Plain Gardening: Washington Square Palms

Plain Gardening: Washington Square Palms

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Plain Gardening

Washington Square Palms



Beautiful live oaks often steal the show in Washington Square Park and other green spaces along the Gulf Coast.  But Bill Finch with Mobile Botanical Gardens says there’s a secret under the oaks:  palm trees.

Palms weren’t just planted here, they’ve been coming up almost forever in this part of the world.  In fact, early pictures of Mobile show Springhill Avenue lined with palms for almost the entire length!  You can still see some in midtown in front of the Visitation Monastery.  Early stories about Mobile—from the early 1800s—talked about what a lovely city it was because the streets were lined with palms.

Alabama has more native palms (those that have been here for hundreds of thousands of years) than California.  They’re great for your yard.  Palms are very wind resistant and produce just the right amount of shade.  There are lots of varieties and almost all will grow great with little attention.  Some imported palms may have problems in winter, but native palms do well all year round.  Check with to find out which will be best for you.

When planting palms, Bill says bigger is better. 

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