The PSSC’s November 2012 meeting was held at the adjoining gardens of John Boyer and Guy Young, located at, respectively, 21561 and 21551, Archer Circle, Huntington Beach, California, in Orange County.  

These gardens were planted by neighbors who got the palm bug about 15 years ago, and who competed with one another to see who could get the most awesome rarities planted.  I’m not sure who won as between them, but for sure the visitors to the meeting all did. If you didn’t attend, you missed a smorgasbord of eye candy. 

Latania lontaroides up close.

Latania lontaroides up close.

These are not large spreads, but a pair of very nice adjoining suburban lots.  Both yards combined are about half an acre.  The ocean was about a mile to the south, more or less.  Nothing to block ocean influence, which creates a nice, humid microclimate that most of us here in the Land of La La can only dream about. These are gardens with some splendid examples of rare plants.

Bismarckia nobilis, on left, and Latania lontaroides,barely visible on the right, next to sidewalk.  Both were about 3 feet tall when originally planted.

Bismarckia nobilis, on left, and Latania lontaroides,barely visible on the right, next to sidewalk.  Both were about 3 feet tall when originally planted.

The front yard of John’s place sports a spectacular Bismarckia, about 20 feet tall, with six feet of trunk and a crown 15 feet across, an explosion of silver.  And, right in front of the Bizzie is a rare and equally spectacular Latania lontaroides, (see above) which is not supposed to grow here.  John complimented his palms with a jewel-like galaxy of colorful bromeliads.  And this was just the front yard.  

Bromeliads galore!

Bromeliads galore!

Guy’s front yard features a large Rhopalistylus and a triple-planted Wodetya.    

Big Rhopalistylus sapida in Guy's back yard.

Big Rhopalistylus sapida in Guy's back yard.

Rhopalistylus sapida in Guy's front yard

Rhopalistylus sapida in Guy's front yard

John and Guy’s backyards are joined by a friendship gate that looks like it’s never been closed.  John’s garden features (among much else): a fruiting Hedyscepe, a fruiting Caryota gigas that’s about 45 feet tall and two feet thick at the base; a large Arenga pinnata which is starting to rival the Caryota in size; as well as numerous palms from Madagascar and New Calendonia.  In the very back, there’s a very elegant, but cozy cabana, with a palmy view all around, keeping company with, among other palms, Arenga hookeriana, and Acanthophoenix crinita.  The Acanthophoenix is about 15 feet tall with about 7 feet of trunk.    

One of the big Dypsis leptocheilos on the left, with two large Roystonea on the right.

One of the big Dypsis leptocheilos on the left, with two large Roystonea on the right.

Guy’s garden has a very nice pool and cabana, surrounded by well-grown rare palms including: at least two Dypsis leptocheilos with about 14 feet of trunk each; a stunning large Bismarckia; an equally stunning Rhopalystylus sapida that is starting form a trunk; a number of large trunking Roystoneas of different species, plus a Dypsis “Pink crownshaft” that is not supposed to survive let alone thrive here.  That “Pink crownshaft” had about 8 feet of trunk and looked as perfect as if it was in the jungles of Madagascar. 

Dypsis "Pink Crownshaft" (in the middle)

Dypsis "Pink Crownshaft" (in the middle)

And this list just scratched the surface of the tip of the iceberg.  These gardens were almost like visiting the vault for the Crown Jewels; you never knew what you might find tucked away in there.   

Dypsis onilahensis "Droopy"

Dypsis onilahensis "Droopy"

Thanks to all who brought food for the potluck lunch.  KEEP DOING IT!  It’s appreciated!  If you like it, so will the rest of us.  Bring your favorite salad, appetizer, or dessert (or all three!)

Yes, that's a palm, an Arenga hookeriana to be exact.  In California.

Yes, that's a palm, an Arenga hookeriana to be exact.  In California.

And, special thanks to John and Guy for having our enthusiastic mob over to trample their wonderful gardens. They were a revelation! Keep trying to out-compete each other – everyone wins.

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