I was greeted with this glorious sight. The lower branches in the foreground are only 1.5-metres off the ground (5-feet) so you walk around them.  I was glad to find out that the owners liked this & had no intention of pruning them.

I was greeted with this glorious sight. The lower branches in the foreground are only 1.5-metres off the ground (5-feet) so you walk around & through them. I was glad to find out that the owners liked this & had no intention of pruning them.  Apparently the Tibouchina is almost always in flower.  A Red Wattle Bird built a nest in it last year, which is still in the tree.  Fairy Wrens hang about in the Jacaranda because it is more their style.

This photo was taken by the owner. I like to think that it is how they felt when they purchased the property.  Thank you for allowing me to use this. :-)

This photo was taken by the owner. I like to think this is how they felt when they purchased the property.  Thank you for allowing me to use this. 🙂

Last week I had a wonderful experience.  I was invited for afternoon tea & to see a Jacaranda tree living in a Dulwich Hill back garden.  I expected to see a beautiful tree & I did, except it was ten times more beautiful that I imagined it would be.  I literally held my breath for a moment when I first set eyes on it.

It stood, two separate trunks of the one tree towards the back left of the around 200-square-metre back garden. Thick undulating boughs spread to cover almost all of the garden area – a rolling mountainous wave of lacy vibrant green.

In springtime it is covered in blue-purple coloured flowers & when they drop they form a carpet on the lawn.  I can’t wait to see that & the good thing is, they will let me visit again so I can post an update photo or two.

The tree is 130-years-old, so it would have been planted around 1882-1883.  That is quite something if you think about it, especially as European settlement only happened in 1788.

The tree lives in what was once the Gelding Estate.  The Dictionary of Sydney says – “Until the early years of the twentieth century, Dulwich Hill was mainly an area of orchards, market gardens & nurseries. Gelding’s Victoria Nursery on Old Canterbury Road was one of the largest until it was subdivided in the 1890s for housing.”  See – http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/dulwich_hill

Nothing is known about the tree, except for its age, though it doesn’t take too much to assume that this tree was originally part of Gelding’s Victoria Nursery & retained when housing was built.

The tree has had only two owners before the current ones since the area became housing & the last owner lived here for 90-years.  Longevity of ownership certainly helps keep trees.

I have never seen such a beautiful tree outside of a Botanical Garden or somewhere like Centennial Park.  It was certainly not the kind of tree I expected to see in an Inner West property.  Incredibly, the Jacaranda is not visible from the street & it would be quite a pleasant shock if you walked out their back door not expecting to see such an amazing tree.

The owners are enormously fortunate & they know it, which is wonderful & heart-warming to a tree-lover like myself.  I heard not a single complaint about their tree.  The owners love their tree & want to do everything possible to keep it well & healthy.  Already they have employed an Arborist to assess the tree’s health & current needs & intend to do such health checkups in the future.

Fortunately their neighbours also love & appreciate the tree.  It could have been very different as a couple of branches cascade over their fence shading part of their back garden.  Many would not tolerate this & would have quietly dealt with the situation by poisoning the tree or forcing them to the Land & Environment Court seeking its removal.  What a tragedy that would be.

Apart from the tree’s astounding beauty & age, there were a couple of things that struck me about living with a tree whose canopy covers more than three-quarters of the garden.

Thriving vegetable garden growing under the massive Jacaranda tree. As you can see the plants get enough sun & don't mind dappled shade.  Photo by owner with thanks :-)

Thriving vegetable garden growing under the massive Jacaranda tree. As you can see the plants get enough sun & don’t mind dappled shade. Photo by owner with thanks 🙂

1.   You can grow vegetables.  They have a vegetable garden situated near the tree at the back of the property.  Initially there was some concern that they would not be able to grow herbs & vegetables because of the shade, but this has proven not to be a problem.  Their vegetables & herbs looked great, but I was told this is the beginning of a new crop & the plot can look far more lush & leafy.  I have used a photo taken at the end of last seasons growing.

In fact, their vegetable garden is growing better than my neighbour’s garden, which receives full sun.  My neighbour was growing 95% of her vegetables & herbs for the past 45-years, but over the last three years is having trouble.  She says the heat & weather changes are burning her plants, especially the young seedlings & limiting what she can grow. The plants also require more water & daily to remain alive.  So perhaps climate change is having an impact on the way we grow vegetables & dappled shade is no longer an obstacle.

2.   Like the vegetable garden, the lawn is not suffering at all either & we know lawns can be highly temperamental.

Seeing this tree had me wondering – how many other old & significant trees do we have growing in private gardens across the eleven suburbs that make up Marrickville municipality?   I have no idea, but I would love to find out.

If you have a significant tree, can you send me an email – savingourtrees@gmail.com  – & let me know.  I’d love to see it.

Once you walk past the lower branches you are greeted with this sight.  The tree is majestic.

Once you walk past the lower branches you are greeted with this sight. The tree is majestic. In this photo you can see the two trunks.

The tree has wonderful twisted branches adding another layer of interest.

The tree has wonderful twisted branches adding another layer of interest.

Wide spreading boughs reach towards the house.  It is a fabulous feeling to stand underneath this tree.

Wide spreading boughs reach towards the house. It is a fabulous feeling to stand underneath this tree.  I love everything about it.

 

 

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