Martin Gibbons, c/o The Palm Centre
It seems only a few days ago that I was writing the
Editorial to Edition 28, but three months have somehow slipped by
and it's March already, high time to publish the January issue of
our magazine, a comfortable and by now traditional eight weeks late.
Fortunately, palm lovers are a patient lot (anyone who plants a
Jubaea seed just has to be) and nobody seems to mind too much, for
which I am everlastingly grateful.
In this regard, I have to say that my plea for articles
was answered and now I find myself in the position of having to
apologise to those members who have written pieces for Chamaerops
and who will be disappointed not to see them in print in this issue.
They will appear, I promise, in due course; on this occasion it
is not a shortage of articles that has delayed production but a
shortage of time.
Funny old winter wasn't it? In fact hardly a winter
at all. The worst thing about it seems to have been not the cold
but the wind. It cost me a big shade house (and not a little money),
bat fortunately I wasn't here to witness it. If I had been I'd have
probably tried to hang on to the thing and been whisked away like
the man in the opening sequence of 'Twister'.
Lots of people have been telling me about so called
tender plants that have survived the winter without damage. Even
a Musa ensete refused to stay in its protective wrapping and burst
through the top in February. Musa basjoo, Dicksonia tree ferns have
all kept their leaves intact even when unprotected. The hardy palms
have laughed at the weather. Spring is almost upon us; I think it's
safe to breathe a sigh of relief now.
In my own garden in central London, there was not
a shred of damage (if damage can be said to come in shreds) to any
of my plants. Rhapis excelsa, R. multifida were untouched, as were
Chamaedorea microspadix and C. radicalis, indeed the latter is already
beginning to flower. Arenga engleri grew right through the winter
months, what an astonishing-looking palm that one is. It seems to
thrive in deep shade, and I guess benefits from the protection the
overhanging plants and trees give it. The star of the show still
has to be Trithrinax acanthocoma however. Magnificent looking, dark
green glossy erect fan shaped leaves, it puts Trachycarpus in the
shade. How odd and how sad that so few people want to grow it as
a garden plant.
Worth a mention also is Cycas revoluta, much hardier
than most people imagine, in reality as tough as old boots. The
Trachycarpus oreophilus seems to have put a bit of a spurt on over
the last few months too, after a desperately slow start. It now
has a few character leaves and is already starting to look different
from its Chinese cousin. Any palm enthusiast who doesn't grow T.
martianus in their garden really should reconsider. Mine are growing
so - well - magnificently, they are a sheer delight.
I can't help thinking back to the early days of my
interest in palms (actually about 20 years ago when I was just a
child). Then, even T. fortunei was considered exotic and wasn't
at all easy to find. I was thrilled with my first plant, I installed
it in the lawn and I'd sit in a deck chair and just look at it with
pure pride and pleasure. The idea of other species of hardy palm
was heart-stoppingly exciting. It was to be another 10 years before
finally - I was able to get my hands on a T. martianus and I will
never forget the day.
These days, however, it is so easy to buy a dozen
species of hardy palm that people have become a bit blase about
it. Why has that leaf got a brown tip, they ask sceptically. A brown
tip I ask incredulously. A brown tip? That's a Trachycarpus martianus
you're talking about, seed collected personally by me from trees
overhanging the Moosmai Gorge in the Khasia Hills in north east
India, cherished and loved for 5 years, and offered to you for a
mere twenty nine pound ninety five. And you're quibbling about a
brown tip? Probably dying, they sneer as they go off and buy a nice
multi-coloured cordyline instead. I stomp off back to my office,
muttering under my breath, leaving one of my young sales assistants
to take their money. Time was, I'm thinking, time was....
26-01-21 - 12:34GMT
|| What's New?
|| New palm book
| Date: 24-05-2004
of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft.
|| New: Issue 48
| Date: 24-05-2004
has been published in the Members Area.
|| Archive complete!
| Date: 03-12-2002
| All Chamaerops issues can now be found in the archive:
More than 350 articles are on-line!
|| Issues 13 to 16
| Date: 28-08-2002
| Chamaerops mags 13,
have been added to the members area. More than 250 articles are now online!
|| 42 as free pdf-file
| Date: 05-08-2002
Download! Chamaerops No. 42 can be downloaded for free to intruduce the new layout and size to
|| Issues 17 to 20
| Date: 23-07-2002
| Chamaerops mags 17,
have been added to the members area. Now 218 articles online!
|| Book List
| Date: 28-05-2001
a look at our brand new Book List edited by Carolyn Strudwick
|| New Book
| Date: 25-01-2001
by Mario Stähler
This german book tells you all about how to cultivate your palms in Central Europe. more...