Gardening Magazine

Welcome to the Barbershop: Revisited

By Alternativeeden @markngaz
Time flies like an arrowFruit flies like a banana
Welcome to the Barbershop: RevisitedTime flies quick indeed and before you know it lots of things are coming into full circle again, including my blog post Welcome to the Barbershop which I wrote almost a year ago now. I really enjoyed composing that post, which was a recollection of a recent garden tidy up activity at a time that I wasn't feeling too well either. Not to mention having an over active imagination at the same time!
Now something curious about that entry is that it turned out to be our most viewed blog post of all time, 'head and shoulders' above everything else (pun intended). To be honest I don't know why that entry in particular has become so well viewed within our blog. Perhaps a lot more people out there are into Yuccas than I thought there would be? Or maybe there's something about my creative comparison of cutting human hair with trimming plant leaves? Or perhaps it's something to do with the photo of the Cat Lady from the 'The Simpsons' appearing on that post that seems to be the cosmic draw for people to keep reading that post over and over again?
I'd rather not find out and prefer to be continually mystified if I may say. But one fond thing I have for that entry is that I wrote it during a mild February week, mild enough that I was able to do some tidy up, and just after a very bad cold spell earlier that same winter too; that you just simply appreciate the mildness of that particular time and grateful that I was able to do some outdoor gardening then. 

Welcome to the Barbershop: Revisited

Dreaming of sunnier times...

Mother Nature may have been very naughty earlier that winter but at least she was apologetic and generous enough to let us off for the rest of that winter, which turned out to be a long and steady coast towards spring. The damage was done of course, but at least it gave us plenty of opportunity to tidy up the mess.
But saying that, back to the present it looks like Mother Nature is having a mini tantrum again as we are currently in the middle of another cold spell although predicted to be not as harsh as 'that' cold spell. I'm crossing my fingers that is definitely the case.
But come to think of it, is it really a 'mini tantrum', or is it just the natural course of this so called winter? It is February after all, traditionally the coldest month of a winter season in the northern hemisphere. More likely, it is the latter and we can all just live in hope that the cold spell doesn't last too long nor temperatures do not go down very low either.
And now, back to the 'Boys'! So how are they doing now, almost a year after having a haircut? I'm glad to report that all but one are doing absolutely fine, planted out last spring and have been establishing themselves in their new (and permanent) homes. Even with the odd frosts and sub zero temperatures we've had earlier this winter (albeit still an exceptionally mild one so far) no problems at all, shrugging the cold and still looking good from the moment they showed new growth in the summer (and they better bloody remain that way, for that's what they are displayed for!). Ok, maybe one is not looking very pretty but it's got a reason and I'll explain why much later.
Welcome to the Barbershop: Revisited

Now, as I've said we're in the middle of a cold snap and it's still dark when I get up and go to work in the morning, dark when I get home. I could take their latest photos in the dark but I tend to avoid flash photography as it rarely comes out flattering (using my snappy snap auto camera anyway). So I'll have to use photos taken during the summer instead (trust me, they still look the same, albeit with the odd frost on them on some nights).
So once again, Welcome to the Barbershop!
Yucca rostrata
Welcome to the Barbershop: Revisited

This one has pretty much remained the same since it had its haircut although did put out a bit of new growth in the summer. It rooted very well in its original large terracotta pot so when we planted it out we had to dig a massive hole too, almost as large as the plant itself. Yucca roots are notoriously brittle so despite us being as careful as we possibly can ('Heavy' and 'Careful' is not always an easy combination), I suspect it still sustained some root damage during the process (for all of them really). So probably it spent most of its energy re-rooting rather than putting out new top growth. But it's there now, all it needs to do is to fully settle down and thrive as I've no intention of moving it again (unless it carks of course!). Now I need a bit more of that 'hair' this year young man!
Yucca thompsoniana
Welcome to the Barbershop: Revisited

Welcome to the Barbershop: Revisited

Now this Yucca, bless, is there because it managed to appeal to the nurturing side of me being a gardener. If I was an aesthetic purist it would have been out of the pot and into the heap the very moment we started planting the bed it is in now. Looking back at the old post, it had flowered a few years ago and as a consequence it looked tired and scruffy afterwards. Another consequence of this Yucca flowering is that the 'head' tends to split hence you have two growing points after. And then it flowers again and it splits, and then.. etc. etc. So that's what's happened now, it pushed out new growth in the summer and all of the older leaves have shrivelled away, so off they went with a pair of secateurs. And you can just about make it in the photo that there's a second growing point about to come out. Now I'm hoping it carries on pushing new growth in this years growing season, so it'll look pretty again (if not at least decent). Well if not...
I'll cross that bridge then if I have to. In such a prime spot I could do with something that looks pretty all the time and if it carries on testing my aesthetic sense then I may just have to replace it with another one (I've got a queue of 'boys' in the greenhouse you know!).
Dasylirion quadrangulatum (small)
Welcome to the Barbershop: Revisited

The ungrateful one! Fancy dying in the summer after all that effort! Kidding aside, somehow rot managed to get into the crown and it just spread till it was too late. Still nevermind, although I would have preferred it carried on living of course.
Welcome to the Barbershop: Revisited

Oh, and another one is the Yucca filifera above which I didn't feature on the original post. Avoid this one if you want cold hardy(ier), tough Yuccas for the garden, it's not that hardy at all. It did sail through our previous winters bar the last one which was too much for it. But if you're a collector or you've got a mild spot for one then go for it. A living specimen is very attractive (and the one above isn't).
Dasylirion quadrangulatum (big)
Welcome to the Barbershop: Revisited

On a more positive note, our bigger Dasylirion quadrangulatum is an absolute gem. Love, love, love! And I wouldn't mind getting a bigger one in the near future (pocket willing).
Yucca linearifolia

Welcome to the Barbershop: Revisited

October 2011

Welcome to the Barbershop: Revisited

April 2011

Ah my boy, my favorite of the lot. So tall, big, and undemanding it didn't even need a haircut then. I'm not so sure about it not needing a haircut again this year but is certainly doing well by sending lots of new growth in the summer and as a bonus has sent out a new shoot from ground near its base. Fantastic! This Yucca is one of the easiest to re-root and proving to be one the hardier ones that you can plant out with full confidence in your garden.
The 'skirt' of dead leaves are starting to get more bulky now as it continues to push out new growth, so it may need a haircut just to decongest it a bit. Although there's no one in the wild to give these boys a haircut anyway so I might not bother, with the dry and dead leaves shrinking even more as they are pushed down with more recent growth, and/or eventually falling with healthy plants exhibiting very attractive, spherical crowns.
Now this boy has got a new neighbour, same plant only much smaller and doing just as well. 

Welcome to the Barbershop: Revisited

April 2011

My desire now is for all of them to thrive and continue doing well and eventually have beautiful, spherical crowns that are so attractive to look at. Although I've owned some of them for quite some time already, they never really did well in pots so I'm hoping that with a freer root run (in essentially a massive pot) they will start reaching their full potential.
Sometimes when I look back I wish that I was more into Yuccas back then, and that I've planted several in the garden before. But I was more into 'lush and leafy' plants then, preferring the Jungle style over anything else, and blue (and not so blue) leafed Yuccas didn't fit the bill in such a planting scheme (plus the rich and moist soil is not that suitable to their growing requirements).

Welcome to the Barbershop: Revisited

Love this shot, taken within the pond before other bed was finished

I'm still into 'lush and leafy' plants, very much so, but at least I've got a 'Blue' Bed now, something that I thought I'd never have until a couple of years ago. And it's on the Blue Bed where the boys are.
Now if you read this post carefully you would have spotted that I said there's a queue of boys waiting in the greenhouse. Yup, there is and I might write about giving them a haircut in the future too, in this barbershop of mine right in my head.
Or maybe I should up my game and open an upmarket Hair Salon instead? I'll think about it.
Mark :-)

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