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Martin Gibbons, c/o The Palm Centre
Chamaerops No. 14, published online 23-08-2002

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Spring Down The Tube

A month of north winds and freezing temperatures followed by two weeks of sunshine followed by another 3 weeks of rain, north winds and well-below-average temperatures is not the sort of weather that puts your editor in a good spring and summer mood. But that's what we in London have had so far this 'spring'. I stomp about cursing the wind and the rain and dreaming of 1976 when we had a wonderful summer and I've been waiting since then for it to return.

Thank heaven for the close proximity of le continent with its guaranteed good weather. Thank heaven also for le tunnel, which I for one am going to be a regular traveller through (if you'll forgive my ending that sentence with a preposition). Thank heaven also, finally, for our summer meeting in the south of France, and for the Fous de Palmiers, the French Palm Society, for doing so much to organize and plan it.

News Of Our Get-together

Along with this issue of Chamaerops you will find the official programme and invitation. There is one important though small change and that is that in order for our meeting to coincide with the 'Journée Mediterranéennes' (a wonderful festival of plants and flowers with the emphasis on Mediterranean species), the actual start date of our get-together will be two days earlier than previously thought, that is, Saturday September 10th.

The programme will be planned for four days, but as many of you know, there is much to do down there, and I'm sure that many people will want to spend a few extra days after the end of the official programme.

Finally on this subject I would like to say that I am available at more or less any time to answer questions about this trip so for anyone who has any doubts or queries just give me a call. I do hope that as many people as possible will attend, and help to make it the success it deserves to be.

Late As Usual

Despite the despicable weather so far this year, it's been extremely busy here at The Palm Centre, and that is one of the reasons why Chamaerops is a bit on the late side. Additionally I've done one or two small trips, which also cut down on the time I can spend at the computer. In February, for instance, I went to Florida to look, for the first time, at palm nurseries there and I must say, my eyes were well and truly opened.

Palms USA Style

In the U.S.A. they don't do things by halves, and they don't grow palms in tens and twenties. They grow them by the hundred and by the thousand, and some of the nurseries are so big that you have to drive round them in a golf buggy and take a packed lunch. It was like going shopping in a 100 acre Safeway with the shelves lined with palms and cycads. I must compliment the Americans on the quality of their plants and the efficiency of the staff at the nurseries. The quality and range was so good, it almost made me want to give up the palm business in shame. Instead I took a deep breath and went shopping! What else could I do?! So apologies again for the late appearance of this issue, and those are my excuses.

Appeal Answered

In the autumn '93 Chamaerops I made an appeal for more contributions from writers outside the U.K. My call was answered and in this issue we have four good articles by overseas members, and, as though that weren't enough, two of them are ladies! The standard of all the articles that we get seems to be excellent, as do the wonderful photographs that are sent in to accompany them. We are the only palm society magazine (and there are lots) to make such use of colour and I hope you'll agree that it's used this time to wonderful effect. One criticism I have received is that there are not enough articles of a practical nature in Chamaerops but I say, "You write it and I'll print it". However, if that sounds too flippant, perhaps I should add that if you would like to see an article on a particular subject, just ask, and I'll see what can be done. Certainly one on the germination of palm and cycad seeds is well overdue and I hope one will appear next time.

Finally, I would like to say a big 'Thank you' to our printers, Messrs Simmons of Chelmsford. I've been meaning to do this for some time but here's an opportunity at last. They are such 'nice people to do business with' and they don't realize (or they're too polite to mention) that with each issue they are doing just a little more work in terms of preparation of the magazine. I really can't praise them highly enough, so if you want any printing work done, just give me a call and I'll put you in touch. M.G.

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