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Gazette Article

Artarmon’s disappearing trees



A letter to the editor about the destruction of trees in Artarmon is disturbing, to say the least. For more than a dozen years, I have been writing for the Gazette, often about trees, and have had nothing but praise for our Council. Have I been wrong? A bit of research was needed.

First the easy bit – the railway station. The station master assured me the platform trees were replaced because they were creating a mess of fallen leaves, a nuisance for passengers. The replacements, Fraxinus griffithii, are an Ash from south-east Asia, evergreens with grey bark, non-invasive roots and have long panicles of white flowers at the ends of branches in spring. They are growing well. He said the Coral trees along the railway line, on railway property, were taken down because they had become dangerous. I sought further confirmation from local shop keepers.

I talked to the owner of what I believe the writer called “my café, Sophie’s Café”, located near the northern end of the shopping strip. The tables on the footpath have a clear view of the wide nature strip and the railway line on the other side of Hampden Rd. Unprompted, Sophie said she thought the Coral trees had been dangerous: “When the wind blew from that direction and the trees bent towards the road I’d hold my breath.” Later, I checked out the species in the Botanica:Erythrina (Coral tree) … many species have weak branches that tend to fall in storms.” That confirmed the concerns Sophie and the station master had.

Sophie pointed to two park benches opposite that she said were often used but now had insufficient shade. Council has planted two young jacarandas on the verge but the seats are too far away from the new trees to benefit. She felt the area needed at least another tree, perhaps several. Other workers in nearby shops agreed. The council’s open space manager made a note of it when I brought the letter and the shopkeepers’ comments to a meeting with her.

Next stop Milner Rd, where the writer mourned the loss of Cotoneasters and palms. This is a dead-end street off Reserve Rd with a few private homes and several low rise apartment buildings. It has a very wide sloping verge on one side of the road. There are still a few palms, all on private land – incredibly tall architectural plants – imposing but giving little shade at ground level. The trees replacing the Cotoneasters and palms on the verge are Chinese elms – Ulmus parvifolia – a wide spreading deciduous tree with magnificent bark, flaked silver-grey over a tan under-bark, one of the most beautiful tree trunks in the plant kingdom. In a few years’ time Milner Rd will be the envy of many.

Carlos Rd, a leafy street running between Shepherd and Artarmon Rds, has many more of these trees which appear to have been planted at different times so that they differ in their development and shape. Those in Milner, on a wide verge, will have a better chance to develop their true form and give the street a wonderful character. Even so, Carlos is still a great example of what trees do to enhance a neighbourhood.

Because of its new building, my attempt to reach Kids’ Cottage was unsuccessful until at our meeting the open space manager explained it was designed so that you could drive up the lane and park underneath. There is also access to Kids’ Cottage from across the park. She insisted there were no trees on that block where the new building now stands. It is a pity the letter writer has lost his view of the sunset.

by Mollie Shelley

Courtesy of Gazette May 2013
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Cartoon
Cartoon: Wendy Bishop

Cartoon
More trees in demise on Feb 23 when rain and wind brought them down on a the car belonging to a Coree Rd resident
Photo: A.Alexander

 
 


 

 

 

 
   
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