Summer bedding plants have appeared in the garden centres recently. When you are thinking about planting up containers you might want to consider planting a specimen plant in the centre for a bit of height. If you choose a cordyline these could stay in the pot for a couple of years before being planted out in the garden. Cordylines are a familiar sight around Inishowen and they are suited to coastal areas. The plants are native to New Zealand and are also known as the cabbage palm. This is because the large central bud was cooked in the same way as cabbage. When the plant is young it has just one central bud, but with age it produces side shoots. The strategy of producing one central bud is beneficial for the plant to reach up to the light but it does have its disadvantages. If the plant is damaged at all, it puts its energy into side shoots, which makes for a bushier specimen. Although the plant protects the central bud with layers of leaf bases they can be prone to frost damage. The result will be that the central bud dies and eventually the leaves all fall off the plant. Do not despair though as new shoots will come again from ground level. These plants don’t give up easily, which is why they are ideal for containers!