Editorial

Martin Gibbons, c/o The Palm Centre
Chamaerops No. 4, published online 23-11-2002

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Apology

I would like to begin this editorial with an apology for the late arrival of this edition, caused by me inconveniently taking a three-week holiday right at the critical time. Sorry about this, especially to all those new members who must have thought we'd absconded to South America. No such luck. However, China was a good substitute and the two of us (Toby Spanner & I) had a wonderful time, both there, and in Singapore, which we also included. In Yunnan Province, in southwest China, we were looking for Trachycarpus nanus, which unfortunately we were unsuccessful in locating. However, we did find lots of other exciting palms, and you will be able to read about our 'adventures' in due course.

Subscriptions

Well, shall we get the bad news over now? Regrettably, the subscription to the European Palm Society is to rise to £15 per year. Contrary to popular belief, this is not to finance globetrotting, palm seeking trips. It's not even to buy a new van for The Palm Centre (though goodness knows we could use one). It's because we want to maintain and improve the quality and appearance of 'Chamaerops'. We've managed O.K. during our first year, but often we've had to compromise on quality, use smaller photographs than we'd like, or cut down on how many we use. The extra revenue will enable us to be more free with photos. Possibly to make the magazine larger, and to go over to this much more professional style of publication. We may lose a few members in the process, which of course is unfortunate, but we hope to more than make up what we lose by this improved presentation. We have received so many compliments over the last twelve months, and we are sure that the success of the society will continue during year two. So, if your subscription is due, you'll find a form along with this issue. Please use it! Soon!

Kew Day

Well having got that over, let's turn to more pleasant things. Yes, the end of our first year already. Twelve months. Four publications. And Kew day. What a wonderful and successful day that was! Those of you who missed it, and those of you who want to relive those happy hours can read Steve Swinscoe's report in this issue. Steve is an American, not so much in Paris, but in Manatte, in France's South West, and presents his unique view of a wonderfully palmy day.

Keith Boyer

In the last issue you may remember an article by Tony King about New Zealander Keith Boyer and his efforts to find a publisher for his book 'Palms & Cycads beyond the Tropics'. It is very good news indeed, especially for us in temperate Europe, to learn that Keith has been successful, and that his book is to be published by PACSOA (the Palm & Cycad Societies of Australia) sometime next year. Keith has had a great deal of experience with cold-hardy palms and his book will be waited for with great anticipation.

Alan Moinié

On the subject of books, Alain Moinié, who many of you met at Kew day, and who is an active member of the French 'Fous de Palmiers', is just publishing his book 'Palmiers pour les Climats Tempérés ('Palms for temperate Climates' as if you didn't know). It has 160 pages and 175 black & white illustrations, and covers everything to do with cold-hardy palms. It is in French, but if you speak this language, or even know enough to get by' then this book is for you. It is available through the EPS now, price on application.

C. indivisa

The article on Cordyline Indivisa in the last issue was a popular one, and cleared up much confusion. However, several people have asked "But where can we see them?" The writer of the article, Angus White, replies that they aye to be seen at the following locations: Tresco, St.Martins (in Guernsey), Fox Rosehill Gardens in Falmouth, and Mount Stewart Gardens near Belfast. But far and away the best ones (up to 6m tall!) are growing at Castlewellan at Newcastle in Co. Down. Thanks for this information, Angus.

T. takil

Those who shared Wilko Karmelk's and my concern over the fate of 'Trachycarpus takil' in the Indian Himalayas after our expedition there will be interested to know that I wrote to the Department of the Environment in New Delhi, enclosing a copy of the article, some photographs of the trees, together with a letter expressing my concern that the thoughtless cutting of the immature trees for the fibres to make ropes will soon lead to the extinction of this beautiful and rare palm tree. I recently received a reply from Mr. Kamal Nath, the minister of the environment & forests, in which he shares my concern for the protection of the species. He has promised a Botanical Survey to determine the current status and distribution of Trachycarpus takil, and is also taking up the matter with the authorities in Uttar Pradesh in an effort to have it protected. This is good news indeed. We know from the example of the tigers in the Sunderbans that the powers that-be in India take environmental matters very seriously, and I look forward to hearing of progress with the project.

Odoardo Beccari in his "Annals of the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta" of 1931 quotes the plants man T.F. Duthie as saying that in the valley there were "hundreds of specimens of all sizes up to 10-12m high". Wilko and I found only 6 mature trees, all the others having been cut down. And probably quite recently since some of the smallest seedlings we found were no more than 10 years old. There is still time, but not much.

T-shirts

Now that the evenings are drawing in and the days are so much colder, we've decided to start marketing T-Shirts! You will find all the information about them in a separate sheet but I would just like to say that they look even better in the flesh, as it were, than in the photo, and every palm enthusiast should have one. Don't worry about the cold weather; they will keep till next year. They also make great presents, and are a sure way of recognising other palm nuts, and of spreading the word about palms.

In this issue

In this issue you will find some wonderful articles on a whole range of subjects: Tobias Spanner has written one of his in-depth palm 'portraits', this time on Jubaea chilensis, so if you like your palms tall, broad and handsome, this is for you.

Appropriately for this time of year, there is an article by your editor on winter protection of palms. Everything you need to know about the subject in a comprehensive round-up of information. Steve Swinscoe's 'Kew report' has already been mentioned, and Angus White has supplied an informative and sometimes amusing article on the hardy banana - Musa basjoo.

Armchair explorers will enjoy reading about Inge Hoffman's adventures in Brazil, on a trip to investigate possible new palm species for the temperate garden. Wonderful stuff! Last but not least, an almost unbelievable report by Sweden's Kjell Persson about Opuntia fragilis, a cactus growing in sub-arctic Lapland. Incredible!

Future

It must be said that articles are coming in at a steady pace, and thanks to all who have contributed. Future issues will continue the tradition of useful and informative features. In the January issue we are honoured to have a super piece by Myles Challis - author of 'The Exotic Garden' - entitled 'The Exotic Look', in which he describes the various plants recommended for a tropical look in less-than-tropical gardens.

Also up-coming is our first feature on cycads: appropriately an introduction to germinating and cultivating these fabulous and primitive plants.

Does anyone out there know anything about Tree Ferns? We would very much like a contribution on this subject, if we can find an enthusiast to write a few lines. Of course we also welcome letters for or not for publication, so if you would like to read about a particular subject, do drop us a line and let us know.

Well, that's some of the things in store in this and future issues, and we hope that you will continue to enjoy your membership of the EPS during our second year.
Martin Gibbons

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  15-12-19 - 07:26GMT
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