the gates of hell

the gates of hell
The Gates of Hell

Monday, January 30, 2017

"It's Alive!"

The T-Rex (Tetrapanax papyrifer) has been through a lot this past year, and so have I. It woke from hibernation in early March 2016, with new growth at the tops of surviving stalks, maybe 5-6 feet high. (I got this plant in fall 2013, and the first 2 winters, the stalks died back to the ground.)

It proceeded to grow rapidly through spring and summer.
  By September, T-Rex was above the roofline.
  Also by September, buds were forming--so exciting! The first buds I'd seen on this plant!
  The buds stretched out, and emerged above the foliage in mid-October.

In November, I thought for sure it would bloom against all odds (pretty pretty please), since there was still no freeze in sight...
But the inflorescence just kept stretching out and developing--a very slow process. Perhaps slowed further than normal for this plant by the lack of heat here in November. The photo below is from December 1st--could flowers beat the freeze?
No, they could not. None of the buds opened. The inflorescence drooped over, dropping failed flower buds to the ground in a slow sad drip. So sad, too bad.
But today, in late January, there are still green leaves at the top of each stalk (12'-15' up in the air--some are hidden under the drooping buds on the stalk to the right), that I imagine will get an even earlier start this year. Maybe flowers this December? One can only hope. But can I let it continue to grow so tall? Will I regret not topping it? Curiosity will probably make me leave these stalks alone to see what happens. I will also leave some of the inevitable new root-based stalks to grow up from ground level, in case these tall stalks topple from their own weight and winds later this year.