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Spring Garden Tour - Palms, Crotons & Florida Plant Enthusiasts in Action

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Palmarum

Spring Garden Tour

Croton Meeting & Auction

Saturday, April 6th, 2019

Palmboo Gardens - (Mike Harris Residence)

Cooper City, S. Florida

 

Earlier in the year, Palmtalk and Palmpedia members and local plant people in Central and South Florida began planning a combined event that included a tour of a plant collection, a meeting of Croton and tropical plant enthusiasts and a plant auction that focused on unusual Croton cultivars. This type of event usually takes place both in the spring and the fall and tends to move its location around the southern third of the state, including both coasts. The conversations involving the location and date centered around a topic on Palmpedia. After circulating ideas on locales, gardens, dates, etc. Forum member Mike Harris (waykoolplantz) offered both his yard and time to the event, and with a joint consensus, his residence and collection became the location. Now we just had to wait for April and for the fun to begin...

- 10:29AM - The time for the meeting was set at 10:30 in the morning. Being only a few minutes away myself, I arrived at about the designated start time after a four minute drive. I was not the first to arrive by far, as there was a line of vehicles parked out front. After entering the grounds, I didn't see anyone at first but I could hear conversations in the distance. I figured the early birds were on their own exploring the collection. I began to meander through the yard, taking photos, looking at what has grown since my last visit. I 'followed the voices' and made a heading towards the house. The grassy knoll that welcomes visitors by the entrance displays a line of deciduous trees, mostly different species of Adansonia. (B) Immediately to my right, a trio of Peach Trees, Prunus persica, were growing with vigor and fruit. I would have to take a closer look later.

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- I had one palm in mind that I had to check out first. Up near the house, the Double Coconut, Coco de Mer, Lodoicea maldivica, resides near the edge of a planting bed adjacent to the pool enclosure. It has been growing well in this location for more than a few years. It survived Hurricane Irma and is still growing out of the physical damage. It lost some of its canopy due to the storm and is still adapting to the increase in direct sunlight. 

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- The pool enclosure is packed full of Palms and other plants. The palmy surroundings would be the location for the event's lunch time spread. The majority of the plants are container grown and fed with drip irrigation, including the broad Salacca magnifica and the taller Pinanga speciosa.

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- Moving left to right, showing the layout. The overhang on the right held the ever-growing lunch spread. The sun was almost directly overhead and made the area underneath dark and hard to compose.

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Ryan

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- 10:32AM - An open view, looking towards the pond from the house. That is Palm Beach grower and collector Gerry there in the distance.

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- The dock, bordered on both sides by different Beccariophoenix and a pair of Cuban Petticoat Palms, Copernicia macroglossa.

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- The larger Tahina spectabilis by the pond, growing with incredible speed, has put on some significant girth in the meantime. (B) Turning a full 180 degrees, a slightly smaller T. spectabilis occupies the edge of a bed near the property boundary.

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- Two different Copernicia glabrescens reside near the pond, once with a few smaller suckers and the other, heavily divided into numerous stems and suckers.

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Ryan

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- 10:42AM - I went out onto the dock to look around and to capture the edge of the pond in all directions. The water surface was still, minus the curious action of some nearby excited fish. (B) The 'point' or section of land that juts out into the pond as a small peninsula held a large grouping of palms. A small Fiji Dwarf Coconut sits at the very point.

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- A large and tall clump of Euterpe oleracea dominates the point. It seems to get taller and taller every time I see it. (B) A close-up of the Tahina spectabilis, looking up and into the massive crown.

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- As I was looking around, I noticed more and more people arriving up near the house. They were gathering in the grassy area that would later become the scene of the auction.

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- A grouping of palms, including a batch of different-sized Calyptronoma rivalis, occupy the stretch of land connecting the peninsula to the rest of the garden.

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Ryan

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- 10:47AM - I wanted to head up to the gathering, but I couldn't resist a quick run through the 'point', checking out the Calyptronoma rivalis and the other locals. (B) The same palm was featuring a new inflorescence. You can tell this palm and the others enjoy their proximity to the water.

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- In addition to the palms, the Croton collection was diverse and occupied every section of the yard. I am not good with Crotons, and without a tag, I would have a hard time in identifying them. They change their colors from summer to winter and may even form a sport, changing their look entirely. (B) On my way back to the house I took the long way and noticed this one bed covered with Arenga seedlings that seemed to pop up everywhere. I do not often see so many in one spot. I think they were coming from a larger Arenga australasica that was fruiting overhead, but it wasn't the only flowering species around. 

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- I came face-to-face with a large specimen of either Dypsis crinita or D. utilis. It is a dual-headed specimen that is in the process of splitting once again. One may also notice that the hairy leaf bases had been removed. Cleanly on the foreground trunk and mostly on the background trunk. It may have gotten quite messy and with the collection of leaf litter and unwarranted epiphytes so it may have needed the cleaning. (B) The crown of the background trunk was sporting a red new leaf, in among the foreground trunk's formation of different inflorescences.

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- The red new leaf without the flash. (B) A close-up of the foreground trunk, showing a new branch point, as the trunk splits from one to two heads.

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Ryan

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- 10:50AM - I entered the section with the hairless Dypsis seen above and ventured off-path for a little bit. In among other similar Dypsis species I found this Kerriodoxa elegans claiming its own space, one leaf at a time. (B) One foot after another, I got to the area known informally and ever accurately as "Dypsis Land". This one shot among others shows how the area is home to many species of the popular genus.

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- One species in particular, is rather hard to ignore. The larger of the two Dypsis mirabilis had a bit of height and featured a brilliant crownshaft. Same palm in both photos, left with normal flash, right with less flash, more bounced light.

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- Seen further on in the second photo above, the Dypsis hovomantsina had completely blown me away with its growth. It had greatly increased in height and diameter since the last time I had seen it. It was seriously racing along with health and vigor, putting out one leaf after another. This palm is showing a smiley face the best way a palm can. (B) A short distance away, another fast growing species was putting on its own show. Saying 'to hell' with the understory life, a Dypsis pilulifera (a.k.a. Dypsis sp. 'Jurassic Park') was shifting gears and growing rapidly up and through the canopy. I should have photographed the spaced-out internode rings on the trunk.

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- I was within a few feet of the crowd and was taking turns between photographing the attendees and the plants. A Cryosophila warscewiczii was showing itself to the crowd while serving as a backdrop to the auction. (B) One of Mike's dogs, enjoying the crowd and the attention. He had a few dogs that looked quite similar and I couldn't remember how to tell them apart.

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- 10:55AM - No one really knew how many people were coming to the event, so it remained an unanswered question throughout the day. Attendees continued to arrive through the morning and leading into the early afternoon. If they weren't gathering by the house or dropping off food for lunch, they were over in the stash of auction plants, seeing what was available.

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- Forum member Tim O'Donnel (kwtimo) and local grower and collector George Zammas make their way up the path from the entrance. (B) Golf carts were running back and forth, transporting people and plants from the parking lot outside to the auction location.

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- The auction plants were limited to seven plants per person. Even with the limit there was a ton of material to be auctioned off. Attendees could also bring any Croton or plant they wanted to sell or trade. As there is no standing Croton Society any more, each person selling or auctioning a plant received the total amount. Plants being auctioned may also have a known or unknown reserve bid or a minimum starting bid. (B) Over hanging the auction plants, a large-leaved Chambeyronia macrocarpa var. hookeri was working its own way through the canopy.

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- It had a decent angle and had the direction zeroed in. It was pushing its way in between the Oak Tree branches. (B) The auction is always the center piece of these events. This is where the magic and anything else may happen; a brand new Croton cultivar is unveiled to the collecting public for the first time, along with the rediscovery of a very old or ancient cultivar once thought to be lost forever. FM. Tracy Sutherland (Tracy S) looks through the selection as her husband Doug (opposite, both with hats) does the same. Andrea Searle looks through as well, as Travis Searle on the far right, checks names and counts plants as he will assist with the auction.

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Ryan

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Phil Stager

Ryan - nice job on all the pics and descriptions; many thanks.

 

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paquicuba

How can one know about these events? Do you have dedicated website for this? Thx!

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Palmarum

- 11:04AM - "Ooh, that's a nice one." Attendees continued the browse the auction selection as more and more people began to arrive. They would appear from either side of the house. I began to imagine what the lunch spread was becoming.

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- As with every Croton-related-event, there is always debate as to the identity of certain plants. It is an intricate part of the experience and I don't see how the Croton world could exist without it. The debate can focus on leaf shape, color, size, origin of the plant, etc. Some names end up changed, or at the least a question mark may get added to the name and at the same time a 'blank' may get filled in with the true name.

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- Host of the event, FM. Mike Harris (waykoolplantz) greets attendee and FM. Ana Bowers (annafl) (trademark red hat) and her trimmed poodle, Pete as event organizer FM. Mike Woolery (Bullwinkle) enters from the right.

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- Uh oh, new dog. [sniff, sniff] Mike's dog came over to introduce himself to Pete, causing a flurry of circular dog activity and rapid sniffing as Mike hangs on...

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Ryan

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Palmarum
34 minutes ago, Phil Stager said:

Ryan - nice job on all the pics and descriptions; many thanks.

Phil

Thanks, Phil. I remember you had an issue with your camera and you always take great photos of the Croton meetings. It was a fun event and there was a lot to photograph. I had barely scratched the surface as to what went on during the tour and the auction.

 

5 minutes ago, paquicuba said:

How can one know about these events? Do you have dedicated website for this? Thx!

There isn't a dedicated website (at least that I know of) that involves these events, tours, etc. They form out of ideas and come together online, usually here on Palmtalk or over at Palmpedia: Palmpedia Tropiscape Forums. This particular Garden Tour began to evolve on Palmpedia under the Croton Society sub-forum and I made a mirrored topic here on Palmtalk under AFFILIATE NEWS AND MEETING DATES: Garden Tour. Even though it was a Croton centered event, it involved touring a garden that has an extensive Palm and tropical plant collection. Other plant groups and societies have similar events throughout Florida and they advertise them here, on their own websites, other forums, etc. If I know of an event ahead of time, I will try and mention it here on Palmtalk, if no one else beats me to it.

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- 11:06AM - Mike continues to introduce the dogs as he tries to feel them out as to how they are going to be with one another. One minute of calm is interrupted by a bit of 'aggressive sniffing'. There was no biting or loud snarling, just two male dogs figuring things out. On the left, FM. Jim Glock (jglock1) comes over to see if he needs to jump in as Judy Glock greets FM. Rick Hawkins (rick) in the background. (B) Mike was getting tied up with his work, but he was handling the situation.

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- It was decided to keep the two male dogs separate for now, as Mike's other dogs came over to find out what was going on. (B) Mike hands Pete's leash to Ana, as attendee (C) Carol Graff lends a hand and comforts Mike's dog, before taking a hold of his leash.

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- With the dogs separated, they returned to their sniffing ways. (B) Longtime plantsman Bob Alonzo walks over to see what FM. Phil Stager (Phil Stager) found in among the auction plants.

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- Mike greets new arrivals including FM. Raney (raneysurfs) in white. (B) Phil gives Pete a scratch and a pat as the brindle-colored poodle is guided around.

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- 11:11AM - It was almost time for the tour to begin. Attendees like Jeff Searle, Ana, Judy, George and Keith take one more look around. (B) Phil and Raney talk with Carol as she takes her spot for the auction, now with an added friend.

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- 11:15AM - Time for the tour. Those attendees interested in the tour began to assemble. After we were ready, we headed off westward down the driveway. The plan was to circle around the property in a counter-clockwise fashion, ending at the pool enclosure and thus, lunch. Royal Palms and Blue Latan Palms introduced the beginning of the tour. (B) There was a lot to look at. I might have focused my photos on the palms, people and other plants, but the tour goers were looking for whatever reached out and grabbed their attention. Many were photographing the Crotons as their population dotted much of the yard. (C) The first palm to grasp the attention of the group, was the Calyptronoma plumeriana, the upright tuft of leaves coming out of the bed on the right. Calyptronoma dulcis is the old name.

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- The tour group stayed mostly intact, but as there was a lot to look at, some went off into different planting areas to take a closer look. At the first bend in the driveway, we looked up to notice the red catkin-like inflorescences belonging to a Coccoloba rugosa.

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- As we took the bend in the driveway, we entered the front half of the property. As you can see, people are looking in all directions. (B) In the background, an upright Beccariophoenix fenestralis was reaching for the sky. It barely had any trunk yet.

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- 11:20AM - Tall, big and silver, nothing comes close to a Bismarck Palm, Bismarckia nobilis, for its rate of growth and performance. (B) I followed one smaller group as they ventured through one pathway. It crossed back and forth through the front 'jungle'. A small and clustering specimen of a Hydriastele sp. 'Highland P.N.G.' was one of the many plants in the area.

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- As the tour group moved on, it would often pause here and there, as conversations took over part of the tour itself. Talking plants is just as addictive as looking at them. (B) Orchids were mounted in trees, on palm trunks, and in many other places. When I went around to see the front of this Phalaenopsis bloom, I couldn't get a clear shot, so I settled for the rear view.

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- Wind beaten by Hurricane Irma, this Sugar Palm, Arenga pinnata, is now leaning heavily to one side, resting on a nearby tree. (B) It has since begun to flower, starting the process that will take years to complete.

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- With Raney serving as convenient scale, I shot this Pelagodoxa henryana that was more than happy to pose. (B) One of many planting beds between the house and western driveway. 

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- 11:26AM - The tour slowly made its way south, along the western edge of the property. At a few points, one could look up the hill and see parts of the house, pool enclosure or the shadehouse, as in this instance. Large Crotons were everywhere. They were thriving in the light shade and filtered sunlight. (B,C) We made it past the halfway point in the driveway, where it split around that center island full of palms.

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- That island is packed full of palms and other plants. (B) Along the driveway, a brightly colored specimen of Golden Christmas Palm, Adonidia merrillii cv. 'Golden', stood out from the darker surrounding foliage.

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- There were large paths and smaller trails through the front jungle area. Large Palms and trees sheltered smaller Palms, Crotons and assorted tropical plants.

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- Back at the entrance, I had to take a closer look at those Peach trees. Two of the three had fruit; in all stages of development. This is one of the newer cultivars bred for Florida. It is either FloridaGlo or Florida Prince. I have a Florida Prince in my yard and it looks identical. The fruit are smaller than those from up north, as the one in my hand is just about ripe. The skin was giving just slightly under pressure, but there was no scent yet.

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Ryan

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annafl

Great photos and documentary, Ryan!  It was nice to relive the wonderful day.

 

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paquicuba
15 hours ago, Palmarum said:

Thanks, Phil. I remember you had an issue with your camera and you always take great photos of the Croton meetings. It was a fun event and there was a lot to photograph. I had barely scratched the surface as to what went on during the tour and the auction.

 

There isn't a dedicated website (at least that I know of) that involves these events, tours, etc. They form out of ideas and come together online, usually here on Palmtalk or over at Palmpedia: Palmpedia Tropiscape Forums. This particular Garden Tour began to evolve on Palmpedia under the Croton Society sub-forum and I made a mirrored topic here on Palmtalk under AFFILIATE NEWS AND MEETING DATES: Garden Tour. Even though it was a Croton centered event, it involved touring a garden that has an extensive Palm and tropical plant collection. Other plant groups and societies have similar events throughout Florida and they advertise them here, on their own websites, other forums, etc. If I know of an event ahead of time, I will try and mention it here on Palmtalk, if no one else beats me to it.

Ryan

Thanks Ryan!!

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Palmarum

- 11:32AM - Curiosity in the Peaches had me going for a while, as my tree doesn't produce as much as Mike's trees and I was trying to figure out why. I would think I got the same amount of chill hours as he would, but oh well. The crowd reached the entrance to the property and continued to gaze at everything.

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- The entrance had its own small island surrounded by asphalt. It is packed with Royal Palms, Crotons, Bromeliads and one large Attalea sp. Pete the poodle seemed to be leading the pack at one point.

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- The group of tour goers seemed to stretch out a bit as some remained by the driveway while others headed straight up the hill to the denser planting areas closer to the house and pool enclosure. (B) In one of those areas, some of the oldest planted specimens reside. One of which is this very tall Teddy Bear Palm, Dypsis leptocheilos.

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- A palm for the naming contest. The tour filtered its way through the dense canopy areas west of the house and made its way around to the south side of the pool enclosure. Many of the full sun species and residents of the Caribbean are found here, including this popular head-scratcher of a palm... Reinhardtia paiewonskiana. When most think of the genus Reinhardtia, they think of the small, understory members.

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Palmarum

- 11:43AM - There was a lot of material to inspect throughout the Caribbean section. In addition to the Palms, where ever there was a space 'under' another palm or tree, usually resided a Croton or two. (B) A tall and old specimen of Coccothrinax. I am not sure which one it is, I figured it could be one of the C. miraguama subspecies.

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- The tour then focused on the Double Coconut, Lodoicea maldivica. The majority each took turns taking a closer look, as Rick, Raney and Jeff did so in this instance, as the tour was being led by Greg K. on the right.

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- A nearly full-diameter specimen of Copernicia ekmanii was packing on the trunk.

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- The tour had circled the property about halfway at this point. People were milling about for a moment or two, asking and answering questions, before figuring out where to go next. Towards the left, Rick and Gerry visually go through the collection of palms, while (B) on the right and in the background, Dale Kammerlohr smiles and reacts to Ana's spirited reaction to everything cool in the yard.

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Palmarum

- 11:47AM - As we passed the giant Banyan Tree at the center of the backyard, a question was brought forth... "Do you think you could swing on that?" Referring to the pendent aerial roots hanging down from above. Now, I don't remember who said it, but Rick seemed the logical choice to test the theory. He found one root he liked, looked it up and down to examine it (dropping his sunglasses), tested it, then gave it a whirl. He got one good swing out of it before jumping off.

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- The tour entered the 'Land of the Giants'; the home to some of the largest palm species in the collection. Acting as a sentry to the start of the section, one of the Tahina spectabilis seen earlier shaded both human and canine alike. (B) It was plugging away, leaf after leaf. The petioles are a bit longer in reaction to the shaded location.

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- Behemoth specimens of the genus Corypha are found in quantity in this section: one of the Talipot Palms, Corypha umbraculifera, was at the point where it had begun to 'go vertical', or gain woody trunk under those massive leaf bases.

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- Along the edge of the pond, one of the Metroxylon vitiense was sporting a red new leaf. It was difficult to photograph (without getting wet) so I had to settle for these shots through the crown.

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Palmarum

- 11:54AM - I began to get a sense of hunger spreading through the tour, as they were picking up the pace. We rounded the southeast corner of the property and headed along the main path that meanders through the back edge of the collection. Using the palm itself to block out the sun, I photographed up into the crown of a mature, female Borassus sambiranensis which has been lumped in with Borassus aethiopum. She was dropping aborted seed and calyx bases all over the ground. (B) The part of the collection at the far rear of the property had a mix of different Palms and Crotons. It included a diverse collection of varied Attalea species.

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- Viewing back across the pond, this spot held a great view of all three Beccariophoenix species. From left to right, B. madagascariensis (old Coastal Form, No Windows), two side by side B. fenestralis (old madagascariensis, Windows) and of course the B. alfredii (once known as sp. 'High Plateau'). (B) I had to move over a bit to include the larger Tahina spectabilis.

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- Many different species and varieties of Bamboo are found in the collection. They are planted along the edges of the property, I think originally to protect the early stages of the collection plants as they grew. Closest to the camera, Jerry Schilling comments on the tour and something he sees in the distance. He was one of the attendees that traveled the furthest, from California I believe. (B) Extending around the corner, the tour began to stretch far and wide, as some were hanging back to look through more of the grounds as others were heading up towards the house. I took a shot back at the pond as I was trying to find where everyone went.

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- 12:13PM - It was past noon and the general tour had finished. With a few more steps, it had been connected to lunch. A few attendees continued to wander at their own pace, as others headed to the pool enclosure for an spread of great food. Just before turning to enter the patio, I paused to capture this Areca vestiaria a few feet from the screen door. (B) As I entered the patio, I noticed lunch was in full swing. The few chairs around the pool were taken quickly.

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Palmarum

- 12:14PM - The lunch tables were laid out under the overhang and the line formed in a hurry. The weather for the day was perfect, with the occasional cloud cover that gave us a break from the intense rays of UV.

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- The patio was packed with containerized plants of all sorts. It would be too difficult to photograph them all. This grouping of Bromeliads caught my attention. The large specimen in the back is one of the forms of Alcantarea imperialis I believe. (B) The last table held the desserts. It was all good. I hoped some of the more unique items would still be available, including a special Mango Pie, when it was my turn to get lunch. Yum.

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- Travis and Jerry dive into lunch while enjoying shade provided by a group of containerized palms. (B) A Betel Nut Palm, Areca catechu, growing in a large pot. It is either a stretched Dwarf or a very good form of Semi-Dwarf.

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- Near one corner of the patio, a robust, heavily-suckering specimen of Iguanura wallichiana var. major was in bloom. It had at least two inflorescences and I believe it has flowered before. I miss the old name Iguanura spectabilis. It had that certain ring to it.

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Palmarum

- 12:50PM - Lunch was very good and there was plenty of food to go around, so attendees could go back for more. Those who were finished eating first, began to move over to the auction area under the oak canopy. Prime viewing spots for the auction were being taken as people began to congregate closer to the plants.

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- Those interested in the auction Crotons used this time to take a second or third look through the selection. Sellers were keeping track of their plants while buyers began to make their mental notes about which plants they desired most and in what order.

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- Some chose to sit, either in a chair or on the grass, while others felt better being more mobile, so they preferred to stand.

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- Travis was one of the assistants helping Jeff, as he was the auctioneer for the day. They start talking strategy, as there was a lot of plants to go through. (B,C) They readied the first plant of the auction as Jeff begins to introduce himself and welcome everyone to the meeting and auction.

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palmislandRandy

Thanks for posting Ryan. As always we had a fantastic time in a fantastic garden with fantastic folks!

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Palmarum

- 12:56PM - As the introductions continued, Jeff introduced Mike to the crowd as the host of the event and he received a round of applause for allowing all of us crazy plant people into his home for the auction and tour.

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- Jeff continued with a bit of background to the world of Crotons and previous meetings and auctions from the past. (B) In behind, it seemed the mass of plants were growing in number. Tim was also on hand to assist in the auction and to keep it all organized. Some of those taller plants in the foreground were sale plants and separate from the auction.

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- Like with most Plant Related Events in Florida, there is always a bit of humor involved. The commentary from the crowd bounced around back and forth, adding a joke a one-liner or the occasional comical correction of someone's misused word. (B) "Eh, I didn't do that."

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- The rules of the auction came up next. Jeff went on to explain the bidding and the rate in which the bids would increase as they went higher. With everything explained, the auction was started, with Jeff pointing out the first bids.

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kinzyjr

Great pictures and looks like everyone had a great time!

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Palmarum

- 12:59PM - As there was a lot, and I mean a lot of plants to go through for the auction, the pace was kept quick and the bidding was fast. If you blinked, you might have missed that one plant you wanted. (C) Tim selected the plants and Travis carried them over to the ready table. The process was kept mostly random, going from a common cultivar one second then to a rarer one the next; often mixing up the source among the sellers. There were of course multiples of the same cultivar, either from the same seller or as a coincidence. They were auctioned off as they came up for bid, but if someone noticed there was more than one it would be noted for the crowd.

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- The table had the item up for bid and whatever was next in line. It became an auction machine.

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- The time spent on some of the auctions were measured in seconds, as plants could go that fast. If the bids climbed quickly, then the pace would slow down as the increments increased.

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- A popular George Zammas plant, Kaleidoscope, came up for bid with a set of "ooh's and ahh's". (B) It didn't take long for the hands to go up. The bidding shot back and forth until it reached $70.00 and the plant was sold, with a round of applause.

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Palmarum

- 1:07PM - "Oh funny." Plant people do know how to amuse themselves and others. If it isn't one snark comment that drew the laughs, it was the comeback that was just as funny.

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- As plants sold, personal stashes began to form in between the chairs, in the back and elsewhere. If you buying and selling, you had to keep track of what plants you were selling, to whom and for how much at the same time you were bidding on the next plant.

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- The next Croton was 'Milky Way' I believe and it was a pace-setter in its own right. (B) I think Pete was enjoying the auction as much as anyone.

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- There were a lot of different cultivars to choose from, not just the new and the ultra rare. There was something for everyone at every level of collecting, from the popular to the obscure and everything in between. There was often spoken interest in a well-grown specimen of a particular cultivar, even if it was one the collector already had, they just liked the way it looked. (B) Jeff tilts the plant down to show the full rosette of leaves to the crowd.

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Ryan

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bubba

Spectacular! Thank you!

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Palmarum

- 1:14PM - At times people thought Andrea was running the auction instead of Jeff. She was prodding him whenever she had the chance. After telling everyone he already had this particular Croton, (B) Andrea threw her hand up to bid on it.

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- "Yeah?... What?" (B) If one joke isn't enough, others like to chime in with some hilarious add-ons and gestures. I think just the crowd's response to much of it is funny in its own way. Jeff was thinking of a response when I took this photo. (C) "Go ahead, you can touch it." Jeff was 'priming' the audience by bringing the plant to a bidder.

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- He would try to get the highest amount he could for the seller, which were outnumbered by buyers (not counting the sellers themselves). (B) The auction was well underway as more attendees continued to arrive, including FM. Rob van der Borg (Borgy230) there on the far right.

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- There wasn't one giant bidding war on one particular Croton, as people seemed to space out their bids and funds across the board. The highest winning bid for a Croton was $75.00 I believe, for a well-received 'Bonnie's Beauty' (not in the shot that I know of). It had a lot of history behind it, as it was a sport from another popular cultivar, 'Wizard of Oz'. (B) For fans of large leaves and intense red color, the cultivar 'Colonel Bob Bullock' was a must have.

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Palmarum

- 1:32PM - I am always looking for new vantage points during an event, practical or weird. The porch that runs along the house gave me a bit of height for these shots, but I was looking for something more...

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- I noticed an eight-foot ladder sitting in Mike's garage so I asked to borrow it... ding. Even a foot or a couple inches can make a big difference on perspective. Now looking across the auction, you can get a feel for how much of a perfect situation it was that day. The filtered sunlight coming through the trees was the icing on the cake.

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- To my left, the group of auction plants began to dwindle. Tim carried the next one, as Travis looks towards the back for something different. (B) Attendees were finding their own way of keeping the finances flowing. Some were 'paying for' or 'receiving pay', per plant -- while others were going to wait until the end to pay/collect. FM. Randy Wiesner (palmislandRandy) walks across in the blue shirt, either grabbing for a won plant or going to pay for one.

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- One move of the ladder and I was in a new spot, doing my best not to fall off.

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Ryan

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Tracy S

Awesome job on documenting this event. You make it come alive with your photos and descriptions.

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Palmarum

- 1:41PM - Same scene, slightly askew. Altering my height on the ladder made the auction seem smaller. (B) A view looking up into the oak canopy, showing the provider of the perfect filtered sunlight.

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- With about fifteen minutes left in the auction, the bidding began to change. Attendees began to bid more often, trying to get their desired quantity of plants before time ran out.

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- Mike comes over to give a pat to Pete the poodle as the (B) supply of auction plants got reduced to single digits.

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- Jeff delivers a bidders newly-won auction plant, as Travis delivers the next one like clockwork. I dismounted the ladder to capture the closing minutes of the auction.

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Palmarum

- 1:49PM - The allotment of for-sale plants seemed to remain the same size throughout the afternoon, a side effect of the auction. Unless it's a 'must have', many attendees at these meetings will wait until after the auction to see what items in the for-sale group tickle their fancy, funds permitting of course. (B) Jeff points out bids, as the remaining auction plants get loaded onto the table.

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- As the auction draws near the eventual finish line, some of the more common cultivars require a bit more "umph" to get sold to the now discerning crowd. (B) In the closing moments, attendees begin to move around either paying for or collecting for, auctioned or sold plants; as Keith does so with Carol, who always brings a interesting selection of Crotons.

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- An unusual and unexpected entry into the auction was this over-sized specimen of a 10 gal. Variegated Swiss Cheese Plant, Monstera deliciosa var. 'Variegated'. It is either the more yellow (instead of white) form of 'albo-variegata' or the other similarly named 'aurea-variegata'. It could also be under a different name. The reserve was $50.00 and it quickly went to $100.00 and sold, an incredible deal. Not only was it a great size for the price, but the propagation potential for divisions was high, as the value could be quadrupled or more if the plant was divided carefully. (A) A solid and fully formed leaf. (C) A newly forming leaf, almost full size but still soft to the touch.

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- Some stashes were bigger than others. You almost couldn't see Melanie from behind hers. She has contracted the collecting bug in a serious way as that blue cart isn't going to cut it this time. (B) Jeff delivers one of the remaining auction plants to the feet of its new owner.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 1:54PM - Attendees began to rise and stretch as Jeff begins to auction off the last plant of the day. With the last winning bid, everyone clapped and celebrated the end of the auction and the conclusion of another successful Croton meeting. It was certainly a great event and the old cliché of 'fun was had by all' rang true. (B) As the end of the meeting unfolded, the activity shifted to the typical end of plant-event socializing. Dale was taking stock of his new goodies as people went around paying up, talking plants, discussed possible future events and so forth. 

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- I walked over to photograph a third Tahina spectabilis that was overlooked by the tour earlier in the day. There are plenty of other areas in Mike's yard that were either bypassed by the tour or could have used a more detailed look-through. This of course, would have lengthened the tour by a great deal, but it just leaves more to explore for another day, tour, event, etc. (B) As I was walking back to the auction area, I kinda surprised Raney with this shot from the hip. He, along with other attendees, began to marshal their new gains in groups. They were either going to carry them out to their vehicles or wait their turn for the golf cart.

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- The conversations continued as some needed to leave early, while others were in no hurry. This is when possible plant trading comes into play, utilizing Jim Glock's patented phrase "Trade Bait". Certain attendees who arrived during the auction took this time to greet others. With Crotons, there is always that aspect of 'future trading'... i.e. "I will get you an air-layer of this cultivar if you can get me a cutting of that one" and so forth. This situation arises as a substitute for the classic trading of two entire plants, as both parties would end up with both cultivars, a win-win.

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- What a day. In addition to the day's activities, the meeting allowed attendees to see and greet other plant people they may not have seen or have talked to in a long time. Some got the chance to meet those they have corresponded with for a while, but had never met in person. On the left, Greg K. talks with Bob as Keith and George comment (B) on the stash of plants in front of Andrea, Jeff and Jim.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- 2:02PM - I am not sure to whom those Crotons belonged to, but between Jim, George, Keith, Andrea and Jeff, they all seemed interested in them. I think the focus of the conversation was on identification more than anything.

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- 2:13PM - 2:20PM - Many were heading out at this point, while some late arrivals seeming to take a tour on their own; or at least, taking the long way out to the parking lot. In the center, Jeff and Andrea take a minute to talk with legendary growers and collectors Marie and Steve Nock. I joined one moving group of attendees as they headed for the entrance gate. (B) After exiting, I took this shot of the parked vehicles, then immediately noticed the familiar FP&L spray paint on the sidewalk. I figured they were in the process of replacing the older utility poles along the sidewalk, but wondered how they would do that without destroying a lot of Mike's landscaping on the right... time will tell.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- P.S. - Before leaving, I took time to photograph that highly attractive specimen of Calyptronoma plumeriana seen at the beginning of the tour. I knew it deserved some added attention, as the tour spent a few seconds looking it over...

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- Before you go crazy looking for one, take note that the petiole and rachis coloration varies greatly from plant to plant. They do not all gain this color... and some that do, may gradually lose it as the palm ages from juvenile to adult. It's mostly a genetic roll of the dice, based primarily on the origin location, as Cuban specimens tend to not develop the color.

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- Specimens used to be more common in cultivation, even under the old name C. dulcis, but have since become harder to find or often ignored if they are without the coloration. I received my first lesson with this color phenomenon during the 2006 IPS Biennial in the Dominican Republic. On our second trip to Dr. Rafael M. Moscoso National Botanical Garden in Santo Domingo, we found a single juvenile specimen with this coloration and it blew our minds. It was in a grouping of other C. plumeriana, the rest with light green coloration. It remained one of the few palms left unnamed in the topic, until later identified by Paul Craft.

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Thus ended the tour, the event and the meeting. I could have posted this topic in the main sub-forum, with all the palmness, but it only ended up that way by my hand. The focus of the event was as a Croton meeting, and although many of the Croton enthusiasts in attendance are also Palm people, I felt the attention should be paid towards the colorful euphorbs as they are a great group of plants. They are often associated with Palms as occupants for the space left underneath as the Palms grow taller. To quote Forum member Randy Wiesner (palmislandRandy), they are great "Palm Jewelry".

Ryan

----<

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BS Man about Palms

Thanks for the great tour coverage Ryan! I love when Mike invites us for dinner when I am in town, Mike is a great host and has an awesome place!

I have to say, I always chuckle when I see that Double-Coconut and the time "we" (Jeff and.. all us he convinced) played a practical joke on Mike when he had the seed a while with no growth.  Jeff fashioned a "spike" and called Mike over to say "Hey Mike! Look! It started!!"  A teeny bit cruel, but a good natured joke for a good friend.

 

Oh yeah, that red C. plumeriana.. :drool:

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George Sparkman

Thanks for posting all the photos Ryan. Total coverage !

Mike's place is fantastic !

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Jeff Searle

Ryan, thanks for posting all your wonderful pictures. It was a fun day and nice to see so many come out. And big thanks to Mike for opening up his garden. It never gets old.

Jeff

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