HOW did I introduce over a hundred species of Palms in India?
I used to travel all over the world in connection with my business of Export and International trading. I became highly impressed with their sense of gardening and landscaping and I began to feel a deep urge to see our country develop similar like them. A feeling of envy began to grow in me on seeing their cleanliness, beautiful well maintained landscapes all around with lush green manicured gardens. I began to wonder how our India too can display beautiful landscapes and cleanliness.
On my curious study of landscapes and roadscapes I discovered that they use a lot of palms. Till then I was under the impression that Palms are full sun solitary trees which grow straight and tall but then i learnt that palms are a group of most versatile plants. They can be suitable for indoors, semi shaded positions, swampy places and can be only 2 feet or 100 feet high. Their trunk can be thin like a pencil or huge like an electricity tower. I was impressed and I decided to work seriously on palms. I visited leading Botanical gardens in the USA, Australia, Sri lanka and Thailand. I came to know that Mr. Kampon Tansacha of Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Thailand has the best collection of palms.
I travelled into this splendid 300 Acre plants world through one of my friends’ son from Sri Lanka. To my great satisfaction Mr Kampon, the owner of Nong Nooch was kind enough to host me and let me learn about palms.
I learnt that Palm trees are the best choice for urban landscape where numerous multi-storied buildings are coming up. These apartments have basement parking and the ground floor is devoid of natural soil. To create a green landscape in these properties, the ground floor is filled with soil and the depth is not more than two feet through which many pipelines run. Trees are not a wise choice for creating a green skyscape as they have a massive root system and they drop leaves and seeds which puts a burden on the drainage system. On the other hand palms have a small root system and do well in limited soil and can be excavated and transplanted easily. Palms do not shed leaves like other trees and plants , they can be easily removed. They look elegant as they grow within their limit and remain symmetrical.
I became highly enthusiastic about palms and thought that the country must get the benefit of my knowledge and exposure and decided to introduce as many palms as possible. Nong Nooch Tropical Garden Thailand, Fairchild Tropical Garden USA, Royal Botanic Garden Sri Lanka and several Palm Collectors from other countries were kind enough to give me palm seeds and also the technique to germinate them. Some palms like Foxtail, Carpentaria, Bismarckia, Latania, Sabal, Cocothrinax, Copernicia etc were promising and I decided to import them in bulk and distributed them all over India. At that time, there were some rare palms with very small quantities of available seeds and I was not able to distribute them. After about 15 years those palms have matured in my collection and now bearing seeds and i shall be able to share them with my friends in India.
It’s a matter of great satisfaction that Palms have become quite popular in India and we cannot imagine a landscape without palms.
In the course of his business travel across the world, he observed that Palms are extensively used in the urban landscape in USA, Australia, Middle East and South Asian countries. But in India, they were not in vogue. Palms are ideal for urban landscape as they create a beautiful geometrical landscape. Palms have a lot of advantages over trees when it comes to urban landscape. Palms never overgrow like trees and they have a small root system. They take less ground space and do not disturb underground facilities.
Modern multi-storey buildings have basements for parking, water tank and ground floor does not have more than 3-4 feet of soil. Further electric cable, water & sewer line, gas pipeline etc. are less likely to be affected compared to trees.
He though that he can serve the country by introducing and popularizing palms in India. He had studied extensively about palms in Australia, USA, Thailand, and Sri Lanka for four years. With two years of hard work and support of his friends, he authored “Palms for India” and priced it as low as Rs. 290.
It is a matter of great satisfaction that the book has brought desired results, the book has become a must for all landscapers, gardeners, and nurserymen. To-day all over India palms have become very popular. No landscape is being considered without palms.