Sunday, November 15, 2009

Grafton Tree Town

There is is little doubt in my mind that the early settlers and founders of many of the towns and cities across Australia had a clear vision of how they wanted their new home to look, what they wanted it to grow into.

Of all the towns I have visited Grafton is definitely amongst the most beautiful.

Many people know Grafton a the place of the annual Jacaranda festival, and it does have some of the most magnificent Jacaranda Avenues around, however there is a great deal more to Grafton than just an explosion of purple shades in late October and early November.

I have a personal affection for Jacaranda trees ever since living in Harare in 1985 and the colonial avenues of relatively untouched mature trees in full bloom are as vivid in my mind in 2009 as they were 20yrs ago.

The history of the Jacaranda plantings in Grafton mirrors the actions of town founders across Australia, indeed the world in my experience; Mr H. A. Volkers was commissioned to plant trees for the Grafton Council in 1879, and the remarkable streetscape that we can now all enjoy is based around the framework of those original 60 trees.

Grafton has an extraordinary range of tree species spread through its 24 parks and tree lined streets with their wide often unsealed kerb-less verges…a simple message to current urban planners that seems to have been ignored……TREES NEED SOIL VOLUME TO GROW!

The flowering periods for most of the trees are through Spring and Summer, but enough trees flower in Autumn and Winter to ensure that no matter when you travel through Grafton stopping for a great coffee and a bite to eat will always be able to be combined with a relaxing and inspiring walk amongst the blossoms.

Castanospermum australe

Calodendrum capense

Some lovely pictures and a video of the Fig Avenue in Grafton can be viewed through the Veteran Tree Group website.      Grafton Fig Avenue, Breimba Street

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