Spring update

Posted: 27 Mar 2010

With the moving forward of the clocks tonight and the passing of the spring equinox can we finally hope that spring is truly here now?

Certainly it is nice to see the days lengthening and the sun getting back its strength and of course plants and indeed animals are responding accordingly. I have a number of species of wild birds nesting or prospecting for nesting sites in the garden including a robin that for the second year is nesting in the base of the leaves of my Butia! Last year it raised two broods so fingers crossed for a repeat this year. The pond too is full of frog spawn, the frogs emerging just over a week ago to take over the pond so surely they know spring is here.

All around I see blooms now on daffodils, crocus, Camellia and many other bulbs and shrubs.

I was tidying up in the garden today and noticed that on my Trachycarpus wagnerianus and also nanus the flower pouches are beginning to develop which is a good sign that things are looking up!

Winter has certainly been hard for many of us and I know I have lost a number of plants, many of which have been growing outside for a number of years now but this winter proved one too many. I am ever hopeful some will recover but accept others are gone. If you have palms that have suffered from 'spear pull' all may not be lost. If you can clear the mess from the growing centre of the palms trunk left once the emerging but dead leaves have been pulled out then I would apply some fungicide into the hole. With the coming growing season kicking off it may be that the growing point isn't dead and gradually new leaves could still start to come back. A little patience may prove dividends so to speak!

Equally I accept we will all have probably lost some plants that we had cherished or been pushing the boundaries of what we could try and grow in our local climate. Losing a plant is hard and sad but at least it gives a chance to re-think and start again with something else. I think our exotic plant nurseries are already starting to stock up with goodies to tempt us and some of the species have probably not been offered before or at least not offered in anything more than seedlings. So do look around, we could all do with cheering up!

I would like to say a big thank you to many members who have been offering seeds and seedlings via the forum in return for donations to the society. It is much appreciated and all funds raised go on the society website and improving it. There have been some super species on offer from rare Sabals, forms of Chamaerops, Trachycarpus species and forms, Guihaia and most recently seeds of Trachycarpus nanusXfortunei which must be a first time offering. It is a generous act and a great way to try some unusual seeds for a modest amount of money. Thanks again to the donors and buyers for supporting the society.

Whilst speaking of seeds I had the latest newsletter from RarePalmseeds.com today. I am always amazed at the number of species that are available now and some very, very exciting new species amongst them. If I had a large garden in a warmer climate I could go palm seed crazy! Especially nice sounding is Pritchardia hillebrandii (Huelo Blue) - Huelo Isle Blue Palm from Hawaii. Sounds like an amazing looking palm from an incredible habitat and potentially a companion for the stunning Bismarckia in gardens lucky enough to be able to grow it.

Lets hope the weather has now turned the corner and we can look forward to a good growing season and recovery of plants damaged this past winter. It would be good to learn of plants that have come through unscathed too as sometimes the most unexpected palms and plants defiantly come through winters like we have just had and prove hardier than we thought - it is worth sharing that information.

Kind regards


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