Monkey Puzzle Trees

Last Fall I drove by this house several times on my way to a project, so had a chance to observe it fairly closely. The reason it caught my eye was because my project was also on quite a slope, and also had concrete retaining walls that I needed to beautify.thumb_IMG_1467_1024


What’s with that gate?

At the time I thought I was going to have 3 retaining walls with two level planting spaces, not too dissimilar from this. And there was going to be quite a variety in the plantings, so as I looked at this, I cringed at the thought that my project might turn out the same.

Because, alas, my project was also going to have palm trees (Trachycarpus fortunei).thumb_IMG_1469_1024

But the construction took some hairpin turns, and we ended up with two retaining walls, one deep, very sloped planting bed. Imagine the middle of the above walls removed, and the space between sloped–that’s pretty much was “my” site is like. And I’m happy to report that it doesn’t look anything like the above, altho’ I haven’t got pictures yet because we’re still making adjustments and planting things that weren’t available in September.

But back to the orange house. I’m not going to make comments on the all the design faux pas (I’ll save that for another post) because I want to show the same site 7 months later–yesterday:

thumb_IMG_4107_1024 3I don’t know how they got away with it, but on the boulevard–ie city property– in a space of about 45′ x 5′, they’ve planted 4 Monkey Puzzle Trees (Araucaria araucana).

Thanks to the UBC Botanical Gardens forum for this picture of Araucania araucana in Vancouver

Thanks to the UBC Botanical Gardens forum for this picture of Araucania araucana in Vancouver. Click on image to be taken to the link.

At a mature size of 70′ tall and 30′ wide, and best featured as solitary specimens, this is an excellent example of “wrong plant, wrong place”.thumb_IMG_4104_1024

They must have been getting a great deal on trees, because they’ve also hidden the house and the palm trees behind a great hedge of Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald‘, fairly mature specimens that are planted a little to close together for health.


Click on any of the pics for larger image.

Anyway, bottom line is, don’t plant 4 Araucaria araucana at 10′ intervals.