Trees for the future of Phoenix, Arizona
I enjoy Phoenix history, but I'm not a historian, I'm a time-traveler. I'm as interested in the future as the past. I find it fascinating that when I mention the wonderful trees of historic Phoenix, many people misunderstand me.
I'm not just wishing for the days before the subdivisions were built, nor do I imagine that Phoenix will go back to miles and miles of orange groves. And I'm not talking about the giant trees that have been left standing in Phoenix. Sad to say, with that attitude, too many people just shrug their shoulders and give up. There seems to be a sigh for "the good old days" and an acceptance that things will just get worse.
But I'm not giving up on Phoenix, and the trees. I believe that people can live with trees. Houses can live with trees, cars can live with trees. And they don't have to be miles of open orange groves, or gigantic historic trees. They just need to be trees.
If you live in Phoenix, take a look at what most people call "parking lot trees". They're mostly acacias, or mesquite. They provide beauty and shade and use precious little water for what they give. When you get out of your car, look at how small their footprint is, look at the tiny irrigation tubing that is all they need. Then look up.
I read a comment on a social media site a few months ago that questioned whether trees could even be grown in Phoenix? This was from a young person, who was trying to understand, not criticize, not start an argument. And it made me sad. I'd like to respond to that person, and anyone who thinks that trees can't grow in Phoenix and say that yes they can. And that means today, and tomorrow.
I don't know if I'll live long enough to hear Phoenix described again as a city of trees, but I'd like to see the rebirth. This is Phoenix, after all!
Image above: looking north on Central towards Monroe from the Heard Building towards a city of trees in the 1920s
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Posted by Brad Hall