Palm Day at Kew

Steve Swinscoe with a report of a wonderfully palmy day.
by Steve Swinscoe, Manatte, 32460 Le Houga, France
Chamaerops No. 04, published online 23-11-2002

Hot, humid and heavenly! On the palm trail at Kew

The day that we had all been looking forward to came at last! Saturday July 20th dawned bright and balmy over London - a good omen for things to come on Palm Day at Kew. Wearing my favourite blue shorts and colour coordinated T-shirt emblazoned with multi-coloured palms, I set off through the leafy and flowery suburbs of London Town confident that, appropriately attired, no one could doubt my claim as a true blue European Palm Society Palm Nut and Fou de Palmiers.

Kew Gardens (or to give it its proper title: The Royal Botanic Gardens) is located in the western suburb of Richmond and was founded in 1840. It covers 121 hectares and has on its grounds and in its glasshouses over 30,000 types of plant from all over the globe. Thus, probably the most extensive collection of any botanic garden in the world. This was my first visit and I assure you, I'll be back for more. The day before my departure from home in France I received the programme of the day's events and my name badge. After parking my car and spotting fellow Fous de Palmiers we headed for Jodrell Gate and the Jodrell Lecture Theatre, around the corner from the main entrance to the gardens. Jodrell was to serve as our base of operations for the day's events. From 10 10.30 am Martin Gibbons, editor of 'Chamaerops', greeted us at the door, ticked our names on the list of people who had signed up for the day, and invited us to enjoy coffee and biscuits.

We had the opportunity then to chat with friends made on previous occasions and to be introduced or to introduce ourselves to others whose names we were often familiar with from what they had written. At last we were to see them in the flesh. In all we were a grand total of 86 members of E.P.S. and Fous de Palmiers. France was well represented with a total of 17 members present, and in addition there were members from Belgium, Holland, Germany and Sweden as well, of course as England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Isn't it wonderful that a family of plants can draw so many people together from so many different places to share their enthusiasm, experience and knowledge?

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