Martin Gibbons, c/o The Palm Centre

Rather a lot has happened since we last met between these covers, so to speak. To begin with winter has come and gone, so has spring. At the Palm Centre we've expanded still further into the whole nursery, an indication of just how popular palms are becoming nationwide. We've also started a display garden, in an effort not only to beautify the place, hut to convince the sceptical about the number of palms and other exotics that can be grown outside in this country and in similar climates abroad. The number of gardening programmes on TV seems to have doubled, and there seem to be twice as many gardening magazines around, in fact some new magazine on the subject seems to appear almost every month. Is there room for them all? I suppose the answer to that must be yes', although inevitably, the strongest will survive and the weakest will go to the wall.

But is there actually anything 'new' in the world of gardening? Every issue of many magazines seems to carry the same old articles: how to lay a lawn, how to make hanging baskets, how to prune roses, and if I see another article explaining how to create a garden pond, I swear I'll scream! However, there are trends and the major movements in the world of gardening, or so it seems to me, are about boldness, about freedom and about style, as though there are no holds barred any more. The better, the more avant garde of the new crop of gardening magazines carry pieces about the 'new' gardens, often small plots but created with such dash and style, that the word 'gardening' seems contradictory, as though gardens really shouldn't be this exciting.

When I was about half your age, or even younger, to come across an article about palms in a gardening magazine was a rarity indeed. Now it's a common occurrence and so small is the world of palms becoming that I find that either I know they the person who wrote it or, indeed I wrote it myself! Palms are invariably there, in these gardens of verve and vigour, the modern gardener's best ally in his effort to create the increasingly popular 'exotic garden'. Even more exciting, these avant gardeners' are gradually being persuaded to look at and choose palms other than that good old workhorse, Trachycarpus fortunei. It is an exciting trend and I wonder, which comes first: availability or desirability? And who creates the trend, the seller or the buyer? Or perhaps they contribute equally.

Either way, (and those in hot countries may prefer to skip the next few lines) we are beginning to see Phoenix canariensis, Chamaerops and Butia used much more frequently and these, together with the new crop of bamboos that has finally caught the nation's attention and imagination, are turning the most humble suburban plot into a little bit of paradise.

What's in the wings? My guess: Trithrinax campestris, Butia yatay, hardy Caryota, Trachycarpus wagnerianus, T. latisectus, T. martianus, Arenga engleri, the blue form of Chamaerops (deserving species status in my opinion), together with two or three excellent and hardy species of Chamaedorea will soon be jostling with T.fortunei and Chamaerops for pride of place in the exotic garden. Oh I do hope so!


I guess a little apology for the extreme lateness of this issue is in order. Our journal is usually late but this time it's unbelievably so. Help me to get the next issue out soon: Send an article about your experiences, your travels, your hopes and aspirations. Send good photos, as many as possible to choose from. Try to write the article as one, two or three complete pages, allowing about 700 words per page. Send it on disc, or better yet, by email. It will take you about half an hour to write.

To put the magazine together is the work of just a few evenings IF the articles are there, and ready-to-use. The European Palm Society belongs to us all and behoves all of us to share the load. So get that pen out, or start tapping at that keyboard. Share your knowledge and your thoughts and experiences. Remember, most of our members are just like you! Meantime, enjoy this issue. M.G.


  02-02-23 - 11:41GMT
 What's New?
 New palm book
 Date: 24-05-2004

An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft.
 New: Issue 48
 Date: 24-05-2004
Chamaerops 48
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, 14, 15 and 16 have been added to the members area. More than 250 articles are now online!
 42 as free pdf-file
 Date: 05-08-2002
Free Download! Chamaerops No. 42 can be downloaded for free to intruduce the new layout and size to our visitors
 Issues 17 to 20
 Date: 23-07-2002
Chamaerops mags 17, 18, 19 and 20 have been added to the members area. Now 218 articles online!
 Book List
 Date: 28-05-2001
Take a look at our brand new Book List edited by Carolyn Strudwick
 New Book
 Date: 25-01-2001
'Palmen in Mitteleuropa'
by Mario Stähler
This german book tells you all about how to cultivate your palms in Central Europe. more...