It’s about two and a half years since we moved home. About a year ago, the grass tree (Xanthorrhoea) that had stood outside our kitchen window in the old house was ailing in its new location – most of its fronds were brown or browning. I took a photo of it to our local nursery and the man there said the plant was almost certainly dying: they don’t take to transplanting, and it will sometimes take as long as 2 years for them to die, and ours was well on the way. We could trim off all the dead and dying fronds, even sit a cardboard box on top of the plant and burn it, so that all the green growth was burnt back, but it was a slim chance, and the burning was the product of wishful thinking rather than a proven remedy.
I didn’t do the burning, but I took to the leaves with a pair of secateurs and for months our once thriving grass tree was like a dead lump with a few green sprouts sticking out of its top. We made sure it wasn’t over-watered, and gradually it came back to good health. And on the weekend, we noticed it had produced a spike.
In no time at all, as measured by grass trees, that spike will be more than a metre high and produce seeds and, if we harvest the seeds and plant them properly, in 20 years time we may even have a new generation of grass trees.
Great achievement. Congratulations.
They are a fascinating species – well done on your perserverence. I’m told never to cut the spike but to let it naturally fall.
Thanks, Agnes, though I think all credit really goes to the rain gods and the force that through the green fuse drives the flower.
I can’t imagine we would be tempted to cut the spike, Jen. I’m all impatient to see it grow tall and black.
wonderful! so glad it has revived, even without the aid of fire
Thanks, greenspace – now of course I wish we had done the fire thing. It would make such a better story.