Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fairmont Miramar Hotel:

The day after the Landmarks Commission Hearing, Treesavers had a table at the Chamber of Commerce “The State of the City” Luncheon at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel.

Coincidently, the hotel is fronted by an outrageous "Landmarked" Ficus- a Ficus Macrophylla, as opposed to our Ficus Retusa’s (also called Microcarpa ‘Nitida). Known as a Moreton Bay Fig Tree (originating in Moreton Bay, Queensland), this over-a-hundred-year-old tree is 80’ tall. When measured in 1991, the canopy had a width of 167’ and the trunk diameter was 12.5’.

It is said that an Australian sailor gave the tree to a bartender, in payment for drinks, in the 1880’3. He in turn gave it to the owners of the original house- and there it has stayed. Since being an hotel, an illustrious collection of people have passed under its canopy: Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Howard Hughes, Charles Lindbergh, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marilyn Monroe, John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, President Clinton, Barbara Streisand, Steven Spielberg- and finally: a group of SANTA MONICA TREESAVERS!

The guest speaker at the luncheon was Senator Dianne Feinstein. Ironically, the main thrust of her speech- as well as that by the Chamber of Commerce- was Global Warming and Santa Monica’s commitment to reducing this. To implement this you remove 53 wonderful mature-canopied, environmentally invaluable Ficus Trees from the streets?

Afterwards, it was interesting to learn that one of the Cities’ Councilmembers was unaware that Santa Monica was a “Tree City USA”.

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