Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Eucalyptus Crash

My semi-hardy eucalyptus came down in a recent storm, but many of the roots still seemed to be in the ground. Using my favorite medium ("road crew bamboo" and twine) I made a slanted 4-pole, tee pee-style trellis to hold it up after my son helped pushed it back into a semi-upright position (it had grown on a slant, so we could not completely straighten it). I also had to take off the top 5 feet of the tree. So, we will see if this works and I will report back. I really love this plant, but I can also replace it next spring if this effort fails (eucalyptus lasts 5 to 7 years here: if a storm does not get it, ice does. But it grows fast).

One "bonus" of this damage is that I now have eucalyptus to preserve for wreathes and floral arrangements. You cannot just dry eucalyptus- the leaves will become too brittle. You need to preserve it using a glycerin and water mix (glycerin is available on line, just search for soap and lotion making supplies or get it at an old timey pharmacy). Here are the instructions:

Smash or crush the ends of the stem to allow better absorption of the following mixture: 1 part vegetable glycerin to 2 parts hot tap water to 2 inches deep. Dry indoors for about 1 week. When the leaves feel dry, but still pliable, the eucalyptus fronds are ready to use. Cut off the smashed ends and use in floral arrangements.

Happy gardening!

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