When we planted this tree I witnessed something remarkable.
As soon as we arrived, the resident came out hostile.
He pointed to mature Liquidambars further up the street and said "why would I want the mess that those people have to put up with?"
He refused to be talked around but, eventually, realising it was a done deal, went back inside and left us to it.
But I reckon he was watching out the window. He must have been. Because the moment we finished he came out again.
I was bracing for another onslaught when, suddenly, he produced a camera and started taking pictures of "his new tree".
Sensing the opportunity, I sidled up and said "we'll be watering the tree twice a week but feel free to water it between times if you wish - you can't over-water in this sand".
I instinctively stepped back when he lowered his camera and looked at me.
"Oh, don't worry" he said, "I won't let it die" and resumed taking pictures!
Remarkable. The healing power of trees right there.
It reminds me of what Andy Lipkis, founder of TreePeople says:
"Trees are like acupuncture needles: the right tree in the right place produces profound healing."
It also confirmed for me something I've long suspected: that if you just make your installations look really nice, you're much more likely to get residents taking ownership. Judge for yourself. How would you feel if this was on your verge instead?