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National Tree Day site in Steel Park Marrickville South. All that is wood chip is the new area that was planted today. It joins last year’s site to create a continuous corridor along the river in this area.

This afternoon we went down to Steel Park Marrickville South to have a look at Inner West Council’s National Tree Day site.  I had looked at the site earlier & noticed just how big the area to be planted is in comparison to previous years.  Inner West Council decided to convert a significant area into habitat for wildlife at this location &  I think this is excellent.

Three new trees were planted –

  • Two Swamp mahoganies (Eucalyptus robusta), an Australian native that can reach up to 30-metres in height. It can live for at least 200-years.  I find exciting to have such long-lived trees planted in a park where it has a decent opportunity to reach such an age.  Fingers crossed anyway.   It flowers well in spring & summer & offers food for birds & other nectar-eating wildlife.  Christmas beetles like to eat the leaves, so hopefully we will see some of these at Steel Park.
  • One Prickly-leaved paperbark (Melaleuca styphelioides) – also an Australian native. This is a medium-sized tree that reaches between 5-11 metres in height.   It has a dense, rounded canopy with drooping branchlets & produces cream or white cylindrical bottlebrush-like flowers in summer.  It likes to grow along stream banks or other moist situations, so good for this location.

Everyone who planted today have done the whole community a service & I thank them.   It is excellent to see more places along the river that are for wildlife only & I personally, think that looking at bushy areas is far more interesting than great expanses of lawn.  The birds will come, which adds a further layer of enjoyment to users of the park.

A closer look. Each dark patch is where something was planted.

The 3 trees that were planted.  Swamp mahogany in the foreground, the Melaleuca in the middle and another Swamp mahogany in the background.  


What a positive change to this section of Unwins Bridge Road. Street trees and verge gardens on both sides of the road!

In May 2017 I posted about the new verge gardens created along both sides of Unwins Bridge Road from Tramway Street to the corner of Gannon Street Tempe. See –

I was hopeful that street trees would be planted too.   Well, my wish was granted.  Not only has Inner West Council planted street trees, but they planted a lot of them in just one block.  I think this is the largest number of new trees planted in one block that I have noticed since starting this blog.

Twelve Ornamental pear trees have been planted on the eastern side & seven on the western side of Unwins Bridge Road. This is the species Council are planting along Unwins Bridge Road.

You may have noticed that many of our high traffic roads are lined with Ornamental pear trees.  I think it is because they are so robust & can tolerate poor growing conditions.  They create a fairly dense canopy, so will provide a good pollution barrier between the traffic & the houses collecting some of the particulate matter from passing vehicles.   They should also help muffle some of the traffic noise & cool the street as well.

The trees will also add beauty to this section of Unwins Bridge Road that was previously dominated by concrete for what seems like forever.  The change is quite striking even at this early stage after planting.  Imagine how it will look once everything has grown.

Council has planted a variety of plants from native grasses to native violets & other small plants.  These too will help manage air pollution, add beauty & cool the area down.

I applaud Council for doing this work & for choosing to plant street trees in that location.  The trees will work to improve the air quality for local residents who have to tolerate massive amounts of traffic passing by seven days a week & the associated pollution.

If all our heavy traffic roads could also have the same treatment, this will help improve the health of the residents now & into the future.  More & more research is finding that street trees have a considerable impact on the health of the community, so the more our urban forest increases, the better it will be for all of us.

Showing the western side of Unwins Bridge Road.

Quite a range of plants in the verge gardens.

One of two new Sydney red gums. The shade from these two trees, once they have grown, is expected to cover “at least three-quarters of the car park.”  

This area is permeable paving, yet people can walk on it without experiencing problems or noticing a difference.

I was impressed when I read that the Inner West Council had planted two advanced size Sydney Red Gums (Angophora costata) at the Garners Avenue car park in Marrickville as part of an upgrade.

Council Administrator Mr Pearson said in Council’s Press Release, “When mature, these trees will provide canopy cover to at least three-quarters of the carpark.  So, instead of the usual unshaded bitumen and concrete which would increase the inner west’s ‘urban heat island effect,’ we are actually contributing shade, cooler ambient air temperatures, and improved urban air quality.”  

Council’s Press Release makes mention that shade not only increases amenity, but also increases “the serviceable life of the bitumen by up to 30%.”   

The trees were planted in structural vaults, which on the surface look like business as usual, but are actually purpose built to provide optimum living conditions for a tree planted in unnatural conditions.

The surface is covered by permeable paving allowing rainwater to get to the tree.  Below ground, the area for the tree to grow has been prepared by placing good-quality soil in structural cells across a large area.  The structural cells provide room for the roots to grow, but also encourages them to grow in preferred directions.

Better soil, access to water & room to spread allows the tree grow to maturity.   This technique is light years better than digging a hole in the pavement & planting a tree.  It is well worth the money Council needs to spend on this planting style.

Council’s Press Release ( ) made many favourable statements regarding public trees.  It appears we can expect to see a positive change in our urban forest.

“Trees usually come second to infrastructure such as footpaths, roads and car parks. But Inner West Council is determined to turn this thinking around.”

I visited the Garners Street carpark & saw the two Sydney red gums.  They look great.  The flowers from these trees will provide food for bees, butterflies & nectar-eating birds.

I was also impressed to see three new Banksias planted in a small garden area toward the back of the car park.

Two other good sized Diamond leaf pittosporum (Auranticarpa rhombifolia) growing on the other side are festooned with orange berries at present.  These are Australian native rainforest trees & their orange berries attract fruit-eating birds.

The addition of Australian native trees that can grow to a significant size is a big & positive change from the current Purple Leaf Ornamental Plum (Prunus nigra) & Evergreen ash (Fraxinus griffithii) planted at the front of the car park.

I like what Inner West Council have done here.  Give the trees a few years to grow & the difference will be noticeable.  The more Council can plant decent sized native trees in areas traditionally covered with concrete & bitumen the better.  Changes like this will have positive impacts on the livability of our area.   I thank Council for doing this work.

New planting of three Banksias and other plants.

Diamond Leaf pittosporums looking great with all those orange berries.

Garners Street car park Marrickville as it looks from the street.


Illawarra Flame tree - just one of the free trees available.

Illawarra Flame tree in flower – just one of the free tree species available.

Great news & a first for ex-Marrickville Council, now the Inner West Council.

On National Tree Day, Sunday 31st July 2016, Council will be giving away free trees so that we can be a part of increasing our urban forest canopy & all the associated benefits trees bring to both the community & the wildlife.

Unfortunately, Council does not say how many trees will be in the giveaway, so if you want one, I recommend getting there earlier rather than later.

Tree species available are –

  • Sydney Red Gum/ Smooth Barked Apple (Angophora crostata)
  • Coast Banksia (Banksia integrifolia)
  • Old Man Banksia (Banksia serrata)
  • Illawarra Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius)
  • Bottlebrush (Callistemon viminallis cv)
  • Black Tea-Tree (Melaleuca bracteata)
  • Lemon-scented Tea Tree (Leptospermum petersonii)
  • Riberry (Syzygium leuhmannii)

Information about these trees can be found in Council’s pdf document, which includes photos –

Council staff will be available to talk about the trees available to help you decide which species is best for your property & provide planting & caring advice.

WHEN:  National Tree Day – Sunday 31st July 2016.

WHERE:  The car park at the back of the Debbie and Abbey Borgia Centre in Steel Park Marrickville South.  Council says, “The trees will be advanced sized stock (25 litre bags/300mm pots), so please make sure you can accommodate this size tree when picking it up.”

TIME: 10am – 1pm.

IMPORTANT:  There is a limit of one tree per household. You will need to provide proof of your address in the form of a Council rates notice or Drivers Licence.

For more information see –

New street trees in Alice Lane Newtown

New street trees in Alice Lane Newtown

Very large rain garden in  Alice Lane Newtown

Very large rain garden in Alice Lane Newtown. Photo was taken 2 months ago, so it should be looking better now.

The new high-rise housing development on Alice Street is nearing completion.  I am pleased to see that all the street trees have been protected.  It was nice to see the shadow pattern of dappled leaves over balconies knowing that whoever lives there will look out onto the canopy of these trees & enjoy the shade, green & birdlife.  My bet is the outlook onto mature trees will be used as a selling point.

Behind this building in Alice Lane I counted 20 new trees planted as part of the development.  One species looks to be Banksia with another species planted with every alternate tree.

At the corner of Pearl Street & Alice Lane they (I am assuming this work was done by the developers) have built a large rain garden.  It looks great & will only improve as the plants grow.  It is obvious that planning has included making it an informal meeting place where people can sit & chat.

On the wall of the house that sits beside the rain garden in a very nice nature-themed mural painted by @mulgatheartist.  The outlook is ‘groovy tropical’ with Australian native birds looking hip wearing sun glasses.  It’s sweet, funny & a bit whimisical.  I like it a lot & I especially love that it is nature-themed.

Improvements like this help with stormwater & clean the water before it reaches the Cooks River, even from this far away.  The raingarden, new trees & mural also help soften the landscape, plus add beauty & a patch of habitat in a hard landscape.

Street art by @mulgatheartist.  I love it.

Street art by @mulgatheartist.   The whole mural made me laugh.

Shy flamingo - part of the mural.

Shy flamingo – part of the mural.

Showing the location of the playground and the river

Council plans to plant vegetation in front of  the riverbank to stop the community having access to the river – yet this is where many sit to enjoy a picnic with friends, read a book, chill out & watch the river.  The fence you can see carries on for many metres past following the path & keeps children from running from the playground to the path or the river.  It should be enough.  Why should the community miss out on being able to sit beside the river?  There are so few places where we can do this along both sides of the river without having a fence, mangroves or something in front to prevent this.  I find this part of the plan very sad & hope Council changes their mind.


Continuing on from my posts on Mahoney Reserve. See –

Steel Park is also a ‘designated fauna habitat link.’

Inner West Council (nee Marrickville Council) plan the following for Steel Park –

  • Add more concrete paths to help with existing desire lines & increasing recreation opportunities.”  One will be a 1.8-metre wide path to Thornley Street from the current shared path along the grass next to the cliff up to Thornley Street. Our Council loves laying concrete in parks.
  • What is good is the plan for new trees around the flying fox, the water play park & between the play facilities & the ball net. New trees also for around the exercise equipment & the proposed water treatment wetland. New trees are also planned for the slope near Thornley Street.  It would be nice to know the number of trees planned, but any new trees are a boon for this park.
  • All the Poplar trees except for those in the Children’s Playground will be removed. I think this is entirely unnecessary, especially removing healthy trees for the reasons given & in these days of climate change when trees are more important than ever.  It will be an expensive job to remove 27 big tall trees.  You can read more here –
  • The lower branches of the Casuarina trees along the foreshore pathway will be removed to increase sight lines & ground covers planted.
  • Grasses, groundcovers & small shrubs will be planted alongside residential properties.
  • Grasses & groundcovers to be planted beside the car park.
  • New rain gardens a minimum 2-metres wide will be added to the car park & planted with local native sedges, grasses & tree plantings.
  • 13 new seats will be placed along the edge of Illawarra Road & behind the Debbie and Abbey Borgia Recreation Centre.
  • 5 concrete “block style” seating will be placed in the patch of grass near the house on the slope next to Thornley Street.
  • There will be another barbeque installed next to the playground with a shade structure.
  • The playground will be expanded with new equipment that has a nature based theme.  That’s nice.
  • The fence around the northern playing field will be removed.
  • New bike racks installed near the exercise equipment.
  • Upgrade the playing field with new turf & drainage.
  • And sadly, Council plans to plant vegetation infront of the river  “to limit water access by users.” 
 I would have thought the extensive fence between the shared path & the children’s playground & barbecue areas would have been sufficient.  Frankly, the plan to cut off access to the river makes me feel sad.  To stop people being able to sit at or near the river’s edge is a BIG LOSS to many in the community.   Plenty of people like to sit here on picnic blankets & watch the river.  

Community consultation is open until this Wednesday 8th June 2016.  You can access the link at ‘Your Say Marrickville’ & download the Plan here –

A 1.8-metre wide path will be installed on the left of the photo to the trees in the distance & up the slope to Thornley Street.

A 1.8-metre wide path will be installed on the left of the photo to the trees in the distance & up the slope to Thornley Street.

The fence will be removed & seats installed.

The fence will be removed & seats installed.  The playing field will be upgraded with new turf and drainage.  

I think many people will love the idea of becoming part of a tree when they die.

I think many people will love the idea of becoming part of a tree when they die.

I love memorial trees.  To me they represent life, beauty & a celebration of the life of the person who has passed.  I know that memorial trees are very healing for people who have lost someone they love.

I am excited to see that finally we can choose to have our cremated remains become part of a new living tree, but only in Victoria at the moment.  Let’s hope this concept spreads Australia-wide.

The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust in Melbourne is introducing ‘The Living Legacy’ program at all of its nineteen Melbourne cemeteries.  The program will allow people to have their cremated ashes turned into fertilizer.  See –

“The product will be incorporated into the root ball of existing trees so the person who has passed literally becomes part of the tree.   How lovely is that.

Not only will one tree be planted to commemorate the death of a person – “a further 200 will be donated to create urban forests in cities in Australia & overseas.”

The trees will be planted by

The trees planted in Australia will be planted by ‘Greenfleet’ an Australian non-profit environmental organization.  Greenfleet also have a carbon offset program where you can donate to have your carbon footprint offset with new trees planted in reforestation projects around Australia.  See –

Melbourne man Warren Roberts came up with the idea of ‘The Living Legacy’ program after the death of his best friend.  “He said he was not able to properly grieve her death for years until he spent time out in gardens, parks and forests, which was when he came up with the idea.” 

Because cremated ashes are toxic to plants Mr Roberts spoke to a number of experts.  He met & formed a professional relationship with scientist Dr Mary Cole who, over a period of two years, developed a method to transform cremated remains into fertilizer & the concept became a reality.

Not only will this program help grieving people.  It will also help reforest Australia, provide habitat for wildlife & help mitigate climate change.  Another bonus is that Australia’s cemeteries are running out of space.

Costa Georgiadis, host of ABC’s TVs ‘Gardening Australia’ is the ambassador for ‘The Living Legacy’ program.  He says, “If we can connect with the longevity of trees, then the baton that we hand to the next generation is spiritually significant.”   I like that.


Four new trees visible in this photo.

Four new trees visible in this photo.

I got a pleasant surprise when I drove down Unwins Bridge Road last weekend.  Marrickville Council has been very busy planting 20 ornamental pear trees all along the west side of the road all the way to Tillman Park.   It looks like there will be three more trees to be planted, as it appears there are three areas prepared for them.

If any road needed street trees this section of Unwins Bridge Road was it.  I am hoping that the other side also gets trees.

Street trees will help purify the air in this high traffic road, which will be much better for the health of the residents, the school children from the primary & high school & the many pedestrians.  The trees will also add beauty, green & shade to the streetscape.

A big thank you to Marrickville Council from me.

All the new trees look like this one.

All the new trees look like this one.

New trees for Steel Park Marrickville South

New trees for Steel Park Marrickville South

Yesterday I was really pleased to see five new Melaleuca trees planted in a bare part of lawn at Steel Park. This area generally has nothing going on & has been bare for as long as I can remember.

Six big trees here will add to the beauty of this park, which is putting on quite a display of Poplar ‘snow’ at the moment, as the seeds create a carpet on the ground.

These trees are great producers of food for wildlife too. Thank you Marrickville Council.

New Melaleuca trees

New Melaleuca trees – a good size too.

Three stumps in Beauchamp Street Marrickville.  To me it looks like the removal of the trees was not authorised.

Three stumps in Beauchamp Street Marrickville. To me it looks like the removal of the trees was not authorised.

Poor photo sorry, but Council has planted two trees to replace the three trees that appear to have been removed without authority in Beauchamp Street Marrickville.

Poor photo sorry, but Council has planted two trees to replace the three trees that appear to have been removed without authority in Beauchamp Street Marrickville.

On 15th September 2015 a Press Release from Marrickville Council said that they planted the last of 500 street trees the previous day, a Golden Penda. This is the first time that I am aware that Marrickville Council has published the number of street trees they got into the ground for the planting season.  I am very pleased & thank Council for publicly releasing this information.

Mayor Gardiner said in the Press Release – “Trees are amongst Marrickville’s most important assets.” I can only agree.

In March 2015 I wrote about the ‘One Child One Tree’ initiative. I wrote –

It is my belief that if you want environmentally responsible adults, you need to teach them the value of the environment while they are children.

This project is more than listening to words in a classroom. Being able to get their hands dirty while planting a tree actively connects the children to the environment & opens their eyes to the beauty & benefits of nature. It also instills a sense of pride & ownership. Being able to see that they have improved the visual outlook of the community, as well as provided food & habitat for wildlife would have an immense positive impact.  See

Therefore I was very happy to read further on in the Press Release that earlier this year Marrickville Council decided they would participate in the ‘One Child One Tree’ initiative.   As a community we should be proud of this. I would love to know just how many children we have in Marrickville LGA.

Council donated 70-mature trees to our local schools on National Schools Tree Day 2015.  Again, this is terrific & will help green our municipality, as well as educating our children on the benefits of nature.

The Press Release also spoke about Council’s participation on National Tree Day on 26th July 2015. Reading this I realized that I have been remiss & had forgotten to post about the event in Tempe Reserve despite visiting the site later that day. I participated in the event at Sydney Park.

So better late than never –

Marrickville Council’s National Tree Day site for 2015 is on the left side & behind the kiosk that sits alone to the left of the saltwater wetland. A small section on the other side of the path behind the kiosk was also included.

Logs from the felled wattle trees have been used to help prevent erosion in the area behind the kiosk.  Dead logs also provide habitat for flora & fauna, as well as add to the soil as they decay.

Logs from the felled wattle trees have been used to help prevent erosion in the area behind the kiosk. Dead logs also provide habitat for flora & fauna, as well as add to the soil as they decay.

Unfortunately, many of the wattle trees in Tempe Reserve had reached the end of their relatively short lives, as they had all been planted at the same time when the park was created.  The kiosk was surrounded by a significant number of wattle trees. Every time we cycled past, another wattle tree was down or dying. The area looked like a war zone in the end with dead tree trunks & weeds everywhere, so it was a great choice of site for National Tree Day.

Council and/or the community planted 7 new trees & all were a good size, which I believe lessens the chance of vandalism. They were untouched 2-3 weeks ago when we last cycled past. I don’t know how many community members attended, how many plants or even what kind of plants were planted.

The site looks mulched & cared for. The new trees will look terrific once grown & will most certainly be visible from many vantages from across the Cooks River. They are all natives & therefore will be a source of habitat & food for local wildlife. My thanks to Council & also to the community who participated.

Showing four new trees planted around the kiosk in Tempe Reserve for National Tree Day. .  There are also plants in the mulched areas, but being small are hard to see in this photo.

Showing four new trees planted around the kiosk in Tempe Reserve for National Tree Day. . There are also plants in the mulched areas, but being small are hard to see in this photo.  The area behind this photo was the 2011 National Tree Day site.

Looking from the bottom of the slope.

Sam area as the above photo, but looking from the bottom of the slope.

Area of planting on the other side of the path at Tempe Reserve.  This was the 2011 National Tree Day site.

Area of planting on the other side of the path at Tempe Reserve. This was the 2011 National Tree Day site.

New tree planted in the area opposite the path behind the kiosk.

New tree planted in the area opposite the path behind the kiosk.


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