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Martin Gibbons, c/o The Palm Centre
Chamaerops No. 12, published online 23-09-2002

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Three Years On

With the publication of this issue we come to the end of our third year, incredible, as it may seem. We're all three years older and hopefully, so are our plants. I thought I'd take this opportunity, as Editor, to express my appreciation to those regular contributors who have helped to make Chamaerops so popular, so interesting and so readable. I would also like to thank all other members who have written articles or letters, for publication or not, who in so doing let me know that there are people 'out there' who like our journal, as well as those who have helped or supported in other ways.

My gripes? So few articles from non-U.K. members, although we have hundreds. Each time I compile the contents page I run down the list of authors. Almost always its 'U.K.', 'U.K.', 'U.K.', and this birthday issue is a case in point. I was most anxious from the outset to make Chamaerops a European journal, not an Anglo-centric magazine flying under Euro-colours, and almost half our membership is non-U.K. We have members in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Eire, Finland, France, Fiji, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the U. S. A. Not everyone goes on elaborate palm-expeditions of course, or owns an extensive collection of exotic plants, but surely everybody has some tale to tell about the pleasures and pains of growing palms or other exotic plants in their particular corner of the world.

How difficult is it to buy palms in Finland? Do you ever get frost in Greece? Can you grow any species outside in Norway? Is Saudi Arabia all sand? Is Morocco too hot for Trachycarpus? Do you have to heat your glasshouse in Austria? How about that famous Chilean native palm that we all know and love? How does it grow at home? Are there Botanic Gardens in Turkey? These are just some of the questions that I would like to see answers to, in the form of letters or articles. My dream would be to publish an issue made up entirely of contributions from members living on the other side of the Channel. So how about it?

As I've said many times before, if English is not your first language, it's not a problem. I'll be delighted to tidy it up if necessary. Alternatively, we may be able to get your article translated. But I can't do anything without your help. I am pleased to say that we don't seem to have any shortage of interesting articles; it's just that I would like to broaden our catchment area.

Nice Get-together

On the subject of our widespread membership, you will find with this issue details of our proposed meeting in the south of France, next summer. Our last meeting, at Kew, was a great success and much enjoyed by all those who came, many from long distances. Please take the time to read the letter, and to fill in the questionnaire so we can begin to make definite plans. Did you know that the sun always shines in the south of France? Did you know that there are at least a dozen wonderful gardens full to the brim with all manner of exotica? More palms than you could poke a stick at? If you've already visited you will understand the wisdom of the selection of Nice as the epicentre of our get-together, if not, come along and find out.

Wanted In Worcester

Calling all Worcesterites!! We have an invitation from the organisers of the Malvern Spring Gardening Show (6th/8th May 1994) to promote our society there. Not only does it cost nothing to take a small stand there, they will actually pay £25 towards expenses! So those living within striking distance who would like to help, please get in touch. (You probably get in free, too!)

Sefton Park

A little bird told me that at Sefton Park there is a big old semi-derelict glasshouse with a few relict palms still growing in it, or more precisely, through it. Butias were mentioned. Perhaps someone who lives in the area would like to cut along and investigate and, dare I say, write it up? These palms, whatever they are, would be living reminders of the Golden Age of the glasshouse, and would have an interesting tale to tell, but they need some assistance from a local reporter.

Trachy Trip

Toby Spanner and I had a great time in China and India in October, and saw three of the four species of Trachycarpus that we set out to find. They were: Trachycarpus nanus, T. martianus and T. takil. The fourth one eluded us, and needs a return visit. We had a real adventure and saw some incredible sights and scenery. Perhaps the most exciting and somehow satisfying thing was to find T. martianus growing by the hundred on sheer rock faces in North-east India, just as it always has done. It is a beautiful tree and deserves to be more commonly grown. The story will be written up in a later issue. Meanwhile enjoy this one! M.G.

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