Not-So-Wordless Wednesday: That’s A Wrap

I may be the gardener of the house, but Joe also has his landscape love.  One of his greatest loves is palm trees.  His absolute fave is Cocos nucifera, the coconut palm.  If it were up to him, coconut palms would be growing everywhere.  We often joke that he would be to coconut palms what Johnny Appleseed was  to apples — only he would be called Joey Coconuts, which does sound a little — alright, a lot — like a character from “The Sopranos.”

Sadly, coconut palms will not grow in our Zone.  Nor will most other palms found around the world.  So what’s a palm lover to do?  About 7 years ago, we purchased a windmill palm, Trachycarpus fortunei to be exact, from Stokes Tropicals.  Originally grown in China, the windmill is one of the hardiest of palms, able to tolerate a fairly severe freeze and a light winter snow cover.

But this is Long Island, and winters are unpredictable.  Sometimes mild, but in recent years — cold, snowy, and frozen.  Although the palm receives full sun, there are steps that we must take — or rather Joe must take, with my assistance — to ensure winter survival.



28 thoughts on “Not-So-Wordless Wednesday: That’s A Wrap

  1. Wow! Coming from the tropics, I am amazed at the amount of care needed to protect the palm from the effects of winter in your part of the world. I have a coconut farm and all it takes for us here is to plant the seedling and make sure that ruminants are kept away. Frequent rain and a good amount of sunlight takes care of the rest. 🙂

    • Hello Traveller. Well, if I had my way, global warming would turn my Northeast garden into a tropical wonderland. Until then, it’s wrapping time. Thanks for visiting — and enjoy those coconut palms!

    • Mario, this technique has taken some time. We’ve tried wrapping other tropicals, and we’ve tried straw — but this type of palm and the leaves (which we have plenty of) seems to work best. In a few months, I’ll show the unwrapping.

  2. WOAH! That’s a mighty fine structure you’ve got, for a moment there I thought Joe was gonna end up on the wrong side of the plastic and be entombed in foliage. Having said that, where are you in all these photos???? :o)

    • Joe told me to stand in the structure for support. I will be emerging like a butterfly in the spring — seriously, though, someone’s got to take the photos and rake the leaves (that whole Zen thing). 🙂

    • If you want the tropics and you’re out of your zone (and some might say out of your mind), wrapping is the thing to do. I really should have put the time it took to do this. At this point, after years of practice, we can do this in an hour.

  3. Fabulous. It looks nice and snug in there for winter. But it does make me think about what extents that us gardeners go to, to get the plants we want in our gardens 🙂
    I’ve seen this technique used for Banana Palms here in the UK, most memorably at Great Dixter.

    • Thank you. We’ve tried to do this with one of the hardier banana trees, but all we had in the spring was a bunch of mush. So far so good with this type of palm. So glad you enjoyed the post!

    • Debra, nice to hear from you. Zone 5 might be a bit tricky for this palm, but it is the hardiest of palms. I have seen pictures of this type of palm growing in the Himalayas — you can always give it a try. I’ll pass on your compliments to Joe. 🙂

  4. Great article Kevin. You guys go to great lengths to protect that palm and it’s good to see that you found a good use for your leaves.

    Living in California, growing most palms doesn’t require anywhere near that amount of care for me. In fact, my neighbor has a huge palm tree that I very openly wish would succumb to a cold winter because it is forever dropping seeds that sprout everywhere.

    • Chad, good thing those seeds aren’t coconuts. They hurt. If I were you, I would collect those sprouting palms, nurture them along, and then sell them — a small nursery business. It is true, though, so plants can become overwhelming. Hang in there.

    • Plants are our babies — and at times, we overindulge them, love them too much, or give a shot at tough love tactics. It’s so hard raising healthy plants these days. 🙂

    • I smiled when you said low maintenance. It seems like every year I give myself a talk that this will be my low-maintenance year — and each year, that thought is quickly thrown out the window. I certainly appreciate your Darwinian approach.

    • Thank you. It is definitely snug in there — and the unwrapping is always an exciting part of spring. Did it live? How did it hold up? Did any fronds turn brown? Fortunately, it’s tough little palm. Thank you for commenting. Enjoy the day.

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