This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

May 12, 2013

View from The Outback at The Tropical Paradise

The area south of the olive tree, where the artificial turf ends, has been a neglected area in The Tropical Paradise for years. And it is a tricky area to deal with. It's not an area that is traveled much, except by Macintosh, the good little wiener dog, and it needs to be able to pretty much take care of itself most of the time. I call this area "The Outback".

As you can see, the mulch is created by the leaves of the olive tree. I blow them off of the artificial turf and up into the garden, where they not only look good, they help hold in moisture, as any mulch will do, and eventually rot down, which is good for all plants, including the tree itself.

It's May 12th and I am still seeing some of the damage from the severe frost of January 2013. Right above Macintosh's head is a frond of a Macrozamia Moorei cycad that took a bad hit from the cold, but is still hanging one. Am waiting for a new flush of leaves before I trim off the old damaged ones.

To the left is another cycad, a dioon spinulosum. You can also see some frost damage, on the leaf furthest away, and this plant has also yet to flush. It's best to leave the damaged leaves on your cycad, even though they look bad, until the new leaves (which are very delicate) have grown and hardened.

To the lower right is another cycad, a zamia furfuracea, commonly called a Cardboard Palm. The cold completely destroyed the old fronds, down to the pineapple. But you can see the new leaves beginning to emerge, looking a bit like a toothbrush.

There are several large plants behind me and off to the right which will fill in this area, which still looks sparse, by summer. When everything grows in, it will take on more of a look of a tropical paradise, and less of an outback!
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