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Martin Gibbons, c/o The Palm Centre
Chamaerops No. 5, published online 23-10-2002

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God, I hate January! And come to think of it, February's not much better either. After the fun and excitement of Christmas and the New Year celebrations, these two months fall a bit flat. You daren't even begin to think about spring; to do so would be too much like wishing your life away. Even the weather matches my feelings: dull, grey, cold, sort of 'nothing weather' as if the whole world (well, temperate Europe anyway) is holding its breath and just waiting for the time to pass.

At least we have 'Chamaerops' to enjoy, and just thinking about palms and other exotics seems to make things a little brighter, and dreaming and planning all the things we're 'going to do as soon as the weather warms up' makes even January a bit more bearable.

Happy hols.

Personally I had a wonderful Christmas holiday, meeting friend and fellow palm enthusiast Jacques Deleuze in Nice, in the south of France, and then driving with him first to Switzerland to meet palm friends there, and to admire the many hundreds of Trachycarpus fortunei that grow around the lakes. I've seen many a Trachy in my time but I have to say that those in Switzerland are surely the most beautiful. It must be the perfect climate: cool, and for the most part free of wind, the worst enemy of those big fan leaves. In those ideal conditions, the trees reach perfection: dozens of perfect leaves, forming perfect crowns.

We then drove south to Milan, where we spent Christmas Eve with friends, then on down to Rome, and finally Naples. Both cities were wonderful, but so cccccold! On the way we met some wonderful people and saw some wonderful palms (would you believe a Nannorrhops ritchiana 15m across? And a real Trachycarpus martianus - only the second one I've ever come across in Europe?) But Jacques is to write up the story of these and other palms in a later edition, so I won't give away too much now. We then drove all the way back up to Nice, stopping at various gardens en route, more or less following the Via Aurelia (see 'Chamaerops' July 91), then took the plane over 'to Corsica and Jacques' home, where I spent a very pleasant few days, before flying back to grey, dull England on January 3rd. Yuk!


O.K. Down to business. Firstly an apology to all those who ordered T-shirts and who've been patiently waiting for weeks and weeks. Don't despair! We now anticipate delivery in about 6 weeks, and will get them sent off immediately they arrive. The reason for the delay is that we have to order in bulk, and we had to receive sufficient orders to make it worth while doing so. Anyway, finally we did, and they should be on their way soon. Well in time for the summer! If you haven't ordered yet, there's still time. The price is £14.50 per shirt plus £1.00 for post & packing (£2 for continental Europe).


Does anybody out there use hydroculture? We've had a request from a member in Germany, Ulrich Gramm, who grows all his palms in hydroculture, and would like to hear from anyone else who does, or who would like to. His address is Gellertstr. 42, 7500 Karlsruhe 21, Germany. We've asked him to contribute an article on the subject, and now he can hardly refuse!

Back issues

I'd like to remind members that all back issues of 'Chamaerops' are available. The cost is £5 per copy, inclusive of postage. They are photocopies, so while they are fully illustrated, the pictures are in black & white, not colour. Even so, there have been a lot of good articles in the last year and the back issues are well worth having.

Not only...

A special thanks this issue to Dr. Stephen Becker of Wakefield. He kindly offered to do some typing up of articles on disc. The day after his offer he received an extremely large envelope through the post - I didn't want to give him time to change his mind! In fact he did most of the typing in this issue, and helped out with problems on the new computer from time to time as well. Thank you indeed. Also see his letter this page.

But also...

Another person I would especially like to thank is Peter Richardson, who not only wrote the splendid article on Tree Ferns which begins on page 11, he also sent it in on disc, thus saving me much time and trouble. If other would-be contributors have access to a computer or DTP they might also like to consider this. Our computer is IBM compatible, and I need the article in ASCII format. Disc to be returned! Just a little room left to thank the other contributors to this issue. On page 5 is a novel article by Philip Bell, which proves that you don't have to spend a lot of money to be an exotic gardener. Jason Payne takes us with him on his first trip to the tropics, Tony King spotlights the Madagascan Cactus Palm, and finally, Myles Challis, author and broadcaster, gives his professional ideas for 'The Exotic Garden', which, spookily enough, is also the name of his book!
Read on and enjoy...
Martin Gibbonss

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