Martin Gibbons, c/o The Palm Centre
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Late Spring Issue
Don't seem to hear too many people talking about the
greenhouse effect these days. Matter of fact, it's certainly been
the coldest spring that I can ever remember (but then I'm quite
young), and the weather all over Europe seems to be totally confused,
either freezing cold with constant north and north-east winds as
here or, further south in our continent, continual rain for days
on end. Flooding even.
Since everyone else seems to be at it, I'll just tell
you the successes and failures in my garden during the bitter weather.
Failures: Parajubaea cocoides, Rhopalostylis 'Oceana', and a small
Ceroxylon. I was a bit upset about the Parajubaea, but the other
two were rather small so it wasn't much of a surprise. Successes
though: Trachycarpus martianus, Trithrinax acanthacoma, Guihaia
argyrata, Trachycarpus 'oreophilus', Cycas revoluta, Chamaedorea
radicalis, and C. microspadix. Two of these I must single out as
'stars': Chamaedorea radicalis (which grew two leaves during a very
cold March) and the Trithrinax which also sailed through the winter
looking just fabulous.
However the weather doesn't seem to have affected
business too much and the fact that we've been so busy here at the
Palm Centre is the main - indeed the only - reason why this issue
is so late. OK, I did take a small trip, to Los Angeles and Florida
and, sandwiched neatly between them, (chronologically speaking)
South Of The Border
My goodness there are some lovely palms in that country!
We went primarily to see Braheas which we found in large measure
- but we also saw several species of Sabal (I've completely changed
my mind about this genus. After seeing them in the wild I can't
imagine how I ever thought them 'dull'), Washingtonias, Chamaedoreas
(living proof that they weren't invented by Dutch growers), and
an obscure and rare species of the Rootspine Palm, Cryosophila nana.
The Yuccas and cacti have to be seen to be believed, towering overhead,
and stretching from one horizon to the other. What a paradise for
The country, too, is wonderful, with wide, straight
roads, friendly people, great food, and beautiful scenery. I'd say
it's America's best kept secret! We did 7,000 miles (12,000kms)
in 10 days, (the care hire man got a shock when we returned the
car) and barely touched half of the country. Favourite Mexican palm?
Well, hard to choose between 7 or 8 species of Brahea that we saw.
Perhaps Sabal uresana, with dramatic silvery-blue leaves that you
can see from a couple of miles away. As is so often the case, I
find it hard to understand why such a lovely palm is so rare in
cultivation. The many trees we saw were producing thousands of seeds
(and there is a large grove not so far from the USA border), and
yet the number of trees in Botanic gardens that I know of, I could
count of the fingers of one thumb. There is certainly a nice young
plant at Huntingdon in California and everyone oooh's and aaah's
at it as though it were a really rare species.
One palm that is certainly not so rare in cultivation
is Brahea armata, and these we saw in large groves, growing in dry
and arid canyons, often in association with Washingtonias. Surprisingly
many of them are NOT blue, a bit of a disappointment really, but
even so it's just wonderful to see palms in the wild that you know
and love in cultivation, and you think of them in a different way
from that moment on.
Great Northern Way
On Sunday 5th May as you will read elsewhere in this
issue, the 'Northern Members Get-together' took place, well attended
and not only by northerners. What a nice day! It's always a pleasure
to meet other members of our society, to talk palms and generally
indulge in our hobby. There is a full report later on, suffice it
for me to say a big thanks! to Richard Darlow and Greg Plenty, and
of course to their respective partners, for organizing the event,
and especially for putting on such a feast. Well done, and thanks!
And talking of meetings, we've had a very good response
to the notice about the European Palm Society Summer Meeting in
Rome which everybody should have received by now. If you didn't
get one, let me know. The dates are the last two days of August
and the first two days of September. As soon as the programme is
final. ized those who sent back the reply slips will receive full
details of the agenda, details of the Botanic gardens and nurseries
we will be visiting, and of course full details of the available
accommodation. If you haven't made your mind up yet, please do so
now, as we will soon have to close the list in order to finalize
numbers and to make hotel reservations .
A Truly EPS
This just leaves me a little spot to announce a BIG
development in the history of the European Palm Society. From this
issue we hope to be able to provide a supplemnent containing a fall
translation of Chamaerops into French, and from the next issue,
into German. These will be at no extra cost to our many French and
German members. We're becoming a truly European palm society! Martin
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