Saturday, December 28, 2013

Palm Crazy at the Palm Centre

So we had three choices this morning of what to primarily do today: go to Kew Gardens, go to a shopping mall and brave the sales again, or stay at home and do some gardening.

Ok, it's not a palm but a handsome specimen of Dasylirion serratifolium
All three started on equal footing but choosing one would be essential otherwise our sense of laziness would have prevailed and both of us could have easily stayed in bed all day (a luxury activity in its own right).

Shopping mall was crossed off, strictly speaking we only have a doormat on our need list and to dedicate an entire day in pursuit of the perfect doormat would have been very boring. So it was down to two. Now these two were neck on neck as it was lovely and sunny outside today, a far cry from the stormy weather we've been having recently. Checking the forecast it seems set to be a sunny day again tomorrow so perhaps make tomorrow a gardening day?

That leaves visiting Kew then, right, a decision has been made! But is it actually Kew itself than we're motivated to see or is it actually something else, somewhere nearby? On my blog post yesterday I did mention Kew as one of the three that may be we ought to visit less frequently....

No brainer there, the title of the post has said it all. The primary motivation was the Palm Centre and as they have their post Christmas sales ongoing the attraction was even more intense. So off we went!

Just a few of their amazing palm specimens on their display border
Bearing in mind that it's only recently that we've been plant shopping again after months of hiatus the enthusiasm is even higher than usual and plant retail therapy was badly needed. As soon as we arrived, short of jumping out and running around crazy we immediately went inside their glasshouses to check out what's on offer. And the stock levels were high and it didn't disappoint, we knew we're in for a shopping treat!

A sea of lushness, a welcome sight especially in the winter. A good selection of ground ferns
Impressive specimens of Cycas revoluta, with trunks taller than me. I've never seen cycads this tall for sale before and all three were tagged as sold and price tags removed
How's this for a focal point in the garden?
Cussonia paniculata ssp. paniculata - this used to be growing on the ground but it's been transferred to a pot
Still an impressive specimen
Encephalartos lehmannii - much earlier in the year they had a wide selection of cycads, most of them were very rare and on our visit this time they only had a few. Hopefully they'll have more again early next year
Remnants of what was a great selection of cycads available for sale
Strelitzia reginae - looks good en masse like this
A love it or hate it sort of plant. I love it (for now)! Strelitzia juncea
The houseplant section
Before we set off I checked out their website and made a mental list of three plants to keep an eye on, namely Rhapidophyllum hystrix, Chamaedorea microspadix, and Trachycarpus 'Naggy' (a cross between female T. nanus and male T. wagnerianus). Whenever I make a list I rarely get them all and even rarer that I stick only to what's on the list. Will it be different this time? We'll continue with the tour...

Ohh la la, now we're talking! Chamaedorea microspadix
We lost all of our Chamaedorea microspadix in the garden fire we had last July as they were all huddled together in a spot that was badly affected, very close to ground zero. So were on a mission to find replacements so as soon as we saw this group...sorted!

However, other plant eye candies were everywhere...

Chamaerops humilis
Loads of handsome specimens of Dasylirion serratifolium
Yucca rostrata
Even their Yucca gloriosa looks good!
Phoenix canariensis and Chamaedorea micropsadix
Winter weary but still pretty, in a leafy and tall sort of way - Tetrapanax papyrifera 'Rex'

Brahea armata
Trachycarpus martianus
Another fine specimen of Trachycarpus martianus
Their 'plant studio'
Dasylirions, Yuccas, and Agaves
Now on to outside...

The usual suspects - Trachycarpus fortunei
Butia capitata
And a not so usual suspect, the gigantic growing and still very rare...
Phormium williamsii
More palms on parade
All of the items were thirty percent off and some were fifty percent off. The Butia capitata seen in the photos were only £35 each, an absolute bargain but we walked away from it, for now anyway.

So what did we buy? Much to my surprise I only bought what I set off for, exactly those three palms I listed. Gaz bought a couple more small C. microspadix and three pots of bargain T. fortunei (they make great filler plants for the style of gardening that we do).

We went palm crazy at the Palm Centre
We spent two hours at the Palm Centre and 45 minutes at Kew Gardens...well we were running out of time hence the short stay at the latter. It was dark already when we got home, too dark already to take decent photos of our haul unwrapped. We bought a few more palms somewhere else a week or so ago and we'll be featuring them all together soon, perhaps even tomorrow!

Mark :-)


  1. Mark, wow, that Palm Centre is just awesome! What a selection! So many beautiful specimen plants and one more pretty than the other. Interesting how much plants you can squeeze into a car if needed ;-). Enjoy your bargain finds!

    1. With determination it's amazing how much one can fit in to a car. This is only a tiny haul compared to some of the previous ones. If ever you get to visit Kew in one of your holidays here PC is worth a quick look even if you can't buy anything :)

  2. That's EXACTLY the kind of nursery I'm longing for at the moment. There's one an hour from here I haven't visited yet, I may need to pay them a visit soon!

    Great haul, BTW! Can't wait to see where your new plants go.

    1. Nothing like plant shopping to break the monotony of winter Gerhard. And you'll have to visit that nursery soon!

  3. nawty boys tut tut ! how many palms !? Mixie

  4. Wow what a selection. It's strange to see a Tetrapanax with leaves this time of year, and I think I would have had a hard time leaving those Dasylirion serratifolium behind. Still, nice haul and good choice on how to spend the day, I needed to do some vicarious plant shopping.

    1. Nice to see those Tetrapanax still looking relatively lush, it helps its under cover and sheltered from frosts. I think they rarely put any heating in that greenhouse, if any at all. So tempted to get one of those Dasylirions, I think they're stunning!

  5. How wonderful it must be to shop plants during the winter. Everything is amazing there. Personally I could stroll through there on a monthly basis. :)
    Cher Sunray Gardens

    1. Same here Cher, we'd happily visit this nursery on a monthly basis if we could :)

  6. Congratulations on getting what was on your wish list! I would have been extremely tempted by Brahea armata!

    1. Those Braheas were stunners too. Fortunately we have one already so was able to resist :)

  7. A wise choice! No doormat in the world could have swayed me from an alternative day like yours! What a fabulous nursery to spend a few hours in - thanks for sharing the experience. Happy 2014 to you!

  8. Oh my gosh what an incredible place! And those Dasylirion are all incredible. Man oh man I need more room.


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