I see trees of green...

If my recent posts have all had an aerial slant, it's only because after a few years at first floor level, my relocation to a seventh floor apartment has afforded me the chance to look down (only literally of course) on the old city.
I see trees of green... And I think to myself...

OK, roll over Satchmo. But about these trees: Trees in Doha fall into three categories: naturally established deciduous trees that have found a source of water, planted palms that require constant irrigation to survive, and dead palms where the irrigation has dried up.
Of the three classes, only the first, the natural deciduous trees are worth their salt. And these, for the most part, grow in the slum and semi-slum parts of the city. Such areas are well provided with cracked and leaking sewerage, dripping stand-pipes and outdoor ablution tanks that drain into the gutters. Though not conducive to human well-being, such conditions are ideal for germinating and nurturing the saplings grown from seeds dropped by birds. And of these saplings, though most don't survive their first summer, a few establish root systems deep enough to access the water table and are then made for life.
All of which makes me wonder why the civic planners insist on prettifying their new developments with eco-unfriendly palms and lawns, requiring endless watering, when the viable natural option of proper trees is clearly available. Another local mystery, I suppose.


  1. I've always thought the same thing. There is a small farm at Sheehaniyah (newest road sign spelling) that specialises in propagating and growing native plant species. We visited there a couple of years ago with my Son's school and now have some plants in the back garden that he grew from seeds. It takes a rugged little bush to survive in the desert, they become natural Bonsai, and they have their own special beauty. As well as supporting birds and insects they are part of the local culture. Driving today along Majlis Al Taawon St from the GPO toward the Emiri Diwan and looking at all that new grass being watered with sprinklers at midday, I was thinking of the futility/folly of the publicity urging us to conserve water. It would be nice if they tagged the trees they have planted with the species and common name, as in botanical gardens. Kids could learn a lot about nature study from this. As aIways, I enjoy your posts. Cheers, Paul (RB-Doha).

  2. Hi Paul - It would be nice to see more native trees around the city. My guess is that they're unpopular because they have to take time to grow and then they adopt natural shapes, unlike the regimented palms - dig a hole, drop it in, water it forever!
    I wonder if olives would grow here? They're pretty tough cookies!

  3. The stupidity of planting non-indigenous flora, particularly in harsh environments where they were never meant to survive, is very common in america.

    I've just relocated from New Mexico and, although the municipal and state governments there push xeriscaping, there are non-native plants, trees and grasses everywhere.

    This, of course, means high maintenance and, most important, lots of watering in a state with serious water shortages.

    It's just one aspect of the arrogant attitude we humans have developed toward our mother.

    If we don't care for the particular environment she has provided at a given location, we just redecorate as if we're in complete control of the physical world and can do with it as we please.

    Oy ve! Such a rude awakening we'll get!

  4. Hi Richard - it's particularly stupid in Qatar where nearly all the water is produced by burning oil to desalinate sea water. OK, we're not short of oil and gas, but that's no reason to waste it so blatantly.


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