Sometimes I wonder why I bother.....or am I just too bloody old for all of this.


Active Member
After coming to a decision to give the front yard a much needed makeover, using up some of the potted multitudes in the process, I thought a Pritchardia hillebrandtii sp blue dwarf (yes I am Poppa Smurf if it ever turns blue) would be okay in the middle of the front lawn as a feature plant. Yes okay, and to have a permanent reminder about buying things that sound good. Most of my ground has had 15 years of amendments perpetrated on it, but front lawn area was au naturale. I started digging away, got my area size about right, roughly a sq metre, and then down I started to go. I am not going to say it was easy work, took me about 2 hours to get to a depth of 30cms or so. By then I could do no more so I filled the hole with water and left it over night. Next day, I went back out weilding my trusty spade and managed another 10cms or so before nearly collapsing into a shuddering heap. Later in the day, like a dog returning to vomit, I was at it again, but I struck the real gooey plasticene. After an hour of being able to scrape out spoonful at a time with end of the spade, I had to call it a day. Riveting stuff isnt it ? So day 3 dawned, I crawled out of bed, aching in places I didnt know existed and had to face the fact I probably will never be able to give birth naturally from this day on. Accepting finally that the spade wasnt going to get me anywhere, I went and dragged out the big pick from the toolshed. I try to avoid using it as 3 or 4 good swings and I am worn out. However, it slid through the plasticene and in just over 1 hour, there it was in all its splendour. My lovely big new hole. Was an olympic athletes mother ever so proud as I was just then ? Being a merciful woman I will gloss over all the bits about crumbling up soil, mixing it with compost and gypsum, dragging the palm in a dirty huge pot over 30 metres down the driveway and across the lawn. No more, that was it. This morning I finally removed it from the mean feat, got it in the hole, levelled it, backfilled and watered it in, moved back and admired my herculean effort. For the next few days I shall look at it out the window as I am on my deathbed and no chance of leaving it for the forseeable future. All and any offers of marriage from bodybuilders, muscle men or obediant masochists will be considered.
Sounds like you need an small excavator! We can relate in a way. The only dirt we have here was either trucked in, or was made by hundreds of years of Ohia tree leaves falling to the ground. So in other words, it is mostly lava rock here. Dean's favorite tool is the "O'o bar" which is the Hawaiian name for digging bar. It's heavy so I prefer to hack away at the rocks with a hoe. Digging a hole for just a gallon pot can be exhausting because sometimes after almost digging a hole deep enough you hit a big lava rock so big that you have to abandon that hole and dig another one. It totally kills my back.
Peach - any "true" palm nut can relate to your saga. My house in California is an old avocado grove planted on a perfect sandy loam soil with 60-70 years of avocado leaf mulch decomposing with constant watering and fertilizing. That is one reason I purchased it - the perfect soil. Not so much as even a pebble, let along a rock.

So after coming to a new volcanic island with nothing but rock, it is a totally different outlook. In SoCal, I could literally dig a hole as you described with a shovel and 15-20 minutes of easy work. Now for a hole that size, it is more like 1-2 hours of back breaking work. But the internal optimist I am keeps reminding me that my body is better for it - no pain, no gain (the work out mantra) - and I havent' felt the need for a gym membership in quite some time. :)

BTW - you can now claim to be a "true" palm nut. And unless you are older than I, I don't want to hear the words, "too old." I do my best to avoid reality.