It’s just crazy that in our tropical climate there has been a trend to landscape new yards with ‘happy plants’ and yuccas, with not a tree in sight. How un-tropical can you get?
People everywhere are now realising that their beautiful new houses are unliveable without the air-con running 24/7, which costs a fortune in power. And with electricity prices rising and rising, this is driving the cost of living through the roof.
The tropics is about gentle breezes, wide shady trees, and outdoor living, not sitting huddled in the lounge with the air-conditioner running at full speed.
It’s not as if there’s a shortage of varieties to choose from. We are blessed to be surrounded by World Heritage rainforests right on our doorstep, with a bountiful array of beautiful tropical trees. Just because they originate in the rainforest does not mean that they will all grow into giants in your back yard. When you take a rainforest tree out of its rainforest environment, where it has to stretch upwards to reach the light, you will find that most species will grow to only about a third of their height in the wild. It stands to reason… when planted in the full sun in the open, they think they are already at the top of the canopy, so there’s no reason to grow tall.
Take the Golden Penda, Ivory Curl and Small-Leafed Lilly-Pilly, for instance – all giants in the forests, but perfectly manageable in yards, parks and landscapes across the nation.
So, here’s a few suggestions (grouped very loosely into rough sizes) to get you thinking, dreaming and planning…
Small trees: Fibrous Satinash (Syzygium fibrosum); Weeping Bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis); Brown Gardenia (Randia fitzalanii).
Medium trees: White Apple (Syzygium forte); Cascading Bean (Maniltoa lenticellata); New Guinea Satinash (Syzygium buettnerianum).
Large trees: Bamaga Satinash (Syzyium bamagense); Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius); Red Cedar (Toona australis).
And just in case you’re not convinced about the value of trees in your yard, just remember that it’s the ‘leafy suburbs’ that are the sought-after, desirable addresses with the highest house prices.
So reclaim the outdoors, and plant a tree (or three) this weekend. The trees will not be the only thing that grows… so will your quality of life and the value of your home.
See you at Yuruga.
Happy (tree) planting!
Peter and Ann