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Martin Gibbons, c/o The Palm Centre
Chamaerops No. 13, published online 23-08-2002

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The Host Of Christmas Past

Christmas already seems such a long time ago but mine was such fun and so enjoyable, it's still fresh in my mind. It began with Christmas itself in Corsica, that beautiful and rugged island between the south coast of France and the west coast of Italy, at the home of Jacques Deleuze, with traditional food and wine, and a traditional walk around his wonderful and extremely palmy garden. Corsica enjoys a balmy climate as indicated by Jacques superb collection of palms and other exotic plants. How nice to be able to have croissants and coffee on the terrace in the mornings, warmed by the December sun! The finishing touch to those sunny breakfasts was spreading the croissants with jam made with fruit from Jacques' very own Butia capitata. And, as a bonus, coming home with the seeds...!

Another tradition when visiting Jacques at Christmas is the annual measuring of the palms. Each year a string is tied loosely around the emerging spear on his larger specimens, and the following year all subsequent leaves are counted. The results are staggering: Jubaea, always regarded as such a slow grower, puts up 12 leaves a year! Brahea edulis grows 24! Trachy's do much worse, which tends to confirm the fact that they are happier in cooler climates. We are hoping to publish a full article about the 'Jardin Deleuze' in a later issue of Chamaerops; so more details then.

Nice In Nice

After a blissful few days on the island, we flew the short distance to Nice where we spent the rest of the holiday visiting nurseries and gardens, with which the area abounds. Of course, one of the reasons for this part of the trip was to make an assessment for our summer meeting, during which we hope to visit many of those same gardens.

Meeting Up-date

This brings me rather neatly to the subject of the meeting itself. We had a very good response from the questionnaires that were sent out and it looks, as though it will be well-attended I'm especially pleased to see that many continental members plan to come. However, having asked everyone whether they would prefer June, July or August, a decision has been taken for the get-together to begin on Monday the 12th of September. There are various reasons for avoiding those other months: June conflicts with the International Palm Society meeting in Caracas and many people pointed out how busy (not to mention expensive) the south of France can be in July and August. Also, much as we like the sunshine, it can also be uncomfortably hot at that time of the year there. May would have been a good time, but too soon to be able to organize it. September therefore seemed an excellent choice. The weather will still be warm and pleasant, the hordes of tourists will have diminished, the roads will be much freer of traffic, the gardens will be freer of visitors, and the kids will be back at school.

So there we are: please put a ring around the date on your calendar, and a note in your diary, and if you are still wavering, waver no longer. We will be sending out a full itinerary, together with anticipated costs, in due course. Since travel these days, and especially cheap flights, seems to revolve around units of 7 days, there will additionally be the opportunity for participants to have a few days free after the arranged events.

The entire programme has yet to be finalized but you can rest assured that it will be an exciting combination of trips to gardens, visits to nurseries and talks, appealing to all those who are passionate about palms and other exotic plants.

Don't Be Shy

As you may know, we're now into our fourth year, with this edition, number 13. It may be a good opportunity to remind all members that it's your society, and I'm always very pleased to hear from subscribers. You might be praising or criticising. You may want to point out a mistake that you've spotted, you may have a suggestion as to the layout of our magazine, or perhaps you'd like to request an article on a particular subject. Whatever the reason, n'hesitez pas to drop me a line.

Thanks To...

A few thanks are due here: to the South African Palm Society and its editor, Mark Bradshaw, for the photograph on page 9. Their magazine, The Palm Enthusiast, is absolutely one of the best, and is recommended to all those with an interest in temperate palms. Secondly I'd like to thank Jörg Witticke from Germany and Kjell Persson from Sweden for their valuable efforts in promoting our society. So Danke and Tack så mycket.

And To...

Thanks also to all our contributors for this issue, a good mix of articles and letters, reflecting our wide European membership. We can always use more articles of course so make 1994 your year to contribute. Now read on.... MG

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