Anyone living in South Texas or similar tropical climates is probably familiar with sago palms. I’ve read that they are considered slow growers, but I’ve found the opposite to be true. After we built our house, a landscaper suggested we plant a young sago palm in the flower bed between the front porch and the walkway leading to the driveway. Within 3 or 4 years, it was so massive it was taking over the bed. We decided to move it to the backyard just outside my son’s window. It survived the transplant well and has been thriving there ever since with the help of a little annual pruning of the bottom fronds. Pruning is not absolutely necessary, but because sagos are toxic to pets and we have a small dog, I like to keep the fronds far off the ground. Ultimately, I would like the palm to look more like a tree than how it appears in the above picture. Something very much like this:
My reasons are twofold. First, prefer the look of a tree to the large fern-like expanse of the first example, and having the fronds high off the ground prevents my dog from wandering underneath the palm out of my view and eating any part of the plant. The process is simple. You need only gloves, long sleeves and long pants, some sort of eye protection and a pair of pruning shears–preferably ones with long handles. The frond’s needles are very thick and sharp. You could literally put an eye out. The palm is nowhere near tree-like yet, but I’ve made progress over the past couple of years:
I’ve noticed that the palm has been looking a little ragged lately and that it was probably past due for its annual pruning.
Not only that, but apparently, it’s given birth.
After initial inspection, I was psyched to get some pruning done. Heck, I might even take off four of five layers of fronds and cut off whatever that giant loofa sponge looking thing is in the middle.
I never said I was an educated gardner. Or any kind of gardner, for that matter.
I just wanted to cut away the ugly.
Give the plant a fresh look.
No harm, no foul, win/win.
Except upon closer inspection, I realized that this plant that I walk by every day, this plant that I mostly ignore until I chose to notice it had become home to some new residents.
A family of mockingbirds have built a nest and hopefully will soon set up residence just outside my back door. So I’ll have to look at that ugly plant for a little while longer.
Because it’s all well and good to want to cut away the ugly and the useless;
to give ourselves a fresh look and a new start,
but we need to think long and hard about doing so when it comes at a high cost to others.
Besides, like Atticus Finch said. It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird, so I suppose tearing up their home is akin to that sin.
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“…because mockingbirds don’t do anything but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat people’s gardens, don’t nest in the corncrib, they don’t do one thing but just sing their hearts out for us.”