If the upside-down trees with a rainbow of flowers blooming from their roots on Knoles Drive have gotten your attention, it’s because this innovative flora treatment first caught the eye of Vicki Broyles, an NAU leads groundskeeper.

Broyles spotted the tree planters during a summer vacation hike through a Juneau, Alaska, rainforest park. The idea immediately took root with Broyles to create similar flower-filled trees on NAU’s Flagstaff campus.

“We know when Vicki goes on vacation, she is going to come back with ideas to put into action on campus,” said Dave Corona, an equipment operator, who assisted the grounds-keeping staff in creating the upside-down trees. Two dead trees served as the planters, and it took a little refiguring to plant the flowers in the cradle-like root base of the two trees, since Arizona roots are shallower than trees growing in Alaska.

Broyles said it was a team effort to make the upside-down tree planters, which include vinca vines, sweet peas, petunias and more.