[gardeners] Tony & Moira Ryan <theryans@XTRA.CO.NZ>: Re: Monkey Puzzle tree

penny x stamm (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Sat, 11 Nov 2000 03:19:55 -0500

Chris, here it is:
> But Moira, have you seen the umbrella pine...? It is delicious..!

No I haven't had the pleasure!

> I fell in love with Norfolk Island pines on Bermuda, 1957. I don't
> get to see them hereabouts -- they are not grown. I've never seen a
> compact one, either.

Although many local gardens do have them they are really too dominent to
look right in suburban conditions. In my opinion they call for a huge
garden or better still a seafront to look really at home. People do keep
tham in containers as live Christmas trees, but they do get thin and sad
looking after a couple of years. Perhaps if treated like a Bonsai and
root pruned from time to time they might survive looking better.
> The last monkey puzzle tree I saw and stared at was in a large, formal
> garden in Ireland, Scotland, England, somewheres. It stood perhaps
> 20 ft tall, and was not only symetrical but well diagrammed, if you can
> understand my use of that word.  I was riveted to the ground just
> drinking it all in.

I have only once seen a young one, which was in a local small front
garden and it looked indeed "well diagrammed" (I could undertand you
exactly) and really splendid. It is what in East Africa we would have
called a PWD (Public Works Dept)
tree apparently designed not by nature but by some engineer!! A common
species there to which we gave this name was the Kapok tree, but I think
the Monkey Puzzle is more spectacular. However I did also know an avenue
of old (M P) trees in England which had no bottom branches and seemed
very dishevelled, so perhaps one should regularly replant to get the
best effect.

That young tree described above had no chance to outgrow its youthful
beauty. It began to encroach on the main path and had soon to be removed
for safety's sake.


Tony & Moira Ryan <theryans@xtra.co.nz>
Wainuiomata (near Wellington, capital city of New Zealand)
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