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Above: Uxbridge Trachycarpus. Below: Pigmy Waggie
"The New Exotic Garden" - Book Review
in Chamaerops 34 discussed the use of other exotic plants
to complement our outdoor palm collections. Of particular note was
the comment "the effect can be jaw-dropping".
I wish to draw to the attention of EPS members the recent release
of an excellent book entitled "The New Exotic Garden"
by Will Giles, published by Mitchell Beazley (Hardback, ISBN 1-84000-241-7)
With many stunning colour photographs it illustrates
how to use hardy or near hardy exotics to introduce colour, texture
and form to the cool temperate garden. The author discusses the
use of hardy palms, bamboos, phormiums and other architectural evergreens
to provide a permanent hardy structure and backbone. Three chapters
then describe how to create each of the three main types of exotic
garden :- the colourful tropical-look garden using contrasting textures
and hot reds, oranges and yellows provided by plants like cannas,
bananas, gingers, aroids, dahlias and coleus; the lush jungle-style
garden incorporating hardy ferns, hostas and grasses into the evergreen
background; and the dry mediterranean style garden using succulents,
Yuccas and other drought resistant plants. Most gardens possess
the microclimates to create at least two of these styles. The author
then goes on to discuss the techniques he uses to grow and over-winter
the main groups of exotics, namely cordylines, succulents, cannas,
gingers, tree ferns, aroids, bananas, coleus and bamboo. The final
chapter is a directory of exotic plants by genus with descriptions
of the best species to use, heights, site and soil requirements
and both U.K. and U.S. hardiness ratings. Refreshingly for us palm
enthusiasts, the section on palms includes not only Trachycarpus
and Chamaerops but also Brahea, Butia, Jubaea, Nannorrhops and Phoenix.
In conclusion, for dedicated palm lovers this book
offers us the inspiration to turn our spiky green palm collections
into the core of an exotic paradise - well worth the £17.99
Alan Hindle, Dudley, UK
here to order the book at amazon.com
Back in 1992 I bought 130 Trachycarpus
fortunei seeds and managed to get most of them to germinate. After
about18 months I noticed that 3 had much smaller and stiffer leaves.
I kept these to one side, as I didn't want to sell them or give
them to friends and relatives. They are now quite definitely Waggies.
All 3 grow at the same rate and have approximately the same number
of leaves, but 1 is markedly smaller than the other two.
They all germinated in spring 1992, so they are about 8 years old.
The two larger ones are 38 cm tall with 16 cm diameter leaves. The
smaller one, however, is only 21 cm tall with a maximum leaf diameter
of just 9 cm. As I already explained the growth rate is the same
for all three, only the proportions are different. It will be interesting
to see how thick (or thin) the trunk is, when it grows one. Do you
know of any other Pigmy Waggies?
Thanks Dave, nice picture. Waggies
seem to come in all shapes and sizes. We get them here sometimes
with quite small leaves like yours, but I don't know if they retain
this stature, or if it grows out as they get bigger. I suppose the
ultimate is no leaf at all, just a collection of petiole stumps!
I expect you're planning to plant them out; it will be interesting
to see how they develop over the years.
World's Most Northerly Palm?
I am sending you a photo of the Trachycarpus
Wageranius that I took to Iceland last summer, which is not only
surviving -20C temps and 80 knots winds in almost total darkness,
but has new leaves coming on. It is truly an amazing palm, grown
on the 66°N parallel just below the Arctic Circle. Is this the
most northerly palm in the world? My friend has it planted next
to his 'hot tub' which may help its survival........just from what
it sees in the hot tub, if not the warmth...!!
A Scenic Haven
I thought your readers would be interested in
To sell: Largest outdoor Palm collection in central Europe, with
property and house. About 120 rare species, plus thousands of other
plants. House has a wonderful lake-view, 11 rooms, outside and inside
swimming pool and whirlpool. Property is surrounded by protected
forests, situated 60 m above Lago Maggiore. A scenic haven for plant
lovers! Please contact P.O. Box 715, CH-6614, Brissago, Switzerland.
I wish to correct an error in my article "Winter
Growth", page 16, Chamaerops 37. My Phoenix canariensis in
the ground is protected when the temperature drops below minus three
Celsius and not plus three Celcius as stated. On one icy, snowy
night however, the palm was left unprotected causing the above-ground
foliage to be killed. I pulled out a couple of rotting spears in
late winter and poured in regular doses of fungicide until early
summer. The palm soon grew back to it's original size over the summer.
Alan Hindle, Dudley, U.K.
Tales of a Rooftop Gardener
I have a flat roof extension which I converted
to a walk-on balcony. It is south facing and is enjoyed by my small
collection of palms, yuccas, and cordylines. The floor of the balcony
is covered with heavy grade, green mineral felt. All the plants
are obviously in pots; some have trays, but some dont to allow
for better drainage. One plant from this latter category is a 90
cm Phoenix Canariensis in a 10 pot. Recently it gave me and
my pansy-and-petunia-loving wife (how boring) quite a shock. The
Date palm had sent its roots through the pot drainage holes and
bored its way into the roofing felt about 10-12 in every direction.
I was dumbfounded. I then had the task of carefully cutting away
the felt to reveal a mass of beautiful, creamy white, healthy roots;
and, of course, repotting the palm.
The outcome of this little episode? Well, my appreciation for the
tenacity of palms has heightened while my wife is now even more
determined to stick to her pansies and petunias. Needless to say,
all my pots are now in trays.
Paul Hardy, Sheffield, U.K.
A Long Winter
Although Ive been an EPS member for 3
years, Ive never written. At the moment Im a little
out of practice speaking English, but I hope you understand nevertheless.
I always like the prefaces in Chamaerops best. Im
a great fan of Trithrinax acanthocoma. I bought one such palm over
4 years ago and now it is almost 1 meter high. Last spring, after
a long winter, it was clear that it had suffered. The new sprout
was brown, and during the summer the palm grew really short fronds.
Was this caused by dryness in winter or, perhaps, not having the
right pH value after transplanting it to a new pot?
Id like to write an article about all my plants, palms and
banana trees, for Chamaerops soon. For today, thank you very much
and many kind regards.
Helga Baumgartner, Burghausen, Germany
Trithrinax acanthocoma is very tolerant to
varying pH levels in the soil, so Im sure this was not the
problem. It is more likely that dryness in the soil or prolonged
exposure to cold and damp conditions was the cause. TS
I am writing to report on the marvelous stand
of Trachycarpus fortunei growing in the grounds of Brunel University
I should explain that my wife and I met at Brunel in the mid-1970s
where we both studied Chemistry, and although we have lived in the
area since graduating, we have rarely returned to the campus. However,
in April this year we attended a Chemistry Department reunion, along
with Brunel graduates from the past 40 years, which gave us the
opportunity to have a good look round.
The weather was awful, cold and wet, and made more depressing by
the news of the imminent closure of the Chemistry Department, after
50 years at Uxbridge. Therefore, imagine our pleasure on finding
that those "strange spiky plants" we remembered in the
grass in front of the Biology-Chemistry building had grown into
a fine stand of 22 Trachycarpus fortunei!
These are planted in two informal groups at the western end of the
building, with a double row of 14 plants towards the east. All enjoy
a southerly aspect and are protected by the building from the occasional
cold north wind. As can be seen from the enclosed photographs, the
plants are in fine condition and the abundant fruit indicates that
they had all flowered the previous year.
I should add that in the 1970s I had absolutely no interest in palms
and had, along with almost everyone else at Brunel, dismissed these
"strange" plants and imagined that they would soon succumb
to the cold. There must have been at least one palm enthusiast since.
I understand that the young plants were given to the university
by one of the professors. The lesson for all of us palm enthusiasts,
(and others), is of course, that Trachycarpus fortunei and many
other "hardy" palms can grow into magnificent features
given sufficient time and favourable conditions. They certainly
do an excellent job of hiding the otherwise unattractive concrete
and glass buildings at Brunel.
Hopefully other institutions and local authorities can be encouraged
to plant more palms now in order to provide a similarly impressive
spectacle in 25 years time. We will certainly be returning to the
campus later on in the summer to photograph these palms in flower.
N A J Hobbs, Uxbridge, Middlesex, U.K.
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09-08-20 - 10:53GMT
|| 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...