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