Wednesday, 2 May 2012

How many palms?

Sometimes I forget... that is, sometimes I forget just how many palms I have planted.  I often refer to the yard as "palm garden" and with the most recent addition of the young trachycarpus wagnerianus I reached an all time high, 14.

To me, the real prize of the garden is this butia capitata or pindo palm.  While they have survived for years at a time in mild areas of the PNW, they really don't like our cool wet winters.  I provide this palm with some protection on arctic outbreaks.  It has seen some really cold temperatures but I'm not willing to risk anything.  Luckily, it only takes me about 5 mins to protect in the event of severe cold.  Some old school christmas lights, burlap and a tarp if the wind is blowing... 

But, for anyone in coastal PNW, trachycarpus fortunei is the palm to grow!

You can see how I lost track...

This is my largest palm! The top of the fronds must be over 12 feet now.

This little guy came from the famous English Bay palms.  There are literally thousands of little palm seedlings along the base of the palms in english bay.  I did some "weeding" for them.

Last but not least the mediterranean fan palm.  Most mediterranean fan palms in the valley and even coastal Van were damaged or killed a few years ago.  This one gets some old school christmas lights around the central growing spear and a tarp when temps go below 20F.

I realize I push the limits with some of my palms.  But they are actually incredibly low maintenance. With Windmill palms, plant them, water them while they are getting established and then do nothing! Just watch them grow and enjoy the exotic ambience they provide.  All that is to say, plant a palm!


  1. 14...that's very impressive! And I can see why you go the extra mile to protect the tender ones!

    I've only got two, but I do borrow the view of one of my neighbors, it's kind if like having another one. It's pushing out big claw-like blooms right now, very exciting!

    1. Thanks :) It's very exciting to see palms blooming! I have at least three that are sending out flower pods right now. Usually the males bloom a couple weeks ahead of the females. My largest is a male and has been flowering for years but this is the first year my other palms have shown flower pods. I just hope that one of them is a female.... I could have a palm jungle! not to mention all the guerilla palm planting that I could do!!!

  2. Those are worth it to me, and so you might lose a couple like the Med Fan Palm? They add a milder visual than the "feel" of conifers, by using plants from semi-analogous places. Like travelling there, by just walking around the property!

    Last visit to the Pac NW, I was more than impressed with all the Trachy palms. In some ways, I would rather see them there than in Abq or El Paso (outside the oasis), just like seeing Crepe Myrtles in the SE beats seeing them attempted in Abq or worse Las Vegas! I think your motif has much merit.

    1. Thanks for that. I agree that PNW trachycarpus are wonderful (I think the best)! When you think of places like England where they are a mainstay in the landscape, we are very similar in climate. It makes it almost classic as opposed to experimental or exotic. Even as the mediterranean is concerned, while we can be colder than the typical mediterranean locale, we typically experience a mild wet winter and a warm dry summer. Warmer locations like the southern Gulf Islands or San Jauns are often described as mediterranean. What's interesting to me is an emerging distinct PNW style. One that both celebrates relatively mild winters and the ability to grow cool weather plants side by side.