Palms and their products

Palms and Their Products

Some people dislike palms because of the mess they create, however, if you choose the right variety, such as the self-cleaning  Alexander Palm (Archontophoenix alexandrae), they can be one of your greatest resources. Not only do they provide a cool, shady, tropical feel, the flowers are a magnet for birds and bees (especially those of the native variety), and they are very resilient in dry weather, and they also thrive when inundated with water for long periods.

Here on The Ridge, we make use of every bit our palms. When their fronds fall, we use the leaves as an excellent source of carbon for the compost, or we cut them into small pieces to use as mulch around the veges. Once the leaves have been stripped off the frond, we use the remaining ‘mid ribs’ to make strong garden stakes. We collect lids cut from tin cans and use metal punches to stamp out the names of the plants we want to mark out and then screw the lid straight to the stake. These make very long-lasting, weatherproof labels (sometimes lasting longer than the plant itself).

Palm Leaf Sheath

The Palm Leaf Sheath Makes for a Great Vase

The inflorescence (flower spike), once dried, is a very useful material for weaving baskets, hats, platters or garden art. The leaf sheaths, creatively folded, make very strong baskets or a wrap for a bunch of flowers or herbs as a gift. The flower sheath, once fallen, can be finely stripped to make string and rope or be used for weaving.

The seeds are easily propagated and can be sold or given away as yet another resource, but the best use of all is to hang a hammock between two sturdy palms and while away the hours with a good gardening book.