(Lower front garden)
PLEASE NOTE that any hardiness temperatures quoted are based on my own experience as well as on information obtained from other websites/growers..... they refer to mature plants and even then are absolutely NOT guaranteed - as I have found out the best way to determine if a particular plant will survive is to try it for myself - something I have found extremely rewarding!
Here are some pictures and info on the plants in my lower front garden. You can click the pics for a larger image (in a new window) - this may be necessary to see some of the smaller plants! Dates of planting in brackets.
Lower front garden - photo 1, July 2019
Left: Trachycarpus fortunei (2001), Cordyline australis (1997), below which can just about be seen a yucca rostrata (2006), a chamaerops humilis 'vulcano' (2005), and small yucca filamentosa and gloriosa variegata (2010)
Right: Jubaea chilensis (2005), behind which is Trachycarpus fortunei (1996)
Lower front garden - photo 2, July 2019
Left: Trachycarpus fortunei (1996)
Centre-left: Jubaea chilensis (2005)
Centre: Trachycarpus wagnerianus (1997), behind which is variegated cordyline australis (1997), to the right of which is chamaerops humilis (1997, not really visible);
to the right of which are phormiums (1997) and a large cordyline australis (1995).
In the foreground right of centre is trachycarpus wagnerianus (2004), behind which you can just see chamaerops humilis cerifera (2004).
Lower front garden - photo 3, July 2019
Foreground only: small chamaerops humilis, small trachycarpus princeps, larger chamaerops humils (1996, partially hidden), chamaerops humilis cerifera (2004). For other plants see photo 2 above.
Here are comments on some of the plants:
Chusan palm (trachycarpus fortunei)
Comments: Never had any problems with these plants - almost zero maintenance (I do prune the old leaves occasionally). Two of my palms were planted in 1996 as small plants and are now around 6ft tall (and wide!). The third plant is in a more exposed position than the others and has suffered minor damage due to wind.
One of the trachys flowered for the first time in 2004 and has done so every year since. Here is a picture of the inflorescence (I think this makes it a 'girl', correct me if I'm wrong!):
Trachycarpus fortunei inflorescence
Miniature Chusan palm (trachycarpus wagnerianus)
Comments: Same as for t.fortunei above. This plant was very small when first planted out and it has only started growing well in the last year or two. Probably worth mentioning that it's not called "miniature" for this reason (in fact it should eventually grow just as tall as the other trachys). The name refers to the leaves, which are much smaller and therefore less susceptible to wind damage.
Mediterranean fan palm (chamaerops humilis)
Comments: Another success story - just grows and requires no special attention. Definitely slower growing than T.fortunei and known to be slightly less hardy.
Same comments apply to chamaerops humilis 'vulcano' and cerifera.
Chilean wine palm (jubaea chilensis)
Plant only been in the ground for 5 years at the time of writing, doing well so far.
Campestris palm, caranday palm (trithrinax campestris)
Plant only been in the ground for 4 years at time of writing, doing well so far although suffered some damage in winter 2009/10.
Wooly jelly palm (butia eriospatha)
Only starting to get going after 3 years in the ground! Supposed to grow faster in cooler climates than the other butias.
Jelly palm (butia capitata)
Comments: Another plant which has done well for me. This plant grows more slowly than the trachys. Some damage in winter 2009/10
Hardy parlour palm (Chamaedorea radicalis)
This one was a real pleasant surprise for me! Perhaps a little borderline in terms of hardiness for my area, it survived the Dec 2000 freeze with no problems at all (and has done well since then...). It also flowered in 2004 (and has done several times since then) - see above.
Needle palm (rhapidophyllum hystrix)
Small needle palms.
Comments: I have had very few problems with my small needle palm. It has always grown very slowly although the crown now seems to be getting a bit larger. Although r.hystrix is supposedly the hardiest palm, apparently it really needs more summer heat than our summers can provide. I have tried using cold frames to increase heat and humidity on warm summer days but I didn't notice any increase in growth rate. However it seems to be fairly happy so I suppose it can be considered a success....
Dwarf palmetto (sabal minor) (no picture)
My first plant died, having survived (not thrived) for a few years. The old leaves withered more quickly than the new ones grew. This species appears to be a relatively poor choice for the Irish climate, despite its reputed hardiness. I reckon that it wants more summer heat than our climate can provide. Despite the odds, however, I planted another one in 2007!!!
Cabbage 'palm' (cordyline australis)
Comments: These plants can be damaged by cold, especially when young (but only below about -7°C / 19°F, in other words pretty much the coldest weather we would experience), but they always seem to grow back. This happened to one of my specimens during the very cold (-7°C) snap in December 1995. The same plant is now 10 feet (3m) tall and now "seems" more resistant to cold. It flowered for the first time in 2003 (and every year since). One other plant flowered for the first time in 2003 and has done every year since.
Yucca filamentosa inflorescence
Comments: Very hardy yucca.
Yucca gloriosa variegata
Yucca gloriosa variegata - January 2004 (left, with remains of 2003 flower) and two pics of new growing points in September 2006
Comments: Another hardy yucca. This plant flowered for the first time in 2003 (the remains of the flower can be seen just above the plant's spiky leaves in the pic on the left, taken winter 2003/4). More plants added 2010.
Blue beaked yucca (yucca rostrata)
Doing well since its planting in 2006. Minimal protection applied during winter cold snaps.
Japanese banana (musa basjoo)
Comments: My two musa basjoos suffered some cold damage due to the cold snap of December 2000. In fact the leaves and trunk can be damaged below about -4°C (25°F). They seem to grow back ok though.
Phormium tenax - New Zealand flax
Comments: No problems. Grow quite quickly and are very hardy (in the British Isles).