Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dreaming of palm trees


Like most northerners with a small piece of land in the south, we have been dreaming of palm trees. Tall, majestic, exotic plants that don’t branch out but spread their evergreen leaves in a perfect fan. As an old symbol of victory, peace and plenty, the palm tree makes an impressive sight that goes well with a palazzo style villa and not so well with a humble casa rustica surrounded by olive trees. That is why we decided to consult our Italian gartner.

He told us, that palm trees are not just very expensive, they are also a popular status symbol and therefore – at least until they reach a certain height – an all time burglar favourite. Especially, when placed in front of not permanently inhabited houses in the countryside.

Instead he recommended a bushy fan palm, as the only palm tree native to the northern Mediterranean countries. It looks shrubby with multiple trunks, thrives in containers or when planted directly in the ground, and shows a good strong resistance against diseases, cold and pests. These arguments replaced the dream of palm tree power with an emblem of modest practicality that looks very much at home in the back yard.

And the real palm trees and other exotic plants can still be enjoyed in the cities and along the seaside, where every species and variety is cultivated, like the fascinating Strelitzia reginae also known as Crane Flower or Bird of Paradise.

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