So, I was really trying to work on another blog post. And it’s still there, sitting in draft mode, waiting for me to conjure up the words to really talk more about what’s up there in that brain of mine. BUT! Well…today I got sidetracked!
Ya see, okay maybe you don’t since I haven’t talked about it yet, but I have a yard that needs some love. It’s wide open with lots of grass and pretty much no trees to speak of. The Chinese Tallow tree in the back yard doesn’t provide any shade to the house so it may as well be useless.
Since moving into the house in 2010 and suffering through a couple of brutal Southern summers here in South Carolina, I’ve been on a mission since last year to try to find SOME way to shade my house. I’ve spent hours and hours just looking at different plants on eBay for some inspiration and ideas.
This particular idea didn’t come from eBay though. It came from this house around the corner from where I live. And sorry, you’ll have to deal with a screen capture from Google Maps for now because I haven’t gotten brave enough to just park my truck in front of their house to take a picture of their tree. That might be kinda…creepy.
For some odd reason, I happened to notice the tree one day coming into the neighborhood and it’s growth habit interested me, along with the bark and the leaves. So I snapped a poor picture on a drive by of the house to ask my friends on Facebook. THAT is when I learned that it was a Eucalyptus tree. Hah! Well, that lead me to start researching, because I just simply can’t have something in my yard I’ll hate.
Well! I have to say that doing so has turned me on to a pretty neat little treat for a plant. Eucalyptus trees have natural insect repelling properties. Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes don’t really like them. AND they smell good! AND they’re also fantastic for floral arrangements 😉 They also grow about 6-8 feet per year with a height somewhere between 20-40 feet. PERFECT for adding some much needed shade to the house.
Last year, I decided to get some seeds off of eBay and try to grow my own. I set a few out in November, thinking that we’d be rolling into cooler weather and that they’d have all season to kinda just think about growing but not have the obligation to. That backfired on me when it sprouted. So, I brought the little seedling in the house and within a couple of days, it just disappeared. I’m pretty sure I had a small rodent visitor that bypassed all my other seedlings and took out my baby Eucalyptus. I was NOT happy. I abandoned trying to do anymore seeds until Spring came through here. Well, wouldn’t you know it that we kinda skipped Spring altogether and jumped right into early Summer temps for almost the entire month of March?? I set a bunch of seeds out sometime that month. And as of last week, nothing was really doing anything, even the two pots of my remaining Eucalyptus seeds.
Frustrated and feeling it necessary to get the tree started this year, I searched on eBay again to find a seller in Florida, Wellspring Gardens, with young, live Eucalyptus trees. I had some eBay Bucks to use (kinda like free money) and made my purchase. Wouldn’t ya know it though, after I made that purchase, I noticed ONE of those pots finally had a seedling. I’ve decided that I’ll just plant that one somewhere else in the yard as long as it survives. I’m hoping it does as it would be pretty cool to have something I’ve grown from seed in my own yard 🙂
It took a whopping TWO days to get here from Florida (and that’s a good thing by the way). I had already dug the grass out of the area I wanted to plant it in, and when I saw the mail lady in the neighborhood, I started digging deeper at the hole. I’d say there’s about 6-8 inches of quality dirt in my yard before you hit clay. Lots and lots of freaking clay. I chopped up some of the clay I dug out and mixed it, along with some potting soil, in the deeper part of the hole.
I then stalked the mail lady from my back yard, waiting for her to come around the bend and bring me goodies…
When she pulled up, I expected her to have to bring a package to the door or something but no…she opened the mailbox, deposited the mail and drove away. I’m standing there thinking, “Great, I’m gonna hafta call the Post Office and see if I can go pick up my plant now.” But lo! There in my mailbox was a Priority Mail box! I knew the plant would be tiny, but I really had NO idea just how tiny it was going to be!
It’s in a little, 3 inch pot, and really, maybe 4 inches of top growth out of the pot. But oh it’s PERFECT! I’m actually THRILLED it’s this small. Here’s why.
In my research on growing Eucalyptus (this is a Silver Dollar Eucalyptus for the record), it was determined that it’s best to get them small, before they become root bound in their pots and plant them. Apparently, it stunts the growth of a Eucalyptus significantly if they are kept in an environment where their roots can’t spread. So, where a normal Eucalyptus might grow 6-8 feet in a year, one that is root bound in the pot might only gain about 2 feet. That’s pretty significant if ya ask me!
Today was a good day for transplanting too. It was a cooler day with a light rain/mist pretty much all day. I’d say about 15 minutes after arrival, I had my cute little Eucalyptus tree planted…although, it’s hard to call it a tree when I have blades of grass that are bigger than this thing…but I’m optimistic. I’ll soon have a beautiful and USEFUL tree in my yard, both for shade and those annoying pests 🙂