Friday, September 14, 2007

Trachys & their Irish offspring

Just to finish off the overview of the rear garden here is a picture of a little group of Trachycarpus palms which were grown from seed in the early 90s and planted out when we moved here in 1994:
The larger palm at the back is Trachycarpus fortunei and the two at the front are the smaller leaved T. wagnerianus. Several more varieties have been discovered in the last decade or so - all likely to be hardy in the UK and Ireland.

The three Trachycarpus fortunei in the front garden have been flowering for several years now and one has also been producing seed. The seeds just about manage to get to their full size in October but, with our cool summers, they never actually manage to ripen. Imagine my surprise then, a couple of years ago, when I spotted a single seedling leaf poking up at the base of the palm.

The following year, seeds were produced again but remained green going into winter. Anyway, the next spring I decided to scatter the seeds in the border, in the back garden, just in case. Surprisingly a few seedlings did emerge later in the summer and more appeared in the autumn and it seemed they continued to grow slowly during the winter. Again, last year (2006) I scattered some of the seeds and again some germinated. By March of this year parts of the border in the back garden were looking like this:

The dilemma now is what to do with all these seedlings - all of them true Irish palms!

After a great start, this summer turned out to be a total washout and, even with the relatively warm and dry weather of the last few weeks, it looks like this year's crop is not going to develop fully. (I think I have enough seedlings anyway.) This is how it looks now in mid-september:

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