Friday, January 20, 2006

Survivor of the flames

We bought our house in 1964. It had a tiny palm tree in the front yard. So tiny, in fact, that its fronds couldn't support the light snowfall we had in January 1965.

By 1975, the palm tree was about 12 feet tall. On July 4, while we were on vacation in Estes Park, Colorado, some vandals set fire to the tree. When we arrived home, there was nothing left but a charred black stump. Our neighbors urged us to have it removed, but we're procrastinators by nature and we didn't do anything about it. A couple of months later, we were delighted to find bright green shoots emerging from the top of the stump.

Now, in 2006, you can see vestiges of the burning in the bark. But most of the charring has worn away or has been separated out as the trunk of the tree increases in girth.

The tree is healthy and continues to grow. It lives on the groundwater and has never been irrigated.
Unlike most urban Tucsonans, we refuse to prune the old fronds. At various times they have been home to wasps and birds.

Woodpeckers love the trunk.

With the projected drought for this year, for the first time in 31 years, I worry about its fate.


tai haku said...

beautiful palm Pam. They say the best time to plant a tree was 40 years ago, this proves it,

Pam in Tucson said...

Thank you, Tai. I hope the palm can survive the depletion of underground water we're expecting. Even after living here for 42 years, I still have a difficult time when I have to water plants. We try to keep to desert vegetation as much as possible.

T. Beth said...

Wow, that's the most snow I've ever seen here!

Hooded Orioles and Great Horned Owls will nest in tall palms. If you look carefully in the tall palms at Agua Caliente Park, you may see a sleeping Great Horned Owl amongst the fronds.

Sonia said...

Hi Pam, I just found your blog through your comment on my blog "Leaves of Grass".
Thank you so much for your nice compliment.

I like your blog and what a beautiful photos!

Love the history of your palm. It's a very beautiful struggle for live, indeed.