realize just how thick the Passiflora lutea is...

And you know I love it when I can get the neighbor's palm tree in the same shot as mine!

But wait, there's more! (did you know Ron Popeil died last week? That line always makes me think of him). Anyway, I visited Heather Tucker's garden last weekend and took a lot of pictures. I'll share those soon but here are a couple of her palmscaped trachycarpus. Fist with a Passiflora 'Snow Queen'...

And then this one, with allium and tillandsia. 

Too bad she can't leave them there year-round, or eventually they might grow to look like this beauty in Ann Nichols' garden in Oakland, CA. My forever favorite example of palmscaping....

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  1. If there's a "scaping" opportunity to be found, you will find it! You have me wondering how many missed opportunities I have in my own garden. I should probably take a look at my lath house to start...

    1. Oh yes! I bet you could do some interesting things there.

  2. Looks like an ideal spot for a bird nest. Do you ever find them sheltering in there?

    1. Not yet, but you're right. Maybe when they're all a little taller.

  3. A different definition to palmscaping--here it's when the whole property is palms. There's one down the road, unfortunately all the trunks are bare of anointment, except one that has an oak seedling sprouting in one of the frond bases. Your alternative definition is excellent!

  4. A very cool PNW concept. Tough for those in a cold climate. I substitute an apple tree but not quite the same effect. Final palmscaping photo is gorgeous. Just above that there are three very impressive cannas. Look forward to seeing more.

  5. So pretty! Sad that all the tillandsia will have to go indoors in a few months. Small ferns could fill in for the tillandsia over the cold months.


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