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Brahea Axel

why do people hate palm trees?

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Darold Petty

Whenever I visit Santa Cruz I am surprised and dismayed by the boring, conventional landscaping dominant there. In all my visits I have seen only two outdoor Howea forsteriana palms. The SC coastline is south facing, similar to Santa Barbara, and has a much more favorable microclimate than San Francisco.

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Brahea Axel

Whenever I visit Santa Cruz I am surprised and dismayed by the boring, conventional landscaping dominant there. In all my visits I have seen only two outdoor Howea forsteriana palms. The SC coastline is south facing, similar to Santa Barbara, and has a much more favorable microclimate than San Francisco.

Tell me about it! This really is frustrating. The only howea I know of are on 41st avenue and another one in a private garden near broadway. There are several healthy king palms in town, at least we've got that. But as a whole, a big shame on the City of Santa Cruz for turning its back on its horticultural heritage. Eras when the city was more progressive can be seen at City hall, which is landscaped in a palmy California style in complete opposition to the rest of the city's new landscaping policy.

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Jim in Los Altos

Nearby Capitola is so different. There are palms everywhere, both publically planted and in private gardens. Of course they are mostly common queens and windmill palms but I've seen Howea, Rhopalostylis, Archontophonix, Butia, Brahea, and others. Santa Cruz has "lost it" and it's too bad but it's neighboring towns "get it".

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David in Berkeley

Having spent one winter living in downtown Santa Cruz back in the mid 1980's, I can tell you that it isn't as mild in winter as one might think! All that cold air off the mountains pools downtown, and they can get heavy frosts. Now the slopes above downtown, and the coastal neighborhoods just west of downtown are banana belts, and do have a fair amount of palms and subtropicals. Maybe we should remember that the adjoining mountains are Coast Redwood territory, and the visual aesthetics really are more coniferous forest than subtropical.

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JEFF IN MODESTO

I too used to live in SC back in the 80's.

I lived on Rankin St, closed to the Ocean. I can telll you it was Blahhhhhh.

Like now, while driving around I used to pay attention to whats growing in others yards and it always seemed to be the same ol crap.

With out summer heat what did grow there always seemed to have a yellowed tinged to things. Perhaps it was the salt in the air or something?

Jeff

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Brahea Axel

Having spent one winter living in downtown Santa Cruz back in the mid 1980's, I can tell you that it isn't as mild in winter as one might think! All that cold air off the mountains pools downtown, and they can get heavy frosts. Now the slopes above downtown, and the coastal neighborhoods just west of downtown are banana belts, and do have a fair amount of palms and subtropicals. Maybe we should remember that the adjoining mountains are Coast Redwood territory, and the visual aesthetics really are more coniferous forest than subtropical.

There's a big difference between chill and frost. Considering there is a 30 year old ficus downtown, and city hall has stuff like silk floss that's been there for years, not to mention avocado Street trees over 100 years old, downtown is relatively mild. But it is sunset 15 not 16.

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David in Berkeley

My point exactly, Sunset zone 15 gets regular freezes and can be hard on plants like Bougainvilla. I live in a zone 17, and design most client gardens in zone 16 which provide lots more options. I was shocked that winter how many nights dropped down to 27/28°F in the winter, when back in San Francisco or Berkeley it didn't even freeze. Granted there are warmer microclimates that do allow some big tender trees/palms to thrive. If I wereto move back down there, I'd be looking only in warmer zone 16 spots.I've been on several garden tours in the Santa Cruz area that had plenty of interesting diverse gardens, so they do exist, but overall there is more diversity here in my Berkeley/Oakland area on average than Santa Cruz, or even Marin County.

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Brahea Axel

My point exactly, Sunset zone 15 gets regular freezes and can be hard on plants like Bougainvilla. I live in a zone 17, and design most client gardens in zone 16 which provide lots more options. I was shocked that winter how many nights dropped down to 27/28°F in the winter, when back in San Francisco or Berkeley it didn't even freeze. Granted there are warmer microclimates that do allow some big tender trees/palms to thrive. If I wereto move back down there, I'd be looking only in warmer zone 16 spots.I've been on several garden tours in the Santa Cruz area that had plenty of interesting diverse gardens, so they do exist, but overall there is more diversity here in my Berkeley/Oakland area on average than Santa Cruz, or even Marin County.

That's why I live in the hills, major difference in temperatures. But the bonus side for Santa Cruz is that Summers are considerably warmer than Berkeley. The Delaveaga peak average Summer high in Sept is 79F. My summer average here in the hills is 80F starting already in July. Up another 500 feet is even warmer, closer to 87F with overnight lows in the mid to upper 60's.

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jfrye01@live.com

Old post, I know, but I feel like I need to contribute to this discussion...I have a friend who lives in Fort Worth...She doesn't even realize palm trees grow there, and when I told her, she was genuinely surprised. I believe the issue is people expect certain plants to be in certain cities. For example: Here in Wichita, Oak and maple trees are common. Same for Dallas/Fort Worth. When people see palms in DFW, they look out of place. Even as a palm addict, the palms in DFW just seem weird...it doesn't seem right that I can drive four hours from Kansas and be surrounded by palm trees...not that I'm complaining...I think it just all comes down to the expectations people have. Just my $.02

-Jacob in Kansas

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Brahea Axel

If you go to 38N here in California you're not gonna see a lot of palms even though a lot of the State at that latitude is still 9b. Even at 37N in the Bay area, part of which is USDA 10a, people are into maples more than palms. But when you go to Los Angeles at 33N, palms are the focal point of landscapes. Hence the motivation behind this thread. My rant is that our climate is quite palmy being 9b and above, yet it's full of palm haters.

However, the further East you go, the less hospitable 38N becomes. El Dorado Kansas is 38N but USDA 6a, Dallas is 32N but USDA 8a. Taking into account latitude, seems normal that you would see a few more palms in Dallas than in El Dorado. Go further East, and it improves only slightly as you get closer to the Atlantic. Tennessee (6b) for example seems pretty inhospitable to palms. And in Virginia and just south of Washington DC by the time you reach the Atlantic, it's 7a, still not exactly very palmy there either.

Now the last thing I'd like to know is how fast you drive? 386 miles in four hours? That's 97MPH, I guess you don't stop flying even when you're in a car. :)

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Sabal Steve

If you go to 38N here in California you're not gonna see a lot of palms even though a lot of the State at that latitude is still 9b. Even at 37N in the Bay area, part of which is USDA 10a, people are into maples more than palms. But when you go to Los Angeles at 33N, palms are the focal point of landscapes. Hence the motivation behind this thread. My rant is that our climate is quite palmy being 9b and above, yet it's full of palm haters.

However, the further East you go, the less hospitable 38N becomes. El Dorado Kansas is 38N but USDA 6a, Dallas is 32N but USDA 8a. Taking into account latitude, seems normal that you would see a few more palms in Dallas than in El Dorado. Go further East, and it improves only slightly as you get closer to the Atlantic. Tennessee (6b) for example seems pretty inhospitable to palms. And in Virginia and just south of Washington DC by the time you reach the Atlantic, it's 7a, still not exactly very palmy there either.

Now the last thing I'd like to know is how fast you drive? 386 miles in four hours? That's 97MPH, I guess you don't stop flying even when you're in a car. :)

Lol!

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NorthFlpalmguy

I feel the need to contribute to this thread also. I see no point in downing the palms. Some folks never realize what palms look like in their native state such as the washy with their skirts of fans. I have heard comments from folks that didn't know some sabals were booted to the soil level as all they have seen were clear trunk specimens. The european fan is another specimen that comes to mind is not as aesethic or ornamental IMO as when it is pruned to show its curvy, sometimes multiple trunks. So I can see those comments.

Palms are always in good demand so more folks like them than not. I have a good friend and his dad that do nothing but sell large sabals. They sell thousands per year every year and have for 30+ years (his dad anyways). The demand has always been there with and without the housing boom so I find it hard to believe that the palm haters are but a few.

A few years ago I had a lady and her father come to buy a few thousand 3 gallon pots. She looked out into my fields and my container palms and commented that she wasn't real impressed with palms like most folks are as she grew up in south Florida. I was stunned. i would never come into someone's nursery and say that no matter ever if I thought it. Later on in the conversation I found out they grew boxwoods and regular "run of the mill" lanscape items so I felt the same way about their business LOL. That is the only hater I have ever seen and for the one hater I have seen hundreds upon hundreds of palm fanatics.

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jfrye01@live.com

If you go to 38N here in California you're not gonna see a lot of palms even though a lot of the State at that latitude is still 9b. Even at 37N in the Bay area, part of which is USDA 10a, people are into maples more than palms. But when you go to Los Angeles at 33N, palms are the focal point of landscapes. Hence the motivation behind this thread. My rant is that our climate is quite palmy being 9b and above, yet it's full of palm haters.

However, the further East you go, the less hospitable 38N becomes. El Dorado Kansas is 38N but USDA 6a, Dallas is 32N but USDA 8a. Taking into account latitude, seems normal that you would see a few more palms in Dallas than in El Dorado. Go further East, and it improves only slightly as you get closer to the Atlantic. Tennessee (6b) for example seems pretty inhospitable to palms. And in Virginia and just south of Washington DC by the time you reach the Atlantic, it's 7a, still not exactly very palmy there either.

Haha:P Well, I actually live closer to Wichita than El Dorado, however, I have an El Dorado address...and I start noticing palm trees by the time I'm to Denton, a suburb about 45 miles outside of Dallas...Actually going into downtown Dallas, especially since the traffic in that city sucks, takes me a good 5.5-6 hours. At least.

Now the last thing I'd like to know is how fast you drive? 386 miles in four hours? That's 97MPH, I guess you don't stop flying even when you're in a car. :)

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jfrye01@live.com

I feel the need to contribute to this thread also. I see no point in downing the palms. Some folks never realize what palms look like in their native state such as the washy with their skirts of fans. I have heard comments from folks that didn't know some sabals were booted to the soil level as all they have seen were clear trunk specimens. The european fan is another specimen that comes to mind is not as aesethic or ornamental IMO as when it is pruned to show its curvy, sometimes multiple trunks. So I can see those comments.

Palms are always in good demand so more folks like them than not. I have a good friend and his dad that do nothing but sell large sabals. They sell thousands per year every year and have for 30+ years (his dad anyways). The demand has always been there with and without the housing boom so I find it hard to believe that the palm haters are but a few.

A few years ago I had a lady and her father come to buy a few thousand 3 gallon pots. She looked out into my fields and my container palms and commented that she wasn't real impressed with palms like most folks are as she grew up in south Florida. I was stunned. i would never come into someone's nursery and say that no matter ever if I thought it. Later on in the conversation I found out they grew boxwoods and regular "run of the mill" lanscape items so I felt the same way about their business LOL. That is the only hater I have ever seen and for the one hater I have seen hundreds upon hundreds of palm fanatics.

That was rude of her to say that...Perhaps I see more "palm haters" because I visit places where there are indeed palms (Wichita has a few Sabal minors and trachies sprinkled around, Tulsa and OKC have some sabal minors, trunking sabals and trachies as well, and of course, DFW being the Washy capital of Texas...) The problem around here is, people don't expect to see them, which is understandable, as we are zone 6 and there are probably none that can actually grow here without tons of help. The two trachies I see in Wichita often look very "ratty" after winter, and it always takes 4-5 months for them to look good again...the Wichita Eagle newspaper did an article about these palms a year or so back, and the online comments on this article were just terrible...this city is full of palm haters...people were saying things like "this isn't Florida, those things are ugly, I'm gonna go chop 'em down"...it was heartbreaking really:/

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tropicbreeze

I came across some comments recently, people saying they didn't want to have a garden of telegraph poles. It's all about perceptions.

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SueH_AZ

This topic made me laugh. I stumbled across this article last year and was just shaking my head at how ignorant and narrow-minded the author was...

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/tim-steller-this-is-tucson-so-let-s-ditch-the/article_7d0179ad-ea0d-543b-8b9b-a4738608a18f.html

Little shade? I dunno, the two large phoenix canariensis in our backyard provide quite a bit.

You can have your messy desert trees, dude (I've yet to find one that doesn't litter like crazy). I'll keep my palm trees.

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jfrye01@live.com

This topic made me laugh. I stumbled across this article last year and was just shaking my head at how ignorant and narrow-minded the author was...

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/tim-steller-this-is-tucson-so-let-s-ditch-the/article_7d0179ad-ea0d-543b-8b9b-a4738608a18f.html

Little shade? I dunno, the two large phoenix canariensis in our backyard provide quite a bit.

You can have your messy desert trees, dude (I've yet to find one that doesn't litter like crazy). I'll keep my palm trees.

This topic made me laugh. I stumbled across this article last year and was just shaking my head at how ignorant and narrow-minded the author was...

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/tim-steller-this-is-tucson-so-let-s-ditch-the/article_7d0179ad-ea0d-543b-8b9b-a4738608a18f.html

Little shade? I dunno, the two large phoenix canariensis in our backyard provide quite a bit.

You can have your messy desert trees, dude (I've yet to find one that doesn't litter like crazy). I'll keep my palm trees.

It's funny, I too have read that article before! Very narrow minded author! It ALWAYS goes back to that same false premise: "palms are strictly tropical". It never fails. The people who don't like palms in their cities always cite that behind their ignorant reasoning...it SERIOUSLY angers me every time I read that or hear somebody say it...Washingtonia filifera/robusta and CIDP are NOT grown there to make the place look tropical. Those are not tropical palms and are not intended to create a tropical look. Those are desert trees, just as much as mesquite...they grow those palms there simply because they flourish there...that is it. Same reason people grow maple trees in Kansas. Not because we want to look like Canada, but because those trees grow well here. I wish that author and people that carry that same belief would understand that...

Rant over :)

-Jacob in Kansas

Edited by jfrye01@live.com
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Sabal Steve

I came across some comments recently, people saying they didn't want to have a garden of telegraph poles. It's all about perceptions.

Maybe they're just resentful because they were duped into putting "telegraph" poles through their city:) When cell phones arrive they will relax a bit.

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Brahea Axel

I came across some comments recently, people saying they didn't want to have a garden of telegraph poles. It's all about perceptions.

I had no idea Australians still used the telegraph...

FYI, looks like last Summer, India finally shut down the last remaining telegraph system in the world, a 163 year old relic that was actually still being used.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-163-year-old-telegraph-service-passing-into-history-1860907

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smithgn

I came across some comments recently, people saying they didn't want to have a garden of telegraph poles. It's all about perceptions.

A very interesting way of thinking...

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tropicbreeze

I came across some comments recently, people saying they didn't want to have a garden of telegraph poles. It's all about perceptions.

I had no idea Australians still used the telegraph...

FYI, looks like last Summer, India finally shut down the last remaining telegraph system in the world, a 163 year old relic that was actually still being used.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-163-year-old-telegraph-service-passing-into-history-1860907

It was actually on an internet forum, someone in the US mentioning palms commented that he wouldn't like a garden of telegraph poles, and a whole lot of others chorused in agreement, all were from the US. Most weren't against palms per se, mainly trunks with crowns you had to look up to see. Guess most thought palm crowns should be at or close to ground level.

Haven't heard that comment here though. Mostly it's "They aren't native", ignoring the fact that many are. But we do have telegraph poles here. I know the section they've preserved near Alice Springs that was part of the first connection of the colonies to England. A few historic sites still have some. In some remote areas there's also some that have been abandoned but haven't fallen down yet.

Anyway, my place is loaded with them. I'd have between 300 - 400 of what would qualify as "telegraph poles" under their definition, even if some are a little slender and curvy. Don't mind at all, more coming.

pt_n_140223_25.jpg

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NorCalWill

A. because the average person is clueless about plants.

B. because walk into any Home Depot, and you will find an out of proportion selection of Queen palms to other species.

C. because most people have never been inspired by visiting a beautiful palm collection or have visited the tropics.

D. because many people who have visited the tropics are clueless about plants.

E. because in some cases, palms just don't fit into the landscape.

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Moose

Andrew hates crotons :rant:

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Darold Petty

Examples like this are part of the problem.. (Washingtonia robusta)

post-31-0-71295700-1396793602_thumb.jpg

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Brahea Axel

Examples like this are part of the problem.. (Washingtonia robusta)

Washingtonia doesn't belong in coastal northern California, it just looks horrible in those conditions. whenever I visit Riverside I notice how beautiful Washingtonia can be, lush, with much bigger crowns.

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David in Berkeley

I think the Washingtonia robusta's look quite well right next to the San Francisco Bay in Alameda and at the new ball park stadium in San Francisco, and throughout the Mission District. Definitely coastal northern California conditions, and while not looking "fat" like those in inland southern California, once they lose the old fronds in wind or have them removed mechanically, they are gorgeous skyline palms. Still wouldn't want one in my own small yard, they are the essence of a telephone pole at close viewing, but then so are King and Queen palms locally.

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Sabal Steve

I have no idea why the bix boxes around here dont carry Bizzies (except on rare occasions), among other easy So. Cal. palms. I have to imagine that there are a number of palms that can be grown for the same cost, or less. B. armata, Sabal sp., D. baronii, etc... Let's replace those Florida coconuts with B.alfredii!!!

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Moose

Steve - some big box stores have a plant guarantee for one year. If the plant is returned, i.e. dead, it is put on the vendor. It may be that plant vendors are not interested in supplying a plant that an unknowing homeowner will never water or may not properly install.

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Sabal Steve

Steve - some big box stores have a plant guarantee for one year. If the plant is returned, i.e. dead, it is put on the vendor. It may be that plant vendors are not interested in supplying a plant that an unknowing homeowner will never water or may not properly install.

I agree. It just seems like there would be palms other than kings, queens, pygmies, canaries, medit. fans, and washingtonias that could just as easily make it here.

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Pando

Probably because of sights like this. Even the tree on the left seems disgusted by it.

cell-palm-tree.jpg

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Sabal Steve

Probably because of sights like this. Even the tree on the left seems disgusted by it.

cell-palm-tree.jpg

At least the conifer versions of this are fairly convincing.

post-7959-0-44980900-1396852831.jpeg

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cfkingfish

Sounds like first world problems to me, or people have nothing to write about. Palms are arguably the most useful structural plant on the planet - oil, fuel, food, shelter, aesthetics. I guess we can't please the shade lovers, but I know palm growers in Miami that dont use their AC ever because their house is completely shaded by palms. These people have little experience with them and aren't qualified to write about them - it's just that simple. It is like thinking before they speak - they should research before they write.

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NorthFlpalmguy

Steve - some big box stores have a plant guarantee for one year. If the plant is returned, i.e. dead, it is put on the vendor. It may be that plant vendors are not interested in supplying a plant that an unknowing homeowner will never water or may not properly install.

Bingo. Most of the nurserymen I know are not desperate enough to sell to the big box stores.

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Brahea Axel

Steve - some big box stores have a plant guarantee for one year. If the plant is returned, i.e. dead, it is put on the vendor. It may be that plant vendors are not interested in supplying a plant that an unknowing homeowner will never water or may not properly install.

Bingo. Most of the nurserymen I know are not desperate enough to sell to the big box stores.

I spoke to a wholesaler about this once. It's not the return policy that deters growers from shipping to big box stores, especially home depot, it's the fact that the big box stores really squeeze the growers. The only way to really make enough money is to have an enormous volume. This is why you see mostly queen and other commodity palms. They're cheap because they're commodity - the market is flooded with them because they're cheap (i.e. they grow fast) and easy to germinate. You will never see palms at home depot that are not grown on a large scale.

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Brad Mondel

Also, big box stores don't take care of their plants. That's why vendors work there, to make sure the plants don't die and actually merchandise product. I've seen hundreds of palms trashed because hd would not water them.

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David in Berkeley

It really depends on the particular Home Depot, as there's at least one exception to your blanket statement Axel. Check out the HD in San Rafael, the nursery manager there is brilliant, and has the highest volume nursery sales of any HD within California, and also has the autonomy to order what he knows he can sell. I regularly make the drive across the bridge if I don't have time to go further to a wholesale grower, and always know I can find great selection and/or unusual species. Most recently I picked up some nice Brahea armatas, and they also had B. edulis and Butia capitata. Another designer friend got some Bismarckia nobilis there a few weeks ago, which I still think is marginal up here, but not all HD's are equal. I wish we had a Charlie Rossi on my side of the bay!

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Brahea Axel

It really depends on the particular Home Depot, as there's at least one exception to your blanket statement Axel. Check out the HD in San Rafael, the nursery manager there is brilliant, and has the highest volume nursery sales of any HD within California, and also has the autonomy to order what he knows he can sell. I regularly make the drive across the bridge if I don't have time to go further to a wholesale grower, and always know I can find great selection and/or unusual species. Most recently I picked up some nice Brahea armatas, and they also had B. edulis and Butia capitata. Another designer friend got some Bismarckia nobilis there a few weeks ago, which I still think is marginal up here, but not all HD's are equal. I wish we had a Charlie Rossi on my side of the bay!

I am going to have to check out that San Rafael store, not that I get out that way all that often, it's more than 100 miles North of here. Too bad not all Home Depots do this.

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Ben in Norcal

My HD in Concord carries all these as well. I have more and more armatas and edulis dotted around my yard as a result...

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SueH_AZ

It really depends on the particular Home Depot, as there's at least one exception to your blanket statement Axel. Check out the HD in San Rafael, the nursery manager there is brilliant, and has the highest volume nursery sales of any HD within California, and also has the autonomy to order what he knows he can sell. I regularly make the drive across the bridge if I don't have time to go further to a wholesale grower, and always know I can find great selection and/or unusual species. Most recently I picked up some nice Brahea armatas, and they also had B. edulis and Butia capitata. Another designer friend got some Bismarckia nobilis there a few weeks ago, which I still think is marginal up here, but not all HD's are equal. I wish we had a Charlie Rossi on my side of the bay!

We had a HD like that here in Mesa, Arizona, but when we went there a couple of weeks ago, we noticed very few unique plants and that it was looking more and more like a regular HD garden center. The last time we visited with the guy who did the ordering there last fall, he mentioned that they were pressuring him to standardize. We also didn't see him there, which was unusual for a Saturday.

I suspect they either got rid of him for not wanting to conform or he left because it wasn't fun for him to order the ordinary stuff...

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aztropic

It really depends on the particular Home Depot, as there's at least one exception to your blanket statement Axel. Check out the HD in San Rafael, the nursery manager there is brilliant, and has the highest volume nursery sales of any HD within California, and also has the autonomy to order what he knows he can sell. I regularly make the drive across the bridge if I don't have time to go further to a wholesale grower, and always know I can find great selection and/or unusual species. Most recently I picked up some nice Brahea armatas, and they also had B. edulis and Butia capitata. Another designer friend got some Bismarckia nobilis there a few weeks ago, which I still think is marginal up here, but not all HD's are equal. I wish we had a Charlie Rossi on my side of the bay!

We had a HD like that here in Mesa, Arizona, but when we went there a couple of weeks ago, we noticed very few unique plants and that it was looking more and more like a regular HD garden center. The last time we visited with the guy who did the ordering there last fall, he mentioned that they were pressuring him to standardize. We also didn't see him there, which was unusual for a Saturday.

I suspect they either got rid of him for not wanting to conform or he left because it wasn't fun for him to order the ordinary stuff...

Ken is still there... Management was asking him to tone it down a notch but a lot of the exotic stuff he used to bring in just hasn't been available for him to order anymore.Bottle palms and cocconuts come to mind...

aztropic

Mesa,Arizona

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