National Tree Day.

Jane Ivers 1 (2)

It's National Tree Day in Australia today, a day when folk are encouraged to plant a tree. We have planted 19 trees on our suburban block to add to the five we inherited, so although we won't be planting a tree today, I think we've managed to add something to Australia's tree count.

The special day for trees causes me to reflect on trees I've known in my life and one stands out above the others, pun intended. The tree I have in mind is an Angophora floribunda or Rough Barked Apple Gum. As trees go, it isn't particularly special nor sought-after and in fact, is somewhat decried as being as poor firewood material and a 'widow-maker' owing to its propensity to drop branches without warning.

On our previous property, our little olive farm, we had a number of these trees, but the one near the house was huge and served as a bird hotel, harbouring a varied collection of our beautiful birds at different times: rosellas, galahs, butcher birds, honeyeaters, magpies, cuckoo-shrikes and bower birds, to name just a few. It was something of a bystander in the garden, that tree: when I looked through old photos, I found very few where it wasn't tucked to the side or the background of the photo, and yet it was the only tree near the house when we first built on our old sheep paddock.

A friend estimated that it was about 150 years old. I loved its sinuous branches and its massive fissured trunk. I delighted in its thousands of flowers in December and the thrumming of bees who loved it too. It was wonderful to sit under on the hottest summer day, when the temperature was degrees cooler in its shade. It was a magnificent tree, a tree to be treasured and remembered.


26 thoughts on “National Tree Day.

  1. Your old tree looks wonderful with that late afternoon sunlight highlighting the branches. I can well imagine the pleasure it gave as well as the shade on a hot summer’s day.

    Of course, since I rarely keep track of current affairs or the news I didn’t realise it was National Tree Day.

    Whatever the time of year (or day), planting a tree can only be a good thing with our lowering water table due to de-forestation in the early years of settlement. Personally, I’d like to see a dozen trees planted for every single tree cut down…… 365 days of the year.

    • Thanks for your comments, Vicki, and I couldn’t agree with you more about planting trees. Not only do they lower the water table, they also lower the temperature in towns if the streets are tree-lined. And the streets look so much better.

  2. Your beloved tree was (and I hope still is!) a magnificent specimen. While we have a notional day to celebrate trees in the US too (Arbor Day in late April), I fear trees aren’t valued to the same extent here. I’d like to add more trees to our current property but the community “view conservation” ordinance significantly limits their height in circumstances in which a neighbor claims it obstructs an “important” view. Apparently, ocean views trump tree views…

    • A tree is a view too, I think, Kris. There has been terrible tree felling in this country to make way for farming, and it will take an awful lot of planting to replace what has been removed. I doubt that it ever can be replaced, but at least a special day might go some way towards it.

  3. We always left trees behind where we have lived. On our farm we planted two hundred poplars along the driveway to the house. In inner city Balmain we planted many trees.
    Trees are necessary for the mind. We can’t live without them.

  4. I love love love my angopheras. Heaps here and I actually planted some in my large garden area, so it didn’t look like a plot from Mars. They are unassuming but pack a punch. The ones I planted after 10 years or so, are miniscule compared with their near neighbours outside the garden paddock.

    • Good on you for planting extra Angophoras, Judith. They’re so tough and perform an important role in our environment.

  5. I have just worked out how to go to the place to make comments, so here goes. When I was young we lived in South Australia and always celebrated “Arbor Day” and I have wondered why the name was changed. Maybe it is because so many Australians have now idea what the word means and so we have had to ‘dumb’ down for them.
    But I do love your old tree, and I do know what it is like to walk out on a cold morning and see the plants that succumbed to the frost.

    • Thanks for your comment, John. Arbor Day happened in NZ (where I’m from originally) too, but seems to gone by the wayside. It’s so important to keep planting trees, (hobby horse of mine), especially in towns that have very hot summers.

  6. Hi Jane. I remember that tree when we visited you all those years ago. We’d be lost without our trees and I think that some people only appreciate them when they’re looking for a shady place to park the car. The other photo of your olive farm garden is fabulous. A credit to you both.

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