One of the most amazing aspects of indigenous vegetation, be it grass, flowers or trees, is the way even the most hopeless looking environments can bounce back after a little rain. Last summer most of the indigenous trees looked like desiccated spectrals of their former selves. I thought we had lost them … until the first rain of only a few millimetres arrived. Our garden trees – all indigenous – now show an amazing variety of hues of green. Their foliage is thick, buds are swelling and we can look forward to a variety of blossoms. Exotic trees do not have the same tenacity. This Brazilian Pepper tree has shrivelled over the past year, lost its leaves, and has finally given up.
All of these trees are stunted thanks to the hard clay soil that is unkind to their roots – and they were never watered, even when planted as tender saplings. It has taken over thirty years for them to reach the height they are, which is relatively short when compared with others planted in more favourable positions in town. While they are not my favourite trees, I have always had an empathy for the way they have had to struggle to survive. It is thus sad to see this one finally succumb to a drought that has lasted too long. It is gradually falling apart: