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Chinese Windmill Palms

photo: green square in paris

Green square in Paris at Easter, without palms.

Paris Is a Jungle

eMail from Linda 'Green Fingers' Thalman. Sent from Essonne via the Internet on Wednesday, 7. April 2004:–

Hi Ric,

I was very surprised at your inaccurate comment on trees, especially, gum trees, in last week's Metropole Paris.

I have two Eucalyptus gunnii in my garden – one is over five metres high – and only half dead, while the second one has been cut down to the nub but is also still surviving.

Eucalyptus gunnii survives quite well in the Paris region – unless there is an abnormally cold winter.

I guess it was a abnormally cold this past winter as the two trees have been in great form in our garden for at least five years.

They can grow to be three to six feet according to 'The Tree and Shrub Expert' book I have, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon. poster: vdep, bulbes, parc floral de paris

So there!

And as for palms:–

The Trachycarpus fortunei can also survive in well–drained soil in a sunny, sheltered spot – even in the UK! These are also called Chusan or Chinese Windmill palms.

So the city of Paris should be planting these palms like mad – and not just for 'Paris Plage' in the summer!

For the record –

I've also got a Ginko – or Maidenhair Tree – and this tree is a conifer!

It's the oldest tree in the world and really should be planted all around Paris as it doesn't mind pollution at all.

The Ginko has only one species, 'Ginko biloba,' which is – 'the sole survivor of a family of trees which flourished 200 million years ago' – according to my expert tree reference book – 'The Tree and Shrub Expert.'

There are male and female Ginkos and the female tree does not smell very nice, or so I've read. I think my tree is a male – as it does not smell badly. I will send you more details for the 'Gardening Tips in Metropole' column even if you don't ask for any.

So there again!

If you could please kindly correct your gardening tips in Metropole Paris, I will greatly appreciate it, as I'm sure your readers will too.

Your faithful reader in Boullay–les–Troux

PS – this is not a made–up place name either!

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What the Dickens Is a Sophora?

Bonjour Linda 'Green Fingers' –

Paris, Sunday, 11. April:– Had I known that a harmless little city fête like last week's 'Fête de l'Arbre' would rattle your leaves, I wouldn't have read Le Parisien's report about it.

I am pretty sure they made the whole thing up. Since their report was in last Saturday's edition – it was photo: spring flowers printed before the fête started – so they must of gotten all of their information from the same source all investigative journalists use – namely from a press release.

I am sure you know that this paper's main claim to reporting excellence is its daily tips on the nags running on turf. Everybody at the café Le Belière, which is a PMU hangout, swears by it. Sometimes, at it.

Perhaps, also needless to say – but I did look up the names of the trees mentioned in both my French and English dictionaries. Unfortunately, the French one is no better with tree names than saint's names.

The other dictionary doesn't have the saints grouped together under 's' – except for Saint–Serge' of course. Except he is not in it at all. I only mention him as an example.

You may be right about the eucalyptus. I'm not sure I have ever seen one. A long time ago I got five credits for 'Forestry 101' by taking Saturday courses at the Université de Columbie Britannique in the rain. This was the only university course I ever completed mainly because it was the only one I ever took.

My task was to learn the names of all the trees in the Province de Columbie Britannique in both English and Latin. Luckily there is only one tree growing there that the conglomos care about, so I only needed to remember the name of one, but I've forgotten its Latin version already. To this day, 45 years later, I'm still partly proud of my accomplishment.

About this 'ginkgo' or 'gingko' stuff, my big red dictionary doesn't say anything about it being a conifer. Right next to the entry there's a neat diagram of a fish gill. It looks like a heating element in a European–style washing machine. It's a nifty concept! I wouldn't have though it would work for fish too.

As you are no doubt aware, we were having or are still having the 'Année de Chine' so it is perfectly understandable to line Paris streets with ginkgo trees so long as they don't smell worse than Gitanes or Gauloises cigarettes.

Frankly I don't know how Le Parisien concocted its report about the 'Fête de l'Arbre.' They obviously didn't look photo: trees at their 2002 copy of 'Jardins de Paris – Visites Guidées.' If you can figure out the book's layout, you'll find that every sort of plant and tree can be found somewhere in the city, or maybe on the edge of it.

For the truly exotic there is the Serres d'Auteuil, and for color seekers there is the Parc Floral in the Bois de Vincennes. Including the cemeteries, the city is supposed to have another 398 public gardens. Since there has to be room for Parisians too, one garden is over the SNCF tracks at Montparnasse and another is built on an old railway viaduct. In short, Paris is a jungle.

Remembering the names of Paris' five prime street trees is stressful – when you consider this is four more trees than I had for learn to get my high school diploma by a whisker.

Can you look in your plant book for me and tell me what the dickens is a Sophora? While you are at it, what are Zingibéracées?
signature, regards, ric

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