December 14, 2018

Caroline’s Garden Diaries 10.2.2014: Back down under

Guess what, had to buy an umbrella here – thought I wouldn’t need one. But they desperately need the rain after driest summer for a decade so mustn’t complain; so-called lawns are shrivelled-up brown or even just sand. It’s striking that the freshest-looking gardens are those with lots of shrubs and trees; similarly in the park, the greener areas are under trees. Moral, save water by planting; book I’m reading on saving the Australian landscape, says it’s plants that will save the planet. It certainly seems to need saving, looking at Australian news of fires burning up Victoria, while BBC news tells of storms washing away south coast of home (moral for England, planting also helps with flooding).

More locally, now the rain has stopped, trees are a godsend if you’re walking down the street – you need their shade! There are some fantastic trees around here, huge old fig trees (unfortunately not the edible ones), eucalyptus and paper-barks, and London plane. In fact, throughout the city there are enormous trees lining the roads and filling the parks; they’re so important to provide shelter from the sun, and to allow other plants (and us) to thrive under them. Interesting balance of health and safety matters – such huge old trees might be felled at home because of the chance a branch might fall, or because their roots make the pavements a bit uneven.

The eucalypts are especially beautiful, I think – we’ve got one right outside the house, can see it through strange porthole window. I love its tall white trunk with branches that in themselves have the shape of a tree. There are several hundred species, mostly unique to Australia and evolved to put up with this climate. How bizarre that I’ve recently planted one at home where it is probably now drowning.

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