maybe because i'm a florida girl i am especially fond of saw palmettos. palmettos conjure up several feelings for me. they remind me of a time when florida wasn't as congested and the streets were not as wide; when there weren't as many restaurants and buildings and crowded neighborhoods. when we first found this house (23 years ago) even though i didn't know much about gardening i got pretty excited that we had substantial amounts of oak trees and at the base of them- palmettos.
i guess not everyone thinks of them as fondly. my former next door neighbors came from the north and they promptly removed all the palmettos from their landscape. i tried not to gasp out loud.
for me they serve as foundational plants - sort of the backdrop for all the other plants i've chosen to layer in front of them. as you can see by the photos i typically crowd other plant life right up next to them. in some areas it will be azaleas, sometimes it is bromeliads, in other areas it is caladiums or combinations of each of these.
Palmettos give me that feeling of both florida woods and the beachy tropical settings we all know and love who adore this beautiful state. i often cut the fronds for fresh arrangements to bring indoors. the bloom on them makes its own statement in a striking cut flower display.