Sunday, September 11, 2011

The blonde beauties of the plant world

Chinchilla gums are a new species for me, and a strikingly beautiful tree to add to my knowledge of Australian vegetation. It's the stunning blonde of the eucalypts, with a slim, straight, silvery-white trunk and compact crown.

The Chinchilla gum reminds me of lemon-scented gums (which are native to this part of outback Queensland) and the three trees we grew from seed and planted here in Mitchell. You will see from the photograph that the trees have suffered severe frost damage this year, but they will recover. Eventually, lemon-scented gums grow tall enough to withstand frost.

We nursed our three lemon-scented gums through the frosts this year using aluminium foil wrapped around their trunks, seaweed spray on their foliage and a tarp draped over the smallest. It's been a particularly bad year for frosts, with many -6°C nights, and even now, on 11 September we're having a run of below zero temperatures.

Chinchilla gums, on the other hand, resist frosts even from a very young age. For this reason, Chinchilla gums are better suited to the climate here beside the river in Mitchell, and as a consequence, we've placed an order for three young trees.

I like to look ahead. I like to imagine our trees in 50 years time giving pleasure to whoever lives here on this piece of earth, in Mitchell. After all, we're enjoying the bottle trees, callistemons, silky oaks and eucalypts that others planted for us to enjoy.

Trees pulse with life, vitality and beauty -- they offer inspiration to all of us who love them.

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