Saturday, 8 July 2017

On growing things

No, not my midriff..... Although that said I have recently hopped on my bike again after Mrs L serviced it for me. I took it as a strong hint, what can I say? I cycled all of about five miles and felt none the worse for wear. Anyway, in the absence of much inclination to go birding I have been concentrating on the greenhouse, and I can think of no better way to bore you all rigid now that June has passed by showing you quite how quickly one of my plants has grown new leaves during this hot spell.  

It is of course a Dioon spinulosum, a type of cycad from Mexico. The key to a successful blog is knowing your audience... Here it is in mid-June growing next to a dustbin full of bird seed. The trunk (known as a caudex) is about 30cm from the soil to the tip of the growing point, and the pot is about 40cm across. I bought it cheaply on Ebay of all places, from a nursery in Spain, and it arrived in terrible condition in early March. However under my expert care it has slowly been recovering, and as you can see from the pointy bit in the middle has been gradually planning something....

As you can imagine, I was delighted when three days after this photo I saw this:

20th June
Signs of life! Being somewhat of an obsessive type I've been carefully charting it's progress since then. This was for my benefit and pleasure alone, it was only later on I realised what a fine blog post this would make, hem hem. So here is a short sequence of photos showing the last three weeks.

21st June

23rd June

24th June

26th June

27th June

30th June

4th July

5th July

7th July

This charts a mere 17 days from the first visible sign of leaves to yesterday, when the tallest leaf now reaches my nose! The nice weather has seen the greenhouse hit 30 degrees pretty regularly, and I sure this has contributed to the breakneck speed. I reckon it has a little way to go yet whilst the leaves harden up, but the difference is astounding. I've gone from a boring pineapple-lookalike to a magnificent firework of bright green. The leaves will darken over time to a glossy olive green, unyielding and spiky. Happily for the family it will have to come indoors over winter as this is not a cold-tolerant species and a few days of minus temperatures could see those lovely leaves turn brown and collapse. Nobody wants that...

As I am sure you can tell from the photos I have a lot of plants like this, and thus lots of growth sequences. We had all better hope that I see some birds soon.


  1. Impressive; good thing I don't suffer from "plant envy"!

    1. It's even bigger now, not sure how I will break the news to Mrs L...