California Dreaming

Don Tollefson gives a guided tour round some West Coast USA gardens.
Don Tollefson, 599 California Avenue, Venice, California, 90291, USA
Chamaerops No.23, Summer Edition 1996

Left, above: The San Francisco garden of Mrs Inge Hoffmann, 'The Seed Lady'
Left, below: Your smiling editor with Dypsis decipiens, in Lakeside Arboretum, Oakland, CA.
Right, above: The high-level San Diego garden of Jim Wright
Right, below left: Bearded Jim Wright with Rhopalostylis.
Right, below right: Pauleen Sullivan's Hedyscepe canterburyana

It must be admitted that for one reason and another, the following article is a bit of a mish-mash! It was originally submitted by Don Tollefson with the title '1996 IPS Biennial Private Garden Tours'. IPS is of course The International Palm Society, and the Biennial is . the 1996 meeting that took place in Los Angeles in early August just passed. A number of EPS members were there, including Tony King, Toby Spanner, Jacques Deleuze and myself. The article should of course have been published prior to the meeting, but due to lack of space, it was not. We all visited some of the gardens described, at this time, or previously, plus others, and there is so much to learn from the way Californians 'do it', I thought I'd risk publishing it late in a edited form, along with a few photos that may or may not have been taken during the meeting! Much of California has a near-perfect climate for palm growing, and many of the species listed here would be ideal for the warmer parts of Europe. Remember 'Temperate' covers a very wide range of temperatures, but then so does our membership! (Martin Gibbons)

California is one of the world's leaders in the cultivation of temperate climate grown palms, and there are many Californian gardens that are now among the best in the world. It's a sophisticated skill to grow tropical palms in a temperate climate, but once you obtain the basic know-how it's surprisingly easy, and you'll be amazed byhow lush and tropical-looking a garden you can develop.

Now the opportunity to see some of these gardens is near. The August schedule for the 1996 International Palm Society Biennial in California includes four private gardens and the oportunityto see first hand some of the many exotic and beautiful palms that can be grown in a temperate climate. There is no substitute for learning from experienced growers, and seeing their mature collections. These gardens and these growers are among the best anywhere. The four gardens are those of Lois Rossten, Ralph Velez, Pauleen Sullivan and Louis Hooper. What follows is a summation of each garden and the unique growing techniques of each grower.

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