Our Trachycarpus Towers
The lengths to which some people go in the pursuit
of their hobby never fails to surprise and astound, but this surely
is the ultimate!
Hans & Erika Hanisch, Ü senbergerstr. 20, 79346 Endingen,
Chamaerops No.25 Winter 1996/97
Well worth the effort!
In 1983 we bought two Chusan palms (Trachycarpus fortunei)
which were, at the time, 25cm tall. After spending the 1983/84 winter
amongst various cacti on our bedroom windowsill, we planted them
in May 1984 on the patio of our small 65 square metre garden.
At the beginning of December we built a first small
winter shelter. which was made of 4 stakes covered with a polythene
sheet. For heating, we installed a 25watt lightbulb under each cover
which was switched on when temperatures dropped below -5ūC. We arranged
a small flap to provide ventilation on sunny days.
The following winter, the original shelters were already
too small and were replaced by a 2m tall by I .5m wide construction
of timber covered with bubble plastic. The light bulbs weren't giving
sufficient heat for this size shelter anymore and were replaced
by 800watt automatic heaters equipped with thermostats. This way,
the palms went through several more winters and gained considerably
in size during the summers. In 1988, only four years after planting,
the palms flowered for the first time
and were visited by thousands of bees.
Now, the palms were growing so fast that we had to
build the shelters taller every year. We finally had to build with
S x 5" timbers and without the help of our two sons-in-law
and our neighbour. it would have been impossible to erect the timbers,
cover them with bubble plastic and secure them. The shelters had
reached a height of 6m by 2m wide in the meantime. Our palm- towers
were equipped with a door for ventilation and access, and a 2000
watt oil fueled radiator each. To prevent damage from strong autumn
and winter storms, we secured the shelters with steel cables to
four sides. In summer, we have breakfast under our palms, and small
Unfortunately, because of the massive efforts and
because of our health (and our sanity?), we will not be able to
protect the palms anymore in the future and hope for mild winters.
| [an error occurred while processing the directive]