Martin Gibbons, c/o The Palm Centre
on this article:
Click here to read them or to add your own.
From where I am sitting on the verandah of our little
lodge on the game park in KwaZulu Natal, I can see a small herd
of wildebeeste, 2 rhinos on a far hillside, and a whole family of
giraffe. I am here in South Africa as guest of the South African
Palm Society who have invited me to give a lecture or two at their
A.G.M., and prior to this I couldnt miss the opportunity of spending
a few days with good friends in Durban who, hospitable as ever,
suggested a visit to a game park before the meeting in Johannesburg.
Palms are represented in the game park by two endemic species, Phoenix
reclinata, which lines many of the waterways, and a species of Hyphaene,
with unbranched trunks and blue/green, strongly recurved costapalmate
I am here with my fiancee, Emma, to whom I popped
the question a couple of weeks ago, and a few weeks in South Africa
seemed the perfect way for both of us to get over the shock. It
also seemed a great place to get away from the dreary weather that
has been plaguing the UK for months, indeed, the day before we left
it was snowing, albeit gently, with frost at night, and this in
the middle of April. Here, it is blissfully warm, not a cloud to
be seen in the sky, and a million stars to be seen at night, beautifully
complemented by the nocturnal roaring of a distant lion.
The SAPS are an active lot, and before we set off
for the game park, we spent a wonderful day visiting no less than
5 private gardens, followed by the Durban Botanic Garden, worth
a day by itself. Durban has a wonderful climate, and though truly
tropical palms will be zapped here by the first cold night, we did
see a superb selection at the different members houses, in fact,
everything we can grow (or attempt to grow) in the UK, plus a whole
lot more; everything from Trachycarpus to Cyrtostachys renda, the
Lipstick palm. Every two or three years these tropical beauties
get clobbered, but re-grow again until the next cold spell. We also
saw bottles and spindles, triangles, queens and butterflies, umbrellas
and majesties in great profusion.
Durban Botanic is a must for cycad enthusiasts;
it has a superb collection of giant and aged Encephalartos, not
least Encephalartos woodii, described as the rarest Cycad in the
world, but annually producing dozens of pups, all, unfortunately,
male. Back-crossing with E. natalensis, to which it is closely related
will, in time, get as close to pure Woodii as makes no difference.
Representatives from the other cycad families: Dioon, Cycas, Zamia,
Macrozamia etc. are here in quantity. All this and palms too, plus
home-made scones from the volunteer ladies who run the tea shop,
make it an essential on the things-to-do list of any self respecting
cycad or palm enthusiast who visits this wonderful country. Kew
with knobs on.
Regular readers will notice with this issue, that
we have changed the format to a larger size with a bigger and therefore
much more easily readable typeface. We hope you like the new layout,
and will spend less time squinting at the tiny type. A little reminder
that Chamaerops is also available on-line will not go amiss here.
Visit our website at www.palmsociety.org to get all the information.
I am really pleased with some of the articles in
this new expanded issue and I particularly enjoyed Zamias and Chiguas
in Colombia. This would be the most wonderful country to visit but
as the author points out with great clarity, it is an extremely
dangerous place to be, especially off the beaten track, and no cycad
is worth the risk of kidnapping to find. I well remember our short
visit there a few years back, driving around in a bright green,
obviously rented car which positively screamed "Tourists".
We took a quick drive to see the wonderful Ceroxylon quinduiense,
then scuttled back out of the country, never so glad to leave anywhere.
I hope you will enjoy this new issue as we go into our second decade.
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27-09-21 - 13:57GMT
|| 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...