London (Ontario) experienced what may turn out to be the last gasp of summer weather last Thursday, so after my wife was home from work, we piled the kids in the truck and headed for nearby Port Stanley for what was likely our last beach evening of the year. Unfortunately, the beachfront restaurants had already adopted their Autumn hours (they were closed), but on the plus side, we had the area pretty much to ourselves. And our walk happened to coincide with the annual removal of the palm trees from one of the beachfront properties.
The kids have been quite taken with palm trees since a Florida trip in the summer, and had always been curious about how anyone got them to grow so far North. This is the Northern limit of the Carolinian Forest and you might expect to find birch, oak, walnut, maples and lots of pine and fir trees, but palm trees? Not so much. With winter conditions (average daily temperatures in the 18 F to 30 F range plus lots of snow) typically lasting from late November through March, when we see palm trees they’re either indoors, or of the metal variety. However, there apparently is a demand for rentals -mature palm trees that are transported and planted to create the appearance of a tropical oasis, then dug up again in the fall and returned to the nursery. Now we know.