[Instant coconut grove on shore]
Palm trees added along the waterfront.

Mary Ann's Tropical Building Page

Report #13:
March 9, 1998



Since our February 9, 1998 report about building on a Caribbean island, we have had a very busy month:

Hints: Click on any small picture below to see it larger and visit the Site Map for previous and future progress reports, house plans, bookstore and references.

Plantas Verdes: Palm Trees from Miami

[Click to enlarge palms coming off container]
Foxtail palm being unloaded from container.

Our 40' container of palm trees finally arrived on Anguilla, after months of planning, preparation and experimentation. Read all about it in previous Beachshack articles:

[Click to enlarge palms on trailer]
Coconut palms loaded onto trailer with crane.

At the last minute it looked like the plants would be lost. On the day the barge from Miami was due to unload, Anguilla was hit by freak westerly winds that closed the dock. So our palms went to St Marteen, then St. Croix, then back to Anguilla, but the waters were still too rough. So they went to Antigua, and returned again. Finally on the 4th day they were unloaded. We had the customs and agriculture people at our site when the container arrived at 4pm, and by 7pm that night they were all unloaded, maneuvered into their waiting holes, and the most critical ones were even planted and watered!

The palms were shipped lying down in an open container. We used Ken Busby's crane to lift the palms carefully out of the container onto a flatbed truck, so they could be hauled to the holes where they belonged. We purchased a special tree strap to lift the heavy palms without damaging them.

[Dekker and Stedroy plant canary palm]
Our installation crew: Dekker and Stedroy.

We hired Dekker and Stedroy to help plant the palms. They are experienced gardeners who have planted a lot of palm trees on Anguilla. They did a fantastic job.

Where did we buy our palms?

From Stewart Raskin at Plantas Verdes. He provides palms for many of the hotels and homes in Anguilla and the caribbean.
Telephone: 704-524-0064 fax: 704-524-1945
Email: plverdes@dnet.net
Address: Box 1705, Franklin NC 28744.
Web site: plantasverdes.com

You send Stewart your requirements and he helps you select the palms that are suitable for your locale and budget. It is best to stick to varieties that are proven on your island. You can go around taking pictures of palms you like and send them to Stuart with the approximate sizes you want. He will send a quote.

It is a good idea to use the Palm Identifier book to figure out the Latin names for the palms you like. Sometimes a palm has several local names. For example, the Christmas Palm is also know as the Dwarf Royal Palm or the Adonida Palm, and the Latin name is either veitchia merrillii (common) or veitchia montgomeryana (less frequent in Anguilla).

[Click to enlarge Palm Statement]
Three palms form a "Palm Statement" at the entrance to the property. From the left, a triple pygmy date palm, a canary palm and a foxtail palm (background). The fronds of the canary are tied to hold in moisture until the roots start growing again.

Stewart visits the nurseries in Miami, selects the exact plants, has them carefully packed for shipping, gets the Sanitation Certificate that Agriculture requires, prepares the Export Invoice that Customs requires (even though there is not duty on plants), sprays the plants for bugs, and applies a hydrating solution to keep the plants from drying out during ocean transit.

He also prepares and sends you instructions for care and feeding of your palms. And he can suggest and provide any special fertilizer, mulch, and supplies that you will need to keep your palms healthy. Very important.

Palm size and price is measured in several ways. Some palms are grown in a tub and shipped in that tub. You can get 25 gallon size or 65 gallon size (a quite large palm tree actually). Other palms, especially larger ones, are shipped with the root ball wrapped (B and B, short for balled and burlaped). B and B plants are measured by the height of the Clear Trunk ("CT"). So, 2' CT means there are two feet of Clear Trunk above the ground before the fronds start. This can be a large palm in spite of the short trunk. We ordered some with 8-10' of CT. And other times the palm is measure by the Over All Height (OA Ht), which is the total length of the plant from the ground to the tip of the fronds (for example, the fishtail palm which is multistem and has no trunk, you measure the fronds).

Here is what we ordered and the prices FOB Miami:

[Pygmy Date Palm - a triple]
Triple Pygmy Date Palm.

We planted four large coconut palms near the sea, as they thrive in the salt air and most plants do not (see the large picture at the top of this report). These are the Maypan cultiver (variety), which is a dwarf coconut that only grows to 30'-40' high. An advantage of this cultiver is that it resists Lethal Yellowing, a serious infection that destroys palm trees.

It takes up to a year for the palm to firmly plant its roots in a new location. Therefore you brace it up with ropes and stays to keep it from falling over in the wind.

The palms potted in the container can be held for up to a year before planting. Those with the root ball wrapped in cloth need to be put in the ground ASAP.

Eclipse Courtyard Party

[Presenting plaque to Daniel Stevens]
Mary Ann presents plaque to Daniel and rest of team.

On February 26th, 1998 we had a party to watch the eclipse, celebrate Daniel Steven's birthday, and unveil a plaque honoring the "Eclipse Courtyard", built by Daniel Stevens.

The eclipse was partial in Anguilla, not total. Even though 90% of the suns light was cut off, it never got dark. Instead, the temperature dropped, views became odd looking, and shadow edges became very sharp. You could see the moon clearly covering the sun with special eclipse sunglasses and with the Video Camera-TV Monitor that Griffin set up.

Assembling the Office Main Floor

[Office walls are made of 3D panels]
The office walls are made of 3D panels.

Work is progressing on the technology center. The foundation, cistern and basement boat storage are built. The first floor has been poured. And the walls for the first floor have been put up.

The walls of this building are formed from insulated 3D panels, as described in an earlier report on the guest villa. Once the panels are up, the conduit for plumbing and electrical is run through them and the door/window openings are framed. Then concrete is sprayed onto the panels.

[Concrete is sprayed on the panels.]
Concrete sprayed on walls, like constructing a swimming pool.

The main floor has a great view of the ocean, two offices (or bedrooms!), two bathrooms, a kitchen, an entry/reception room, and a large main room. The main room is for seminars, conferences, exhibits, classes, or software development projects.

Site Map: Links, Plans and Other Info

Latest News from our Construction Site

Past and Future Progress Reports

Plans of the Main House

Plans of the Software Center

Plans of the Guest Villa

Tropical Construction Bookstore

Links to Related Sites

Building Material Sources

Beach Shack Contact:

Mary Ann Green
Box 931, Shoal Bay, Anguilla, West Indies
Fax: 264-497-3295
[Home] [Mail] URL: www.beachshack.ai
Email: maryann@beachshack.ai