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The Demise And Resurrection Of A Cordyline Australis..


Hi folks..
I was asked by our good friend Dottydaisy if I could update you on the sad demise of my two beautiful Cordylines that succumbed to the bad Winters we had a couple of years ago, so thought I would write this as a blog to show you that there is hope after loss..

The severe Winters of 2009/2010 caught a lot of us out in the gardening world. Usually here in the UK our Winters are not known for their extreme severity, and many of us lost much loved plants that just couldn’t survive the below minus temperatures that befell us. Many of us mourned the loss of favourite plants, myself included when I saw the collapse of my wonderful architectural Cordylines Australis.

These really did stand head and shoulders above everything else in my garden..I was terrifically proud of them, and thought they were sheltered by the stone building behind them, as it served a purpose as a windbreak.
But as I learned to my cost, it is the snow that really does all the damage. It gathers in the crown of the plant and rots it down, turning the centre of the plant to slush and subsequently collapse and death.

I had got so used to hearing the breeze through the fronds, and also watching small birds fly in and out, indicating nest building and raising of chicks, that once my Cordylines had rotted out, there was no other option but to have them cut down, and these were the sights and sounds I missed most of all after they were removed.

It was quite a big job, as these stood about 20 foot tall if not more, and my OH brought in my younger brother to help reduce the height of them safely..
I am not ashamed to say that I stayed indoors, I hated to see my Cordylines reduced from statuesque beauty to chunks of rotting timber.. My OH thought I was being over-dramatic, but he is not a gardener where as I am, and each plant really does mean a lot to me, and the loss of even one can be painful.

Once removed, it left a strange silence and bareness that I had never noticed before.
I vowed I would never invest in another Cordyline after that. I just couldn’t go through that again, not only the personal loss but the financial one as well.
I also lost my beautiful Eucalyptus tree due to those severe Winters, another blow that cut deep.
I guess it isn’t so much the money you spend out on them, but the pleasure in watching them grow and flourish each year..These were the backbones of my garden and therefore played an important role, so they would always be much missed.

We all know that Nature can be a harsh mistress at times, and I dare say there are gardeners out there shaking their heads at this blog and being much more philosophical than I as to the life and death of plants, but I am me, and I feel a great responsibility towards the plants I grow.
Realistically we just can’t fight nature and the elements, and though we have had a relatively mild Winter since, we never know when that icy blast will settle over this fair Isle of ours, and cause chaos and mayhem again..Here’s hoping it won’t be too soon.

The bright side to this sad tale of woe, is that although the height was removed for safety sake, I insisted that we left the shortened tree trunks in..just in case..

Well, I am glad to say that they are proving to be tough little plants, as they are coming back from the base of the trunks, and though it will take many years to attain the height they once were, there is just the chance that they might.
I guess if there is a message in this sentimental blog you have just read, it is the old adage..Never give up hope..

Thanks for looking in on me folks..Love Flori\0/x

I loved my two architectural giants..Here in their former glory..

An overview of part of my garden, and my two sentinel Cordylines Australis on the left looking so good..

The amazing flowers on this plant are really beautiful. Had to take these with a telephoto lens as could never get close enough otherwise!

These must have been huge up close, and yet these panicles of blossom are so pretty to see..

Filling the lens with floral splendour..

The Winter damage takes its toll..

A steady decline and so upsetting to see..

Total collapse and due for removal due for safety..

An empty space where it used to be..

New sign of growth and therefore hope that all is not lost..
It will take years to be the beauty it once was, but this is a sight for poor eyes to rejoice..

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Hi Flori what an inspiring blog.....never give up hope....will you protect them this year?

We lost two as well in that awful winter but they had flowered and we how have six beautiful babies from the seed, isn't nature wonderful xxx

24 Oct, 2012


I remember you telling me that you had grown some baby Cordylines Pam..I lost three altogether, but the two in the raised beds are coming back now.. Yes I will tie them up to prevent frost damage and snow getting in if we have any this year. Trouble is Pam, when they get as large as my ones had, we couldn't do anything to protect them..
This blog brought back a lot of memories, but Dotty asked me how my Cordylines were doing, and I promised I would add a blog about them so here it is..I am glad that you felt it was inspiring, and could give hope to others out there dear friend. Thanks for being the first to look in on me Pam....\0/xxx

24 Oct, 2012


Lovely blog Flori, I thought mine had died too in the bad winter, mine was only a small one though nowhere near as large as yours, I tried to dig the trunk out but it was too hard so left it and forgot about it like yours it has regrown from the base!!!!, it was obviously hanging on for dear life when I tried to dig it out,lol.

24 Oct, 2012


Hahahaha Simbad, I bet it was! You digging at one end and it pulling back at the other! So glad to hear that yours has grown back too.. A funny side story to this is that my brother has a wood burner and so thought he would take the sections of trunk home with him to burn as fuel. It made sense to recycle it, but how he wishes that he hadn't!
He said that it stank the house out for days, and was so bad, they had to leave the room!! LOL! Mind you, it is called the Australian Cabbage plant..tee hee hee..\0/x

24 Oct, 2012


lovely blog though sad to Flori, they were amazing in their prime and i would have been upset to if had happened to me, the flowers are so pretty arent they.
Great to see new shoots growing well to. Glad you decided to keep the stumps :o))) x

24 Oct, 2012


I still miss them San, silly though that may sound. It took about 10 years to get that tall..Yes, I am glad that we didn't go for full removal as well. I am delighted to see new growth on both, and will be keeping them protected this Winter! \0/x

24 Oct, 2012


:o)) and hope we dont get a bad winter this year, no snow please. a mild winter would be great especially as we didnt get a summer again, good luck with them Flori :o) x

24 Oct, 2012


Thanks San. I am with you, another mild Winter please, or we won't be able to afford the fuel bills this year! Maybe an early Spring would be nice to see you on here San.. Hope all is well with you my friend.\0/x

24 Oct, 2012


thanx flori all good here always busy with work, art and garden, oh! and house to lol
try to get on GOY when i can but try not to be typing to long with my tendons, get painfull, but no moaning as all ok at the monet, hope all is good with you and yours at the moment, good luck with your poetry and competition to :o)) x Emerdale now so take care and enjoy your evening flori :o) x

24 Oct, 2012


You too dear friend..Will be looking out for your blogs and photos and keeping updated..\0/x

24 Oct, 2012


Well, Flori, we too thought we had lost our enormous New Zealand flax in 2010 and it went the same way yours did, especially when heavy snow got into it. Hubby wanted to chop it down, but we both decided to leave it and now , only 2 years later it is back to its original size. We couldn't believe how fast it grew back. So, you see , yours could be back sooner than you think! Be positive!

24 Oct, 2012


Crikey Flori, exactly the same happened to ours and our Eucalyptus! Like your Cordyline, ours is growing well from the base, whether it will continue to grow so well, depends on the winters we have, I think I will tie the leaves up to stop snow or heavy frost from getting to the crowns this year. The Eucalyptus did send more leaves out from the base, but then that was it, we had the whole trunk chopped to ground level. These three trees were the skeleton of our garden, but without the cordylines, we can now see the beautiful Tamarisk that blooms in May. We do miss the Euc though, I don't like the view without it....:o((

24 Oct, 2012


Thanks Rose..When they brought the trunk down, they said it was rotted quite a long way into it so for safety sake they cut it down to the stump, but I must admit, the new shoots are sprouting up well, so here's hoping! Thank you for looking in on me and posting my friend..\0/x

Hi Janey! This sounds like a familiar tale now, but like you, losing the Eucalyptus as well was another blow, as it was quite a largish tree. Ours did exactly the same as yours..It started to come back from the base, which gave me hope, and then just died. When we took out the tree this year, there was no sign of life in it at all. We have now replaced it with a Autumn Cherry tree, but like you, I really loved my Eucalyptus, and miss it badly. Thanks for looking in on me Janey, hope that Rolfie is ok lol \0/x

24 Oct, 2012


I'm so pleased to read your trees are regrowing Flori :o) I can understand your distress at losing them, because I'm the same when a plant dies on me ... especially if it's one of my cacti or Fuchsias.
And what amazing flowers they've got ! I've never noticed them before.
I love the stone in your cottage walls. I once lived in a 200 yr old cottage for many years. I miss it very much ...

24 Oct, 2012


Thank you Hywel, and you are always a welcome addition to my page..I know some might think me foolish for being so sentimental over my plants but we put so much of ourselves into them don't we? When I was reading up on the flowering of Cordylines, they stated that it wasn't something you saw often, but I am sure that ours flowered every year, and the flowering branches are huge!
Our stone cottage was built in 1850, and all the stone was quarried locally from Bath. It has quite a warm yellow look to it especially when the sun shines, but is quite a soft stone to cut, and unfortunately, very porous too!
Bath is famous for its Georgian Architecture and Bath Stone which goes back to Roman times and beyond. Guess we live in our own little local bit of \0/x

24 Oct, 2012


Thank you so much Flori for writing this blog, I can only imagine how upsetting it was for you to lose such established trees, and a double blow to lose your Eucalyptus, I am delighted to see there is hope where there was none, and those flowers, I had no idea they were so pretty, many thanks Flori.

24 Oct, 2012


Am pleased that you like it Dotty, as wrote this because of your comment on one of my old photos of them, so it was written with you in mind my friend.
When Janey said that she had lost her Eucalyptus too, and it went exactly the way ours did, I felt a little better knowing that it wasn't us alone and something we had done.
I have a really horrible feeling that I have also lost a Robinia 'Frisia' tree as well, as it hasn't leafed at all this year. Will leave it where it is and see if it comes back next year, if not, that is another expensive loss..I have such a hatred of losing trees..sob! ;~(

24 Oct, 2012


So pleased you have new growth comming the same happened to my sons two he chopped them down and dug them out as they were starting to stink.

24 Oct, 2012


Hi Sixpence..Yes my poor brother found this out when he tried to burn the logs on his wood burner at home. He said the stench was unbelievable! lol.. He still has a pile in his wood shed and has to wear a face mask to go in there now..LOL!\0/x

24 Oct, 2012


Lol, he wants to watch I learned from a program to inhale the smell of some tree woods when burning are dangerous some can cause cancer of the lungs.

24 Oct, 2012


Our Robinia Frisia finally died this year, info see RHS online we are not alone.......ours took two years to finally succumb, sorry but there is nothing we can do about it....x

24 Oct, 2012


Hi Dottydaisy not sure if any one seen a program some months ago but there are loads of trees dieing in vast numbers woodlands too, so they trying to find and plant up hardier trees which will with stand drought conditions.

24 Oct, 2012


It seems to me there would be a market for large bags made of tent groundsheet material with a tie bottom to cover these precious large plants.
Alpines are supposed to stand any kind of bad weather, but I covered my trough with old sacking last year, and they were oh so happy and thankful when I took it off in the Spring. Am doing the same this year. It must be a combination of cold and wet that kills plants.

25 Oct, 2012


It's sad when you lose trees,Flori,I agree..such a lovely feature and focal point..Someone hacked down a lovely Silver Birch,from behind our fence,while we were away on holiday..not our property,but we have access to it..I am still gutted when I see that 3ft stump ! needless to say,we don't mention to a particular neighbour when we are going away anymore..but we have no proof,sadly :o(

25 Oct, 2012


I used an old duvet cover over my Patio Pear Tree, but dont think it would be strong enough for a tall Cordyline.

25 Oct, 2012


Flori I have arrived at your blog through the questions page! My mum had a Cordyline just like yours in her front garden and when it was hit by the bad winter 2 years ago I told her to cut it back to 1ft stumps after reading comments on here. It looks brilliant again now, not tall but very bushy and it has babies popping up all around. I went to see her this weekend and she has potted some of them up for me. Do you think I should leave them in the pots (which are a good size) and protect them over winter then plant out next Spring? :o))))))

29 Oct, 2012


Wow! Thanks for all the comments, you have been busy!
Sixpence you make a very good point about fumes..Think it was so bad that they vacated the room immediately, closely followed by the dog and cat! lol..\0/x

Hi Dotty! Yes I looked at the RHS site, and it made grim reading indeed. I have another Robinia Frisia that seems to be ok at the moment, but I gather over the last two years, many have been lost. They were even suggesting that GC should stop selling them because so many are dying recently. Losing one was bad enough but will be devastated if I lose my second one too.. ;~((

Hello Diane. Usually the green Cordylines are as tough as old boots. The red coloured ones are not so should definitely be protected. The problem is when they get as large as our ones were, you just can't reach them to protect the crowns, and that is where all the rot sets in.. Have yet to see how this coming Winter will affect the plants, but will tie the fronds up just to be on the safe side. Thanks for looking in on me Diane..\0/x

I recall reading your blog about that poor tree being hacked down some time ago Bloomer.. Trees are so precious to this planet that any loss is great, whether through disease as the Ash and the Robinia at the moment, or through needless destruction such as yours. Trees play such a vital part in our environment that we need to look after them the very best we can.. I can really relate to the disgust and pain you felt over such a senseless loss

Hi Annella \0/, am so glad that the advice helped with your mum's Cordylines. I have seen many coming back this way now. As to your potted gather up all the fronds and secure them as we have yet to see what this Winter will bring us.. As long as the crowns are kept snow free, they should be fine..The original green Cordylines are really pretty tough. If the temperatures really drop below zero, give them some protection as they are still quite young.
Hope that helps my friend, and it is lovely to see you here again however you reached my blog.\0/xxxWheeeeeeee!

30 Oct, 2012

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