Martin Gibbons, c/o The Palm Centre
Chamaerops No. 7, published online 23-10-2002

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Summertime Blues

I spend all of the winter months waiting for spring and summer, and make great plans about what I'm going to do 'when the weather warms up'. The moment June arrives I go into a state of total panic because it's all going to be over so soon. The longest day of the year (June 21st) depresses me because thereafter the nights will start to 'draw in' as we say' and I feel as though there are only one or two weeks between then, and Christmas.

So here we are in July and instead of enjoying the warm weather I'm already worrying about heating bills, insulation, undersoil heating, and the like. But if I'm not enjoying it, my plants certainly are. In England we had the warmest June since that glorious summer of 1976, which we still talk about (mind you, it's a bit of a slap in the face when youngsters tell you they weren't even born then). And thus far July has provided near perfect growing conditions for the outdoor palms - warm, humid, wet, windless, with sunshine filtered through high cloud. My Trachycarpus are racing away. One of them has even produced a sucket. No, it's not a second plant from another seed that germinated later; it's a real offshoot

If I were American I would immediately declare it to be 'Trachycarpus caespitosus' or 'var. surculosa' but I'm not, and to me it's just a freak of nature, that in perhaps every 1,000 plants you do get one that suckers. Anyway it's a bit of a rarity, and it will be interesting to see how it develops.


Another rarity in the palm world is East European members of the European Palm Society, but we have been contacted by a gentleman in Romania, our first such contact from that part of the world. His name is Dr. Felician Micle and he runs a Botanic Garden there. It's quite big by all accounts, with 14 ha, and some 50 species of palms. It was founded in 1920. He speaks good English and has said he will try to write an article for this magazine about the garden. I for one will look forward to that. In the meantime, if anyone would care to write to him, I'm sure he would welcome the contact. His address is: Cercetater principal, Gradina Botanica, 3400 Cluj-Napoca, Str. Republicii Nr 42, Romania. To save you the trouble of looking it up on the map, Cluj-Napoca is a bit to the north-west-of-centre in Romania, and is in the heart of Transylvania (no jokes about vampires please!). The one problem is that as he can t get funds out of the country, he is unable to join our society, which is a great shame. What do you think about an honorary membership?

Plus Ça Change...

You will I'm sure have noticed more changes to the layout and presentation of "Chamaerops". We figure that by now everyone can identify our namesake and so it's time to change the cover. This edition shows a silhouette of one of the glasshouses referred to in Stephen Becker's wonderful article later in this issue. This, also, is the first edition to be printed, as opposed to photocopied, and I hope you'll agree it's a big improvement. The next step is to have the entire magazine including the photos printed in colour, and this will come in due time. What we need to make this an economical proposition is more members, and everyone can help with this. On the sheet enclosed with this issue you will find out exactly how....

Thanks To:

In this edition you will find some wonderful articles. The one by Stephen Becker has already been referred to (did the Romans really invent the glasshouse?) and after reading it; your 8 X 10 conservatory will never seem the same. It begins on page 11.

The Nikau Palm from New Zealand is a much under-rated plant over here. It is so elegant, grows so well in our mild summers, and actually prefers shade, which makes it a very useful palm indeed. Is it really too much trouble to go to protect it in the winter? Find out more about this beauty in the articles by Peter Richardson and Stephen Powell, starting on page 7.

If you've ever had to move even a medium sized palm you will know a bit about what it takes in terms of blood, sweat, toil & tears. The council of Locarno in Switzerland had to move a Jubaea that weighed over 100 tonnes. Find Out how and why in the report by Andy Peter, on page 9. Photo by Manfred Walder.

David Kealaher provides us with a 'back-to-basics' article about growing Trachycarpus fortunei, and Tony King supplies all the information you need to know about pest control using natural predators. If you're bothered by bugs or mad about mites, turn to page 14. Photos kindly provided by Koppert U.K. Ltd.

Yuccas are extremely architectural plants, as you might say. Angus White knows a thing or two about architectural plants and shares with us his passion for these often stunning, (and sometimes downright dangerous) subjects for the exotic garden. Don your safety specs and turn to page 17.

There are some wonderful gardens in Ireland. Protected from the worst of the winter weather by the Gulf Stream, and blessed with abundant rainfall, 'sub-tropical' plants survive and thrive here as well as anywhere in the British Isles. Join Donald Hare for a guided tour, beginning on page 21.

The letters page seems to have been rather well received, and there's another selection starting on page 23. Don't forget we'd like to hear from you, about any subject that we cover, or that you'd like us to cover.

Finally, a big apology to all of you who've been badgered to submit articles that still haven't been published. They will be published for sure, but lack of space makes it necessary to leave some for the next edition. So, thanks, and hang on in there.

In Conclusion

Enjoy the rest of the summer; enjoy your holidays in faraway places with strange sounding names, and come back full of inspiration as to what you're going to plant in the garden. And don't forget to tell 'Chamaerops' about your experiences.
Martin Gibbons

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  02-02-23 - 12:41GMT
 What's New?
 New palm book
 Date: 24-05-2004

An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft.
 New: Issue 48
 Date: 24-05-2004
Chamaerops 48
has been published in the Members Area.
 Archive complete!
 Date: 03-12-2002
All Chamaerops issues can now be found in the archive: More than 350 articles are on-line!
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 Date: 28-08-2002
Chamaerops mags 13, 14, 15 and 16 have been added to the members area. More than 250 articles are now online!
 42 as free pdf-file
 Date: 05-08-2002
Free Download! Chamaerops No. 42 can be downloaded for free to intruduce the new layout and size to our visitors
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 Date: 23-07-2002
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 Date: 28-05-2001
Take a look at our brand new Book List edited by Carolyn Strudwick
 New Book
 Date: 25-01-2001
'Palmen in Mitteleuropa'
by Mario Stähler
This german book tells you all about how to cultivate your palms in Central Europe. more...