Palms are not as popular here as they are in Southern California. Furthermore, they are less popular in the Santa Cruz Mountains than they are in the Santa Clara Valley below. There are so many more refined landscapes in the Santa Clara Valley, and they contain many more exotic species. In the Santa Cruz Mountains, cutting trees down is more of a priority than adding more.

Besides, palms look silly with redwoods. Of these palms, which are mostly fan palms, only the Mexican fan palm will get planted as the winter rain starts. The others remain canned for now.

These palms are quite the Fan Club.

1. Arecastrum (Syagrus) romanzoffianum, queen palm – is not eligible for membership in this exclusive Fan Club. It is ‘feather palm’, rather than a ‘fan palm’. Therefore, no queens allowed.

2. Brahea armata, hesper palm – is a most distinguished fan palm. It is quite rare. Like the California fan palm, it prefers warm and dry summers, so can languish if irrigated too frequently.

3. Trachycarpus fortunei, windmill palm – is the opposite. It is quite common, and could be even more common, since it is not at all discriminating, and is proportionate to compact gardens.

4. Washingtonia robusta, Mexican fan palm – had the been the most common palm locally prior to the queen palm fad of the 1990s. Unfortunately, it gets very tall. Notice the lingering ash.

5. Washingtonia filifera, California fan palm – is an aspiring member that recently grew from an old seed. It is also known as desert fan palm, and is the only palm that is native to California.

6. ‘A BIG STICK’ was the only ‘club’ I could find for this Fan Club. No one knows what it is, where it came from, . . . or anything about it. I think it is a wheelbarrow or post hole digger handle.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:


7 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Fan Club

    1. The Big Stick just sort of stays around. I would discard it, but I can not help but think that it is important to someone . . . whomever left it here. You would think that ‘someone’ would know what it is and why it is here.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great fans. I love the brahea. There is just one in your town gardens in a very sheltered corner. It’s a beauty. I noticed where they’ve cut the old frond off, the stems are like wood, really hard. We’d love a palm or two in the garden, we’re very mild here in south-west England, UK, but also very windy. Probably be a trachycarpus, I think, to be on the safe side.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trachycarpus lives just about anywhere. Ironically though, the old gardening manuals describe it as sensitive to wind. Although the fronds can get tattered, they are no more tattered than those of other palms. I saw them in Oklahoma City and Portland. My #5 sister has one near Seattle.
      If you grow a palm from seed, you might want to investigate other species of Trachycarpus that were not available only a few years ago. I will be planting several Trachycarpus fortunei this winter only because they grew from seed, and will put one in my own garden (just because of where it came from). However, I found other species that shed their hairy petiole bases. In the past, I have shaven Trachycarpus fortunei because they look so good with bare trunks; but the process is a lot of work!


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