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Martin Gibbons, c/o The Palm Centre

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The year is rushing by and it's incredible to think we're almost into September. It's been an exciting year though, with lots of happy memories and achievements to recall. Last month I was in Los Angeles for the Biennial of the International Palm Society. One of the main reasons for attending (apart from the Director's Board meeting) was for Toby Spanner and I to give a talk on our re-discovery of the palm Medemia argun in the Nubian Desert in Sudan. Our lecture was very well received, and it's a palm that has generated an enormous amount of interest, largely, I think, because of its romantic location, as well as for the fact that it was considered extinct by many authors, or at best, on the very edge of extinction. The seed we collected has now been distributed, quite literally, around the world, where hopefully it will go on to produce its own seeds in due course.

As part of the meeting in California, there was a full range of activities for visitors to attend. This included visits to different public as well as private gardens, and the range of palms to be seen is quite incredible! The public gardens are large and generally well laid out, the private gardens are often really quite small, but the number of species these American enthusiasts manage to pack in is quite astounding, with not a single square foot of space unused. The effect is breathtaking, and it's often difficult to take in all the species at one visit. Some of the gardens, together with their owners, are the subject of the article 'California Dreaming' later on in this issue.

EPS Summer Meeting, Roma

Our own Summer Meeting in Rome will be place around the time that this issue is from the printers. We have had a very good response and I for one am looking forward to the scheduled events. Members are coming from all over the continent and we had to find a second hotel because of an under-estimate in the number of attendees. An advance 'Thankyou' is very much in order to Dario Peso, our friend in Rome, who has been largely responsible for all the local arrangements. We will all be able to thank him personally when we are there.

Français, Deutsch, Espagñol...

Another achievement to record here is the fact, mentioned briefly in the last edition, that from this issue we are going to publish Chamaerops in three other languages: French, German and Spanish, as well as English. With the last issue we sent out a translation into French to all and anyone in that country who we thought might be interested in joining us. It's early days as yet, but we have already had a good response and we look forward to welcoming many more members in the months to come. This is part of the drive to 'Europeanize' our organization. If I may, for a moment, be a little critical of my own race, we do tend to be somewhat inward-looking. Many of the articles I receive are extremely local, and I want to try and broaden the outlook of our group and of our magazine. The only difference about growing palms in England, or Italy or Netherlands or Greece is a climatic one. The problems and pleasures are exactly the same. For example, again in this issue, we have a (long overdue) article about palm seed germination. It happens to be written by a member from Malta, but the problems he has had to overcome and the methods of germination he uses apply to all the countries covered by our society. If you agree with this concept, or disagree, do write and tell me. This is your magazine, and I appreciate feedback from members as to what they like and dislike. Don't be part of the silent majority!

Volunteers Sought, Again

Some time ago I asked for volunteers to compile an index to all the back issues of Chamaerops. I had willing offers from two or three people, but due to lack of time, I never got around to following it up (I will, I will!). Now I am after more assistance with the production of our magazine. As the Palm Centre gets more and more busy, as I seem to travel more and more, and as there now seem to be fewer hours in the day and days in the week than ever before, I am running out of time. Do you own a PC? Have you done any layout and/or editing? Would you like to assist with the production of this magazine? Do you know a thing or two about palms? Do you have some hours to spare? Do you enjoy working for no pay? If the answers to these questions are yes', then please get in touch with me. Typically, I would send you an article, perhaps on disc, and ask you to edit it, maybe lengthen or shorten it, spell- and grammar-check it, lay it out, and return it on disc. Actually, quite easy. Even I can do it.

Perhaps in this way we might actually be able to get our journal out on time, and it would be less dependent on the ups-and-downs and other goings on at the Palm Centre.

Another volunteer I am seeking will have a title: 'Chapter Correspondent'. His/her job will be simply to keep the EPS. in the public eye by way of the International Palm Society magazine Principes . We are affiliated to the IPS and there is a section at the back of each quarterly journal headed, 'Chapter News' where we have the opportunity of informing the 3,000 IPS members of our meetings, news, and other changes. It needs a paragraph or three every quarter. I'll assist of course. Please do phone or write if you are interested.

Martin Gibbons

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