Fond of Fronds
Guest blogger Jody Holton of Port Arthur explains our city’s official tree. Look for them while birding in our area! Holton loves history and playing in the garden to grow herbs for her homemade Italian masterpieces.
Swaying palms, sound of the wind blowing through the fronds…. Are you on a secluded island in the ocean? Why no! You are right here in Port Arthur, Texas. Our sub-tropical climate is the perfect habitat for the lush palms that can been enjoyed all over our city. From downtown along the streets to yards in Griffing Park, you can find tall stately palms on the Lamar State College-Port Arthur campus, in front of Queen of Vietnam Church and in the gardens at the Buu Mon Buddhist Temple.
Short, round palms are planted in yards and in planters all over the city. Driving the streets of Port Arthur, tthey are sighted frequently towering over long-established homes, their fronds dancing in the breeze. Sago Palms are so plentiful and produce so many “pups” shared to grow more. Another reason they are so popular here? They are hurricane friendly. Trees generally snap, or at least lose a few branches, when faced with hurricane-strength winds. Not palm trees. These staples of the tropics typically bend during gusty weather. In vintage photos of long-ago Port Arthur landmarks, palm trees figure prominently in the landscaping.
They are so common place in our city that they are, in fact, the official tree of Port Arthur.
Editor’s note: If you love gardens, get an eyeful of the bamboo at Buu Mon Buddhist Temple garden in Port Arthur (They present Garden Fest in June); Shangri La in Orange and Beaumont Botanical Gardens.