Global warming means palms in surprising places

Trachycarpus fortunei or windmill palm is now found growing in warmer regions of Switzerland and British Columbia. They produce seed and even naturalize. (Photo courtesy /Voltaire Moise).

A visit to Hawaii is the treat of a lifetime to millions of people a year, and many folks who come are friends or relatives of those of us who live here. One of the highlights for them is to experience the lush tropical gardens and forests that are unlike any place in the continental United States. Many folks who enjoy gardening go home wishing they lived in a tropical place where they could have yards and homes filled with palms and other exotics. Visitors don’t have to be discouraged. With a little help from Kamaaina gardeners, they too can have a piece of paradise back home. Some mainlanders create a mini oasis with lots of houseplants. Others even build solariums or small greenhouses to get their tropical fix, but ambiance can be created in colder parts of the country with the selection of tropical looking plants in the right design.