The view from my office window is filled with a huge old tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) ablaze in gold against a bright autumn sky. The birds I hear singing in its branches are a happy distraction from the sound of passing traffic.
Soon, when the winter sun is beaming through its bare branches, the tulip tree’s leaves will be feeding the microbes in our compost heap. Those leaves will give us cause for a bit of healthy exercise as we clear them from the guttering and sweep them from the decks. It’s a small price to pay. Come spring and summer the tulip tree will fill its lofty branches with shapely green leaves and unique chartreuse flowers.
When I leave this garden for new owners to enjoy I’ll miss this tree. Even if there is space in my next garden for such a large tree, I couldn't grow another this big in my life time. I’m ever thankful to the tree planters who went before me. They inspire me to keep planting the trees that might be enjoyed by others long after I’m gone.
On my wish list for my next garden is that it will at least have room for fruit trees. Luckily most fruit trees are productive within a few years of planting and they can be grown to fit the smallest of gardens. It’s the time to plant fruit trees now. Read more on page 12.
Winter is also planting time for the thousands of native trees and shrubs that will be planted around New Zealand to enhance and protect our natural environment. June 5 is Arbour Day, the day all kiwis are encouraged to plant and care for trees. It’s a great chance to enjoy the satisfaction that comes from getting involved in a community planting project or celebrate by planting a tree of your own.