Santa Barbara Aborist Under Orders to Import Appearance of Wind

SANTA BARBARA, CA – Santa Barbara is a global destination—by reputation a sun-kissed paradise on Earth to most of the world. But to some, the quaint seaside town is an airless bell jar whose unchanging seasons and intensely cloudless skies create tax base-affecting anxieties in those who would otherwise spend their tourist dollars here. Santa Barbara Conference and Visitors Bureau President Charles Strang has a message for the reluctant visitor. “Those who fear Santa Barbara’s ‘closed movie set’ experience and complete absence of weather, clouds, tickling breezes and general dynamism? We get it. I can now announce that we are bringing in the trees.” Santa Barbara Chief Arborist Candace Scheikel laughs at her colleague’s nomenclature, and provides specifics in the botanically technical language of the International Society of Arboriculture. “We are bringing in the wind-looking trees.”

Arborist Scheikel is talking about those trees that grow in such a way that they appear as if they are being blown sideways a little. Two such specimens, acquired at great cost from a tree place, stand prominently in front of the Frontier Communications building at the corner of Canon Perdido and Chapala Streets. Scheikel elaborates. “In an effort to rebrand Santa Barbara as a place where weather sometimes happens, we’ve been asked by the Planning Commission to effect citywide plantings of flora that appears to be blowing sideways a little. This gives Santa Barbara the visual sense of a place where the air moves, sometimes quite dramatically.”

City planners have high hopes that the scheme will recapture the vacation dollars of those tourists frightened of the windless and gorgeously sterile environment that has, to some international travelers’ minds, come to typify the American Riviera. “These new trees make Santa Barbara look like a meteorological hot potato,” exults Mr. Strang. “Take a look at some of the trees around here. Those who like their vacation air moving fitfully about the environs and affecting the way trees look? They couldn’t possibly choose a more suitable place to spend their vacation dollars than Santa Barbara.”

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