Zeroscape or water-smart? I break for palm trees...

"Ironclad" palm trees...

I suppose you could consider them garden art...or a kind of denial. You find them here and there across the Metro area (I have assembled quite a collection of pictures!): ersatz, metallic palm trees. There are at least a half dozen "plantings" around the Denver area, and that's probably quite enough I would think. Like astroturf, this is one more nihilistic  response to the high plains climate. Denial? Whimsy? As a lover of chlorophyll, I can't get too excited about a plastic or metallic tree.

In a recent Denver Post article, water rates are expected to skyrocket next year. Why not pave Denver in astroturf and plant fake palms up and down our streets? But, oh yes, green plants sequester the carbon we are spewing by the metric ton! And yes, plants generate oxygen and carbohydrates that form the basis of all we eat and breathe. And yes, they are extraordinarily beautiful and inspiring, especially our native prairie plants where Denver now stands. Come check out the Plains Garden if you don't believe me...

You could always settle for a small tree for your patio (see below)...

At the Gardens


There are a couple examples of art trees along East Alameda near Monroe. I see them almost every day as I am taking the bus home. They are not Palm-like maybe Aspen-like with bright yellow "leaves". The basic landscape for this new condo building is not bad - but these faux trees simply diminish the look of the place.
Panayoti Kelaidis
If that tropical oasis was in the back yard, I would think the HOA was completely out of line in their judgement. As much as I abhor (in a way, admire in another) these concrete "expressions", I do think they represent self expression and therefore (God forbid) a sort of artfulness. I come down solidly on the side of the kitch in this case. Are you going around reading all my old blogs, Susan?
Susan Spaulding
I had the opportunity to mediate between an HOA and new homeowners. It was a new subdivision and the homeowners decided to spend over $50,000 on a "tropical oasis," complete with lifesize palms, astroturf, uplights and downlights and all around lights, a rock water feature, and a table under the trees where the homeowners relaxed with their mai tais each evening after work. They loved the fantasy. The HOA did not. The homeowners agreed, in the face of a lawsuit, to remove the trees-an expensive proposition given that the trees were anchored deeply in the ground with concrete, as a hedge against furious Front Range winds. I myself had mixed emotions. I knew that particular subdivision, where many of the owners were "house poor" and so put in the basic minimal landscape-two junipers right by the front door, destined to form a looming presence once the junipers reached maturity, a small patch of lawn surrounded by rock beds, one ash tree. The fantasy was in some ways grotesque, but at least a stab at something with some flair and distinction.

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