In January 2020 The Merwin Conservancy officially took on the stewardship of the house and palm garden of poet W.S. Merwin on Maui. As we have been cataloging personal items in the house, we discovered boxes of files containing letters about the early days of seed exchanges, conservation work, and friendships revolving around palms. Some of these letters written more than 30 years ago include correspondence between Inga Hoffman coordinating the IPS seedbank out of the Southern California Palm Society Chapter, Grant Hawley from Aitkenvale North Queensland, and Norm Patterson in Western Australia (he mentions the Western Australia Palm and Cycad Society being only 2 years old). We are just starting to go through these now, and I hope those in the PalmTalk community might help me put more context around these pen pals. Grant Hawley's letters include descriptions of his own gardening situation, it would be interesting to find out what happened since those letters. William had been working on a Pritchardia project and mentions sending a few wild collected seeds to his network. I've only scratched the surface and I assume there will be many more kindred spirits in the piles of correspondence. The letters are an interesting snapshot of the world of serious amateur palm collecting - species lists, wish lists, and old certificates like the photo attached.
The final stop for our Fall Meeting was a private garden in SW FL. Ownership was generous with free plants and seeds galore. There was a formal tour of the garden and we were allowed to freely explore the area, picking up seeds, seedlings and cuttings along the way. Among the giveaways were Foxy Lady seedlings, variegated versions of old favorites like Rhapidophyllum hystrix, cuttings from rare cacti and succulents. The garden also featured a Brahea armata; a very tough grow in SW FL. With stone walking paths, dense foliage, plenty of rare palms and some desert flora mixed in, the garden really did have a rain forest feel. In this case, I think the garden speaks for itself.
My latest blog entry is a big bundle of tour photos and society ideas. The gardens that I visited are all in the LA/OC area.
One idea that I forgot to include is to compile a list of all the Anthuriums and Hoyas/Dischidias that people are growing outside year around here in Southern California. Almost a decade ago I did something similar for monopodial orchids. Creating and maintaining such lists would be a perfect job for the Epiphyte Society of Southern California (ESSC). Then again, the ESSC doesn't have nearly as many resources as the Huntington.
It's all about the priorities. For example, I've been meaning to reply to Tracy's thread about orchids for pseudobulb beauty. I've also been meaning to invite him over to get some plants, since there's a chance that I might be moving. If anybody is interested in driving to Glendale for free plants send me a PM. I have Ficus thonningii in a 30" (?) box that would be free to a good home. Plus, I have a Ficus lutea... big cuttings of it are perfect for creating a phorobana. I love the idea of epiphytically enriching potted plants.
Another idea that I really love is an online plant show. An online plant show!? Yes, you could "attend" the show in your underwear.
Here's an online cat show. The cats are ranked by donations (1 vote = $1 donation). All the money goes to a cat welfare non-profit.
For the online plant show, all the money could go towards plant conservation. Or it could go to the Palm Society. Or it could go to the ESSC. Or perhaps donors could specify which organization they want their donation to go to.
There are other advantages of an online plant show besides raising money for worthy causes and being able to attend in your underwear. For example, we could see who has the biggest/best Aloe Hercules. Because it's not like I can enter my Hercules into a traditional plant show. We could also decide, as a group, whether Santa Barbara's Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla) is better than San Diego's. Plus, anybody in the world could enter plants into the show, so we could see the best Moreton Bay Fig in the world.
Since the show wouldn't be limited by geography or plant size, it could potentially be the biggest/best plant show in the world. This means that we'd all be introduced to many awesome plants.
It’s been seven weeks since that sudden heat wave on July 6, 2018 and the extent of damage and potential recovery are a lot more evident.
It was, as a British client said, “rather nasty.”
Here’s my neighbor’s poor avocado tree.
Rather nasty indeed.
Why Are There Palm Trees in Los Angeles? (Turn out it's an image thing.) https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/why-are-there-palm-trees-in-los-angeles