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I think this Fig tree in Marrickville is pretty exceptional. I love the way it has grown along the fence, & not encroached on the property

I love it when I see Australian Councils doing great things about trees as it shows that we are growing in this area to follow what I perceive has been happening in the US & the UK for decades.

I recently wrote about the City of Melbourne’s initiative to increase their current canopy of 60,000 public trees by almost 100%.  See –  Their latest initiative is to create Exceptional Tree Register. To do this they are encouraging the community to be involved & to “recognise, celebrate & protect the exceptional trees that exist on private land in our city.”

The Woodland Trust in the UK has been doing something similar by asking the community to help them in their search for ancient trees.  They have just registered Tree Number-100,000; an ancient Juniper in North Yorkshire.  Their 100,000th ancient tree! Isn’t that stunning & still the hunt goes on.  What a great way to educate the community on the benefits of trees as well as to appreciate & protect trees.  See –

There are many exceptional trees in the grounds of St Bridget's Church in Marrickville.

Some of the criteria the City of Melbourne is using to classify an exceptional tree is its horticultural, historical, aesthetic & habitat value, whether it is rare, old or big, whether it has a historical link to its location (like the trees around the Marrickville Town Hall), whether it add to the aesthetics of the locality, has indigenous associations or a social, cultural or spiritual value. That’s a lot of areas where a private tree may fit the bill & be included on the register.  Much better than making it so hard to qualify that great trees miss out because they are not native or indigenous to the area.

We have some spectacular Oak trees in Stanmore that must have been planted in the days when deer hunting was part of the area’s recreational pastime. Forgive me if I am wrong here. Someone once told me years ago that the turrets on top of many of the grand old buildings in Stanmore were so that the local gentry could observe the deer or fox hunters as they rode past. I’d like it to be true, but would equally like to know what the turrets were for if not for this purpose.

Melbourne City Council say that they have around 20,000 private trees, near to the 25,000 public trees Marrickville Council estimate we currently have, so there is bound to be a rich choice of spectacular trees hidden away in back gardens. Add the 60,000 public trees & you can see why the city of Melbourne is a green place.  Melbourne people do love & respect their trees.

“The Exceptional Tree Register aims to –

  • Recognise & celebrate the City of Melbourne’s trees by promoting & raising awareness of existing exceptional trees.
  • Support the custodians of Melbourne’s exceptional trees by providing expert advice & opportunities to promote their tree.
  • Protect Melbourne’s exceptional trees through the Melbourne Planning Scheme so that planning permission is required to undertake any action that may harm the tree.
  • Encourage shared responsibilities for the retention & care of trees that span property boundaries.
  • Promote tree planting on private properties – trees that may become the exceptional trees of the future & increase canopy cover in our city.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our own Marrickville Council could do the same as part of the Tree Inventory process being undertaken this year.  I suspect Council would receive many nominations if they got the word out there that they were seriously interested in private trees.

I would assume at some stage Council will want to know the percentage of the private tree canopy.  Expanding this further to include a register of exceptional private trees would have many benefits, not least the opportunity to educate the community on the benefits of trees & promote a culture change to one that respects or even celebrates trees.

Though there would certainly be some that would not like their tree to be included in the register for fear of future development restrictions, such a register would go a long way to protect the wonderful trees that are being lost to development upsetting the community who see these trees as an important part of the landscape. It would also help stop the increasing loss of habitat trees for urban wildlife.  It’s food for thought anyway.  I love to know what you think.

Not in Marrickville LGA unfortunately, but this gorgeous Fig tree in Chatswood would be a real contender.


The Woodland Trust has achieved its tree planting initiative for the community to plant 1-million trees across the UK in February 2012 to celebrate & mark the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth.  The Woodland Trust plans for the community to plant 6-million trees overall.  The community tree planting will be creating hundreds of new woodlands called Jubilee Woods.  60 Diamond Woods will also be created.

Back in 1936 the community planted trees to mark the coronation of King George VI.  What species of tree, where it was planted & who planted it was documented in a book called the Royal Record of King George VI’s Coronation.  This book has been put online for the Jubilee Woods Project, allowing anyone to search the records to see if trees planted back then are still alive.

I would love to have something like this happening for any reason in NSW & other states.  It would have to be a bigger tree-planting target because of the vast size of Australia.  It’s very inspiring & a brilliant way to teach people of the value of trees as well as mark an important occasion in a country’s history. See –

The Cooks River Valley Garden in 2009.

I came across this video today posted by Australia’s Veteran Tree Group of a mighty Oak tree in Calke National Nature Reserve South Derbyshire UK.  The tree is the oldest Oak tree in Calke Park & is estimated to be between 700-1,000 years old.

From the video description, “… this oak contains some of the rarest saproxylic habitat in Europe.”  I had to look this word up. Saproxylic refers to a lifestyle within rotting wood or deadwood habitat, something that we don’t have much of in Marrickville LGA.

The tree itself is quite amazing & very beautiful.  It is surrounded by a fence to protect the roots & even this has had a paling removed to allow a branch free movement.  The other trees near the Oak are also quite wonderful.  Listening to the voice describing the tree is great because you hear the excitement, awe & respect for this tree.  Well worth watching at less than 5-minutes.

It’s also worth going to the Woodland Trust’s webpage to see photos of the Old Man of Calke taken during the summer months when he is all green & leafy.


1.        For the first time living trees were brought into Westminster Abbey for the royal wedding of Catherine & William.  The trees were 6 metres tall (20 feet).  They were 6 English field maples symbolizing humility & reserve & 2 Hornbeams symbolizing resilience.  The trees will be planted in the royal estates creating a living memorial to the wedding.  The trees looked fantastic.  I predict the inclusion of trees will become popular in weddings all over the world.,29307,2067896_2269435,00.html

2.        A very interesting article about a study by Jill T. Anderson from Duke University who has shown the connection between fish, trees & seed dispersal in the Amazon.  “In our study, fish can carry seeds up to 5.5 kilometers, although it is likely that larger (older) fish can disperse seeds much farther than that,” says Anderson. Researchers have identified 200 fruit-eating fish in South America, though they expect there will be more. When there is over-fishing & the natural planting of new trees drops, the renewal of the forest is impacted in a profound & negative way.

3.        Nature Geoscience has released a study that found mangroves forests stored up to 4 times as much carbon as other tropical forests, including rainforests. What is unfortunate is that mangroves are disappearing at an alarming rate mostly due to development. “Around 50% of the world’s mangroves have likely vanished in the last half-century.”

4.      KFC said it would stop using palm oil to fry chicken. This is a win for the environmental movement’s campaign to stop Palm oil plantations, a major destructor of rainforests.

5.      A recent study in Science found that flying foxes in the US “provide the agricultural industry at least $3.7 billion & up to a staggering $53 billion a year by eating mounds of potentially pesky insects.” Unfortunately, White Nose Syndrome, only identified in 2006 & wind turbines are killing them off. One flying fox is a highly effective insect control agent able to eat 1,000 mosquitoes in 1 hour.

6.       A man from Oak Ridge US was fined the princely sum of $50 for illegally chopping down several trees estimated to be worth $18,000.  That will stop others.

7.       Dick Hannah Dealerships, a car sale company in Vancouver, pays for a tree to be planted for every new & used car they sell.  Since starting this initiative in March 2007 a total of 50,000 trees have been planted.

8.       The Woodland Trust in the UK does some fantastic work. Their More Trees More Good campaign plans to have more than 3,700 native trees planted across Worcestershire by children & adult volunteers.  They aim to plant 20-million native trees every year for the next 50 years. Is that 1 billion trees?  The UK can fit inside the state of NSW with plenty of space to spare.

9.       Lufa Farms in Montreal has created the world’s first rooftop farm. They have made a 3,000 square metre greenhouse that collects rainwater on top of an office building & are waiting for their first crop to ripen.   “…the choice of produce is varied & plentiful enough to fill 2,000 grocery carts each week.” Lufa Farms are preparing another rooftop farm that will be much larger at around 15,000 square metres. I think this is the way of the future, especially when food security becomes more of an issue.

10.       Three cheers to the Cambodian government who canceled a titanium mine application in an intact rainforest in the Cardamom Mountains, citing “the impact on the environment & biodiversity as well as the living standards of the people.”  The forest is critical habitat for 70 threatened & vulnerable species & part of the migration route for elephants.

New plantings in a woodland in Sydney Park

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