In January 2020 The Merwin Conservancy officially took on the stewardship of the house and palm garden of poet W.S. Merwin on Maui. As we have been cataloging personal items in the house, we discovered boxes of files containing letters about the early days of seed exchanges, conservation work, and friendships revolving around palms. Some of these letters written more than 30 years ago include correspondence between Inga Hoffman coordinating the IPS seedbank out of the Southern California Palm Society Chapter, Grant Hawley from Aitkenvale North Queensland, and Norm Patterson in Western Australia (he mentions the Western Australia Palm and Cycad Society being only 2 years old). We are just starting to go through these now, and I hope those in the PalmTalk community might help me put more context around these pen pals. Grant Hawley's letters include descriptions of his own gardening situation, it would be interesting to find out what happened since those letters. William had been working on a Pritchardia project and mentions sending a few wild collected seeds to his network. I've only scratched the surface and I assume there will be many more kindred spirits in the piles of correspondence. The letters are an interesting snapshot of the world of serious amateur palm collecting - species lists, wish lists, and old certificates like the photo attached.
By Jonathan Haycock
Not a palm I've seen advertised for sale much here in South Australia, so when I came across these 5 young Jubaea chilensis on Gumtree I jumped at the opportunity.
The private seller grew them from seed and claimed they were around 5 years old. In need of a re-pot, but very healthy.
$100 AUD (£55 GBP/€61 EURO/$73 USD) for the lot!!!
I believe some of them are hybrids (JxB F1) as does Nigel Kembrey.
What do you think?
I found these maps online, they show where Australia and New Zealand would lie if they were situated in their current latitude except in the northern hemisphere. I was surprised at how much closer to the equator some of our cities and major towns were in comparison.
By Fi Melbourne
I've just received my 3 sprouted coconuts in the mail. This will be my first time growing coconut and I am a bit excited and nervous at the same time as I've never done this before.
I grew up in South East Asia and my late grandfather's house was surrounded with beautiful coconut trees. Now that I've moved to Melbourne Australia, I wanted a piece of tropical paradise with me to remind me of my childhood.
Since it's currently winter now in Melbourne, the coconuts will be grown indoor. Once they get bigger... I will move them in the greenhouse. Hopefully with the right method and equipment, I would be able to grow them in the ground one day. I have about a dozen of banana trees growing in the backyard already and now I just need a few coconut trees to have my own tropical paradise.
Do you guys have any advice for a newbie like me? Do's and don'ts? I have a heat mat, grow light and humidifier to help these babies grow. Should I leave the heat mat on all night? I put plastic over them to create a humid environment. Any fertilizer at all at this stage?
Thanks guys and it's great to be a part of this community.
By Yunder Wækraus
Why do foxtails have such a narrow wild distribution? Do cassowaries not eat them? They germinate like weeds at the house we rent north of Cairns, but nothing in our neighborhood disperses their fruit. Now that they are popular cultivation, are they spreading to the neighboring rainforest? Also, there’s this: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Melville_incident
Basically, I would like to hear anything y’all know about the discovery, natural situation, etc. of wild or naturalized foxtail palms.