I'm sure you've heard the expression, "We learn something new every day", right? Well I recently learned a whole lot of stuff all on one day. The above tree which is in my front yard is a Cabbage Palm. I did not know that (the house in the photo is my neighbor's, not ours, just FYI). There are something like 2500 different kinds of palm trees. This is only one. The Cabbage Palm. Coolio.
Up until now I've been calling it the Muppet Tree. Actually I was calling it the "Half Dead Muppet Tree". I wish I had thought to take a "before" photo because it's hard to describe how bad this tree looked before this photo was taken. The fronds went all the way to the ground and at least half of the tree's fronds were dry and brown and crappy looking. It was not pretty.
And I was baffled. Every other palm tree in our yard (and there are a lot of them - and quite the variety), when the fronds turn brown they fall off. We had a system. The fronds fell off, I picked them up and put them all in a pile on the side of the house and the yard guys would remove them when they came on Wednesday. It was not just a system. It was a system that worked. But this half dead muppet tree just looked worse and worse and what they heck man! Why aren't those fronds coming off? Occasionally I would grab one of the ugly brown dead fronds and give it a few mighty yanks hoping to joggle it loose. But nope.
Eventually I went out with my hand clippers and kind of climbed up underneath the waterfall of dead fronds but these fronds were far too thick and wide and tough for my little hand clippers. Another day I went out with a saw. I ran out of oomph WAY before the tree ran out of stubborn. So it just continued to look worse and worse and worse.
Until one day recently when I was talking to my neighbor Joanie about that half dead muppet tree that I was seriously considering asking someone to cut down because it was so awful looking. She told me what the real name of the tree was and said that it merely needed to be trimmed. I said.."With what? Elephant nail clippers?" She laughed and said that I could borrow her big old palm frond chompers any time I liked. There are palm frond chompers??? News to me!
So finally the day arrived that I was feeling strong, I was feeling capable and confident and, most importantly, I was already filthy from other work. So I knocked on her door and asked if I could borrow her frond chompers. She very generously not only allowed me to borrow them but came along to show me how to do the job and guide me through this. Joanie is a Master Gardener and knows whereof she speaks. Invaluable! Especially for someone like me who didn't have the vaguest idea how to care for these Florida trees!
And so it came to pass that I dragged out my ladder, my gloves and between the two of us and her tools, the job began. Joanie is a wonderful teacher, kind and patient with a great sense of humour so when I screwed up (and of course I did) I never had the feeling that it was the end of the world.
And then her husband, Danny came over to 'supervise'. He chased me off the ladder and climbed up himself. So Danny worked high, Joanie and I worked the middle and the ground area and eventually we got that tree and the undergrowth cleared away and spruced up (although can you spruce a palm tree? or can you only spruce a pine tree? Nevermind. Unimportant.)
Do I have the greatest neighbors or what? Not only did they lend me the tools and teach me what to do, they actually helped to do it! WOW! I really hit the jackpot in the great neighbors department!
It was a lot of hard work, but totally worth it. The next day, using what I learned and passed along to him, Tim decided to apply this new found knowledge to other palm trees in the yard. And Danny and Joanie came over again to help. Wow!
The front of the house looks so much better! Tim was so knocked out by what he learned that he immediately ordered our own set of tools so that we can keep up as we go with necessary tree pruning/trimming instead of doing another marathon session like the one over this weekend.
This was just a small portion of the enormous pile of yard debris now awaiting pick up in front of the house. BIG JOB but big rewards too ;)
Now I just have to find a way to repay Joan and Danny. Not sure a batch of cookies will be enough this time........
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.