Therapeutic gardening in the time of corona

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KyushuCalanthe

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Well, it has happened, the major urban centers of Japan, including Fukuoka are officially declared in a state of emergency due to rising numbers of COVID 19 cases. There will be no official "lockdown" as such, but rather a "request" that the prefectural governments will make to businesses as well as individuals to restrict their activities. To learn more, here's an article in the Japan Times: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/04/06/national/japan-state-of-emergency-covid-19/

I was preparing to go back to university this week, but the semester was postponed due to the pandemic by two weeks. Last night I got an email from them saying that all coursework for the foreseeable future will be conducted online only. Another school I work at closed its doors yesterday. Looks like we're in deep here now.

And before all of this had been announced I was already working on a new video titled "Therapeutic Gardening in the Time of Corona". I was inspired by a number of other folks posting videos to calm the nerves of those stuck at home. Little did I know that I'd become one of them. Anyway, this is what is happening in my garden now. Enjoy.

Garden Therapy in the Time of Corona
 

abax

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KY has been locked down for almost a
month and I've gotten an enormous amount
of digging, pruning and greenhouse puttering done. Spring is wonderful!

Great Pink Floyd tee.
 

musa

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Great video, thanks!
In Austria we have the same problems, all universities are shut down completley for the whole semester and we all had to adapt to distance teaching, which was not used at all before covid-19. So there was a lot of work to do the last weeks.
But in between of that, you are absolutely right, plants are a wonderful distraction of all the isolation problems...
 
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Thank you for the video. It was therapeutic. We are getting into the yard more and more here in Ohio. I just need the weather to cooperate. Yesterday it was 65F and sunny. Today there was a wintery mix of snow, rain, and ice. Plus grey skies.

Your video helped my determination to get out into the garden this weekend.
 

KyushuCalanthe

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Dear friend, you need a mattock and cutting spade for
deep digging. Actually, your soil looks pretty loose compared
with my clay stuff. Monologue all you want!

Ha ha. The digging you see me do here is about as adventuresome as I get in Japan. In the states I used to keep my shovel razor sharp, but here I don't bother since there is very little work to do like this - the result of living on a piece of "land" the size of a postage stamp! Monologues to continue, but always tagged at the end for those who wish to bail out :)

I didn't know you could grow tree ferns in Japan. Is this one cold hardy?

We can grow them barely. Dicksonia antarctica is fully cold hardy here, but dislikes the hot summers. The species replanted in the video is Alsophila spinulosa, a native of the southern islands of Japan and up the Pacific coast in relatively frost free pockets even up to central Honshu. Here on the Sea of Japan side, winters get too cold at times, so I use a plastic tent around them from around Christmas time thru mid March or later. Winter was so mild this year I almost got away with not protecting them at all, but things grew frosty in February. I've found most tree ferns don't survive anything south of ~ minus 4 C for very long. Of course D. antarctica can handle quite a bit more.
 

Linus_Cello

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Speaking of D. antarctica, Here is my bonsai version...It's been in the pot for about 10 years. Root pruned every year.

Neat! I'd like to try one, but I think it gets too hot and humid here in the summer. What do you do for the summer (or since you're near the coast you get breezes in the summer)?
 

KyushuCalanthe

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Nice one Mike. Question: given your "ideal" climate for this species, why don't you grow it in the ground - unless you want to keep it small. I find tree ferns of all kinds much more difficult to maintain long term in pots, no matter how well you take care of them (root pruning, for starters!).

Neat! I'd like to try one, but I think it gets too hot and humid here in the summer. What do you do for the summer (or since you're near the coast you get breezes in the summer)?

Actually, they can take a lot of heat, though they don't like it. If well tended (meaning LOTS of water especially in summer) they grow reasonably well in our steaming hot summers. They sulk from mid July thru late September, but in spring rocket into new growth and also have another growth spurt in the fall. I think your bigger challenge will be dealing with it in winter since your true colder months are much longer and more severe than here or certainly Australia. That said, if you can keep it alive in winter (poly-tunnel, greenhouse above ~25 F) it may actually grow well all summer regardless of the heat. Worth a try, but large specimens are pricey in the US I would imagine.
 

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Neat! I'd like to try one, but I think it gets too hot and humid here in the summer. What do you do for the summer (or since you're near the coast you get breezes in the summer)?
I keep it in the shade house in summer and we get cool sea breezes almost every night here.
 

Stone

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Nice one Mike. Question: given your "ideal" climate for this species, why don't you grow it in the ground - unless you want to keep it small. I find tree ferns of all kinds much more difficult to maintain long term in pots, no matter how well you take care of them (root pruning, for starters!).



Actually, they can take a lot of heat, though they don't like it. If well tended (meaning LOTS of water especially in summer) they grow reasonably well in our steaming hot summers. They sulk from mid July thru late September, but in spring rocket into new growth and also have another growth spurt in the fall. I think your bigger challenge will be dealing with it in winter since your true colder months are much longer and more severe than here or certainly Australia. That said, if you can keep it alive in winter (poly-tunnel, greenhouse above ~25 F) it may actually grow well all summer regardless of the heat. Worth a try, but large specimens are pricey in the US I would imagine.

I have just put in a couple of Cyathea australis in the garden. They are a bit more sun hardy. The Dicksonias are so common and cheap here I never really thought about it. There is a bloke down the road from me who brings them in from Tasmania. They saw then off at the base and you just dig a hole and drop them in. He actually just wants the fibre but is forced to by the live ferns as well. Some of the bases are massive. Up to a metre thick and almost all pure fibre, and probably 10 or more metres high. As for heat tolerance, I think they possibly don't like hot humid conditions rather than the dry heat which they seem to tolerate very well here as long as there is plenty of water at ground level. They are usually dormant in mid summer in the garden.
 

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