Monday, February 2, 2009

2 + 4 + 1 Dinosaur = Bliss

Two, that's how old my blog is today. Two years of Bliss blogging, never thought it would last that long and still going strong!
Four is what I was challenged to by Min Eden in Finland; to show the fourth pic in the fourth map on my pc. So here it is and the fun thing is, it's a pic of four crocus in flower in my kitchen kitchen garden today.

One. As you know it's very pc nowadays to recycle things and that's what I'm doing today; recycling a Bliss blog post that most of you have never ever read before. Have fun, I know I did while writing it.


There's a Dinosaur in the Garden
Also known as the Monkey Puzzle tree. But what's it doing in the garden? Are we suffering from a fondness of prehistoric monsters or being nuts about ugly things? Don't tell me there are people who actually like this tree, because what's to like? The razor sharp, needle like leafs that coat both the trunk and all the branches from top to bottom? The fact that it grows to a 60 to 70 ft height or even a whopping 150 ft in favourable circumstances? And you do know it is going to be about 30 tot 35 ft wide? Do we really have that much space to waste on this, the very worst of all Stephen King's nightmares come to haunt us?
And it really is a dinosaur. Apparently it was already visually obnoxious about a cool 60 million years ago. And it is still here today. Why?

Well, we got some Brit to thank for that: Archibald Menzies (naval surgeon and botanist) who attended a state dinner in Chile late in the 18th century. And there he was served some seeds from the Araucaria araucana tree (yes, the botanical name for the MP tree). Apparently the seeds are almond sized and tasty so Menzies ate some and put some in his pocket, forgot all about them and went home to the UK. There he unfortunately recalled that he had some very special seeds in the pocket of one of his coats and these seeds were planted at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew where, alas, they germinated and turned into little trees. (Thanks a bunch, Archie!)

In the early 1800's another British chap (they're all over the place, aren't they?) after observing this well-armed tree, said it would be a puzzle for any monkey attempting to climb such a tree. Hence it's name. Personally I think that any monkey worth it's salt would run screaming in another direction as soon as it would spot this tree. How very sensible! I felt like running and screaming when I was first visually assaulted by it.

Back to Britain where the name of the tree and the story behind it, tickled the fancy of the general public and having a Monkey Puzzle tree became all the rage. Unfortunately it spread like the proverbial black plague to the European continent as well.

Ever wondered why even the most die-hard of all tree huggers won't touch this tree, not even with an exceptionally long barge pole? Because it's bloody lethal, that's why! Look at those sharp and stiff leaves. They last for 10 to 15 years, the little blighters. That tells you something about how tough they are.

Not forgetting those cones the female trees produce, which are 6 to 12 inches long and look a bit like coconuts. It's really not all that wise to stand beneath a female tree when she's shedding her cones. Timber!

Dinosaurs have been extinct for a very long time but we're still stuck with this horrific botanical dinosaur and most primitive of all living conifers. Isn't it high time it took it's final bow, went to meet it's maker, kicked the bucket, was pushing up the daisies, in short died?!

How about cutting those prickly giants down? Chopping them up into little pieces, burn the pieces, then bury them and stomp on them a few times for good measure. Maybe do a little dance? There, that will teach them!

And all the small baby Monkey Puzzle trees we can dig up and sent to Chile as there seems to be a shortage of them over there, high up in the Andes, where there is lots of space for them to grow and no monkeys or people to upset.

And of course, removing a tree will leave a big gap in a garden, but that can easily be filled with something nice like an apple or pear tree. There, so much nicer, don't you think? I feel all better now!

copyright 2009 Y.E.W. Heuzen

The sight of snowdrops nosing their way up through the bare earth is always heartwarming.
Juliet Robert, Gardens Illustrated, February 2007

34 comments:

lunaticg said...

Hi!
What kind of flower is that on your first picture? Never saw that in my country.

Carol said...

Did you cut down the tree? And happy "blogiversary" as they say!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Arabella Sock said...

You not like monkey puzzle trees then? LOL!

Victoria said...

Poor old Araucaria araucana. Only 1 per cent of Brazil's araucaria forests now survive: they've all been cut down for timber or to make way for soya plantations. Araucaria was used by the Indians for medicine as well as food: the resin is supposed to cure headaches, ulcers, menstrual cramps among other things. But it was never meant to grow in front gardens. It is supposed to look magnificent on the side of a South American mountain. Until we British came along...

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all and welcome to Birthday Bliss!

* Lunaticg: those are snowdrops.

* Carol: it wasn't mine to cut down but I did help a friend get rid of the MPT that grew in his new garden.

* Arabella: how did you guess? ;-)

* Victoria: the Brits have a lot to answer for. ;-) The MPT is a good tree growing in South America where it belongs and not in tiny front gardens over here, I quite agree.

shirl said...

Hi there Yolanda:-),

Ah… glad you feel all better now! Yes, I do remember you voicing your strong opinions on this after seeing a few outside of the glasshouses at Edin Botanics last summer. LOL… sorry… what I don’t think I volunteered at the time (just in case you left me and joined your fellow Dutchwomen) is that I had a small one sitting in a pot (not really growing much so perhaps it doesn’t count ;-)) as a reminder of a friend that went away as she had one. Oh yes… I really did like this friend!!!! However, maybe I am redeeming myself now just a little by saying that this plant is not likely to leave its small pot. However, it does have a purpose in my garden! It is strategically placed near the bird feeders to (oops… I could be in trouble again) make it ‘tricky’ for the cats to get the birds. Perhaps we’ll move on….

A HUGE congrats on two years of Blissful blogging!! Your sense of humour always makes us smile – even when you’re on a rant! All the very best for year three :-D

Okay… I have to ask - are we still friends?

Frances said...

Hi YE, happy two year blogaversary to you. We are thankful you are still around and kicking too. I have admired this tree from afar, but now know to not buy one.
Frances

HelenJ said...

Maybe I'm crazy - but I like it! But the reason for that might be that it is impossible for me to grow in my garden, it's way too cold. It's only hardy in the coastal areas in the South of Sweden. But still - you have to admire it for surviving all these years! =) /Helen

easygardener said...

Congratulations on your second blogging anniversary. I look forward to many more entertaining posts.
I quite like the Monkey Puzzle tree but it needs to be out in a big, big space. I agree that do not want to be up close and personal with it (lol)

Pam/Digging said...

I've been reading Bliss for a long time---perhaps even a solid two years? I do remember your monkey puzzle tree post.

Happy 2nd blogiversary, YE. Here's to many more!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Happy Blogaversary YE. The crocus are beautiful. Maybe after the snow melts here I can see some blooming.

JamesA-S said...

Old Archibald Menzies also has the Douglas fir named after him: David Douglas called it Pseudotsuga menziesii.
That is my "quite uninteresting fact of the day"

Casbah Kitten said...

I love the little snowdrop picture! OK, and I admit that I like MPT's....but only because they stir up fond childhood memories. They were quite popular in the small town where I grew up on the coast. I have lots of acreage here...wonder if one would grow in Kentucky?.....

Flighty said...

Happy blogday! I've been blogging almost four years!
Monkey puzzle trees used to be very popular here, and often grown in big front gardens, but not nowadays thankfully! xx

Anonymous said...

Your post was a blast!
Are you sure you want to replace all the Monkey Puzzle trees with apple trees? Just think of all those 'new' Newtons we'll have to contend with :)
Shailaja

jodi said...

Happy blogiversary #2, Yolanda! As always, a witty and informative post. Monkey-puzzle trees are only marginally hardy in the mildest parts of Nova Scotia, so not something I'd try here. I have a Norfolk Island pine INSIDE as a houseplant, which does okay for me outdoors in the summer so long as I remember to bring it indoors before frost.

Cheryl said...

Hi Yolanda....I am feeling slightly uncomfortable about my British roots.......and um er um I like the MPT, I have a small one in the garden.
I don't think I will say too much more except 'Happy Two Year Blogging'....I somehow do not think I will make that.....

Lis said...

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zu deinem Bloggeburtstag! Es ist doch immer wieder interessant einen Blick in fremde Gärten zu werfen, oder die kleinen Freuden und Leiden der anderen Blogger mitzuerleben.

LG Lis

nikkipolani said...

Well, happy bloggaversary, YE and the Bliss Team! And, no, I hadn't seen your dinosaur post. Those leaves are very scaly looking, definitely dinosaur-ish!

I'm finally going to have a bit of time to post that cat quiz prize to you (sorry for the delay).

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Happy Blog Birthday! I'm so glad you started blogging. You have brought me considerable pleasure with your beautiful kitchen garden and your wonderful family of pets.
I wish you many more happy years of both gardening and blogging!

Anne Fannie said...

Hello Yolanda
I just happen to come upon your lovely blog tonight. I have enjoyed my visit. I love all your sweet animals and I am in awe over that weird looking tree! Lovely garden flowers too, I am in southern california and I love gardening too.
It was nice meeting you...
~Ann

Tracy said...

Happy Two year, Yolanda! That is a nice milestone to celebrate...Looking forward to years more! The dinosaur tree does have it's certain charm...:o) Here's to more happy years of Bliss! ((HUGS))

Lee and Beth said...

I share your feelings about the Monkey Puzzle tree. I grew up in Tillamook Oregon, and these trees are still all the rage over there. In that temperate costal zone they reach their full potential.

Julia said...

Happy blogiversary!

I'm going to have to disagree with you about the delights of the Monkey Puzzle tree. I LOVE it. In fact, I think a light-hearted defence of the poor tree is in order. Watch this space...

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I do remember the Monkey Puzzle Tree post, & I think I made some comment about the movie "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir." (I can't believe I remember that!) Happy 2d Blogaversary to all the Bliss team!

Karin A said...

Happy blogiversary Yolanda! I always enjoy reading your blog. Great spring pics! Kram Karin

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

A (belated) happy blogaversary Yolanda.
Lovely snowdrop picture - I just love snowdrops.

texasdaisey said...

Wow! You take such incredible garden pictures. Love the kitties too.
Debbie

Chookie said...

Happy Bloggeburtstag! That sounds so much pleasanter than bloggiversary! I don't think I've ever seen a MPT, though Bunya Bunya and Norfolk Island Pines can often be seen in our older suburbs. No doubt in another 30 years we will all be whingeing about the Wollemi Pines infesting the suburbs!

Libby said...

I love the monkey puzzle tree! Well I love to look at it, I would never grow one as my garden is too small!!

Kylee said...

I remember reading about the monkey puzzle tree! I remember telling you I liked it, too! LOL.

Happy Blogiversary, dear Yolanda! Yours is one of my very favorite blogs and you are someone I hope to meet someday! We shall go plant shopping and buy oodles of plants and garden fashions. :-)

Barbara said...

Congratulations and many happy returns. I am sure there will be many more interesting, inspiring and funny posts that you are going to write and I am looking forward to reading them :-) !!

Lori said...

I remember your first Monkey Puzzle Tree post. My general impression at this point is that you're fond of monkeys, puzzles, and trees...but not all three at the same time. Heehee! ;D

Happy Blogversary, Yolanda Elizabet!

Hanneles paradis said...

We have Monkey tree nere here, small one.