Letter From Hampshire...
Possibly our youngest member contributes
this piece about the palms of this most English of southern English
Nathan Wilson, "East View", 17, Five Heads, Rd., Horndean,
Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK
Chamaerops No. 15, published online 23-08-2002
on this article:
Click here to read them or to add your own.
Tall Trachycarpus dwarfs, 16 year old Nathan, at
the Sir George Staunton Country Park.
I became a member of the European Palm Society on
Christmas Day last. One of the presents from my parents was my membership
to the EPS. And whilst reading through my first issue of Chamaerops
I was interrupted by my mother who shouted to tell me that it was
snowing, and sure enough it was, (the first time I can ever recall
it snowing on Christmas Day, as I am only 16).
As I looked around the garden I couldn't help thinking
that my Phoenix canariensis would prefer to be indoors sat next
to the fire and that my Californian Cotton Palms would like to be
back in California. In all I have five species of palms which are
kept in the garden - Trachycarpus. Chamaerops. Phoenix, Rhopalostylis
and Washingtonia plus many more which I keep indoors.
It was at the beginning of 1993 that I first became
interested in palms. I was looking through a gardening book when
I chanced upon a palm tree, (Trachycarpus), and I couldn't believe
that it was hardy! The book said that this was the only palm hardy
in this country and could only be grown in the south and west. Then
I got hold of a copy of "Palms for the Home and Garden"
by Lynette Stewart and I was well and truly bitten.
Many people would not think Hampshire a suitable
place for growing palms, but the winters here are fairly mild and
we experience temperatures of around -3°C as an average minimum
although temperatures last November fell to -5.5°, but all my
palms came through none the worse for wear.
I have only two palms planted in the ground, both
are Canary Island Dates, one approximately 2 ft in height and the
other 6 ft. They were protected when the temperatures dropped to
-5.59C with a blanket wrapped around the largest of the two and
a bin bag put over the top. The smaller one had newspaper wrapped
around the base and a bin bag put over the remainder. All my other
palms are kept in tubs and pots and I haven't needed to protect
My largest Canary Date was purchased from The Palm
Centre, where I met Martin Gibbons, the author of the book "Identifying
Palms" (which I am forever reading). Some of my other plants
came from the Palm Farm, on Humberside.
My garden isn't the only place in Hampshire where
you can find palms. The Sir George Staunton Country Park in Havant
has two "lofty" Trachycarpus fortunei, which may have
come directly from Robert Fortune (the man who discovered Trachycarpus
and brought it to England), as he was known to Sir George. Also
at the park is the remains of a palm (possibly Phoenix canariensis):
all that's left of it is a trunk approximately one metre in height,
resembling a pineapple. Was it killed in a hard frost? Or decapitated
in a storm. There are also Trachycarpus growing in nearby Rowlands
Castle, but these are the only palms I know close to where I live.
There are plenty of palm-like plants though, Cordylines and Yuccas
being commonly planted in the area.
On the subject of palms around Hampshire, I would
like to mention Bournemouth, which used to be in Hampshire before
the counties were re-classified. When I visited there last summer
I was amazed at the amount of exotic vegetation. Almost every garden
seemed to have either Yuccas, Cordylines, Cannas or Palms. The majority
of the palms were Trachycarpus. But I understand that in the centre
of Bournemouth are some roads, which have large palm trees lining
either side. I don't know, however, what species they are, "Desert
Island palm trees' according to my sister. I'll let you know.
Finally, if there are any members who live in or
around Hampshire, or if anyone knows of any other palms growing
in my area then I would like to hear from them.
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28-01-23 - 23:37GMT
|| What's New?
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| Date: 24-05-2004
of Cultivated Palms
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