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Brad Mondel

Which Biennial was your favorite and why?

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Brad Mondel

Hello everyone! I'm conducting a survey in order to create an article for the IPS newsletter to help promote the IPS Biennial. It would be greatly appreciated if you could answer some of the following questions by responding to this thread or by private message. 

1. Which Biennial was your favorite and why?

2. What made going to the Biennial special?

3. What was the most fond memory you have made while attending a Biennial? 

4. What valuable information have you learned by going to the Biennials? 

5. Do you plan to attend the Sarawak Malaysia/Singapore Biennial in 2016? 

6. What incentives does the Biennial have to offer someone who has never been? 

 We would love to hear your story. Please share your experiences about the area you visited, the palms, the people, your friends, the lodging, the travel, the food, the culture and anything that makes attending the Biennial a great experience.

Don't forget to share photos (or even videos) of the wonderful time you have had with family and friends! 

Thank you-

Brad McCarson,

IPS Newsletter Volunteer

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by ArchAngeL01
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Kim

What, nobody has a favorite? I do, I doB)

Though I've enjoyed every single one, it has to be my very first Biennial, Costa Rica, 2008!  Wow, what a place for seeing palms in habitat while traversing swaying hanging bridges with smoking volcanoes in the distance.  The canopy trees in the parks were immense, and walking the trails required stepping over huge roots, keeping an eye out for small poisonous snakes in the leaf debris on the ground and for monkeys in the canopy, all at once, without tripping. :lol:  Ants! -- there were ants everywhere in the forest, scurrying in tight columns carrying bits of green leaves cut from plants.  You could really see the cycles of nature and the interdependence of species at work right in front of you.

The Biennial was special because it was the first time meeting many of the PalmTalk people from other parts of the world in person, and the level of enthusiasm for the palms was contagious.  Plus seeing mature palms in a very palm-friendly climate where they were growing to their full potential changed my entire perspective about palms and their beauty.

Most fond memory?  Tough to pick just one...  The antics on a certain bus became legend, but my travel companion and I were on a different bus, so I did not witness much of it first-hand.  Of the activities, I will put the Arenal Hanging Bridges at the top of my list.  The views of the jungle, above, below, and into the distance were just unbeatable, and it felt like a great adventure.

I've learned so much more about palms by attending Biennials -- seeing palms that are impossible to grow well in San Diego has been a huge education, learning why they grow well in these places.  Witnessing first hand how endangered the world's forests are is very eye opening.

Sarawak, Malaysia/Singapore is definitely on my calendar for 2016.  It will be my first visit to the island of Borneo, and a return visit to Singapore.  Gardens by the Bay will have matured since my last visit in 2012, can't wait to see it again!

Hmm, incentives... spending a week with similarly palm-obsessed people is a unique experience.  No matter where people are from, no matter what they do for a living, no matter what other interests or philosophies they may have, for one week everyone has one thing in common:  PALMS.  Connecting this network of friends from around the world is a terrific experience and has a way of opening doors for you in the future, as you can, in turn, open doors for others -- to share experiences, exchange plants or seeds or cultivation information, to visit gardens in new places; it just goes on and on.

NEXT!  Someone else's turn to rave about their favorite Biennial trip.

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bgl

1. Which Biennial was your favorite and why?

2. What made going to the Biennial special?

3. What was the most fond memory you have made while attending a Biennial? 

4. What valuable information have you learned by going to the Biennials? 

5. Do you plan to attend the Sarawak Malaysia/Singapore Biennial in 2016? 

6. What incentives does the Biennial have to offer someone who has never been? 

 

Brad,

Great idea for the IPS Newsletter. Here are my thoughts and comments:

1. Out of ten Biennials since Venezuela in 1994 (only missed Orange County in 1996), I have to say New Caledonia in 2000. Yeah, Thailand in 1998 was amazing and a very close second, but experiencing New Caledonia and seeing lots (and I mean LOTS) of palms in habitat was an unforgettable experience. Add to that the Melanesian culture in New Caledonia, and it was a definite winner as far as I am concerned.

2. Are you referring just to the one I named as my favorite? If so, see answer above. If it's a more general question, then the combination of seeing palms in habitat & in spectacular gardens as well as the social aspect is something that is truly unique and makes for a very special memory of EACH Biennial.

3. OK, back to New Caledonia in 2000 again. Being in a helicopter, sitting up front next to the pilot and looking down on an ocean of palms spreading out in all directions across the slopes of Mt. Panie, with tens of thousands of red fronds opening up is not something you see every day! I would call that a "fond memory"! :)

4. Presumably not the traditional "valuable information" answer, but my best, and only, answer: the more Biennials I go to, the more I learn. And as far as I am concerned it's the total experience of the Biennial - learning about faraway countries that I may not otherwise have visited as well as finding out a little bit about the culture and the people, and yeah sure, palms as well, but that's just a small part of the total experience.

5. Yes, planning to attend the 2016 Biennial in Sarawak and Singapore.

6. Where else can you meet hundreds of other palm enthusiasts, many of whom are active here on PalmTalk, make lots of new friends, meet lots of old friends AND visit fascinating palmy places, that you might otherwise have had a hard (or impossible) time visiting. (Subtle hint: NOWHERE!:mrlooney: )

Bo-Göran

 

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Jerry@TreeZoo

,,,

1. Which Biennial was your favorite and why?

My favorite Biennial was also my first Biennial, New Caledonia.  Maybe it was because it was my first trip abroad, other than cross border excursions to the Bahamas, Canada and Mexico.  Maybe it was because it was so far away.

2. What made going to the Biennial special?

It was going someplace new that 99.9% people NEVER get the chance to see.

3. What was the most fond memory you have made while attending a Biennial?

My most "frond" memory (get it?  Frond?)  was the helicopter ride and climbing Mt Panie.

4. What valuable information have you learned by going to the Biennials?

You never really understand how to grow a palm until you see it in habitat.

5. Do you plan to attend the Sarawak Malaysia/Singapore Biennial in 2016?

Hard to see the future is.  Always in motion.

6. What incentives does the Biennial have to offer someone who has never been?

A chance to see new places and meet new people you would otherwise never see or meet.

Another thing that I really loved was the post trip to Australia.  What a grand and beautiful country!

 

 

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Cindy Adair

Hello everyone! I'm conducting a survey in order to create an article for the IPS newsletter to help promote the IPS Biennial. It would be greatly appreciated if you could answer some of the following questions by responding to this thread or by private message. 

1. Which Biennial was your favorite and why?

2. What made going to the Biennial special?

3. What was the most fond memory you have made while attending a Biennial? 

4. What valuable information have you learned by going to the Biennials? 

5. Do you plan to attend the Sarawak Malaysia/Singapore Biennial in 2016? 

6. What incentives does the Biennial have to offer someone who has never been? 

 We would love to hear your story. Please share your experiences about the area you visited, the palms, the people, your friends, the lodging, the travel, the food, the culture and anything that makes attending the Biennial a great experience.

Don't forget to share photos (or even videos) of the wonderful time you have had with family and friends! 

Thank you-

Brad McCarson,

IPS Newsletter Volunteer

 

 

 

 

 

I have only been to the last two, but had such a good time at both that I hope to make all the rest! So yes, I will go to Borneo/Singapore.

Thailand so far exceeded my expectations that it would have to get my vote, even though I thoroughly enjoyed Florida and the post tour in Cuba too!

I have made a number of friends who I have even seen on other occasions and communicate with via email and PalmTalk regularly. 

As far as picking one moment, it is very difficult! However I remember standing under a group of Pelagodoxas at Nong Nooch in Thailand. I was surrounded by other enthusiasts, but for an instant time seemed to stop and I was all alone looking up at those magical trees! 

I had been watching one Pelagodoxa seedling grow slowly on my farm in full shade, but when I returned I eagerly added five more after learning they prefer a little more light in the tropics.

 Watching them flourish reminds me of that moment in 2012 when I took a chance and flew by myself to join a group of people I didn't know on a continent where I'd never been.

It was life changing.

 

 

 

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Brad Mondel

Thank you everyone for the responses! Does anyone have any photos they would like to share? I can visualize how beautiful these trips are but we'd love to see what you guys saw! 

Edited by ArchAngeL01

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bgl

I have quite a few photos from Thailand (2012) and Florida (2014) and also some from the Dominican Republic (2006), Costa Rica (2008) and Rio (2010). What are you looking for and how should I send them?

Edited by bgl

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LilikoiLee

 

1 Which Biennial was your favorite and why?  Thailand because of  all of the wonderful palms and other attractions at Nong Nouch as well as the palm loving people from all over the word.

2. What made going to the Biennial special? Same as above

3. What was the most fond memory you have made while attending a Biennial?   Talking to John Dransfield in Miami

4. What valuable information have you learned by going to the Biennials?  Ability to identify palm genera and species

5. Do you plan to attend the Sarawak Malaysia/Singapore Biennial in 2016?  Absolutely!

6. What incentives does the Biennial have to offer someone who has never been?  My favorite thing has (and will always be) being able to see palms in the company of other palm lovers.  I think that, along with the opportunity to see rare palms and acquire an abundance of knowledge will appeal to anyone with a serious interest in palms. 

 We would love to hear your story. Please share your experiences about the area you visited, the palms, the people, your friends, the lodging, the travel, the food, the culture and anything that makes attending the Biennial a great experience.

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Jeff Searle

#1...Probably my favorite biennial was the 1998 Thailand  Biennial. It was (Andrea and I ) our first biennial together. It was held at Nong Nooch and the memories of the entire garden will never be forgotten. The palm collection at the time was unsurpassed as probably the largest private collection in the world. It certainly is now!  The entire staff made us truly feel at home. It was well organized and never heard anyone make a complaint. The people of Thailand were great, the food was very good, but more than anything, the friendships we made are lasting a lifetime.

#2...Really for many of the reasons mentioned above. But there were certainly other things we did. We flew to the northern Thailand city of Chang Mai. We spent several days there shopping and shipped many things back that we have included as our décor inside and many pieces that are used out in the garden. We also went to an active, working elephant farm and took a ride into the bush on elephants. And that was wild! And back in Bangkok, we spent many hours at the local markets looking at all the plant material that growers had to offer. Fun!

#3...My fondest memory would HAVE TO BE....the honor of having the 2014 Biennial group while in Miami, come up to our nursery for a visit and dinner. Even though many,many hours were spent in cleaning up the nursery (Lol ) it was all well worth it!  Our family and friends were totally amazed! It was a great pleasure to meet everyone and have the chance to show the group the real passion I have in growing palm trees.

#4...Probably the chance to see so many species in habitat. To photograph them, to stare at them, and on occasion, talk to them. Lol. And then hopefully come home and share all this information with others that have the same interest. I also on many occasions see firsthand just how fragile habitats have become and the importance of protecting them.

#5...I definitely plan on going!!! And....I also would like to attend the pre-tour biennial as well. I have been to Borneo once before back in the early 90's, I did it solo and saw a lot of great stuff. I spent some good quality time talking to the locals and enjoyed many fascinating stories. I even bought a blow gun and brought it back home!

#6...The incentives are and could be many. But I firmly believe that if you go, you get out of a biennial by what you put into it. We are a large, diverse group from all over the world. And we grow many palms in our gardens, or on the patio maybe, that differ from one to the other. Ask lots of questions, listen to others as they talk and go to the many lectures that are offered. These are some fo the best talks you will ever go to.  And I have found that usually EVERYONE is genuinely very nice and helpful. Please consider going, life is short.

Jeff

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Kim

You all watch, after June, everyone's favorite Biennial will be the 2016 trip to Sarawak, Malaysia on the island of Borneo, possibly the richest palm habitat on the planet in terms of density and variety of species.  Imagine, Licuala orbicularis carpeting the forest!  Johannesteijsmannia magnifica growing in groves!  I would not want to miss this one and regret it later.  David Tanswell and Jack Sayers have walked every trail, and it's going to be an intense palm experience. John Dransfield, our proper British botanist, was quoted as saying Sarawak, when it comes to palms, is "orgasmic."  Just to add to the experience, it is possible you may see furry primates such as orangutan and proboscis monkeys along the journey.  I am not a birder, but how could such rich preserved forests exist without drawing a wide variety of birds?  Will you see the various coucals, widgeons, frogmouths, kites, owls, woodpeckers, trogons and hornbills?  Maybe, maybe not; but for sure you won't see them if you don't make the trek.

Oh, right, Singapore!  That is part of the Biennial, too!  Do you like to EAT?  Don't think you'll have time to sample much?  Think again!  Watch Anthony Bourdain's The Layover:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtVKtq6XCoQ  the Singapore episode.  I've never seen anyone consume so much food on camera in such a short span of time.  Incredible stuff, and not expensive fancy places -- hawker stalls, where kitchens specializing in one or two dishes all group together in a single building, and the servings are plentiful, cheap, and delicious, and no worries about food safety -- this is Singapore where standards and quality are high.  It's a much more interesting experience than your typical American food court.  But if you want to eat American food -- or Italian, Japanese, or Portuguese, or Indian, you can probably find it in this seaport city with a large immigrant population.

Plants, oh yeah, almost forgot, the wildest botanic garden on the planet, all stops were pulled out to create Gardens by the Bay on 250 acres of reclaimed land dredged out of the bay.  Mature plants, including massive quantities of palms, were brought in from all over the world to create this masterpiece of fantasy gardening.  You can't conceive of it fully until you see it.  Those of you who went to the Thailand Biennial can appreciate that one of the major sources of palms was Nong Nooch.  Need I say more?  Well, sure, why not?  The hotel where you'll stay is the fantastical Marina Bay Sands, which looks like a cruise ship way up in the sky with palm trees sprouting out of it.  Seriously. Though I don't usually suffer from vertigo, I expect lounging in the infinity pool will have me swooning. Unbeatable views over the city, bay, and Gardens by the Bay. (Do you have to pay extra for this hotel?  NO - gotcha covered!  3 nights included in your registration fees!)

In case the birds did not show themselves in the forest, you'll have a second chance in Singapore to use some of your free time at the Jurong Bird Park.  This is "where color lives," according to their website, and the toucans and hornbills have their own special exhibit.

Did I mention exchange rates are in favor of the US dollar right now?  That will be helpful to some of you -- rates for extra nights at the Kuching Hilton translate to around US$100 per night for two in a double room, not too extravagant.

Need more information?  Click here.  Is it a bargain?  Non-palm people might think it is an expensive trip at first glance.  But if you are fascinated by palms in nature, and palms in fantastical gardens, it will be a lifelong memory and well worth a splurge. If you have never attended a Biennial, this is one is a prime choice.  Life is short, make it happen.

 

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Cindy Adair
bgl

The upcoming Biennial in June this year in Borneo and Singapore will undoubtedly be one of the greatest and most memorable ever. The opportunity to visit habitats in Borneo and then some incredible gardens in Singapore is a pretty unbeatable combination that will be difficult, if not impossible, to repeat. I am not a big fan of group travel but I have always made exceptions for the IPS Biennials and I have never regretted that. This particular one promises to be exceptional in so many ways and those who decide not to go will surely regret it...

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Cindy Adair

I have long forgotten money spent on other things such restaurant food. However I have never been sorry over dollars spent traveling, especially on IPS trips!

These memories will last a lifetime and although I can and do plan travel independently, I greatly enjoy the bonus of excellent enthusiastic friendly company from all over the world. The excitement is contagious and we learn from each other.

Please join us if you can as we would love to meet you!

 

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