Canary Island Date Palm
05 July 2014 - by Lizzy Browne

Norwich city boasts some  pretty impressive Date Palms. Iíve admired this one on the roundabout  outside John Lewis for years.

Surrounded by Cordyline australis and under-planted with pansies (oh  well), Iíll often go out of my way, when in town, just to admire it. At  times this winter, I wondered if it would pull through unscathed, but it  seems to have risen to the challenge admirably.

Another good example is on a roundabout at a  busy junction, to the east of the city centre. Great looking palm but  its a shame that the rest of the roundabout is so bare.

Phoenix canariensis seems to be a good choice of palm for  roundabouts, able to shrug off, not only the cold but battering winds  too. Much better than the Trachycarpus fortunei that were planted on a  couple of roundabouts and a section of the inner ring road several years  ago. The result wasnít a happy one and within a season, the palms were  looking brown and ragged. They were allowed to suffer a year or two more  before being sent to goodness knows where. Iíd like to think to good  homes, a bit like rescue greyhounds but it was probably the city dump.

Norwichís most embarrassing horticultural faux pas at present takes  centre stage on the roundabout in front of the Puppet Theatre, in the  form of a 10ft Dicksonia antartica. I shanít post a photo. Iím sure you  can imagine what it looks like. A woodland plant, subjected to  relentless exposure to sun, wind and frost, with no protection or  irrigation is doomed.

However, a good example of a roundabout planting is this one on the  outer ring road, near Mousehold Heath.

Itís a really successful, adventurous  composition, using Cordylines, phormiums and grasses. It looks good all  year round, especially in summer and itís a credit to the city. Why  arenít more roundabouts like this? Incidentally its good to see that the  red Cordylines have pulled through. There are plenty up and down the  country that havenít!

Iíll take some photos of a few of the others later in the season. There  are some excellent prairie-style planting schemes on several  roundabouts, but at this time of year they look a little threadbare.

This leads me rather unsubtly on to the  excellent Phoenix canariensis we have in stock at the moment. A must, if  youíre thinking of planting up your very own roundabout, or just  needing a quality, hardy palm for the garden. Excellent, stocky plants  with nice thick bases.

At £15 for a plant 1.2m  tall(left) and £45 for a plant 2m tall(below) they are incredible value.

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