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Ventnor Botanic Gardens and Isle of Wight (UK)

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UK_Palms

So I am currently on the Isle of Wight, just off the south coast of England. You can cross over from Portsmouth on the ferry, which takes about 30 minutes. The island is a palm paradise in general, but the southeastern portion is almost like a mini Califronia. I will let the photos do the talking. All these CIDP and Washingtonia were planted tiny about 10-15 years ago now.

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I'll start with the Trachycarpus Fortunei...

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Phoenix Canariensis...

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Brahea Edulus...

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Brahea Armata...

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Going in heavy with the Washingtonia now. Excuse the sun in my eyes...

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There were several Jubaea Chilensis planted out...

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Butia Odorata...

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Chamaerops Humilis...

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Musa Basjoo...

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Cycas Revoluta...

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About a mile down the road we sat down to have lunch, as dolphin pods jumped out of the water while we ate...

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Off the coast of Niton, right next to the spot we ate at, I spotted a Washingtonia in a back yard. Unfortunately the garden was not really accessible to get photos, so I unlawfully hopped the fence to get some shots. Not really being one to follow rules, I am certainly glad I went over, since it turns out there were two Washies in that back yard...

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Massive palm updates from the Isle of Wight coming. I have barely scratched the surface here...

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GatoCapa

Very nicely done photo spread.

The cold hearty palms seem to really thrive there off of the English coast.

The wonders of microClimates.

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UK_Palms

Ventnor is loaded. It is going to look crazy in a couple of years time...

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There's a few big Canaries around...

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These two are really impressive...

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The garden opposite had this growing...

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Surprised to see self seeded Canna growing out the cracks of concrete down a side alley...

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Lots of bananas too in gardens...

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More Ventnor CIDP's...

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I counted 10 washies up on the hill overlooking the Botanic Gardens road. They're going to look pretty insane in a few years time...

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Here is one of them up close...

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This is just Ventnor, on the southeast of the island, that I have covered so far. The best palms are probably yet to come in other parts of the Isle of Wight...

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UK_Palms

Here are some more from the Isle of Wight...

These ones are in Bembridge...

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Sandown/Shanklin...

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This is an example of why Trachycarpus cannot compete with the Washingtonia in southern England. The washies just look better/healthier and grow quicker...

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Here's a better Trachy...

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Ryde... starting with this 25 footer CIDP which is hidden away in a back yard...

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The trunk must be at least 3-4 meters in height...

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At the mini-golf in Ryde they have a number of CIDP's, one of which I noticed was putting out suckers. It must be hybridised with Dactyliferia or Theophrasti...

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This lookout is over 800 years old and dates back to the 1200's. It was built more than 250 years before Europeans even discovered the American continents...

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I went to check out the Robusta's at Robin Hill too. They look fantastic, given that they had awful transplants about 3 years ago. The guy there said that they had barely any roots, which got further damaged at transplant, plus they were allowed to dry out badly. A week after the transplant all the fronds went brown and died back to the point that they were left with stumps pretty much for almost a whole year. However they have clearly recovered and come back over the past 2-3 years since then, despite the less than ideal weather in 2021. They will probably take another year to settle in 100%. 

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I don't know why councils on the south coast of England and in London don't import more big Robusta's, Filifera's, CIDP etc. Literally 99% of plantings are tiny, which then have to grow big, which takes ages. Obviously these Robusta's are in the 1% minority or so, that are shipped in big. They should plant some big Robusta's like this though on the seafront at Ventnor and Shanklin/Sandown. They would look good anywhere along the south coast and in London. They seem to settle in nicely after a year or so.

 

These are in Niton, near Ventnor again...

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This CIDP is in East Cowes...

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I probably missed a whole load more, but I tried to get as many as possible during the 4 days that I spent on the Isle of Wight. I never covered Cowes and I only saw a tiny part of East Cowes. Again the biggest town, Newport, I did not cover either. The same with Yarmouth in the northwest. So there will definitely be a load more good specimens out there...

 

 

Edited by UK_Palms
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DCA_Palm_Fan

Looks pretty amazing?   Do you happen to know what  zone that is?  My guess is 9A.     In one of your photos I saw what really looks to me like a Serenoa Repens (saw palmetto).  I would bet Sabal Palmettos would grow there.  

 

Also, I is it very windy there?  For some reason the washies look kind of ratty, and some of the windmills definitely have bad wind burn.  Windmills really don't do well in windy areas.   The ones in Virginia Beach VA that are exposed on or near the oceanfront are always very ratty looking.  

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UK_Palms
10 hours ago, DCA_Palm_Fan said:

Looks pretty amazing?   Do you happen to know what  zone that is?  My guess is 9A.     In one of your photos I saw what really looks to me like a Serenoa Repens (saw palmetto).  I would bet Sabal Palmettos would grow there.  

Also, I is it very windy there?  For some reason the washies look kind of ratty, and some of the windmills definitely have bad wind burn.  Windmills really don't do well in windy areas.   The ones in Virginia Beach VA that are exposed on or near the oceanfront are always very ratty looking.  

I think most of the Isle of Wight is a 9b zone, except for the inland central interior, that is away from the coastline, which is probably 9a. Ventnor on the southeast coast is probably 10a though as they don't drop below about -1C / 30F most years. I don't think they have ever gone below about -5C / 22F down there in Ventnor and that area. So it's pretty mild there. Ventnor is certainly the mildest place on the coastline of southern England during winter. Only Isles of Scilly off the southwest corner of the coast is milder. 

As with all coastal regions of the UK, it is pretty windy there. Not quite as windy as the west coast and the more exposed places like the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall, but still pretty windy. I think they had 100mph winds on the west coast of the IOW back in January and 90mph winds in February. It's not usually that windy in an average year, but those sort of winds would obviously shred the fronds of fan palms such as Trachycarpus and Washingtonia. I still think the Washies stand up to the wind a bit better than the Trachy's, judging by the photos. Most of the bad winds occur from October - March though. While I was over there in late September, there was practically no wind at all. Average wind speed was probably 1 - 2mph. Daytime temps of 21-22C (70F). 

This Washingtonia is located in Southsea, pretty close to the car ferry terminal that I had to use to get to the IOW. I was able to check it out and get some pics, since it was only a 5 minute drive away from the Isle of Wight ferry terminal. Obviously Southsea is a bit of a palm hotspot too, as is the south coast in general, including the IOW. This washie doesn't look too bad though, given its coastal location and the terrible year we have had, including the winter storms, the abnormally cold winter and spring conditions and the below average summer. Maybe not on par with the California or Arizona washies, but still pretty good for 50N in southern England. Planted at only 1 foot in height as well in 2010.

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Plantasexoticas

Some great shots there! You must be in your element. 
Ventnor is a fantastic place and I need to visit again soon, 

They planted a group of Rhopalostylis a while back, are they still there? 
 

James

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UK_Palms
1 hour ago, Plantasexoticas said:

Some great shots there! You must be in your element. 
Ventnor is a fantastic place and I need to visit again soon, 

They planted a group of Rhopalostylis a while back, are they still there? 
 

James

Hi James, if there were Nikau's growing there, I missed them. I didn't cover everything in the Botanic Garden as I planned to come back the following day (free to return within 7 days), however I never got around to returning again. I had a pretty jam packed itinerary over the 4 days that I was there. Do you know what section of the garden the Rhopies would have been located in?

The council should seriously plant some big, mature CIDP's and Washies along the Ventnor esplanade. I know we don't really import big specimens into the UK, but they would look fantastic. They could plant a load more small ones along the seafront, but we would be waiting another 10-20 years for them to reach a decent size. It's about time we started importing bigger ones.

A lot of those big, famous Robusta's and CIDP's in Los Angeles were imported already big in the late 1800's / early 1900's and now they are ginormous after 100+ years more growing time. So if we are planting tiny palms up here at 50N, we are going to be waiting decades, if not centuries for them to reach anywhere near their potential. We need to start importing bigger ones too, otherwise we're never going to see true 'skydusters' in our lifetime.

I want to see the IOW council ship in a load of big Robusta's for Ventnor and Shanklin/Sandown beachfront. Instead of them planting tiny 1-2 foot palms that look sickly or ratty during their first 5-6 years, until they start putting on some size and taking off. Then we're still waiting another decade for them to get to a decent size. They should plant a few BIG CIDP's as well. We aren't making the most of the palm growing potential right now.

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Plantasexoticas
1 hour ago, UK_Palms said:

Hi James, if there were Nikau's growing there, I missed them. I didn't cover everything in the Botanic Garden as I planned to come back the following day (free to return within 7 days), however I never got around to returning again. I had a pretty jam packed itinerary over the 4 days that I was there. Do you know what section of the garden the Rhopies would have been located in?

The council should seriously plant some big, mature CIDP's and Washies along the Ventnor esplanade. I know we don't really import big specimens into the UK, but they would look fantastic. They could plant a load more small ones along the seafront, but we would be waiting another 10-20 years for them to reach a decent size. It's about time we started importing bigger ones.

A lot of those big, famous Robusta's and CIDP's in Los Angeles were imported already big in the late 1800's / early 1900's and now they are ginormous after 100+ years more growing time. So if we are planting tiny palms up here at 50N, we are going to be waiting decades, if not centuries for them to reach anywhere near their potential. We need to start importing bigger ones too, otherwise we're never going to see true 'skydusters' in our lifetime.

I want to see the IOW council ship in a load of big Robusta's for Ventnor and Shanklin/Sandown beachfront. Instead of them planting tiny 1-2 foot palms that look sickly or ratty during their first 5-6 years, until they start putting on some size and taking off. Then we're still waiting another decade for them to get to a decent size. They should plant a few BIG CIDP's as well. We aren't making the most of the palm growing potential right now.

It’s been quite a few years but they are planted not far from the main building in the walled garden, underneath a huge evergreen tree - so very sheltered! 

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DCA_Palm_Fan
3 hours ago, UK_Palms said:

I think most of the Isle of Wight is a 9b zone, except for the inland central interior, that is away from the coastline, which is probably 9a. Ventnor on the southeast coast is probably 10a though as they don't drop below about -1C / 30F most years. I don't think they have ever gone below about -5C / 22F down there in Ventnor and that area. So it's pretty mild there. Ventnor is certainly the mildest place on the coastline of southern England during winter. Only Isles of Scilly off the southwest corner of the coast is milder. 

As with all coastal regions of the UK, it is pretty windy there. Not quite as windy as the west coast and the more exposed places like the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall, but still pretty windy. I think they had 100mph winds on the west coast of the IOW back in January and 90mph winds in February. It's not usually that windy in an average year, but those sort of winds would obviously shred the fronds of fan palms such as Trachycarpus and Washingtonia. I still think the Washies stand up to the wind a bit better than the Trachy's, judging by the photos. Most of the bad winds occur from October - March though. While I was over there in late September, there was practically no wind at all. Average wind speed was probably 1 - 2mph. Daytime temps of 21-22C (70F). 

This Washingtonia is located in Southsea, pretty close to the car ferry terminal that I had to use to get to the IOW. I was able to check it out and get some pics, since it was only a 5 minute drive away from the Isle of Wight ferry terminal. Obviously Southsea is a bit of a palm hotspot too, as is the south coast in general, including the IOW. This washie doesn't look too bad though, given its coastal location and the terrible year we have had, including the winter storms, the abnormally cold winter and spring conditions and the below average summer. Maybe not on par with the California or Arizona washies, but still pretty good for 50N in southern England. Planted at only 1 foot in height as well in 2010.

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Yeah, I figured it was pretty windy.  Windmills def look bad in those conditions / locations.   Washies definitely handle wind much better.   The ones you posted look good.    It's  nice to see that there are so many palms able to be grown there.     As far as zones, portions might be 10A as far a minimum standards go, but no where near a true 10A, as that is tropical and 10A's get HOT enough to easily sustain coconut palms.   I'm certain its no where near warm enough for that there.   Looking at climate charts for IOW, its mild for sure, but it is definitely a cool mild.  Even the highs are too cold for coconuts.      I wonder if a beccariophoenix alfredii could grow there?  I know they are iffy with frosts and cold wet areas.    I'm still a little surprised at the Saw Palmetto though. I always thought they required HOT summer temps like it has in its native climate, but I guess that it can handle cooler climates as well.     No matter, it is still an impressive array of palms / subtropicals that can be grown on IOW to be sure.    Keep the photos coming!  

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UK_Palms
47 minutes ago, Plantasexoticas said:

It’s been quite a few years but they are planted not far from the main building in the walled garden, underneath a huge evergreen tree - so very sheltered! 

Perhaps I missed them. I certainly wasn't aware that the Botanic Garden even had Nikau's, otherwise I would have definitely been on the look out for them. Unless they were killed, or even removed possibly. The lowest winter minima for Ventor over the past 3 years I believe was 0C in the 18/19 winter, +1C in winter 19/20 and -3C last winter (20/21). I doubt the gardens have experienced anything lower than -5C since the 1987 freeze when they had the record low of -7C.

Obviously Nikau's would be pretty borderline there still, but the Nikau's at Tresco are doing great. I would say that Tresco and the Isles of Scilly are only very marginally that bit warmer than Ventnor during winter, but then Ventnor is also bit warmer than Isles of Scilly during summer. If those Rhopies are thriving at Tresco, they should in theory also be doing relatively well at Ventnor. Not struggling or dying. So maybe I just missed the Nikau's and they were were tucked away in a corner, surrounded by foliage...? 

These are the Tresco ones...

9695BD8E8617420795C26C04E34F94C9-2.jpg.6f7982a632beba780ad79e30910a2d6c.jpg

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Plantasexoticas
1 hour ago, UK_Palms said:

Perhaps I missed them. I certainly wasn't aware that the Botanic Garden even had Nikau's, otherwise I would have definitely been on the look out for them. Unless they were killed, or even removed possibly. The lowest winter minima for Ventor over the past 3 years I believe was 0C in the 18/19 winter, +1C in winter 19/20 and -3C last winter (20/21). I doubt the gardens have experienced anything lower than -5C since the 1987 freeze when they had the record low of -7C.

Obviously Nikau's would be pretty borderline there still, but the Nikau's at Tresco are doing great. I would say that Tresco and the Isles of Scilly are only very marginally that bit warmer than Ventnor during winter, but then Ventnor is also bit warmer than Isles of Scilly during summer. If those Rhopies are thriving at Tresco, they should in theory also be doing relatively well at Ventnor. Not struggling or dying. So maybe I just missed the Nikau's and they were were tucked away in a corner, surrounded by foliage...? 

These are the Tresco ones...

9695BD8E8617420795C26C04E34F94C9-2.jpg.6f7982a632beba780ad79e30910a2d6c.jpg

Scilly isles still on my list of places to visit, if nothing then to just see the palms like rhopalostylis. 
 

The Rhopalostylis on the Isle of Wight could very well be covered in weeds - maybe deliberately for protection. There were a lot of plants growing around them when I visited so could easily be hidden. 

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Plantasexoticas

Back in 2017 - just found my photos 

13622BDA-6192-4953-9F27-4A94D77B8599.jpeg

E7CC8FC8-6D79-482B-8B04-3AF3230858C8.jpeg

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DoomsDave

@UK__Palms holy cow

Gonna have to scream some proper British obscenities 

ahem

PROPER BRITISH OBSCENITIES!

If you’d said that was in Santa Barbara or Athens I’d have believed you.

More, por favor?

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palmfriend

Another great documentation about UK's palmy spots and very well done! Thank you very much! 

I guess in a greenhouse you can grow almost anything over there. 

Lars

 

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UK_Palms
18 hours ago, Plantasexoticas said:

Back in 2017 - just found my photos 

13622BDA-6192-4953-9F27-4A94D77B8599.jpeg

E7CC8FC8-6D79-482B-8B04-3AF3230858C8.jpeg

Thanks for uploading these, James. That is really annoying for me though as I must have missed the Nikau's on my visit. Seeing that wall just behind them suggests to me that they were located in a section of the gardens that I did not really cover properly. It doesn't help that foliage and undergrowth will be at its maximum extent right now in September, before dying back, having had the whole of summer and September to grow. They were probably hidden away somewhat. Out of sight and out of mind. I don't think the gardens have seen anything colder than -3C since you took those photos in 2017, so I doubt they have been killed off, especially with overhead cover. The fact that the Tresco Nikau's are thriving suggests the Ventnor ones would be too.

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