Friday, December 31, 2010

Sydney Centennial Park

Sticking with last posts' Sydney location I would just like to sing the praises of Centennial Park I had a wonderful time wandering around the parklands watching puppies racing across open grassed areas 

The Paddington gates to the parklands

It really can be a dog's life sometimes

some parts of the park are really quite traditionally formal, not unlike a British Royal Park;

An avenue of Melaleuca not far from the Paddington gates - probably part of an earlier carriage way
Cycleway and footpath flanked on both sides by a mixture of tree species

A short chain of ponds near the more formal herbaceous beds

in other parts I found myself wandering myself amongst a very beautiful patch of Melaleuca.

There were almost enough larger established trees to satisfy my obsession with Veteran Trees (there are never really enough!)

Even on the walk back into the city centre there were more wonderful fig trees to be in awe of;

Then there were some wonderfully well treed streets of some Sydney suburbs, spending most of my working life on the Gold Coast I wonder if Sydneysiders realise just how lucky and blessed they are to be able to walk along such canopied streets as these...mind you I know only too well of the complaints from car owners regarding the seasonal gifts from London Plane trees - its true I have little sympathy for them..such debris is part and parcel of plant growth.

Sydney Green Space

I love the impact that parks can have on you when walking through a major capital city, even small pocket parks....they have the capacity to transport your mind away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis to a more reflective place.

I think that Sydney's Hyde Park is one such space, like its name sake in London it sits within the heart of the city...and every time I have visited that there have been many people making use of the green amenity provided by the lawns garden beds and trees.

The real value of these places is beginning to be recognised by local government and the general public. Movements like 'Healthy Parks, Healthy People' in Victoria are delivering the critical message about the intrinsic link between our access to green spaces and the maintenance of our physical and mental well being.

It is unfortunate that there still are a few people (including some Arborists) who seem unable to grasp the significance and value of green space in our urban environment.

Every city in Australia is facing increasing demands and pressure on the available space, urban infill, transport upgrades (both vehicular and pedestrian) are factors that result in less space to grow trees.

Green spaces like Hyde Park, and the Centennial Parklands are unique places, by virtue of their size they are able to deliver huge recreational benefits to residents and visitors alike.
Centennial Parklands
But the benefits from 'green exposure' can be gained even if the that green is limited to the street fact street trees (and their canopies) can have an enormous impact on phenomena such as the heat island effect.

Street Figs opposite the Sydney Football Stadium

Long term planning is essential in the management of these growing assets, and as previously pointed out the competition for space both above and below ground is getting ever more intense in all our cities.

Local government in the city of Sydney does seem to have more developed management plans than a great many other places I have visited. I do worry however that an unjustified (IMO) emphasis on percieved risk from larger established trees has been presented to the general public as the rational for tree management in a number of high profile locations...Hyde Park being one. 

Within such a dense urban environment there are no easy solutions to the competing demands placed on Local Government resources...many of the initiatives being followed in Sydney are a great improvement on what has gone before.

I do not think assessable risk justifies removing and replacing almost all the Hill's figs in Hyde Park...there may well have been a small number of trees which were so severely comromised that removal was entirely appropriate but it would seem unlikely (in the extreme) that all the tree removed thus far fell into that category. Nor have I ever been convinced by the spurious suggestion that an (IMO) improperly applied and highly subjective assessment of Safe Useful Life Expectancy (SULE) should have any bearing on decisions regarding these trees.  

The iconic avenue of Hills Figs at Hyde Park Sydney

That having been said, I do think that it is appropriate for the City of Sydney to develop long term plans for all their public trees and green spaces....and it would be incredible if those plans matched all of my own preferrences.

The impressive Anzac Memorial Hyde Park redevelopment

Monday, October 25, 2010

National Botanic Gardens Canberra

I really love visiting Botanic Gardens, whether they are the state garden, or one of the many regional gardens...or even in this case the national garden...I find them to be inspiring places that bring out ideas and thoughts about my place in horticulture and arboriculture that would probably otherwise never occur to me.

The National Garden in Canberra was the best garden yet...probably because of the striking combination of established Eucalypts with genera of plants laid out beneath them...across the site.

Entrance to the gardens from the cafe

There really is no way a post on the blog can do justice to the garden...but I will try and put up the best of the photos I took.

Blending shrubs under trees
One of the oldest established trees in the garden; The Parish Tree
Showy Banksia flowers

As always my eye is drawn towards interesting tree body language

Some of the trees had extraordinary cambium splits!
Bed of Acacia

Attractive water feature of the local rock strata
Very attractive temperate rainforest section

Raised timber walkway

The walkway goes for quite some distance 100m or more

By the time we had completed the short walk, which should according to the informational signage have taken just 90mins....3hrs had passed and it was time to rush to the airport and fly out of our nation's capital.

I could easily imagine spending a great many days wandering around the Nation Botanic Gardens if I lived in Canberra.

I suspect it is exactly what a great many people do.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Canberra - City Beautiful and Garden City Capital

I have never travelled to Canberra it was exciting and really fascinating to finally walk along the streets and lake edge so famously planned by American architect Walter Burley Griffin with drawings drafted by Marion Mahony Griffin.

I know that much was changed from the intial design intent however it still has some key elements and vistas, the legacy of such influencial periods of planning and construction is both good and bad....anyone who lives in Canberra would be acutely aware of the recent concerns regarding teh health of vast numbers of street trees...both those planted in the early 1900's and later in two equally large scale planting periods.

Some of my trip is posted on the VTGA Blog esp the Lone Pine at the National War Memorial Visiting the Lone Pine.

But here are some glimpses of the beauty I found during two lovely albeit cold days walking around parts of Canberra.

Typical streetscape (Northbourne Ave)

Somewhat famous vista looking downhill from the National War Memorial to some shed at the end of a driveway.

Very beautiful side street (Geerilong Gardens)

Flowering pear trees near Lake Burley Griffin

Nerang Pool northern edge of Lake Burley Griffin

Willow growing on the northern bank of Lake Burley Griffin

Lake Burley Griffin looking suitably cold

I do recognise that there are some very specific problems facing local government in the City of Canberra regarding their street trees, inadequate water supply and decades of limited resources which have left trees neglected.

There are no simple solutions to these issues of long term management and what are often very hard, unpopular decisions that might need to be made regarding specific streets and trees in very serious decline.

On a personal (and arguably overly simplistic) level I do feel that direct communication with communities is the only way of achieving progress. There is absolutely no point being surprised at community backlash to decisions that individuals and groups feel alienated from.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Springbrook...but there's more trees, rocks and waterfalls too!

Here are some pretty shots from a lovely day walking along one of the numerous walking tracks around the Springbrook National Park area, this one is called Purling Brook Falls Circuit

At the top of the falls

The view out

Trees down below

Same view looking up

Natural evaporative A/C

Unfortunately having walked to the valley floor it is then necessary to walk back up to the top of the cliffs again.....

But the views and the vegetation make it worth the effort...

Springbrook is such a very special place, in the last picture in this post you can make out the light green sparse canopies of the Red Cedars pushing their way above the other trees....maybe in a hundred years some of the majesty of the forest - as it might have looked when the first timber getters came through this way - will be revealed to park visitors.