Of Trees and Change...

Confession time… I hate the term ‘tree change’.

When we moved from the city to the country we didn’t actually change trees. We didn’t hop from our city branch to our country limb. There were actually no trees involved in any aspect of the transaction.

Treechange. Just like Seachange... but lacking both Sea, and Sigrid Thornton. Photo credit: Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Treechange. Just like Seachange... but lacking both Sea, and Sigrid Thornton.
Photo credit: Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

In the years preceding our move to the country, we spent countless weekends in Daylesford, licking the local real estate agents’ windows and dreaming up our idyllic country life. I personally set about devouring Country Style magazines (great with a little gremolata) and dedicated my very existence to realestate.com.au.

When we finally purchased our Daylesford home it was pretty much devoid of trees. A scrappy hedge, a something-tree and a something-else tree and a few extraordinary weeds that have since become trees.

I set to work gardening. (That’s what you do in The Country.) Trees were to be planted. Fabulous deciduous trees with showoffy autumn colours, spring flowering giants, fragrant-blossomed, fruit-laden, bird-bringing trees... Trees that do this...

Such a show off.

Such a show off.

OK you can stop it now...

OK you can stop it now...

No really... You're being ridiculous.

No really... You're being ridiculous.

I planted two citrus, a pear, a flowering gum, three varieties of Japanese maple and a something-else tree...

…and, well, gardening has never been my strong point.

Two citrus, the pear, the flowering gum, and three varieties of Japanese maple and the something-else tree all met various early demises… some involving the flooding rains of 2010-2011, (FYI: Japanese Maples don’t dig wet feet) and machinery (FYI: Flowering Gums don’t dig whipper snippers).

I do, however, have ONE tree tale for you with a happy ending… This tree has a name: The Grandpa Tree. My paternal grandfather (Grandpa) grew a Silky Oak tree back in the day. This tree had many babies (botanist speak I'm sure) and my Dad took one home where it flourished and grew to be a kabillion metres tall. Over time, Dad’s Silky Oak had its own family of tiny baby Silky Oak trees, and my dad brought me a seedling to plant in our ‘garden’.

Now, the Silky Oak is no grand-glamour-garden-knockout-feature tree, but still, it was an heirloom of sorts, so I planted it along the front of the driveway.
The tree was barely a metre tall when we tried our hardest to kill it.

One icy morning in June we almost drove our small car off the slippery, grassed driveway in the rain and launched it off the hill. (We live on Wombat Hill. Our front driveway is precipitous).

The car slid sideways like a ute in the dust at the Deni Ute Muster and was a goner, until it smashed into the Grandpa Tree. The Grandpa Tree was completely flattened. The trunk lay on the dirt at right angles to its roots, but its scrawny branches held the Barina fast, the small car defying gravity until it could be towed off the edge off the hill.

Of all the trees I planted in our shiny new country garden, of all the over-priced-fancypantsed-designer-leafed trees I doted over and sung to, only one survived.

The Grandpa Tree. (Note the nasty scar near the base of the trunk - ouch! sorry little tree!) x

The Grandpa Tree. (Note the nasty scar near the base of the trunk - ouch! sorry little tree!) x

The hand-me-down Silky Oak Grandpa Tree.
We ran over it with the car and still couldn’t kill it. It bears a scar from the day it caught a car. The day it taught these newbie tree changers (cough) a lesson about driving a front-wheel-drive vehicle on wet grass and the lesson that Grandpas are tougher than you think.

I’ll be sharing more of my misadventures in the garden with you… and no doubt asking for help along the way... 

- Kathy.