First I have to apologise for a typing mistake in our last gardening page where a Bay Tree became a ‘bat tree’. Well we frequently refer to being batty or bats in the belfry and we do have bats ﬂitting across the garden in the early evening at this time of year, but I have never heard of a ‘bat tree’.
We were in fact commenting on the black mildew that frequently appears on the underside of some leaves and in this case the Bay tree.
Having mentioned a tree it brings to mind just how many trees one can ﬁnd in a normal sized garden and in fact how they get there. My ﬁrst Bay Tree was given to me by my old Mallorcan shepherd friend some 40 years ago and from this ﬁrst tree there must be at least 20 in the garden now. This is one tree that self seeds so easily, puts down a strong tap root and from there on you have another tree.
Dug up without damaging the root and transplanted into either a pot or any other part of the garden and you can do what you like with it. It is an easy tree to keep out into a standard shape especially if used on a doorstep to make an attractive feature for an entrance.
So I will continue with the trees that are self seeding because I have several trees that just suddenly appeared, I can trace them to neighbouring gardens such as a member of the Wattle family that has pretty little leaves, a tiny ﬂufﬂy yellow ﬂower that turns into a long seed pod with dozens of seeds so is no wonder that these seeds get blown over the garden wall. Well at the moment I have three of these trees and l have noticed that several other gardens on the same street have this tree popping up.
Another self seeded tree is my own Palm tree. The ﬁrst one planted many years ago unfortunatly had to be sacriﬁced when it died back after the dreaded red beetle ﬁrst came to the island even whilst being correctly looked after by pest control specialists, it had already left behind several seedlings that had germinated from the fallen dates.
I now have a further three mature Palm trees and countless seedlings that are popping up all over the place, in fact I will have to get them all pulled up or I will soon be living in the middle of a forest.
They do transplant but need to be very carefully dug up without damaging the long tap root. The fun thing about this Date Palm, although I have never eaten the dates that grow in great bunches of hundreds of hard yellow fruits, the birds just love them.
Even though there are so many dates the Blackbirds will squable with each other ove one date and then Robin will come along into the strugle over the fruit, just like children ﬁghting over sweets.
The Holm Oak or Holly Oak can be found all over the island, its acorns are prime food for pigs with many large outlying farms having large outcrops or wooded areas of these trees, although not usually found in town gardens. So why have I a self seeded Holm Oak in my garden? Some little bird or other must have dropped the acorn, I am watching that one grow with interest.
Another intruder has been an Olive tree. To achieve edible olives this tree needs grafting even though it does produce tiny hard black olives, nearly every one of these will take root the moment they fall so just keep pulling them up if you don’t want another type of forest growing in your garden.
The birds must surely be the culprits for taking the seeds all over the gaden becausethere are tiny olive tree seedlings on the furthest part of the garden. The main tree, again I have no idea where it came from, after cutting it back for a few years was then left to its own devices where we eventually put a hen run giving the hens shade so this self seeded tree has its uses.
A tall pointed Cypress tree that was bought in a pot from a table of plants at an ESRA Bazaar has been kept out back to a mageable height but still produces its little round ﬁr cones, where these drop around the tree there are often seedlings already taking root so I pot them up ready to plant else where.
And now to the trees I actually planted all those years ago. The very ﬁrst was a Weeping Willow branch just cut off from a friends tree and stuck into the garden, there it stands now in the middle of a lawn giving lovely shade on a sunny day, a further tree has been planted by cutting a branch from that ﬁrst tree and ﬁlls another bit of lawn with shade.
Unfortunately the strong winds tend to break the branches of this tree if not kept cut back and being a deciduous tree , every single leaf will fall onto the lawn at that time of year.
Still with ‘cuttings’ the Rubber tree can grow to a good height outdoors in this climate where as in Northern homes it is considered a house plant. Simply take a cutting and pop it into the soil and you can be pretty sure of yet another rubber tree in your garden.
They can be allowed to grow large and bushy or kept out into a ree shape with a good sturdy trunk then allowing it to branch out when it reaches the heigh you want it.
That’s it for what one could call ornamental trees, I haven’t even considered the fruit trees today that can ﬁll a whole page if you really want to plant up any of these.