Posts Tagged ‘tree



It was far too frickin freezing this morning to be outside. It was so cold that I even invited a Jehovah’s Witness in for a cup of tea. He politely declined, sensing I was a woman who simply couldn’t be saved and carried on his way. He was after all on a mission from God.

The gentleman did leave me some reading material that, surprisingly, did catch my botanical interest. Awake magazine’s July 2011 issue has an article about cork. I haven’t paid much attention to cork, even though it is an often-met hurdle between me and a glass of some sparkling elixir. But the JW magazine has, and here I summarise some of the most interesting tidbits.

  • The outer layer of bark from the cork oak tree is phenomenally useful due to it’s light, fire-resistant, insulation and elastic properties.
  • Harvesting is done completely by hand and top-quality corks are still punched by hand.
  • The trees are first harvested at 25 years. The bark regrows and is harvested every 9-10 years after that. The best quality wine corks are taken from trees that are at least 50 years old.
  • Spain and Portugal’s cork forests support several birds in danger of extinction – the imperial eagle, the black vulture and the black stork -as well as the Iberian lynx.

Seeds of Delight – Arbor Day Edition

June 5 is Arbor Day. Thousands of trees will be planted worldwide. People will revel in a feel-good moment. And most of those trees won’t make it to maturity because one day simply isn’t enough to ‘appreciate’ trees. We can’t just plant them and forget about them – they need to be cared for, weeded and nurtured.

Arbor Day feels completely wrong to me – like a memorial day for trees. We rely on them every day of our lives for food, air and shelter and in return, we give them one day to tokenisticly stick one in the ground. It should be Arbor Day every day!

Anyway, don’t let my curmudgeonly rant stop you from enjoying this veritable forest of tree-related links. Main image by Godfrey Stephens at Lloyd’s Blog – I want a tree like that!

The aesthetic values of trees alone make them an incredibly valuable asset. Let’s get warmed up with 50 beautiful tree photos. There’s a nice countdown of the 10 most magnificent trees in the world. Or those with melancholic tree leanings can check out the beautiful Lonely Tree blog. Enter the matrix in the Duplicative Forest.

A mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year. They help cleanse the air by intercepting airborne particles, reducing heat and absorbing air pollutants. A healthy acre of trees can store 2.6 tons of carbon a year. If the tree falls – we all fall.

Interesting tree facts: 270000 trees are used each day for toilet paper alone. 90% of a tree’s nutrition comes from the atmosphere and only 10% from the soil. The world’s oldest living tree lives in Sweden and is 9500 years old. Trees don’t die of old age – insects, vandalism, weather

TED conferences turn academics and researchers into global sensations, given a voice to change the world – brought to your computer screen. Nalini Nadkarni spoke about saving the forest canopy, prisoners growing moss and ‘Treetop Barbies’. Richard Preston talked about the enormous trees of the US Pacific Northwest.

New Zealand has over 600 native trees and shrubs. And they’re amazing: the Christmas pohutukawa; the gorgeous kākā beak; the sunshine flowers of the kōwhai; the healing mānuka; the mighty tōtara; resplendent kahikatea; our ancient kauri; and our beloved silver fern.

One of trees greatest gifts to mankind has been housing. But it’s tree houses that truly get me excited. And there are amazing examples all over the place. On your next holiday – consider treehouse accommodation. Three of my favourites: the Minister’s rambling tree house, the tree castle at Alnwick Gardens and the Yellow Treehouse Restaurant.


My Pick For Christmas Green Genius Award

The cleverest idea I’ve seen for a enviro-friendly Christmas business Rent A Living Christmas Tree.

(via the lovely Garden Rooms people.)


Humour tree

I needed a little Friday afternoon smile. Thanks Christoph Niemann for your lessons in Bio-Diversity.

In completely un-plant related news, check out his book The Pet Dragon.


Willow water helps cuttings to root

Willow branches I’ve just found a great article from an old Soil and Health magazine about willow water, and thought I just had to share. I don’t take a lot of cuttings from plants because quite frankly they’re tricky and they just haven’t worked well for me in the past. I might just have to give this one a try though – especially as it won’t cost me a thing.

Willow water promotes rooting better then than any known substance. This probably comes as little surprise to anyone who has dealt with the invasive roots of a willow before. It also may explain why it’s effective putting an aspirin (originally from the bark of willow) into the water for cut flowers to keep them fresh.

Instructions on how to make your own rooting compound for free with willow, how to use it and some useful links after the jump.
Continue reading ‘Willow water helps cuttings to root’


Another Glorious Red New Zealand Summer

Pohutukawa Metrosideras excelsaYou can tell that summer and the festive season are here. It’s difficult to miss with the tell-tale red lights of the pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa) signalling the way. The pohutukawa is also known as the New Zealand Christmas Tree because of the beautiful crimson display that flares at the end of November and right through January.

The red flower heads look like balls of fluff thanks to their petals being inconspicuous. The mass is made of long red stamens, lightly tipped with golden pollen sacks. And they light up the tree as if covered in red tinsel.

The pohutukawa is a New Zealand native but comes from the Myrtaceae or Myrtle family that also gives us clove, guava, feijoa and eucalyptus. It’s less fragrant than the other relatives but is so well loved that we can’t get enough of it.

More on the beauty, the symbolism and the protection of New Zealand pohutukawa with plenty of links, after the jump Continue reading ‘Another Glorious Red New Zealand Summer’

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