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Blast from the past

  • Blast from the past
  • Blast from the past

This is my Wollemi pine, showing detail of foliage and profile. It has done really well and went through the 2010/11 winter having just been planted, then flattened in all that snow, but thankfully sprung back once I found it and released it. Interestly, it is not the most ancient tree I have, I also have a Ginkgo, obviously a relic species, but less obviously I also have a Sciadopitys, an Umbrella pine from Japa, not uncommon I know, but this lovely little tree is also a relic species from the Triassic, or even earlier. Like the Ginkgo it has outlived its pests and diseases, they are long extinct, and when the Wollemi and Monkey puzzles were just starting up in the jurassic, the Sciadopitaceae were already in decline. Now this is one living fossil!!

Comments (10)

  1. Grower

    Paul & Valerie Guppy

    We also bought a Wollemi pine when they were first for sale in our garden centre about six or seven years ago.The original tree has now got cones on it and is about 9ft tall.Paul has taken some cuttings and the one that has done really well is now a couple of feet tall and will be planted out in the Autumn.We noticed that although they were £100 when first for sale ,they ended up being sold off at £10.I presume either most people didn't realise what wonderful things they are, or they were just too expensive for them.

  2. Grower

    Paul & Valerie Guppy

    By "our" .I mean our local garden centre.

  3. Grower

    Jeremy Wright

    Nice piece Rob. I have still not got a Wollemi pine and would like to get one.

    Paul - do let me know if they are still £10! The discovery of the Wollemi is a great story. Another tree with an amazing story and even stranger growth form is Pseudopanax ferox - positively the ugliest young tree you'll find. I love it!

  4. Grower

    Paul & Valerie Guppy

    No sorry Rob they were sold off at £10 ages ago.

  5. Grower

    Rob Johnson, Green & Furry pet and garden care

    No worries, this was a daily mail special offer, 2for£48 or so, the other was planted in on of my clients gardens but as it got chomped by the local renegade cows, it is no longer with us. Those cones are pollen cones, or at least on mine they are. To think the whole of The Austrialian continent is covered in ' Dilwynites' pollen grains. It was once thought this was ancient lauraceae taxa, but when they matched it with Wollemi pollen there was left no doubt, Wollemia, or pseudoaraucaria as it was sometimes referred to in fossil form was not only once all over Austrailia, but also well into the Antarctic continent too, and this is the place where they think like many other Autralasian plants it originated, so please don't just look at the dear old wollemi pine as a novelty, we are honoured to be able to grow it given its history, just an added bonus that it is hardy-ish in the UK, only a very hard winter would kill it. I also have a couple of Austrialian cycads in the greenhouse they hardly ever grow much but always look fresh in the Unheated greenhouse, they seem very tough although as far as a living fossil is concerned, well I recently read the modern cycad family may be only as little as 3 million years old or so, well that blows the theory that cycads were once dinosaur food!!
    Out of interest, I was in the garden just now at half light, and noticed the azara serrata bush is covered in white berries, I have never seen that before, I will get some photos.

  6. Grower

    Rob Johnson, Green & Furry pet and garden care

    Sorry, correction, araucarioides, not pseudoaraucaria which reminds me,pseudopanax, ferox I haven't got doesn't sound nice though, crassifolia I do have and though not dissimilar it is very attractive. They are known as lancewoods in New Zealand. I aso have one called 'sabre', looks a bit like an oleander without flowers in an attractive sort of way, both are hardy here.P lessertii less hardy but still ok here and hates the greenhouse in winter, so just as well really.

  7. Grower

    Jeremy Wright

    Yes I have P. crassifolia and P. sabre too. Oleander without the flowers is a good description! The thing about P. ferox is that when it matures it then transforms into a charming, more normal looking tree with round soft leaves. For a long time the young and mature versions were thought to be two different species altogether because they are so different.

  8. Grower

    Rob Johnson, Green & Furry pet and garden care

    My crassifolia is about 15ft or so and the leaves have become a lot smaller. The houpara(p. Lessonii), has these softer leaves, Called the five finger it looks very different, but not considered hardy. I saw lessonii 'gold splash' in a planting on Grange over sands prom, near where I come from, it is very mild up there and tender plants grow between the paving stones. I have also noticed what looks like a second specie of herbaceous aralia I have grown from 'ginseng' seed as I received them.this one is only small as yet, but already is exhibiting small black berries. Something the large one doesn't posess.

  9. Grower

    Rob Johnson, Green & Furry pet and garden care

    Speaking of araliaceae, I have A tetrapanax papyrifera 'Rex' That I have kept prisoner in a small pot so far. I can't work out where to release it. This thing is enormous like gunnera on steroids, thuogh my gunnera flava just spreads on wet concrete under the back window a few inches high, best to know your gunneras when planting, certainly mistakes may become confusing to say the least.

  10. Grower

    Rob Johnson, Green & Furry pet and garden care

    My gunnera flava covering nothing more then wet concrete, I tried it in the garden and it disappeared, aren't these plants odd!!

    • Blast from the past

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