A natural sculpture graces the garden

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Marlborough Blue cycad is
unfolding a new rosette of leaves.

Try to dream up a way to package leaves with many leaflets so that they unfold perfectly when they expand, so that the miniature leaves uncoil from their natal position like fern fronds, each exactly in place along the main stem. Then come to the garden and

Leaflets uncoil with precision.

compare your design with that of Cycas ophiolitica, the Marlborough Blue cycad from Australia. Its new leaves are exquisitely presented, soft, pubescent and beautiful as they spiral around the top of the trunk. Mary Collins trimmed away the few remaining old leaves from the base this week so the marvel of the new leaves could be seen. It grows in gray-green rocky soil, and is considered threatened in its Queensland habitat. All the more reason to be thankful that it is being protected here.