Righting the ship. Playing the part of the ship in this metaphor, is a top heavy tree collard.

We had a doozy of a late winter/early spring out here, alternating between sporadic rain, gusting winds, random days of near 85 degree temperature, and amusingly, hailstones tearing chunks through leafy greens and windshields alike.

The windstorms were the worst of the bunch- as they always are, and once again my way-too-big-for-his-own-pot tree collard decided to give into gravity the way god and Isaac Newton intended.


I was headed off to work that day but I knew if I left the thing sideways it probably wouldn’t last till the next morning, but I also knew that righting it was a two person job. Enter: my dad. He’s fallen in the garden before and I’m really careful about keeping him safe, upright, and not bleeding outside so when he started trudging up the path to help me I tried to stop him. But he insisted (correctly) that this was a two person job, and that he could brace himself against the fence.

So I helped him over the brick terracing and he gathered up all the stems and leaves he could, and I dragged the pot upright.

I knew from the moment I righted it that Mr. Collard couldn’t stay safely in that corner anymore, but that I also didn’t have much of a choice for the time being. I also had two fairly full branches that had ripped fully from the main plant. Seemed a shame to just compost them.

So, with great haste, I potted them in the vain hope that they’d root.

And a few weeks later they sort of did?

Quite a lot of the old leaves are dropping off yes, but it’s still surviving. It’s been nearly a month since I took this photograph and both stalks seem to have rooted.

Back to big Bertha over here, I had to move him to a more central location and spin his pot so that he leans against the fence. It’s not ideal but it will mean much more protections from windstorms, and an easier time pruning… which I’ll get to eventually.

As I type spring has truly sprung, and I’m back at work in the garden. So far spring in San Francisco has been dry, cool, and pleasant, which is nice but worrying since we’re in a drought cycle.

That being said, if we could not have more hail, I’d appreciate it. I know we have a reputation for wild weather out west, fog I can deal with, but I draw the line at biblical plagues.


3 thoughts on “Righting the ship. Playing the part of the ship in this metaphor, is a top heavy tree collard.

  1. Wow, I have somehow missed your posts for a long time. I did not mean to be so negligent.
    Are your collards supposed to be annuals? Since they are a ‘tree’ type, they might be more perennial. I really do not know the difference. I just remember that while I was doing one of my internships in Southern California, pieces of perennial collards were a traditional house warming gift. A friend from Watts got some when she returned to the region and found a new apartment. I had never seen seed before, but when I finally found some, they were ‘annual’ collards. There is kale out there now that has grown up on stems. If I did not dislike kale, I would be tempted to cut it back to get it to fluff out lower, and try to root the tops. The kale were samples from Renee’s Garden Seed.

    1. The main one is a three+ year old perennial at this point which is in need of a little extra TLC, but still happily giving me collards. I’ve even seen a tree collard in used as an ornamental street tree (!!!) by the beach because San Francisco be like that.

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