Week 7: Barcelona Last week I went to Barcelona with my family and we all absolutely loved it. It is a dynamic, vibrant city full of friendly people, good food and it even has a rather fantastic beach! Whilst walking around the city it didn’t take long to notice that huge palm trees are a real feature of Barcelona’s landscape. Incredibly there are over 6,000 different species of palm trees in the streets of Barcelona, five of which account for the majority of them. The most common is the True Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera), followed by the Washingtonias (Washingtonia robusta and Washingtonia filifera) and the Mediterranean Fan Palm (Chamaerops humbles).
Dozens of ancient palms are scattered across the Playa Reial, one of the most ancient and famous squares in Barcelona and they’re used to great effect all along the beachfront promenade. Washington robusta, the Mexican fan palm (or my favourite the sky duster), is the palm of choice here, often planted in long dramatic rows or in a more strict grid like pattern. They do make a very graphic visual statement, but I’m not 100% convinced that the palms are horticulturally or visually entertaining enough when used on their own in this way. I couldn’t help but feel that a nice bit of underplanting wouldn’t go amiss… maybe a mass of agapanthus, or cloud clipped Pittosporum tobira 'Nanum' (which I saw used en-mass elsewhere in the city). But hey, I’m just a tourist passing through and so I’ll happily settle for the warm sun on my face, the sand, sea, blue sky, surfers, skateboarders, joggers and dogs to fill in the gaps.