City horticulturists have planted five palm trees in the Laugardalur neighbourhood on the east side of Reykjavík, Vísir reports. The aim of this perhaps unusual landscaping choice is to investigate how these plants respond to Icelandic weather conditions. The palm variety chosen for the experiment are from the Himalayas and therefore better suited to colder temperatures.
According to an announcement on the City of Reykjavík website, the five palms were planted in a sheltered spot along Sunnuvegur road and will be closely monitored through the coming winter. The experiment was initiated by horticulturists Guðlaug Guðjónsdóttir and Hannes Þór Hafsteinsson, who are leading efforts to diversify plant life in the city.
The palm-planting experiment is particularly interesting in light of the somewhat controversial plans put forth by the city in January to add two palm trees housed in heated glass tubes to the landscaping plans for the new Vogabyggð neighbourhood on the east side of the city. The cost of planting and housing the two trees was projected at ISK 140 million ($1.2m/€1m), or 1% of the total cost of the neighbourhood’s construction. According to Karin Sander, the artist behind the tropical design, her intention was to bring a bit of southerly flavour to the neighbourhood residents’ daily life.
“Instead of taking a tree from Norway, we take a tree that brings to mind summer holidays, beaches, and leisure,” she explained at the time. “We’re not only bringing the trees but also the climate to Iceland.”