Jackdaws and other Snippets


I will  have to check on this, but I am pretty sure that it is statutory law to grow at least one cordyline in each and every coastal garden.  As particularly law-abiding citizens we have two specimens.  Cordyline australis, more commonly known as the Torbay Palm, is not however one my favorites.  They shed leaves like an alpaca, these leaves take several millenia to rot down in the compost heap and when left on the ground will, in a split second, wrap themselves around any piece of machinery that comes their way, which in turn will take half hour to disentangle.  To their advantage you can weave the dried leaves into rope.  Which ever way you look at it the scales are not balanced in the palms favour.  I suppose they fill a space.

Like all professions certain jobs in the garden can be more tedious than others.  So in attempt to spice things up a little I thought it would be fun to attempt these boring tasks in a gale force, freezing wind.  The first, undertaken by Hero, was raking up the leaves still dropping onto the lawn from a retentive oak above.  This, naturally, she completed with her usual dogged determination and patience.

In the meantime, after raking up the aforementioned cordyline leaves, I attempted to stake a couple of toppled plants.  The Acacia bailyeana Purpurea was at a rather jaunty angle, as was a cytisus and correa.  I am a self-confessed slacker when it comes to staking but hopefully I have corrected my neglect.   The ground is like blancmange so it is not surprising that plants are toppling left, right and centre.

I’m not saying it was windy today but a jackdaw fell out of the sky and landed in the Mediterranean Bed, 2m away from me. I thought it was Hero’s hat so I was a little surprised when he looked at me, a trifle embarrassed, ruffled his feathers and flew off again.



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13 responses to “Jackdaws and other Snippets

  1. Malvern Maid

    You should really get up a ladder and cut/pull the dead leaves off before they start falling off.

  2. hero

    malvern maid…you should see our ladders!!! the worms have left the building…..

  3. ChloeP

    Here in north Portugal (climate actually not totally unlike yours though rather warmer and probably even wetter), they are grown specifically to be used as “string”. The leaves are ripped into strips and used to tie together produce – particularly bundles of various different brassica leaves for soup etc. and bundles of half-grown cabbage plants and other “plugs” sold for replanting, The trunks are also sometimes used to prop stacks of hay/maize stalks and other things to be stored for winter forage.

    • That is interesting Chloe, I wonder if you could weave them as well. Nice to hear from someone in Portugal, I have fond memories of some travels a long time ago. I expect you get some interesting winds off the Atlantic!

      • ChloeP

        I don’t know about weaving, but the bundles are always tied with a very neat knot with a long end sticking out that can be pulled to undo the knot – scientific description there!! The winds aren’t actually too bad where I live – about 25 km inland – we even missed out on the worst of the ghastly winds a couple of weeks ago that did fun things in other parts of the country like destroy dozens of hectares of polytunnels etc. High rainfall, fertile acid soil, hot summers – we don’t do too badly!

      • Sounds like perfect growing conditions! I am jealous.

  4. bosswoman

    Maybe we should go into string production – a new cottage industry for Lee?

  5. Brugairolles

    Thanks ,you have made me smile ……again

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