The Wind Cheaters
A husband and wife team of palm enthusiasts
explain how palms have changed their lives, and their garden.
Robert & Krystyne Jennings , 46 St. Brides Avenue , Edgeware,
Chamaerops No. 17, published online 23-07-2002
on this article:
Click here to read them or to add your own.
Going to extremes: The Jennings garden from above
and below; a wind-free oasis.
I was brought up in South America and my love for
tropical and sub-tropical plants started at an early age. This was
the inspiration to begin our own 'sub-tropical' garden here in Edgeware,
Middlesex. It is not generally realized that there is such a large
number of plants that can be grown here in the south of England
provided they get good drainage and some winter protection when
Another important factor is soil preparation: we
started off by removing all the old soil, which was heavy clay -
this is north London - and replacing it with deeply dug-in organic
matter, ericaceous compost and, where necessary, lots of horticultural
As our garden is only 70 x 40 feet, and half of
this is patio, it is now starting to look like a miniature botanic
garden; it is not so much landscaped as housing a collection of
beautiful and exotic plants from all over the world.
Our first exciting introductions were three Trachycarpus
fortunei. They were quite large to begin with but here, within 4
years, they have grown rapidly into tall beauties. Some of our other
favourites include Weinmannia trichosperma, a wonderful evergreen
tree from Chile which we planted 4 years ago as a 12" seedling
and is now over 7 feet and growing into a tree, Lyonothamnus floribundus
asplenifolius, the Santa Cruz Ironwood Tree with its fern-like foliage
and cinnamon bark, 3 Cordyline australis which we brought back from
holiday m Ireland last year and our now a focal point in our garden
in an extremely hot spot where nothing else seemed to grow. The
Tetrapanax papyrifera, the Rice paper plant from China and Taiwan,
with its monster leaves, has already suckered in its first year;
the Musa basjoo, the root-hardy Japanese banana, given proper winter
protection, grows very happily in our garden and is certainly one
of the most architectural and exotic-looking plants we've introduced
to our collection.
Two Dicksonia antarctica, the giant Tree Ferns from
Tasmania, with trunks 4 feet high and fronds 7 feet long, look quite
spectacular with the summer sun shimmering through them. Clianthus
puniceus from New Zealand (the Glory Pea) with silvery foliage and
very exotic, red parrot-claw-like flowers dangling from its branches,
is growing very happily against a warm garage wall. These are just
some of the plants we grow and enjoy looking after.
When we first started our garden, we used to cover
the borderline plants with white fleece every time frost threatened,
and then remove it every morning. This is really a chore, especially
when more and more plants are introduced and need to be covered.
That's why, last year, we decided to cover a large area of the garden
with green shade-netting, thus relieving us of the nightly burden
of covering each plant.
The netting will remain in place until the beginning
of April, then removed until mid October. Not only does it keep
the frost off, it also shelters the plants from the wind, which
is just as important.
As our garden is m its infancy we are still experimenting
and learning about different plants and their needs. We find that
in spring, apart from the usual tidying-up and pruning, a top-feed
dressing of blood, fish & bone is essential for strong root
growth and healthy-looking plants, especially the palms, as they
are greedy feeders. This is followed at regular intervals by a liquid
feed with Liquinure.
This spring we're looking forward to introducing
two new palms to our collection: Phoenix canariensis and Washingtonia
filifera. We have already prepared the new sites for these and look
forward to them growing and enhancing the garden.
Finally, we would like to thank Angus White &
the staff at Architectural Plants, Martin Gibbons of the Palm Centre,
and Myles Challis, author, for all their help and advice to us in
getting our garden established. Without them it would have been
that much harder.
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25-09-17 - 09:50GMT
|| What's New?
|| New palm book
| Date: 24-05-2004
of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft.
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This german book tells you all about how to cultivate your palms in Central Europe. more...