Sunday, April 15, 2012

Some (slow) progress

The guy I work for, Don, has a great garden design method that is known as 'put and look'. It's simple enough: just put the potted plants (still in their pots) where you plan to have them, then stand back and see how they look. If you don't like that look, move them around until you do. That's usually a doddle to do with seedlings, baby shrubs and saplings, but with a 10-year-old, 2m tall curry tree in a large, heavy pot it was strenuous going. Enough complaining, here's how 'put and look' worked out.

The curry tree used to be on the 'far right' of this photo,
just behind the money tree (ie, a crassula) on the right.
Before moving the curry tree I had to lean it on its 
side and use tree loppers to cut through the thick roots 
which had grown through the bottom of the pot and 
no doubt were halfway down to China. Rolling it 
around to its new spot took a while, too, but it's 
good morning work, curry-tree-rolling!

No doubt the curry tree will settle into the soil, develop
a lean and need propping up, but it already looks bigger
and happier in this more open spot. As I have cruelly
cut off its tap root it will no doubt lose some leaves and
sulk a bit, but I am hoping that the magic of seaweed 
solution (Seasol) treatments plus the mildness of our winter
will encourage the roots to grow again. We shall see.

The money tree is staying where it is. For a while I 
entertained the foolish idea of moving it, but it's staying
where it is, and the curry tree is to move up the lane.

I showed the full story of this gardening crime last
posting. This was once a potted plant but its roots found 
their way into the soil, the plastic pot burst long ago and
this had grown into a beast with an anaconda-thickness
trunk. Somehow I think moving it might be somewhere 
between impossible and fatal, probably both. So ugly as it
is, but with a story to tell, here it resides.

In between the curry tree and the money tree is this
person, Crassula argentea 'Coral', a charming weirdo 
for whom I have quite a soft spot. Love the chunky trunk,
and the oddball foliage. I think I will plant this one into
the ground, but at the moment it's staying in its pot until the 
'put and look' decision is finally made (ie, Pammy likes it too).

Here's a close-up of its foliage, which is, depending on
which leaf you examine, either hollow at the end or 
deeply dimpled. This isn't a photo taken today, by the way. 
It's one taken back in 2008, when this was a far 
healthier, happier and sunnier personality.

Here's the 2008 plant. Compare this dense foliage on 
this far younger tree with the relatively sparse 
coverage on today's tree, two photos above. I am sure this
is purely due to a lack of sunlight, as the rescued plant has
been heavily shaded by both the grevillea and the rosemary 
which have now both gone to that great compost heap in the sky.

So this is the humble site of stage 2 of the makeover 
(stage 1 was clearing out all the unwanted stuff and having 
it carted away). I still want this to be a succulent bed, 
but not with everything in a difficult-to-manage jumble of
pots. At this stage I'm thinking of laying two courses 
of bricks around the bed, and filling this with a 50:50 mix
of sand and soil mix, so it's very free-draining, the kind
of soil that succulents love.

Here's the old 'succulent city' back in 2008, and 
a happy jumble of plants it was, too, and I would like
to maintain something of the colour and spirit of 
this potted gaggle, but without the pots.


Lanie said...

Impressive Curry Tree! I'm looking forward to seeing Phase 2 of Succulent City...hoping that Mrs Lithops is still with us.

archana said...

Hi, I am coming into some curry leaf seeds ( they are like inheritance, believe me ). As I like in an apartment, I was googling curry tree in pot and your blog came up. How would it work in zone5b? I was thinking of carting it indoor in winters. Do you think it would work?

Jamie said...

I've just looked up zone 5b and that seems far too chilly for a curry tree. It struggles through winter every year here in Sydney, Australia, and our climate looks to be about hardiness zone 10b (on your American scale of hardiness). The curry tree is from Sri Lanka and South India, which is a tropical climate. You'd definitely have to bring it indoors for about six months every year, I'd guess, but if you're really determined just go ahead and give it your best try! Good luck.

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