Tuesday, March 2, 2010

If I were a rich girl

I thought I was over my “palm love” stage, this stage hit shortly after moving to Portland and discovering that some palm trees actually grow here! I bought a small Washingtonia robusta at Home Depot the first summer in our house. Of course it died a couple of winters later, (around this same time I finally realized that plant tags sometimes paint a rather “optimistic” picture of the plants hardiness). Photo from August of 2007…it died that winter.That same summer, on our first-ever trip to Cistus Nursery, we bought a Mediterranean Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis). I loved that palm. It was a painfully slow grower although it did produce a few pups (palm pups?), but it's no longer with us, a victim of back to back harsh winters. This is it in August of 2007...
And this is it today, not so pretty eh? It will be coming out as soon as I work up the energy to dig it and a nearby Acanthus that is being moved. I'll try to salvage the pup.
Our neighbor has an amazing Trachycarpus fortunei we can see from our living room and the media room. I love this palm.
When our huge Rosemary shrub up and died we decided we needed a Trachy too. Unfortunately we stuck it in a pot so it hasn’t grown much (this picture from July of 2007, just shortly after planting). This is the year we are finally painting (our house and the neighbors garage, the wall behind the palm) so it will come out of the pot and go in the ground. Hopefully to grow as big as our neighbors!
So coming back around to the title of my post, if I were a rich girl. I had a little time I needed to kill a couple of weeks ago and I was near a nursery that I hadn’t visited for months (dangerous combination). Wandering around aimlessly I found this…
What a perfect specimen! The plant form, the shape of the leaves, simply beautiful, I was in palm love! The price for this charming (5-gal, I think?) Trachycarpus wagnerianus $119.99. If I were a rich girl, it would have been mine. But I am not.

I spotted a smaller 1-gallon for $39.99, it didn’t look so healthy however and it’s been a while since I’ve spent that on a plant…so I walked away empty handed (yes…it’s true! There are times I visit a nursery and buy nothing!).
But (you knew there was another piece to the story didn’t you?) last week I was at Garden Fever (buying chicken grit for my agave pup potting project) and I spotted this!
A very happy healthy 1 gal Trachycarpus wagnerianus tagged from Gossler Farms (so I know it came from good parents) for only $14.99!
Proving you don’t have to be rich to have the good stuff. Just patient.


  1. And that last one (yours) is the best looking one of all.

  2. Your patience is rewarded: that Trachy is really nice and who could resist the price!

    I love the Washingtonia robusta's thready fans and had been thinking about acquiring one. Too bad that your recent winter bad juju is the way I find out it's not really hardy here. But thank you for the wakeup call...

  3. wow, I know the warm feeling inside from getting a good deal in plants! That is indeed a pretty palm. I have grown about 75% of my palms from seed (of course I have the climate for this). I collected seeds from everywhere- car parks, at the airport, from palms in resorts...

  4. good things come to those who wait.
    Glad that you got yours !

  5. What a good find! I love it!

  6. What a great buy for a nice-looking palm. I had fun seeing the different types you have tried as they are familiar sights here in the desert. I hope it grows well for you :^)

  7. I think you got the best one. And the best price! Never will get people spending that kind of cash for plants that could easily up and die. Well, as you say, if you got money to burn... but for those of us who don't, patience is key! Glad the story had a happy ending.

  8. Loree, I LOVE this. For the cost, this is a stunning specimen. Good for you. It does indeed pay to wait. Rich in patience.

    I love the soft green paint color behind your neighbor's Trachy. What color are you planning to use?

  9. Good find - Gossler to the rescue! It looks fantastic.
    BTW I've never protected my Trachycarpus fortunei at all, and it is huge and completely unaffected by the weather, so I think that one's safe without any fuss.

  10. ricki, the best of both worlds!

    Jane, where there is the will there is of course a way. I've heard of folks protecting them with strings of Christmas lights when the temperature dips.

    Nicole, I have such admiration for those who grow from seed!

    DD, Michelle, thank you!

    D+N, they had others...one could be yours!

    Noelle, if I lived in the desert I would be sooooo dangerous!

    Karen, I hear ya! If I were going to spend over $100 on a plant these days it would need to be big, and hardy.

    Grace, we're going with a green/brown/taupe for our house with charcoal and white accents. Not terribly earth shattering but planned to go with the garden and the architecture of the house. They neighbors garage wall is going to be yellow. I've thought long and hard about this. I wanted a color that contrasted with our house, yet also set of the garden and worked with the orange shade pavilion and the neighbors green. Of course the sad part of all this is that the neighbor is putting his house on the market. So who knows what the future holds there.

    Megan, I love that about the Trachy's. Something that looks good with no protection, I need more of that.


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