Sunday, August 26, 2012

A tale of two Cordylines

"I'll be back..."
Timber! The annual chopping down of the cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) is a ritual where one's manly prowess can be displayed and the results are dramatic. I was not feeling manly so Matt wielded the saw and the cardoon was down in no time flat - I barely had time to get a picture and my finger was in the way, but I had no time to retake it.

In the meantime, I watered everything that needed it deeply. A 10 second spray right in the dirt at the base of a plant that fills up it's water basin is better for the plant than an hour of overhead sprinkling in my experience.

I also planted some things we picked up yesterday.

We popped over to Flora Grubb Gardens and I am always on the lookout for a great Cordyline for the garden. They do really well and come in awesome colors. Or rather, they usually do really well, but the Cordyline "Sundance" I planted in the middle front bed back around Thanksgiving last year failed to thrive and is now officially dead. Hmph! What went wrong? I don't know, but it was a cheapo from Lowes and had a wobbly trunk - something  Cordyline are a bit prone to.

Renegade looking demure.
Anyway, back to FG. They had some really nice ones of course but the one that caught my eye was Cordyline "Renegade (Tana)" which has very dark, almost black leaves. Madame Grubb carries it in a 2 gallon and a 5 gallon size, both with the same label, both proclaiming it to be the grassy type of Cordyline. Cordylines come in two basic types: your tall, narrow palm-like one with a trunk, and your 3-4' high mound of grassy leaves. This is based on what hybrid of various Cordyline species went into it's makeup. C. australis hybrids are palm-like. C. banksii ones are grassy.

So, I wanted a palm-like type to go with my other two in the grouping I'd made. However Cordyline "Renegade (Tana)" is a cross between C. australis and C. banksii and wouldn't you know it, the larger size pots had a 1' tall trunk on 'em. So what's it gonna be? Trunk, or no trunk per the label? I called in  a salesperson and she noted why I was confused. She called another salesperson and he said "short trunk" so I bought it. Short trunk better than no trunk, as they say.

Kiwi Dazzler (L) not
dazzling yet
While I had the local Cordyline expert in my grasp, I asked him if he could get what I really wanted - Cordyline "Kiwi Dazzler." It's green and pink striped, and palm-like. He said no, they're really hard to find... you never see them... too bad, so sad... so I wrinkled my nose, made my way to the register and paid $40 for my short trunked plant. Feh.

Next we went by Lowes to pick up some lumber for a non-garden related project. What is the first thing that catches my eye? A 1 gallon Cordyline "Kiwi Dazzler" for $6. Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit. As they say. That went in the cart along with a Kniphofia "Popsicle" - the Popsicle line of Kniphs is all about the creamy shades, and I think there are about 6-8 colors. Since this was Lowes it was incorrectly labelled as an annual, and no specific hybrid given but a leftover yellow to cream flower tells me it's probably "Pineapple Popsicle."

Pineapple Popsicle? Maybe.
So to bring this saga to a close, I planted the Kniphofia in the left bed, the Cordyline "Renegade (Tana)" in the middle back bed, and the Cordyline "Kiwi Dazzler"where the "Sundance" used to be, very well staked as unfortunately it's another wobbly specimen.

Matt potted up some grasses, I weeded, all sorts of things got trimmed and pruned and a good time was had by all.

The end.


  1. "Butter my butt and call me a biscuit"? I love it! From now on your name is Emily Dickinson!

  2. ... that's Emily... Dickinson.... to you -



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