A debate

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Nathan
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Re: A debate

Post by Nathan » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:38 am

stephenprudence wrote:I agree that south coast has had the better of things recently, and the huge CIDPs, Butias, and in some cases Washingtonias are a testament to that, however, part of Northern England and North Wales can in some cases rival the south coast for speciments grown - it's just that the north isn't seen as a holiday destination so public plantings are sparse.. and I don't necessarily believe these palms and other plants are on borrowed time any more than south coasts specimens are. The mature species in Portsmouth and Cornwall, as well as the Essex coast, could easily be wiped out with one freak cold spell, just as they were in many parts of the north 2 winters ago.
To be fair though Stephen all the Phoenix canariensis that I have seen growing in the likes of north Wales or northern England don't look anywhere near as good or healthy (or anywhere near as big) as those grown in London/the south coast & they are much, much slower growing. Many of them have only been planted in more recent years too or are in an extremely sheltered microclimate, by contrast in Portsmouth you see them planted everywhere & anywhere & they get huge. And as for them being just as easily wiped out in a cold snap I would say that is incorrect. For example the record low temperature in Portsmouth is -8C (recorded in January 1987 & not a mature plant killing temperature), what are the record lows for places in more northern areas that have a Phoenix canariensis clinging on to life?? Yes anywhere could potentially get a ridiculously record breaking cold winter, but the chances are if it was cold enough to wipe them out on the south coast, then the northern ones wouldn't be around the following spring either :lol:
stephenprudence wrote: My opinion is we need to move away from that idea that north has virtually no chance of long term palms (which to be fair is engrained psychologically), whilst the south is fine.. I believe in terms of climate were all on a level playing field with coastal areas of Scotland, NW England, Isle of Man and Northern Ireland, having an equal chance of long term survival with 'half hardy' palms and plants as the south coast.

However where I do agree is that specimens in the south will grow faster as the climate down there is warmer in Summer, so ultimately these half hardy exotics will be both larger and faster growing in say the south coastal areas.

Of course this is not personally to my garden.. I'm fully aware that in my own garden many species of palm that can be grown south and also north of here, are not viable here
Some of us on this forum have been growing exotics for many years, myself I have been growing palms in the UK for over 20 years, so we have more experience & have seen spells of mild winters, cold winters & we know what plants have a chance of growing long term. I have seen many people over the years experiment with an assortment of exotic plants & palms all over the UK & have seen what has been successful or not. If these plants/palms have just as good a chance of growing up north than they do down south, where are all the mature specimens up north?? I don't want to discourage anyone from 'having a go' but I feel it best to give people a realistic opinion also. Do I think a Phoenix canariensis could be a long term plant away from London/the south coast? No. But that shouldn't stop anyone from trying one in their own gardens & enjoying it even though it may be on 'borrowed time' icon_thumright
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The Codfather
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Re: A debate

Post by The Codfather » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:35 pm

That sums it up.....
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Re: A debate

Post by Axel » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:18 pm

If you speak about Phoenix canariensis_CIDP's and compare the situation of the UK to France you will see a comparable picture more or less (albeit with a hotter growing season).

Phoenix canariensis in france grows roughly from the (immediate) western coastal area's in Brittany all the way down to the border of spain. Inland area's cannot grow them with the exception of some milder parts of the deep south west (Pau, Toulouse) and there the Phoenix canariensis_CIDP's all suffered extensive damage in 2010 too (but most grew back). Phoenix canariensis_CIDP's don't grow (longer term) in coastal area's north of Brittany.

The mediterranean coastal area of france can grow Phoenix canariensis_CIDP's easily, but a bit more inland (20km/30km) and the Phoenix canariensis_CIDP's mostly completely disappear. These inland area's are pure meditteranean and have a very long growing and HOT growing season. I'm sure people tried over and over in these area's. Phoenix canariensis_CIDP is just no long term plant 30 km from the cote d'azur. The winterdamage cannot be outgrown in a single hot season and it slows them down severely.

The same in northern Italy. Outside of narrow strips around the lakes (swiss/Italy) there are no large Phoenix canariensis_CIDP's in more inland area's. I have seen one in Padua and it didnt look good (despite months of 30C).
The ones in Portsmouth and London look much much better. They don't need 30C heat, 22C will do, but they need a near frost free winter to look good and accelerate.

That said i love to experiment in Amsterdam and i love to see pictures from all UK members on hardy tropicals.


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Re: A debate

Post by stephenprudence » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:40 pm

If the CIDPs aren't a long term scenario, what are they still doing alive? A winter like 2010 should have wiped all the one up north out.. but in places they're still there - surely that qualifies them as a long term prospect.

I'd argue there were smaller specimens up north than down south, but I'd say many of the specimens up north were pretty good looking specimens, but they haven't yet had the time to mature into specimens that look as good as the south.

We can all quote the Winter of 1963 and 1947.. but then in that Winter, no CIDPs would have survived anywhere on the mainland, except maybe the Isles of Scilly.

I do accept that many specimens have died in harsh winters, but that's where the short term prospects have been sorted from the long term prospects and of course many more have perished in the north than the south, but surely there was never many the north to begin with, because of psychology engrained in living in the 'dark, cold north'
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Re: A debate

Post by The Codfather » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:29 pm

I dont know of any from here or up over that are planted and are BIG.

I do have one but its potted.......the only issue I have its getting to big to be potted need a sack barrow to put it in the garage.

I know it will burst if I plant it and grow like mad......the only thing would be getting through winters outside.
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Nathan
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Re: A debate

Post by Nathan » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:21 pm

stephenprudence wrote:If the CIDPs aren't a long term scenario, what are they still doing alive? A winter like 2010 should have wiped all the one up north out.. but in places they're still there - surely that qualifies them as a long term prospect.

I'd argue there were smaller specimens up north than down south, but I'd say many of the specimens up north were pretty good looking specimens, but they haven't yet had the time to mature into specimens that look as good as the south.

We can all quote the Winter of 1963 and 1947.. but then in that Winter, no CIDPs would have survived anywhere on the mainland, except maybe the Isles of Scilly.

I do accept that many specimens have died in harsh winters, but that's where the short term prospects have been sorted from the long term prospects and of course many more have perished in the north than the south, but surely there was never many the north to begin with, because of psychology engrained in living in the 'dark, cold north'
But a few isolated specimens that are only a few years old don't really prove that they are a 'long term' plant, if they survived 2010 or not...

I have not seen a single specimen from 'up north' that looks as good as any grown down south & because they are not just dependent on mild winters, but also warmer summers, it remains to be seen if they will ever grow into better looking specimens or not, pictures a few years apart of some specimens I have seen show hardly any visible growth...

Winters like 1963 & 1947 were cold, but not everywhere had temperatures low enough to kill Phoenix canariensis & not just on the Scillies either. Torquay has the only big mature specimen on mainland UK & the record low there is -8.9C recorded in 1947 the Phoenix survived that winter... It didn't even get as cold as that in Southsea & in 1963 it dropped to -7C, again not cold cold enough to kill an established Phoenix canariensis.

The argument that there are not as many of 'X' plants in the north as there are in the south, because people assume they wont survive is also invalid. When I first started growing palms Phoenix canariensis were not widely available, I had to source a plant from a specialist palm nursery, even Cordylines were not easy to come by. It is only in the last 10 years or so that places like B&Q have been stocking more exotics & other garden centres have followed suit. That is when people began planting them down south, just as they did in the north, any that were planted previous to this were planted by real enthusiasts not run of the mill gardeners. How many of these originally planted palms still survive in the north? I don't think just because a plant survived 2010 you can really say it is a long term prospect, you need to look at the bigger climate picture, what 'zone' that area is in (using 30 years worth of data to work out the annual average absolute minimum) plus take the record low temperature into account...
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Re: A debate

Post by stephenprudence » Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:05 pm

Nathan wrote:
stephenprudence wrote:If the CIDPs aren't a long term scenario, what are they still doing alive? A winter like 2010 should have wiped all the one up north out.. but in places they're still there - surely that qualifies them as a long term prospect.

I'd argue there were smaller specimens up north than down south, but I'd say many of the specimens up north were pretty good looking specimens, but they haven't yet had the time to mature into specimens that look as good as the south.

We can all quote the Winter of 1963 and 1947.. but then in that Winter, no CIDPs would have survived anywhere on the mainland, except maybe the Isles of Scilly.

I do accept that many specimens have died in harsh winters, but that's where the short term prospects have been sorted from the long term prospects and of course many more have perished in the north than the south, but surely there was never many the north to begin with, because of psychology engrained in living in the 'dark, cold north'
But a few isolated specimens that are only a few years old don't really prove that they are a 'long term' plant, if they survived 2010 or not...

I have not seen a single specimen from 'up north' that looks as good as any grown down south & because they are not just dependent on mild winters, but also warmer summers, it remains to be seen if they will ever grow into better looking specimens or not, pictures a few years apart of some specimens I have seen show hardly any visible growth...

Winters like 1963 & 1947 were cold, but not everywhere had temperatures low enough to kill Phoenix canariensis & not just on the Scillies either. Torquay has the only big mature specimen on mainland UK & the record low there is -8.9C recorded in 1947 the Phoenix survived that winter... It didn't even get as cold as that in Southsea & in 1963 it dropped to -7C, again not cold cold enough to kill an established Phoenix canariensis.

The argument that there are not as many of 'X' plants in the north as there are in the south, because people assume they wont survive is also invalid. When I first started growing palms Phoenix canariensis were not widely available, I had to source a plant from a specialist palm nursery, even Cordylines were not easy to come by. It is only in the last 10 years or so that places like B&Q have been stocking more exotics & other garden centres have followed suit. That is when people began planting them down south, just as they did in the north, any that were planted previous to this were planted by real enthusiasts not run of the mill gardeners. How many of these originally planted palms still survive in the north? I don't think just because a plant survived 2010 you can really say it is a long term prospect, you need to look at the bigger climate picture, what 'zone' that area is in (using 30 years worth of data to work out the annual average absolute minimum) plus take the record low temperature into account...
hmmm maybe, but when some photos of the ones taken last year and I posted them on another forum, someone from the south coast (around Southampton area) commented on how good they look here in comparison to there.. they must have been trippin' right?

In 1947 and 1963 temperatures didn't go below -8C here, the minimum was -7.2C, but I have my doubts even CIDPs in Torquay or Southsea would have got through the relentless week after week of cold, even if it wasn't that cold ultimately as a final temperature. The problem with those hard winters, was not the absolute minimum figure but the fact it rolled on for weeks and months, even down south. No way would a Phoenix canariensis_CIDP survive those conditions anywhere unless it was seriously well protected. Would CIDPs have survived the -7.2C here.. of course not.

FWIW the specimens up this way have put some appreciable growth on in recent years, particularly the West Kirby specimens, that have now really filled out - but it's your choice whether you choose to believe/accept that.. but CIDPs will never be anything but an isolated thing here.. and I accept that, because people just don't have faith that they will survive. Here someone sees a palm tree and thinks 'no that will die here'.

I will however get fresh photos of the palms, once CIDPs get to certain size they grow fast - actually, it seems they like relatively cool summers, as opposed to overly hot summers. Slow and steady is better than dead.

I can be certain of one thing though.. in my own garden, Phoenix canariensis_CIDP is impossible, and will always be so.. unless I move to the lower part of town, or near the coast.

Summer temperatures aren't even that bad here.. we have a mean maximum of 21C at the height of the summer, which is ok - yes nothing as warm as the south coast, but were talking comfortable growing temperatures where it matters.
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Last 5 winter minimums:
2007: -0.1C, 2008: -4.2C, 2009: -5.7C, 2010: -10.5 (record), 2011: -4.9C, 2012: -5.3, 2013: -4.5C (so far)


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Re: A debate

Post by Rob S » Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:51 pm

[quote="Nathan"]

Winters like 1963 & 1947 were cold, but not everywhere had temperatures low enough to kill Phoenix canariensis & not just on the Scillies either. Torquay has the only big mature specimen on mainland UK & the record low there is -8.9C recorded in 1947 the Phoenix survived that winter... It didn't even get as cold as that in Southsea & in 1963 it dropped to -7C, again not cold cold enough to kill an established Phoenix canariensis.

Obviously you forgot the mature Phoenix Canariensis in Fulham, West London, actually a much more impressive plant in my opinion!

Can i just remind everyone that other than Ventnor on the Isle of Wight, i believe the only place on the UK mainland where Washingtonia is known to grow to maturity without protection is Greater London!


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Nathan
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Re: A debate

Post by Nathan » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:29 am

stephenprudence wrote: hmmm maybe, but when some photos of the ones taken last year and I posted them on another forum, someone from the south coast (around Southampton area) commented on how good they look here in comparison to there.. they must have been trippin' right?
It depends where the person lived... Phoenix canariensis will only grow literally right on the coast, even on the south coast. In 2010 specimens were killed just a short way inland, any off Portsea Island only survived in protected areas & by the time you got a few miles inland all were killed. They wont grow in my Mum's garden without protection for example, so if that person lived inland of Southampton they would be impressive as they probably wont survive where they live at all...
stephenprudence wrote: In 1947 and 1963 temperatures didn't go below -8C here, the minimum was -7.2C, but I have my doubts even CIDPs in Torquay or Southsea would have got through the relentless week after week of cold, even if it wasn't that cold ultimately as a final temperature. The problem with those hard winters, was not the absolute minimum figure but the fact it rolled on for weeks and months, even down south. No way would a Phoenix canariensis_Phoenix canariensis_CIDP survive those conditions anywhere unless it was seriously well protected. Would CIDPs have survived the -7.2C here.. of course not.
But they did survive those winters on the south coast though. The old mature specimen in Torquay is testament to that & it would have been too big to protect, as it was already more than 50 years old when 1947 came around. Also the large mature ones on Tresco survived the -7C in 1987, they were damaged, but recovered. Maybe ones planted on the south coast are able to recover better or quicker before the next winter comes round?
stephenprudence wrote: FWIW the specimens up this way have put some appreciable growth on in recent years, particularly the West Kirby specimens, that have now really filled out - but it's your choice whether you choose to believe/accept that.. but CIDPs will never be anything but an isolated thing here.. and I accept that, because people just don't have faith that they will survive. Here someone sees a palm tree and thinks 'no that will die here'.

I will however get fresh photos of the palms, once CIDPs get to certain size they grow fast - actually, it seems they like relatively cool summers, as opposed to overly hot summers. Slow and steady is better than dead.

I can be certain of one thing though.. in my own garden, Phoenix canariensis_Phoenix canariensis_CIDP is impossible, and will always be so.. unless I move to the lower part of town, or near the coast.

Summer temperatures aren't even that bad here.. we have a mean maximum of 21C at the height of the summer, which is ok - yes nothing as warm as the south coast, but were talking comfortable growing temperatures where it matters.
I think you need comparison shots side by side to show the growth, as the photos I have seen don't look like they have grown very much from previous photos posted. If you look at ones side by side a few years apart of specimens on the south coast the growth rate is considerable & I would go as far as to say they are fast growing. One theory is that they need a certain mean annual temperature for optimum growth & summer minimum temeratures are more important than maximums. Portsmouth has average lows of 15C in July & August, which is the same as central London & higher minimum temperatures the rest of the year ensure they rarely stop growing altogether, so they slowly chug along in the colder months & don't go dormant & need to be 'kick started' into growth again...

I'm not saying it isn't possible to grow them in more sheltered & milder areas in the north, but I am still not certain that they will ever reach maturity (ie a large trunking palm)... But again I don't say this to put anyone off, I have grown ridiculous things in my garden over the years, which even the Scilly Isles wouldn't have risked! Many things died, but some things did grow well for several years (until the winters of 2009/2010) I don't see anything wrong with enjoying a palm in your garden for 'X' amount of years & knowing it will never be a tall trunking specimen in your own garden. Gardners in parts of Florida have this mindset, they will get a bad frost every few years that will kill coconuts & queen palms, but they simply plant new ones & enjoy them for a few years until the next bad winter. Too many people in the UK will lose a palm in a cold winter & say "They wont grow in my garden, so I wont plant any more" when they should be saying "That died in that cold winter, I will plant another & enjoy it until the next cold winter". If we inject some realism that certain species of palm will never be big enough to swing on a hammock from in our gardens, then we can simply enjoy growing these palms in our gardens at whatever size & stage of growth they are & the longer they survive & the bigger they get is a bonus icon_thumright
Last edited by Nathan on Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Nathan
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Re: A debate

Post by Nathan » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:41 am

Rob S wrote:
Nathan wrote:
Winters like 1963 & 1947 were cold, but not everywhere had temperatures low enough to kill Phoenix canariensis & not just on the Scillies either. Torquay has the only big mature specimen on mainland UK & the record low there is -8.9C recorded in 1947 the Phoenix survived that winter... It didn't even get as cold as that in Southsea & in 1963 it dropped to -7C, again not cold cold enough to kill an established Phoenix canariensis.

Obviously you forgot the mature Phoenix Canariensis in Fulham, West London, actually a much more impressive plant in my opinion!

Can i just remind everyone that other than Ventnor on the Isle of Wight, i believe the only place on the UK mainland where Washingtonia is known to grow to maturity without protection is Greater London!
I didn't forget the Phoenix canariensis in Fulham, I was meaning fully grown mature specimens. The Fulham one was planted in the 1980's (1984 I believe?) so the worst winter it would have seen is 1987 & then it would have still been a small plant benefiting more from the warm air vent behind the plant, without that vent I'm not sure it would have survived that winter. It is an impressive plant though & proof that Phoenix canariensis will grow to maturity in London icon_thumleft

Washingtonia robusta is also 'hardy' in Portsmouth, my one planted out for 12 years has never received any protection at all & is now around 15ft tall. There are others dotted around Portsmouth, mostly in Southsea & they all came through the recent cold winters wihout protection. There is one I know of growing in Torquay too that has been there for a number of years, it isn't very tall, but it too survived the recent winters. Also there are some planted outside a council building in Plymouth, again these have been there for some time, but are not that tall...
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Re: A debate

Post by stephenprudence » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:09 am

Now there's one thing I would say is not hardy here (and never will be), is Washingtonia robusta.. not much chance of survival there... there is one in New Brighton that seems happy, and they do grow in clusters of years without dying even here, but Washingtonias are definitely not long term prospect here, or anywhere in the north - that's where I agree for that particular species, it's only doable in the south.

Assuming the south is the only place to grow half hardy specimens, I think everyone down there, who has some shelter, should attempt to grow Schefflera arboricola, because under my sheltered border, with the elements freely allowed to come in (wind, and rain), it hasn't stopped growing all year, so given this has been achieved in the north, perhaps some people down south should try it too. I know you used to grow Schefflera arboricola Nathan.. it seems like a very tough plant that can stand neglect, and I imagine also, there are specimens in central London.

As for Phoenix canariensis_CIDP, I'm confident those ones in the coastal areas of Wirral will survive.. yes I agree at times they may look scruffy, but I think they are more likely to be removed by a person than decimated by winter, as it stands. I also think as Llandudno has a far milder winter, and comparable summer to Wirral and Merseyside, I think the CIDPs there will grow to trunking specimen height though it may take time - most of them are south facing aspect with free draining soil and the rock face of the Orme behind them. They have not been in long, in fact in Llandudno there are about 6-7 specimens in gardens, even one right up at altitude on the Orme, and they all look very good, but they are young.
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Re: A debate

Post by cheshirepalms » Wed Mar 05, 2014 6:05 pm

If these palms, in particular the Phoenix canariensis_CIDP are growing very slowly, to the point where comments are being made about it not even being noticeable over a periods of years, then surely this means the palms on the Wirral must have been there much longer than they are being given credit for. The situation can't be that they have not been planted long enough to justify whether they are hardy or not, yet have not grown at a noticeable rate and be the size they are. :?


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Re: A debate

Post by Dave Brown » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:36 pm

Going back to 'the debate' everyone needs to push their boundaries. NW = mild and wet maritme, SE= more continental. Some plants thrive in mild wet maritime better than continental, others require some summer heat so are better in continental. Phoenix canariensis_CIDP needs to be freeze free, so south coast up thru West coast to NW coast is best.

Northern gardeners generally have less sunshine hours and the sun is always a few degrees lower, so this may be a limiting factor where some plants are concerned.

Inverewe gardens at 58°N shows what can be grown, but it seems a lot was lost, particularly Dicksonia antarctica, in Dec 2010.

In my experience it is not southerners that say northern plants are not long term, but northern gardeners who try to portray that they are tough, putting up with brutal winters while southerners are softies.
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Re: A debate

Post by Yorkshire Kris » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:07 pm

My earlier comments regarding the south getting a longer growing season due to latitude are correct but that's not to say exotic plants cant be grown WELL further north as DB points out. Some prefer cooler summers with more moisture that the NW for example has. A Trachycarpus will do well nearly everywhere in the UK. A Washingtonia on the hand will struggle away from the south coast and London. Not impossible in other places but much trickier to grow well.


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Re: A debate

Post by bordersboy » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:09 pm

The way i see it is growing exotics up north is just a bit of fun and if you get a mild winter your in with a chance of getting some good growth in a longer growing season. The following winter could then kill everything though icon_aaargh


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