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Meet Bertha and Homer

March 10, 2010

Okay, so I’m not in the habit of naming inanimate objects…least of all naming them things that might be better suited to the names of cartoon characters or large busted women. However, I was trying to think of a clever title for the post, and now that I’ve done that, I anticipate that the names will stick…

So, who, or what, are Bertha and Homer? They are my newest best friends. Two adorable little pygmy dwarf palms that have made my backyard just a little happier. Ahh…but first, how they came to be in our backyard.

  • Chris’ parents came to town, and knew that I was desperate for a palm. After all, having palm trees is one of the perks of living in SoCal. I think it’s silly to own a house and not have at least a little bit of a feel of the great weather that permits these plants to grow here. Their solution? Get me one for my birthday. Uh..heck yes!
  • The hubs and I knew where we wanted the palm in the backyard, so we all headed off to the local home improvement store.

  • The palms were on sale—half price, baby! What does that mean? Not only was one palm a oh-so generous gift, but the rents figured they would get us a second one as a house warming gift. So…”Bertha” (cause it was a gift for my “Bertha-day”…get it?) and “Homer” (‘cause we’re being welcomed “Home”) were carefully selected. Seriously though…what did we look for?  We wanted to add some privacy, since our yard is on a slant where the next door neighbor’s yard is high enough they look down into our yard, so we selected trees where the trunks were already fairly tall, and where the palm leaves had quite a bit of height. I really like the curvy trunks, so we made sure to pick the ones with some beautiful shape.
  • Next up? Getting these beauties home! I suggested that we rent a truck, and for only $19 + refilling the gas tank, and plus loading, we were on our way.

  • We unloaded them fairly easily once at home–especially once my brilliant husband realized the sides of the truck bed dropped down for easy off loading.

  • The next thing that we had to do was dig appropriate sized holes.  For these particular plants, the holes were to be about 2 times the size of the plant base.  We weren’t able to dig them quite that large, and also thought it seemed a little excessive, but we definitely gave them plenty of room to grow.  We took turns–so I’m posting pictures of everyone so that all the helpers get credit!



  • We removed the black tubs that the plants came in.  We used a razor blade, because historically we’ve found that the tubs can be difficult to get off.  Of course, if you choose to use the razor blade method to cut the black tubs, be careful not to push too deep with the blade and damage the roots.

  • Then, of course, was Chris and his dad’s favorite part, which involved his mom and I standing and giving directions about just how exactly the plant should be dropped into the hole, and where it should be facing.  This did involve some rotating of the heavy plants—thank goodness the boys have big guns!  I was too busy giving directions at this point, so wasn’t able to take a picture of this…
  • Next, we mixed a combination of the old soil that we had dug out of the hole with the new cactus/palm mixture.  Why mix and not just use all of the new soil?  There’s actually a method to this madness. Once the plants really “take root” in the hole and the new soil, the roots will begin to grow.  If the roots grow through mounds of fresh new soil and then reach the old soil, it’s actually a shock to the roots, and can cause the plants to fail.  It’s better to mix the new soil with the old soil so that when the roots have grown beyond that initial point, the plant isn’t “shocked.”  The mixture was dumped around the palms in the holes we had dug.

  • We watered them in well, and they’re as happy as can be in the flower bed out back.

Before:

And after:

Aren’t they just gorgeous?  A BIG THANK YOU to Chris’ parents for the beautiful trees and their labor and expertise. We’re so excited to have some life on this side of the yard.  It makes us even more excited about the next steps in the backyard.

By the way, for those of you that made it all the way to the end of the post, our blog is about to reach a fairly significant milestone, so stay tuned for more exciting news in the next couple of weeks.  If you haven’t already, click subscribe in the toolbar on the right hand side to receive updates by email.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Mom permalink
    March 10, 2010 6:28 pm

    Lookin’ good! LeAnn mentioned at the baby shower that she used info from your blog (how to make furniture not walk) in their home! It Woorrrrking!

  2. Jen permalink
    March 11, 2010 8:15 am

    Love, love, LOVE the palm trees in the backyard. Thanks for posting the pictures. They look awesome and your yard is starting to look more home-y. Can’t wait to come and visit.

    Sorry I missed your phone call last night, I was in class.

    • March 11, 2010 5:56 pm

      Thanks, Jen. We can’t wait for you to come visit. When are you thinkin’ that might be? 😉

  3. Drew permalink
    March 11, 2010 9:39 am

    They look awesome! I love palm trees! Besides…..its California……what’s a California house without a palm tree????

    • March 11, 2010 5:57 pm

      Seriously…I couldn’t agree more. Remember how our rental had that big palm out front? It screamed “we live in California!” Now, our new backyard does the same thing. Miss you!

  4. Barb permalink
    March 11, 2010 9:49 am

    We had so much fun helping you with this project and the results are well worth the effort–it’s made the house a home:)
    Mom

    • March 11, 2010 5:58 pm

      Glad that you were able to make the trip. We enjoyed having you here. It has definitely brightened up the backyard!

  5. Amy permalink
    March 11, 2010 5:03 pm

    Hi Katie and Chris,

    That looks amazing with the palms vs without, I can’t wait to come visit and see it in person!!!

    Amy

    • March 11, 2010 5:58 pm

      Thanks for stopping by the blog. So good to hear from you! Let us know next time you guys are out this way; we’d love to have you over for dinner and meet the little man!

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