Thursday 3 July 2008: "Dating" a "Queen" .....
On the southern (cold) side of our home, this majestic Queen Palm graces the garden. It is 30 feet + tall and is a vigorous grower.. Some also call it a Wild Date tree.
This blip was taken of the confusion at the origin of the clusters and fronds, and is about 20 feet up in the air. At the moment, it bears no less than 3 huge clusters of fruit/dates.
As the fruit ripens, it turns from green to yellow then falls to the ground where it ferments and gives off a sour smell. Unwelcome visitors, like flies, come over to investigate, and Deedle, the Great Dane, also has a penchant for these fermenting, alcoholic fruits! Yes, he chews and swallows them and becomes slightly intoxicated - eyes focus not 100% and there may also be a fixed frown on his forehead!
When the Palm flowers, it is sometimes not much visible, because the flowers are mostly protected by a sheath or integument. That is the large brown leaflike covering which are forced open once the fruits start to grow. When all the ripe fruit has fallen down, the bare seed stalk with the sheath stays behind. Once this has totally dried out, it is discarded from the plant and falls down. I?ve been lucky to get hold of a sheath with the actual stalk still inside, and it makes for creative blipping, because of all the higgledy piggledy twiggery.
Mostly, but not always, we prefer to manually cut down these fruit clusters: apart from the mess it makes, we also sit with the problem of blocked drains and gutters.
The clusters are about 2.5 feet long and the girth is no less. When cut, needless to say that a strong person with no fear for heights is needed, a tall ladder, strong, large plastic bags to cover the clusters, a saw and lots of elbow grease. These cluster are fairly heavy and usually require two people to carry it away.
But, in the evenings when a slow breeze is doing its rounds, the rustling of the fronds is calming and lovely to listen to.