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Unique offer to all palm enthusiasts: Index and
103 issues of Principes, the Journal of the International Palm Society,
issues from 1956 to 1988. Often referred to in literature, detailed
descriptions of species found nowhere else. Only one set available.
Price DM799. (around £350) Contact Ulli Gramm, Gellertstr.
42, 76185 Karlsruhe, Germany, (or Martin Gibbons at The Palm Centre).
Don't Lose Your Temperate
I am writing to say that I am saddened by the direction
your beautiful journal is taking. I joined to get more information
on growing exotics in temperate climates. The summer issue devotes
12 pages to tropical climates and only 6 to temperate.
As production manager for 'Hardy Palm International'
I know the difficulty our Editor has in getting good articles, but
tropical locales do not help us with cold climate palm growing.
Areas such as western France, southern Switzerland,
Scilly Isles, western Ireland, Logan Botanic Gardens, Black Sea
coast of Russia, etc., are all fascinating areas that would serve
European members far better than the Philippines and Lord Howe Island
where 10°C is unknown.
Please devote more (if not all) space to temperate
areas, or at least to areas that get more frost. I am sorry to complain
but it is frustrating seeing tropical stories featured in a European
Michael Ferguson, Vancouver, Canada.
If we had a 'Star Letter' this would certainly
be it. The flippant answer is 'You write it and I'll print it' but
there is more to it than that. Firstly, although probably most EPS
members are primarily interested in growing exotics out-of doors
I think it fair to say that they also are interested in palms generally,
and as far as I can tell, the 'tropical' articles are well appreciated,
and most readers like a mix. I say as far as I can tell' because
most members don't communicate either their likes or their dislikes
so I have to use my own judgement.
Secondly, although I would like to include more
articles of a practical nature, they are in the minority of papers
submitted, and short of writing them myself, there's not much I
can do. At least there's a few such articles in this issue, and
maybe this reply will rouse more of our members to contribute. Thank
you very much for your letter, Michael, I hope it serves to encourage
more members to write in with criticisms as well as compliments.
I am currently a student on a design & technology
teacher training course at Leeds Metropolitan University and for
my major project this final year I am designing a modular greenhouse
which can be erected over a plant in situ for the winter months.
The greenhouse can be built higher as the plant grows. The design
will also incorporate a heater and/or growlight to keep out the
winter and /or possibly extend the growing season. It will be made
of rigid plastic, perhaps of the twin-wall type.
This greenhouse could have many uses. It could provide
the winter protection necessary to grow a number of tender plants
outdoors such as palms, large cacti and bananas. It could then be
used to raise cuttings or seedlings during the spring, summer &
autumn. It would be collapsible and would only take up 2" of
I am still at the design stage and would like to
hear from any members who have any ideas or suggestions. Indeed,
any input which may be useful would be much appreciated and once
the design is complete and working it would be helpful if some members
could evaluate its practicality, usefulness and marketability.
S. 1. Furness, 25A Manor Park Avenue, Castleford, WFIO 2DN
I think this is a very worthwhile project and
I hope you get interesting and useful input from some of our members.
Please keep in touch about your progress, perhaps we could publish
a piece about it when it's finished. M.G.
In 'Genera Palmarum' I came across a paragraph concerning
rheophytic palms which are 'adapted to the flood zone of fast-flowing,
rocky rivers and possess narrow leaves or leaflets presenting a
restricted surface area, allowing them to withstand floods'. Once
you know that my two main interests are palms and aquarium plants
you can probably guess my questions:
1. Do you think that any rheophytic palms can adapt
to aquarium conditions? Submerged or partially submerged? 2. If
the answer is 'yes' how can one obtain seeds of them? 3. There must
be other palms which are adapted to periodically flooded areas,
without fast moving water. Are there any which you think may be
suitable as aquarium subjects?
Stephan Mifsud, Malta
The perfect palm for your aquarium would certainly
be Ravenea musicalis, a new species, recently discovered in Madagascar
(see Principes Vol.37, No.4), which actually grows completely submerged
in a slow flowing river for the first few years of its life. The
bad news however is: seeds or plants are generally not available
so far. Other, more commonly available species, which should be
worth a try are Chamaedorea cataractarum and Phoenix roebelenii.
Actually, many palms will adapt to he grown with their roots and
base permanently submerged. Look out for those tropical lowland
species, especially from the Amazon-region and give them a try.
I have grown the Japanese banana (Musa basjoo) outside
with winter protection for five years and a sizeable clump has developed
with a height of about 8 feet. However, I am under no illusion that
this far north it will ever fruit outdoors. I would like to ask
whether any members further south have achieved flowering/ fruiting
and does the plant ever set seed m this country? Could anybody supply
John Woodhead, Whitby, N. Yorks
An individual plant of the Japanese Banana (Musa
basjoo) will flower after two or three years, but only if it is
growing in an area where winter frost is not sufficient to cause
the whole plant to collapse; in this case, new plants will be generated
from the roots each spring. Flowering is a spectacular occasion
producing a bunch of bananas each some 3 or 4 inches long. No fertile
seed is known to have been produced by this plant, propagation being
accomplished by root division, or, on a commercial scale, by micropropagation
in a laboratory. As with all bananas, an individual plant will die
following flowering. A. W.
Rhine Valley Views
I became a member of EPS last autumn and this is
my first letter to Chamaerops. I hope the questions and answers
will be useful for all other - but especially German - members.
I have two Trachycarpus about 1m50 and two small Phoenix dactylifera
planted in the garden, sheltered in the winter. I also have more
of the same, plus Sabal and Washingtonia in pots. I would like to
know if anyone else in my area cultivates these palms outdoors,
and what is their success? And should they be protected in winter
with blankets (no light) or plastic (transmits light, but gets condensation)?
And if the shelter is to be heated, what kind of heating is best
(it must be safe!)?
Also, is it possible to get 'temperature maps' of
Germany and the U.K. to compare lowest/highest temperatures in winter/summer?
Are there any statistics available about low/high temperatures in
our two countries.
I would be very glad to hear from anyone in my area
(Rhine Valley between Karlsruhe and Frankfurt) with any information.
Bernd Schnell, Oberhausen, Germany
Trachycarpus fortunei is successfully cultivated
outdoors to quite an extent now in the upper Rhine Valley. The oldest
plant I know has been in the ground for 40 years now (with winter-protection).
Sabal has not been tried a lot outside, so experience is still limited.
Phoenix dactylifera and Washingtonia have also been tried but will
certainly need to be well protected during the coldest weather.
I prefer a shelter made from bubble plastic. Without artificial
heating, it will make a difference of about 5°C and can be applied
or removed very quickly when required. Condensation can be eliminated
(/ the shelter is removed or opened m milder periods. However, It
is important that there is enough airspace around the plant. The
palm must not be "wrapped up" in plastic.
Additional heating should only be necessary in
unusually cold winters. A thermostatically controlled fan heater
is a reliable and cheap option, another possibility is a heating
cable, but the ones with thermostat are rather expensive. Always
consult a qualified electrician if you re not sure about using these.
Statistics of your local climate can be obtained from a meteorological
institute. Also, there are plenty of statistics on European and
world climate available in books which can be obtained from any
major library. T.S.
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