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RE: Colocasia 'Black Magic' (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: bihai on 04.06.2008 at 09:29 pm in House Plants Forum

My that is an absolutely beautiful pond!
Hopefulauthor, I don't want to sound like a know it all, but you have asked so many questions about 'elephant ears' I think I can help you understand about them a little more.

'Elephant ears' are Aroids. They are in the same general family with Philodendrons, Anthuriums, syngoniums, caladiums, etc.

"Taro" are 'elephant ears'. Taro is a sort of a general term used for the edible tubers of elephant ears. Taro is a very important food crop worldwide. Its most commonly known as "poi" in Hawaii. Its also called dasheen and eddo. The type of taro most commonly used as a food source is COLOCASIA.

In the ornamental plant trade and industry, there are really only three types that are used on a widespread basis in the USA:
Colocasia, Xanthosoma, and Alocasia

Of these three types, Colocasia and Xanthosoma are widely grown in water. Alocasia are more terrestrial. There are a couple of alocasias that will tolerate being grown in very wet conditions like standing water, many will not and will simply rot.

Here is a series of photos of some of the plants I grow. There are a lot of them, I apologize, but I hope you will find them interesting and helpful. Almost all of these grow in my yard. They go dormant in winter whether they grow in the ground or in water, and come back every year. A very few of these I have to keep in my greenhouse, they would not make it outside here. You may see some here you might want to try sometime. I will split it into 3 separate posts.


This is a very small colocasia that I use as a ground cover. Its called Colocasia Fallax. It will grow in water or in the ground. It spreads very readily by overground stolons. It rarely gets over about a foot tall.
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This is a very large growing Colocasia cultivar called Nancy's Revenge. I grow this both in tubs filled with water and in the ground. It also spreads quickly and rapidly by overground stolons
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This is a relatively new colocasia to the plant trade, but it is actually one of the oldest forms in cultivation, having been one of the major varieties grown for decades in Hawaii as a food crop. This is a variegated colocasia called "Milky Way". The old Hawaiian name for it is "Elepaio". This type loves water and I grow it in water, and also in some of my flowerbeds in the ground.

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This is another variegated colocasia called "Yellow Splash". This variety is very beautiful, but the variegation can be a bit unstable. If you give it too much fertilizer, it will revert to all green. I grow this one mainly separate from all the others in its own tubs of water so that the can be grown "hard" (without fertilizer) to keep their variegation

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Here is one that is very readily available, this has been in the trade a long long time. Colocasia antiquorum "Illustris" (also known as "Imperial Taro"). I have these in many different places in my yard. The ones in this photo grow in a natural bog which alternates between being dry in periods of no rain and wet when we get adequate rain. These plants are about 5 feet tall with leaves that measure 12+ inches wide. The all green colocasia to the right is a large growing variety called colocasia "Ruffles".
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This is a "mixed" photo. The green ear is a Xanthosoma called "Lime Zinger" planted with Colocasia "Black Magic" for maximum contrast. These grow beside a small inground pond in the back yard. The smaller ear to the far left is Alocasia Culculatta. The COlocasia "in the distance" to the far right is Colocasia fontanessii, another definite water lover.
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This is a tub garden I have that has 3 different contrasting plants growing in it. The dark ear is Colocasia "Black Marble", then there is Colocasia "Yellow Splash" and Xanthosoma "Lime Zinger"
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And this is one of the newest colocasias on the market, it is called Colocasia "Tea Cups". The leaves are cpuued and point up, and hold water like a cup. This is a PARTICULARLY AQUATIC colocasia and loves water. I only grow it in water. It can get 6-7 feet tall.
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clipped on: 12.05.2008 at 02:33 pm    last updated on: 12.05.2008 at 02:33 pm

Alocasias (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: bihai on 04.06.2008 at 09:56 pm in House Plants Forum

Alocasias are probably the most diverse group of the 'elephant ears'. There are thin leaved types, thick leaved types, velvet leaves types, huge growers, root hardy ones and ones that will go dormant and/or croak if they get too much chilling below 40F.

I have many different alocasias in my plant collection, these are a few I grow, first ones that I grow outside in the ground or pond and second ones that I have to keep mainly in the greenhouse. The second variety do make excellent houseplants in many cases as they tolerate some lower light conditions and even like drier soil conditions and will rot with overwatering, but, at the same time, they like high humidity in the air.

OUTDOOR alocasias:
Alocasia plumbea. This is a very large growing alocasia that has a metallic sheen to the leaves, which are very dark. It has a few other names in the trade: Alocasia plumbea nigra, Alocasia "Metallica", and Alocasia indica are a few synonyms. This plant does NOT grow well in standing water.
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This is an extremely hardy type of Alocasia that has the bonus of being variegated. When I got it, it was called "ALocasia aurea". Since then, it was called for a bit "Alocasia odora yellow variegated" and now it is believed to actually be Variegated Alocasia gagnea. NO STANDING WATER.
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There are also large growing Alocasia that are known as "trunk formers". One of these is ALocasia portodora, which is a hybrid of A. odora x A. portea. These are really very hardy and can get huge. This one grows in the flowerbed by my swimming pool. I have some in other locations as well.
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One of the most sought after alocasias in the trade is this one: Alocasia macrorhizza albo-variegata. It has been around for a long while, but seems to be rare a lot of the time, and is always expensive. This is one of the only alocasias I know of that can be grown in standing water. It can attain heights of 5-6 feet and is stunning when it gets very large.
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I only got this alocasia last year, its one of the newer types with unusual leaf shapes (like the batwing etc) This one is called Alocasia "Stingray". Its pretty cool. I grow this in the greenhouse.
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Two other plants that are strictly greenhouse plants for me are these:
Alocasia frydek "white variegated form", which is one of the "velvet leaved" can not keep this too wet or it may rot
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and Alocasia cuprea, which is a very very shiny leaved plant, the opposite of the velvet leaved type. But same applies: not too wet, or it may rot
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Another velvet leaved alocasia that many people grow in a terrarium is this one: ALo. "Black Velvet":
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clipped on: 12.05.2008 at 02:32 pm    last updated on: 12.05.2008 at 02:32 pm

Xanthosomas (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: bihai on 04.06.2008 at 10:13 pm in House Plants Forum

The Xanthosomas are definite water lovers and almost all can be grown in standing water. The two exceptions I have found are Mickey Mouse and the variegated form of saggitifolia.

Xanthosoma saggitifolia, like Colocasia escuelenta, is considered a noxious weed here in Florida. The leaves of these plants get absolutely HUGE when the plant is grown in water, and will even get really big just grown in the ground by a sprinkler head or by the overflow pipe of an air conditioner.

This is a photo of my daughter Ariel that I took a few years ago, she was 10. The leaf she has is from one of the Xanthos that I have growing in a flowerbed out by my swimming pool
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This is the variegated form of the same plant. It doesn't get huge like the all green type, but its a cool plant and hardy, comes back every year. It likes damp soil, but not growing directly in water.
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This is a very old species of Xanthosoma that has been cultivated as a food crop. It is called Xanthosoma violacea, and its even older name is "Blue Tannia". The leaves are deep green and the stems are black with a blue tinge. This will get absolutely HUGE if given a lot of water, can can be grown in water or in a wet place in the garden. The specimen here is actually sitting in a sealed pot full of water.
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And of course, this is almost every one's favorite Xanthosoma: X. albo-marginata "Mickey Mouse". This plant likes water, but NOT standing water.
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clipped on: 12.05.2008 at 02:31 pm    last updated on: 12.05.2008 at 02:32 pm

RE: Repotting lemon trees advice needed (Follow-Up #28)

posted by: gardner_dragon on 03.05.2007 at 09:26 pm in Citrus Forum

Citrus should never be placed in a pot with a saucer under it. It sounds like your calamondin is suffering from root rot. This happens when the roots get suffocated by water and do not receive enough oxygen. It may still be possible to save your tree if there is ANY green left in the stems.

Lay the tree, pot and all on its side and remove the root ball from the pot. DO NOT pull it out by the trunk. This can separate the root ball from the trunk and all you have left is going to the compost bin. If the pot is clay or other such material, break it by rapping it with a hammer. If the pot is plastic or foam cut it away from the root ball and soil. This will help save what ever root ball there is.

Carefully remove the soil from the root ball. Try to break as few roots as possible. Lots of slow flowing water will assist in this. When you have removed as much soil as is possible, inspect the roots that are left. The roots should be a healthy tan to whitish color. Any that you find that are mushy or black will have to be cut away. Use a scissors that have been sterilized in bleach water. Sterilize and rinse the scissors after EVERY cut. When you have removed all the dead/diseased roots pour 3% hydrogen peroxide over the remaining root ball. Let this set for 5 or 10 minutes and then re-pot in fresh sterile, well draining potting medium. This should not be potting soil unless you have mixed in perlite/vermiculite at a rate of 2 parts potting soil to 3 parts perlite/vermiculite. Water your newly potted plant very well from the top.

Using the sterilized scissors, trim all visibly dead branches. These will be totally brown and no green will show when scratched. Re-sterilize after every cut.

Place the plant in a bright location out of direct sunlight.

IF the plant is going to survive you will see new growth in a matter of a few days to a week. Do not fertilize until after a month has pasted from the time you see new growth. At this time you can fertilize with a half strength fertilizer. 2 months later you can fertilize with a extended release fertilizer on a regular 3 month schedule. I would not use a citrus spike because these are meant to be used on IN-GROUND citrus. They are too strong for a container and the result will be salt burn and death.

You can start moving the tree closer to direct sunlight after a couple weeks of new growth. Do this slowly as to not burn and shock the plant.
Hope this helps and keep us informed on how the tree is doing.


clipped on: 01.13.2008 at 10:21 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2008 at 10:21 pm

RE: I have a citrus tree.... (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: citrusboy on 07.18.2006 at 09:55 am in Citrus Forum

I agree with Pelham on the soil mix. Citrus hate waterlogged roots. Quick Draining is key. You should try to get the little guy in full sun. I have 2 Calamondin's that are in 11 hours of sun and they are going crazy with new shoots. Your little guy will perk up!

Fruit will be sour, good for making drinks and some people cook with them.

My Wife and I's fav drink this year: Calamondin Cairpirhania - 4 Calamondin's Sliced, 1 Shot Lite Rum or Cachaca, 7-10 counts of simple syrup (Sugar water)

Muddle the Calamondins, add Rum, add simple syrup, add lots of crushed ice, pour into glass, enjoy summer.

Citrusboy aka Marc


clipped on: 01.13.2008 at 09:11 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2008 at 09:11 pm

RE: Calamondin Problem - See Pic (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: dave_in_nova on 11.28.2006 at 10:54 am in Citrus Forum

Boy, I don't know. I'm no expert so take this with a grain of salt:

There could be a number of reasons why the leaves are yellowing. First off, did you just bring this plant indoors after being out all summer or is it still outdoors? If brought in, the change in light levels, humidity and/or temperature COULD have something to do with it.

Also, I would check the roots. If they're healthy, then it could be a fertilizer problem. If they're not healthy, there's no way they can give the plant water and nutrients. I would unpot plant carefully. New roots should be white-ish. If they look dried up and dead, you have a root problem -- most likely from compacted soil, or overly wet/dry soil/ too much heat buildup in the pot.

In pots outdoors in full sun, the soil can get really hot and cook roots. You've had a very hot summer in Texas. It's not quite as much a problem using clay pots as in plastic but could still be an issue. Minimum temperatures for root growth in citrus is approximately 54 F, while in controlled experiments, maximum citrus root growth occurs between 78 and 90 F. Much above 90 it slows and I would worry that if your soil temp has exceeded 120 degrees, it may be damaging. To remedy, move plant to partial shade - especially in afternoon. Some people paint containers white on one side to reflect heat. I had my potted plants in full sun on the south side of the house and they started to decline. I moved them to part shade and they took off!

In clay, the soil can dry out too fast- especially around the perimeter where the feeder roots are; then they die.
Also, regular potting soil can hold too much water, especially in the lower 2 inches of the pot -- then roots die at that level. Even when the soil appears dry in the upper 1/3, the lowest 2 inches can still be too wet. If this is a problem with your soil, consider adding some pine fines to the mix, or coconut husk chips, if you can find them. Also consider growing in a taller container. A taller container is better than a wider container for this reason.

I'm wondering if there also may be a salt buildup in the soil from using Miracle Grow/Epsom Salts. Although you've not had the plant that long.

So, for what it's worth, it could be fertilizer issues, or it could be a number of other things in my opinion.

I attended a seminar on Growing Citrus in Containers and the main point was that 90% of failure has to do with poor root growth -- caused by either too hot soil, or they're not getting enough oxygen. When roots begin to die, the plant will not get enough nutrients and it may mimic a fertilization problem.
So look to the roots! Healthy roots make a healthy citrus.


clipped on: 01.13.2008 at 07:55 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2008 at 07:55 pm

RE: I need advise about my Calamondin houseplant (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: silica on 06.14.2007 at 05:40 pm in Citrus Forum

grice, No UltraFine and Volk Horticultural oils are not the same as Neem Oil. Horticultural oils are the standard in the Citrus industry for the control of most all insects. Professionally (commercial growers) no one uses Safer Soap. Safer Soap is fair to OK on aphids, but does not do a very good job on spider mites. As far as winter temperatures, temperatures below 28F can kill a citrus tree. Temperatures below 32F are considered dangerous. Temperatures below 55F the tree will live, but there will not be any growth at all. Temperatures at or above 65F during the winter will provide tree growth.


clipped on: 01.13.2008 at 07:34 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2008 at 07:34 pm

RE: Rooting Calamondins 2 (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: Malcolm_Manners on 07.28.2005 at 07:57 pm in Citrus Forum

I failed to say how we root them, with nearly 100% success.

Certainly, ours is not necessarily the "best" or only "right" way; but it is a method we know works well, so perhaps may be helpful to share.

We use leafy cuttings with green bark. Cuttings should be firm, with full-size, dark green leaves. A too-young cutting (soft stem, soft, undersize leaves) or too-old (bark acquiring grey or white color) will be possible, but less likely to root.

I like a cutting at least 4" long, and up to 8". Leave at least 2 or 3 leaves at the top. More is fine. Wound the base of the cutting by cutting off a couple of thin strips of bark, for about the lower 1/2" of the cutting. I usually cut one strip on a side, turn it 180 degrees, and cut a second one. We dip our cuttings either into a #2 hormone powder (0.4% indole-3-butyric acid) or (more commonly) a liquid solution (Dip-'N-Grow, one part, diluted in 6 or 7 parts water). Dip the base of the cutting, a bit deeper than the wounds you've made. If using powder, carefully tap the excess off -- you want a thin film, not great lumps.

We then pot the cuttings up in a peat/perlite mix (any commercial peat/perlite potting soil should do), in small pots. Lately I've been using forestry bands 2.5 x 2.5 x 6.5", and we put them in an intermittent mist system, which mists the cuttings 5 seconds every 5 minutes during daylight hours, and is off at night. The mist system is outdoors with no roof and no shading, so the temperature is controlled by the weather, and the cuttings get full sun at mid-day. Rooting takes about 3 weeks or a bit more, depending on the time of year. When we have good roots coming out the bottom of the pot, we remove them from the mist and harden them off in partial shade, in a greenhouse, for a few weeks, then pot them up into larger pots and grow them on outdoors, in full sun.

When sticking the cuttings, if you use a powder hormone, pre-poke the holes into the potting soil, rather than punching the cutting base into it. That allows you to avoid wiping away the hormone powder as the cutting moves into the soil.


clipped on: 01.13.2008 at 07:20 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2008 at 07:20 pm

RE: Rooting Calamondins (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: Citrange on 07.31.2005 at 07:41 am in Citrus Forum

I do not have anything as sophisticated as an intermittent misting system, but still have good success at rooting cuttings.
I put the complete pot with cuttings in place, and watered, in a clear polythene bag with the top tied. This is then placed on a tray of sand with a heat mat underneath if the day temperature is less than 70F. In a shaded place in my greenhouse, most cuttings root in around one month.
Try and avoid leaves touching the bag, as they can start rotting. I blow into the bag to puff it up every so often.
Never leave in direct sun, or you will have stewed cuttings!


clipped on: 01.13.2008 at 07:18 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2008 at 07:19 pm

RE: What to do with all that Calamondin fruit??? (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: Susan_on on 08.20.2005 at 03:18 pm in Citrus Forum

I grate the rinds to add to my orange/cranberry muffins.



clipped on: 01.13.2008 at 06:59 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2008 at 07:10 pm

RE: What to do with all that Calamondin fruit??? (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: Fish_Man on 08.19.2005 at 08:51 pm in Citrus Forum

here is an easy marmalade recipe that works great. Cut your fruit and take out all the seeds that you can, don't worry about getting all of them. Chop the fruit skin and all (I use a food processor on pulse), it is not important how fine you chop. Add even amounts of chopped fruit and water to a heavy pot and heat until it boils, skimm off foam, and cook for about 30 minutes, use as low a heat as will keep it boiling. Take the pot off the heat and add two times as much sugar as you started with fruit (yes that much) heat slowly and stir all the time, any seeds will float to the top and you can skimm them off. Boil unitl the temperature reaches 121 degrees F, hot fill jars and you have a real treat.

1 part chopped fruit
1 part water
2 parts sugar


clipped on: 01.13.2008 at 06:57 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2008 at 07:10 pm

RE: What to do with all that Calamondin fruit??? (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: andrei_noone on 08.19.2005 at 07:10 pm in Citrus Forum

Calamondin is best if it is still green in color. Squeeze the juice out and use it with soy sauce or fish sauce as a condiment for beef stew, chicken stew. Or you could combine it with barbecue sauce. Also a good marinade for grilled fish, grilled pork chop.

Here is a link that might be useful: Calamondin facts


clipped on: 01.13.2008 at 07:09 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2008 at 07:09 pm

RE: What to do with all that Calamondin fruit??? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: fsherwin on 06.21.2005 at 12:58 pm in Citrus Forum

I met a guy years ago near Melbourne, FL who has just six 8-foot calamondin trees planted in the ground. He makes 'kalamansi' nectar and supplies Filipino stores under the brand Sunny Bear Kalamansi Juice concentrate.

He harvests the fruit before they are very ripe (more ripe = less juice), washes them very thoroughly under running water, slices the fruits manually and squeezes them. Next he filters the juice to remove all seeds and debris.

He then prepares a concetrated syrup to which he adds the juice to attain a certain final concentration so that, say, 1 tsp of his product per cup of water, makes the "right" juice for drinking. I cannot remember the exact recipe but that should depend on how sweet or tart you want your product to be.

Finally, he fills plastic containers and pasteurizes the fruit juice concentrate. After cooling, he attaches his label. He produces a few dozen 8- or 12-oz bottles at a time and has steady demand from Filipino stores in Chicago and California. I do not know what the demand for this juice beverage is among non-Filipinos.

You may supply a few oriental stores in the Buford, GA area. Even if you don't get a lot of money for your fruit, you might go home with some other oriental products (egg roll, soy sauce, fresh mushrooms, herbs, whatever) in exchange. I used to grow shiitake and oyster mushroom for a hobby and was usually overwhelmed when they would all produce at the same time. So I gave some to my favorite oriental store and they would give me back something in return or let me have a couple of items in my shoppping cart for free. Not bad for barter.

I keep one potted plant in my greenhouse at work and the 4-ft plant supplies just enough for all my family's culinary needs. There is often a little extra to go around to my other Filipino friends. Hope that helps.


clipped on: 01.13.2008 at 06:59 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2008 at 07:09 pm

RE: What to do with all that Calamondin fruit??? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: rcantor on 06.14.2005 at 01:30 pm in Citrus Forum

I leave them on the tree until they develop a more reddish orange color. I think the difference is clear once you see it. Then I eat them. Once they get that reddish orange color they are sweeter (But always very tart). Sometimes I eat them plain, sometimes I cut them in half and dip the cut end in sugar or honey, sometimes I slice them and let them soak in the sugar or honey for a while. The seeds pop out easily with the tip of a knife.

As a note of caution, I also eat small slivers of lemons and limes (not the peel as you would with a calamondin), but I like Calamondins better - they are more complex and a little sweeter, I think.


clipped on: 01.13.2008 at 06:58 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2008 at 07:03 pm

RE: What to do with all that Calamondin fruit??? (Follow-Up #25)

posted by: bencelest on 01.28.2006 at 11:46 am in Citrus Forum

Terry: Yikes! Boy, you must be brave. They are very sour. It is best to add salt first or better still, get about 3 or 4 cals squeeze them in an iced glass of filtered water add a full tablespoon of sugar and use them as lemonade er... calade. All my 3 kids love them. OPtion add 1 squezzed fresh orange.
Better still (I've never done this yet) in a blender, add about half full of filtered water, 2 cups of ice and about 20 calamondin all squezzed first in a glass remove the seeds and pour the cals in the blender and add about 1/2 cup of sugar and blend for 30 seconds.
I always do this with my Eureka lemon 1 lemon 3 oranges and 1/2 cup sugar, 2 cups ice 2 cups water and blend.
This is a cheap pitcher of beverage. And healthy too.
Bet your kids and family will love it.


clipped on: 01.13.2008 at 07:02 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2008 at 07:02 pm

RE: What to do with all that Calamondin fruit??? (Follow-Up #15)

posted by: eyeckr on 08.21.2005 at 10:32 pm in Citrus Forum

Along with many other fellow members here, I have enjoyed making a Calamondin-ade juice drink. It takes a bit of work to squeeze all of those little guys but the taste makes up for it in the end. Here's a pic...

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clipped on: 01.13.2008 at 07:00 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2008 at 07:00 pm

RE: Wind Damages HFGH (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: gardenerwantabe on 04.20.2006 at 03:54 am in Greenhouses & Garden Structures Forum

Gordo sorry to see you have the damage but it looks like it can be rebuilt without much work.
Seeing this makes me feel like a prophet.
When you posted the pictures of your completed GH I told my wife that Unmodified GH sitting out in the open would not survive beyond the first wind storm.
Recently another poster stated that he made no modifications to his and it was VERY sturdy. I didn't comment but thought that sure was not my opinion of the 10x12 hfgh.
I put mine in a well protected area strong wind can't get to it but even in that location I would not trust the GH as it is shipped.
I think that you lost a panel first then the wind filled the gh and blew the doors off.
Mine won't see much wind but I used silicone on the panels then used #10x1" self tapping screws with a neoprene washer and put one at the top and bottom plus one in each horizontal brace. Order extra clips for the edge. On the roof I did the above plus put screws in the four corners.
I reinforced the flimsy base and the corner posts and put metal fence posts in the corners 4 foot deep to keep it in place.
Don't know if it is possible to keep it together in the open but I think in addition to the mods that I made to the frame work if I were you I would consider putting down those screw in ground anchors and cable to the top rail.
Good luck with the modifications hope they work for you.


clipped on: 11.10.2007 at 01:23 am    last updated on: 11.10.2007 at 01:23 am