SoCal electricity sent around a crew to do it, slice by slice, as they shimmed down on their crampons with a chainsaw and a machete hanging off their belt. It was surprisingly quick: moments later our house looked bald.
The two large potted palms we replaced them with.
They are not as tall or as beautiful, but they will give us some of the dappled shade and rustling leaves that the old palms used to provide. The earnest dude at the garden centre whose advice we asked said they wouldn't be happy in the pots after about 10 years. When pressed though he conceded they wouldn't look unhappy. To be honest, at the risk of sounding callous, even if they're crying on the inside so long as they put on a brave face and look good, I'll be satisfied. In the hope that in ten years time we have a proper garden to plant them in, we went ahead and bought them. So far they don't look too unhappy.
And finally, the one proud, perfectly shaped Noble fir we bought last weekend, and decorated to the strains of Silver Bells.