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IPS Biennial Visit to Searle Brothers Nursery - May 25th 2014

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Palmarum

2014 IPS Biennial - South Florida

Day 2: Sunday, May 25th

Evening BBQ

Searle Brothers Nursery, Inc.

SW Ranches, Florida

After such a long wait and anticipation, the day the Biennial visited the nursery was finally here. The nursery went through an incredible amount of preparation in order to get ready for what would be a rather brief, two-hour visit. It was more than worth it as the nursery had never looked better and the palms were primed for display. No detail was spared to make the BBQ dinner as elegant and as inviting as possible. Many of the regular personnel familiar to those who frequent the Extravaganza were on hand to assist the event. A few attendees that had skipped the day trip to Central Florida and some of the bonus BBQ attendees arrived throughout the afternoon. The entire day leading up to the arrival of the attendees was spent in rapid preparation, up to the last minute before we saw the buses pull up...

- Video: 6:00PM - In addition to the photos I took, Travis Searle (Copter Guy) brought his drone to take aerial videos of the event. The first video starts right as the buses and some of the extra vehicles arrived at the nursery. It follows the attendees as they make their way into the nursery and down the main road towards the BBQ.

http://youtu.be/t5Yvn0WHsZI

Ryan

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Palmarum

- Video: - The second video continues from a few minutes after the first one, showing attendees gathering under the Royal Poinciana. It is also known as the 'Holding Area' as it served as the dining and seating area for the BBQ. After they posed with the banner for a series of group photos, attendees either headed for the buffet under the barn or scattered to check out the palms. Notice a few of the servers handing out welcoming drinks for attendees. Some were more interested in the drone than anything else at the time.

http://youtu.be/ys2ca6wH4Ys

Ryan

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Palmarum

- Video: - The third and last video of the evening shows the general activity of the BBQ. Attendees were getting food under the barn, already seated and eating, exploring the nursery and walking through the shadehouse.

http://youtu.be/wxu-5IfMATo

Ryan

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bgl

Ryan,

Watched all three in their entirety! Great coverage, and I guess that can be interpreted in more ways than one in this context :) , and the only thing that's slightly distracting is the noise but I guess not much that can be done about that... :bummed: And even though it was a brief visit, it was definitely a great experience to finally see the nursery in person (after all your photos here on PalmTalk! :)

Bo-Göran

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Palmarum

- I didn't start taking photos until about a half hour before the buses arrived. I was running around trying to tag the majority of the palms in the landscape with lavender tags. The Holding Area received a huge makeover. A few specimens were added in and around the seedhouse, including that Hydriastele dransfieldii on the right between the tables.

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- The preparation of the food was well underway under the barn. Kylie Searle finds Larry Searle as she was wandering around. Getting everything ready was like a cross between one of Jeff's parties at his house and a plant sale at the nursery.

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- Frank 'Pops' Searle at his post. Jeff and company were thinking of where he should be during the arrival of the attendees, but we all figured many know him from his post on a golf cart, so why not do that.

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- One section of the seating area was left devoid of tables for the group photo to take place as soon as attendees arrived. Everything was staged nearby so the tables could be 'rolled in' and set up immediately following the photo, or photos as it turned out to be. In the center, Amber Searle searches for Kylie as I notice a few branches that needed to be trimmed from the Royal Poinciana. They were blocking the banner.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- Forum member Travis Searle (Copter Guy) gathers his daughter Kylie and waits for the event to begin .

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- I took my position on a ladder to get a better perspective of the area and to take the group photo. Biennial veteran, Houston area collector and FM. Paul Norris (Palmnorris) came over to take my photo. He had to change his camera settings so I took his photo in the interim.

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- I was the subject at the moment. Larry ordered his daughter Mandy Searle to also take my photo up on the ladder. Mandy was one of the beverage servers during the BBQ.

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- It was getting close to 6:00PM and some of the bonus BBQ attendees and a few of the non-biennial-attending IPS board members began to arrive.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- [snip, snip, snip] - Yup. Much better.

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- Andrea and her crew made sure that every aspect of the food spread was flawless and perfectly presented. Michelle Searle was organizing the Sterno burners under the trays. I also think she was eating some of the spread early.

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- "Which species is that?"

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- The main shadehouse was in full presentation mode. Every brown frond, scant weed and speck of loose dirt was properly disposed of for the event. Jeff selected a group of sixty-plus rare and unusual specimens to line down the center of the shadehouse sidewalk. They were on display to represent the nursery and The Rainforest Collection. Two tables were set up on the right with a selection of rare palms for attendees to purchase; if they could not resist getting a palm during the visit to take home.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- Getting closer and closer to show time. We were getting updates throughout the afternoon on the status of the Biennial from those on the tour in the north, mostly for E.T.A. reports. One of the few to ever garner both titles Biennial Host and Biennial Attendee at the same time, Jeff Searle and his brother Larry go over last minute details. Jeff was enjoying one of the specialty treats of the event, a Brandy Slushie, a frozen cocktail made popular by way of Searle events and parties.

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- Travis readies his drone for aerial filming. He and Paul were heading for the front of the nursery, to take the first video posted above.

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- Andrea and Jeff get anxious as the time ticked closer to six o'clock. They and Larry go over the logistics of the early part of the event, as they wanted the group photo taken with the banner and then wanted the banner taken down so that attendees could sign it.

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- Neighbor to Jeff and Andrea for a long time, Suzy Calderon assists the food prep under the barn along with Jeff's sister Kathy and Michelle. They were organizing the food so that attendees could reach everything from both sides of the tables.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- Yes, it did smell as good as it looks. Mexican favorites were on hand for the hungry, including every taco topping one can think of, guacamole, cheese and different salsas. I need to invent a scratch-n-sniff photo.

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- Andrea and company were getting the utensils ready before moving on to the desserts.

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- Kylie was guarding the cooler with the booze stash. The glass juice dispenser on the left was ready with the welcoming drink, a refreshing vodka lemonade. A non-vodka version was also available and they were served to attendees as they arrived.

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- Mandy scoops up a Brandy Slushie.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- Alcohol and bug spray, must be summer in S. Florida.

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- Members of the IPS Board of Directors began to arrive just prior to the buses.

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- IPS Director and FM. Paul Craft (Licuala) can be seen to the left of the crowd in the dark blue, with his wife Patty on the other side of Jeff. FM. Randy Wiesner (palmislandRandy) is on the far right in the green Biennial t-shirt.

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- One of the table centerpieces was this cut leaf of a variegated Monstera deliciosa. It was taken from the plant growing in Jeff's yard just hours earlier.

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Ryan

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Walter John

Thanks Ryan and copter, and I had forgotten how much of a family Searle involvement it was. Thank you oh so much, Jeff and Andrea, what can I say ? legends..

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Palmarum

- "They're here... take your places!"

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- The buses arrived right on time. At a minute or two passed six o'clock, the attendees began to make their way down the main road. To the right of the power lines, you can see the drone making the first video.

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- With Paul at the wheel, Travis steers the drone down the road ahead of the attendees.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- The crowd slowly made its way into the nursery, with attendees stopping now and then to look at the palms and plants in the landscape around the parking area. Larry welcomed them to the nursery as they reached the dining area.

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- On the far right, Andrea took over as greeter as they reached the intersection. She also welcomed them and in addition, informed them as to where the food and beverages were located.

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- As soon as he noticed him arriving, Jeff welcomed IPS Director and FM. Dr. John Dransfield (John Dransfield) and guided him over to meet his father Frank 'Pops' Searle seated on the golf cart. Jeff was telling John the story of when his parents traveled to England and during the trip, had visited John at Kew and had him sign Jeff's copy of Genera Palmarum. Well, a few years ago the book received an 'addition autograph' by one of Jeff's grandkids (acted out by Jeff with his hands) which covered part of John's original signature; much to the chagrin of Jeff which in turn made John laugh.

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- They had arrived en masse and the event was underway. Cameras were being used in full force.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- The attendees began to gather at the dining area and do the 'meet and greet' with Jeff and others while looking around at the same time.

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Ryan

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BS Man about Palms

It was fun to "Spot the people I know"... I wish I was there.

Is the drone as noisey from the ground? I would think not as most people don't seem tremendously bothered by it.

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Palmarum

It was fun to "Spot the people I know"... I wish I was there.

Is the drone as noisey from the ground? I would think not as most people don't seem tremendously bothered by it.

It was great to see familiar faces once again and to meet new ones, known only from the Forum. The BBQ and the visit itself was rather short and I was scattered all over taking photos, identifying palms and plants and answering questions, that I did not have enough time to talk to everyone I knew as long as I wanted. It was a great experience though and I am glad I was apart of it. Bill, I did point out a few of the 'Sanford Palms' planted by you in the landscape.

If the drone is low and near the ground it is as noisy as it sounds in the video. As it gains a little altitude it starts to sound like a 'swarm of angry bees' as we describe it. I have never seen anyone bothered by the noise or the drone itself, just curiosity.

- During the first few minutes of the event, everyone was still grouped together and mingling by the dining area. As I was up on the ladder I became a photo subject myself.

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- With his back to me taking photos, FM. Jerry Andersen (jdapalms) was photographing everyone and everything while me and others were taking his photo. I was glad to see so many attendees taking photos, compared to my last biennial in Costa Rica.

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- The meet and greet continued. Mostly between the bonus BBQ attendees and the regular biennial attendees. The palms in the landscape started to draw people in as they got close.

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- Even small dogs have their day. Some of the attendees were familiar of the small black nursery dog known as Dumbo2 seen in many of my 'Ganza photos or they were just noticing the diminutive canine guard. In the center of the photo in the gray shirt and brown hat is IPS Director and FM. Grant Stephenson (Palmagrantit). He was trying to get Dumbo2 to pose for a photo, but she was too distracted.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- As the remaining attendees made their way to the intersection, Jeff began to ask them to stay around the dining area for a little while.

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- Palm people in their element. The swollen trunk of the Cuban Belly Palm, Acrocomia crispa, brought them over to the planting area where they started to notice other specimens. Towards the right in the space positioned above the landscape boulder, the Mealybug Palm, Dypsis mananjarensis, received a lot of attention.

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- Attendees began to gather around Jeff and the dining area...

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- Jeff started by welcoming everyone to the nursery and continued with a brief history. He went on to describe which areas of the nursery attendees should walk through and where the food and beverages were located. He then asked for everyone to pose under and in front of the banner for a group photo.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- Jeff continued his introduction as attendees gathered around closer to hear him. On the left in blue wielding the camera and as the only one walking towards me, FM. Bo-Göran Lundkvist (bgl) was making his way through the crowd to change position to get more photos, doing exactly as I would.

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- Jeff introduced me to the crowd as I was waving and taking photos simultaneously from the ladder.

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- He continued his introductions. Next, he pointed out his son Travis standing next to me as the pilot of the drone.

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- Now it was time for the group photo.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- With Jeff directing and me pointing, attendees began to form rows and sections in front of the banner. I could tell the attendees were tired and hungry, but they took direction perfectly.

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- "Squish together!" I took a series of photos, including spanning shots to get everyone.

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- Down the road I can stitch them together, but I wanted to cover the moment to the fullest.

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- I couldn't back up anymore as I was on the ladder, but I liked how the angle of the shot turned out and the sunlight hitting the back of the banner. Even Dumbo2 got in the shot.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- Time for food. The crowd broke from posing for the group photo and then made their way down the side road towards the barn, where a great spread awaited them. While in the act of piloting the drone, Travis had attendees come up to meet him in person after his father had introduced him to the crowd. A few of them thanked him for his military service, in response to knowledge of old forum topics that involved him and his entry into the U.S. Army that some might remember.

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- One has to get a nice beverage to go with dinner. Amber and Mandy assist attendees with what ever they wanted to drink.

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- The buffet was set up perfectly and attendees dove in as soon as they got their plates. On the right, Kathy continues to work on the final details as the lines began to form. Diving into the salsa on the far right, FM. Meg Price (PalmatierMeg) was one of the first in line.

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- On the left in the striped shirt, long time palm and tropical plant enthusiast Dan Keys gets his share of guacamole while IPS Director and FM. Dr. Larry Noblick (Noblick) [green shirt] works his way down the line on the right.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- I am not sure who had the artistic talent to make them, but located around the buffet and the barn were these palm inspired sculptures using fruit as a medium. I went to photograph another one I saw earlier, but someone ate it.

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- Additional attendee and locally known palm and flowering tree grower -- and FM. Dr. Scott Cohen (Scott Cohen) works the large spoon with expertise. To his right, IPS Director R. Haresh begins construction of a large taco.

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- Ken likes cheese.

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- The dessert table did not have to work hard to tempt people. A rugged, heavy-duty chocolate cake remained intact for a few minutes with a Key Lime pie waiting behind it, a traditional South Florida favorite.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- The mark the occasion with style, the nursery went and had a multilayer cake made for attendees.

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- Now that is a plate of food. When it comes to loading up a plate, Ken Johnson doesn't mess around.

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- The line formed and extended for a bit past the barn... reminiscent of lunch time at the 'Ganzas. Attendees spent the wait talking and viewing the palms in the landscape.

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- The line split into two as it reached the tables so the entire process moved efficiently. I think everyone who has experienced a Biennial or two has learned to never delay the food for attendees.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- The buffet was actually quiet as attendees went through the lines. I think they were eating with their eyes and were too busy concentrating on not over-loading their plates. They could have taken more than one trip if they wanted to and there was plenty of food.

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- Yum. It did smell as good as it looked.

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- The desserts multiplied. They were mocking me and my resistance to them was faltering.

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- Mandy and Amber kept the drinks coming. The supply of Brandy Slushies was steady as the amount made for the event was the most ever for a single occasion.

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Ryan

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Walter John

I hope you don't mind me tacking on to your thread here Ryan. Here's a few pics I took from the event. A huge thanks to Jeff and Andrea and all who arranged, worked and managed this afternoon, so very much appreciated. I had a pre meditated wish after I arrived, I wanted to get a ride with Pops Searle in one of the carts and the good gentleman was more than obliging, he gave me a mini tour with some history on the crotons and the nursery, thanks Pops, one of my special memories.

Randy on a solo run, gives a cool perspective to the fantastic adjoining palms.

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More of the biennial crew take it in, Gileno, Daryl, the usual suspects..

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Walter John

Inside the shade house some real gems are found and talked about.

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I thought this Euterpe orange crownshaft was outstanding, to think I have a couple growing at my palm garden on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Thanks Denise for helping me with a couple of photos.

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And here we are in the cart, made my day, and helped make my whole trip with this simple gesture, I told you I was easily pleased. :)

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That's all I have, thank you.

  • Upvote 1

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Palmarum

- Ahh the Norris's... Few could claim the title Biennial Veteran better than Judy and Paul Norris. It was great to see them again as it had been a few years since I had last seen them. I first met them during the 2006 Biennial in the Dominican Republic as they were key members of the famous Green Bus, making it a great experience for all those lucky enough to be aboard. I tell people who are possible future participants of the Biennial to group up with or in the least hang around with Judy and Paul, as they can make the event even better.

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- Kathy and Suzy became key volunteers making sure everything worked out perfectly.

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- Randy Searle gets his first run through the buffet.

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- Inside the shadehouse, attendees wandered through the collection on the sidewalk and looked through the palms growing under the shadecloth. A large specimen of Hydriastele dransfieldii towers over one attendee.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- Attendees shared the 'ooh's' and 'ahh's' as they looked through the palm showcase. These two could not get enough of the Itaya amicorum on the right.

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- With John directing, Jerry looks in on a Licuala fordiana that was in bloom.

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- John was giving a brief explanation of palm inflorescence anatomy, using the newly emerging bracts of the L. fordiana as an example. He was describing to Jerry the different levels of branched behavior in an inflorescence, "branched to two orders." and so on.

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- The subject of Dypsis came up a lot during the two hour long event. I was either part of several discussions or heard them in passing as I was moving around. I was making my way back to the shadehouse entrance when I came across Jerry, Jeff and John looking over this Dypsis ovobontsira.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- Without having a full inflorescence to examine, John was not sure as to the identity but said it was a nice specimen. Jeff guided John around for a brief period asking him to identify certain palms around the nursery that had been mysteries for some time.

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- As one of the rarest species put out for display, this Licuala beccariana received more than its fair share of attention. With attendee Cindy Andersen listening in, Jeff and John go back and forth discussing the current state and possible future of the genus Licuala.

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- The conversation continued as I kept taking photos of the palm. There are actually two different leaf forms of this ultra rare treasure. The species is often described as one of the taxonomic 'links' between Licuala and Johannesteijsmannia.

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- With the majority of the attendees in full dinner mode, seating was in short supply, but it was managed.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- The dinner part of the event was in full swing for most of the late afternoon. If they were not eating, attendees were exploring.

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- They kept making trips to the buffet and back until most of the food was gone.

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- I heard nothing but compliments about the food and the selection made sure there was something for everyone.

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- The tour personnel had everything planned to the minute, so they kept their eye on the time. The BBQ was already halfway over at this point and the sun was setting in a hurry. I was hoping the local insect population would delay any introduction until as late as possible.

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Ryan

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Walter John

I rarely eat dessert, not my thing usually, but here I tucked into about three different ones, the cake was yumbolicious.

Thanks Ryan, great job on the posts.

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Palmarum

- When you have a large gathering of the key palm people in the world in one spot, you can get some serious identification done. One of the successes of the afternoon was the identification of this Syagrus that resides next to the nursery office trailer. I am not sure as to how old the palm is, but it has been growing in this spot for a very long time without a name. We have referred to it as Syagrus 'Spuh' in the past, but now no longer. With help of two of the main Syagrus people in the world it was identified as Syagrus × campos-portoana, or the naturalized hybrid between S. coronata and S. romanzoffiana. While listening in, I learned that the process of figuring it out was tricky, as specimens are usually seen growing in full sun and this individual is in partial shade. The presence of the inflorescences are what nailed it (their length) and the seemingly familiar overtones of S. coronata seen throughout the palm.

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- Familiar faces of the nursery were in abundance, including Amadeo sporting his sunglasses and cowboy hat.

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- Even with the BBQ, the visit and everything else going on, Jeff was in full nursery mode. A few attendees were purchasing palms to bring home and Jeff had his brother Larry assisting with the sales. He still had to take a moment to answer questions.

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- In addition to the landscape beds around the shadehouses, attendees also wandered through the field-grown section of palms. Palm people are all alike, if seed are seen, it warrants an investigation.

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Ryan

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Mandrew968

That ovobontsira doesn't look like mine... leaflets are awful wide

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Daryl

Looks like what is commonly grown as Dypsis 'dark mealybug'

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