Monkey Puzzle?

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by Gordo, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    The real puzzle is why anyone would want to grow one of these. Here we have our own monkey puzzle forum and constant inquiries about "where can I find a Monkey Puzzle tree?" I just don't get it. These trees seem about as out of place in northwest gardens as any plant I've seen (with the possible exception of Cannas). I've seen pictures of them growing in Chilean landscapes, where they looked magnificent, but to me they just don't belong here unless you are contemplating some kind of weird tropical theme garden. Different strokes for different folks, but for me, even though this grows well here, it is not a regionally appropriate landscape choice. Perhaps you can convince me otherwise?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2006
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    They look great in a large group on their own, preferably planted on top of a rocky crag (and even better, regenerating naturally, so you've got a mixed age group).

    As singles mixed in with other trees, agreed they do look out of place.
     
  3. bcgift52

    bcgift52 Active Member

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    If you wanted to preserve the amount of sun, or a view, this is a nice airy see-through tree, but I have seen these used very effectively as a break-in deterrent.
    The building I worked at several years ago had unprotected large windows at ground level with a row of monkey puzzle trees growing outside and intruders never tried to
    gain access in this area although several attempts were made to enter at barred windows in the same building.
     
  4. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Well Gordo... "it is not a regionally appropriate landscape choice". It's just this sort of narrow minded comment that is out of place, and not the Monkey Puzzle tree. Don't bother to visit us here on Vancouver Island since we have many of these and it's certain to ruin your trip. I'm not about to convince you of anything regarding the diversity of plant material from all over the globe.
    Excuse me while I go plant another dozen offending Monkey Puzzle trees, then retire to my "weird tropical theme garden"!
     
  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    LPN, to be fair to Gordo, he qualified that provocative statement with "Perhaps you can convince me otherwise?" which seems to me to be fairly open-minded on the matter.
     
  6. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I should add that on the other side of the coin, LPN and other tropical / exotica plant admirers are often called upon to justify why the plants they are enthusiastic about should belong in the urban landscape (so I gather from having read through a few of the tropical plant forums). I imagine there is a limit to how many times a person wants to justify something.

    The advantage of this hyperlinked medium is that LPN could link to his thoughts on the subject from previous discussions elsewhere to help put his comment in context.
     
  7. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    what happened to live and let live? or perhaps, to each their own?
    I think monkey puzzle trees look out of place in most west coast gardens but when they are mature, they can be quite impressive. I also think windmill palms look out of place in most west coast gardens. Doesn't mean I like or dislike them, just that I think they look out of place. I have seen some great gardens that are very tropical themed, take Banana Joe over on Saltspring Island, his garden is awesome, but... it is not a westcoast average garden, it is built around the tropics, so it fits. A windmill palm in the front lawn of a house circled by gardens of Rhodos, junipers and cedar just doesnt seem to fit.

    All this of course is just my humble opinion so it doesnt really matter to anyone but me.
     
  8. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    Help! Under attack from the monkey puzzelers! I like live and let live /to each their own / different strokes / etc. I love weird and whimsical gardens, and in fact, some of my best friends are Monkey Puzzle trees. I just find M.P. trees to be curiously out of place in Northwest gardens, especially when outstanding natives are so readily available and easy to grow. As a break-in deterrent, or a landscaping choice, I think I prefer chain-link, topped with razor wire.
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    All plants have naturalistic character that can make them appear out of place except in settings that seem appropriate to them. Araucaria is so ancient that it perhaps looks odd just about everywhere in today's world. Even at VanDusen Botanical Display Garden, where a grove of A. araucana is underplanted with other ornamental plants (barberry, escallonia and so on) from the same region, it looks quite strange. Other prehistoric plants should make good planting scheme companions. A location where more modern-looking vegetation is not conspicuously visible would make a great spot for monkey puzzle and friends. Likewise, urban settings with their overbearing unnaturalness are great for all kinds of plants that do not blend well in much of the local countryside, such as bluish or silvery ones (Eucalyptus), others with colored foliage (purple beech, purpleleaf plum), or bigleaf plants (magnolia, catalpa, paulownia, banana...).
     
  10. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    Monkey Puzzle & Friends sounds like a kiddie show. Could we include Barney in the design?
     
  11. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Well, that got everyone commenting. I do find that Araucaria araucana can be a striking tree, but I see them planted in a lot of locations that just seem inappropriate. They cannot be pruned, they grow quite large, they have a striking spikey form that does not seem to mix well with most other plantings. I often see them recently planted in small yards where they will quickly outgrow their space. They are dramatic specimen trees in a large yard or look nice in a grove (suitable in large gardens, parks), but perhaps they are overplanted.
     
  12. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Well Gordo (Pt 2) ...
    If your, "I like live and let live /to each their own / different strokes / etc. I love weird and whimsical gardens, and in fact, some of my best friends are Monkey Puzzle trees.", quote holds any water, why would your original post contain comments such as "I just don't get it" and "to me they just don't belong here unless you are contemplating some kind of weird tropical theme garden"?
    It sounds as though you're contradicting or back peddling. Perhaps I'm misinterpreting your meanings here?
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    On a plant forum the proper term is 'back petaling'.
     
  14. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    I'm not trying to set the rules, just expressing an opinion. I think M.P. trees are pretty goofy looking, and I think there is an important design element to consider when contemplating their use - context, which for this plant is difficult to achieve. However, if we pose Barney next to a Giant Gunnera...
     
  15. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I'd rather have more realistic looking dinosaur figures.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2006
  16. has anyone ever been to the Uk? they fit in quite nicely over there. that was the first time i had ever seen one. i am jealous that ya'll can grow them where you live. they wouldn't survive the heat where i live
     
  17. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    I'll bet they do fit in quite nicely over there. Perhaps we should encourage their continued use on that tropical isle.
     
  18. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yep!

    They even sow themselves and naturalise here

    Point of Interest: a close look the right hand pic reveals that it has one female and two male cones on; the species is occasionally monoecious
     

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  19. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    Nice pics, Michael. Do you ever go stand underneath 'em and wait for the cones to fall? I hear they can weigh up to 17 pounds.
     
  20. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    So you finally admit they're nice :-))

    Yes, have done - it's quite safe, as the cones break up on the tree and all that comes down is a shower of loose seeds. What you're thinking of is Araucaria bidwillii, where the cones drop intact (and are also much larger; A. araucana cones don't weigh more than about 1kg). Araucaria bidwillii is definitely hard hat territory, though.
     
  21. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    The PICTURES are nice. I had a vision of an English gentleman strolling about his estate in a pith helmet.
     
  22. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Since the largish seeds are edible, these coming down can actually be a welcome event. It depends on how you look at it. Some will not care about eating them, be bothered by the litter. Others will object to the rodents that may be attracted.
     

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