‘Tay­lor-made’ for world tree trib­ute

Marlborough Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - PAULA HULBURT

A river­side trib­ute to a lead­ing hor­ti­cul­tur­ist will spread its roots fur­ther at a spe­cial plant­ing day.

The Ralph Ballinger Ar­bore­tum on the banks of the Tay­lor River in Blen­heim is set to get more trees at the fourth Tay­lor River plant­ing day.

The joint ini­tia­tive be­tween the Marl­bor­ough Land­scape Group and Marl­bor­ough Dis­trict Coun­cil cel­e­brates ‘‘Trees of the World,’’ which will see trees from coun­tries across the globe planted along the river­bank.

Or­gan­is­ers hope mem­bers of the pub­lic will join them on Sun­day to help plant trees from New Zealand and Aus­tralia.

The con­cept was named in mem­ory of for­mer Blen­heim man Ralph Ballinger (OBE) who was well-known na­tion­wide for his com­mit­ment to hor­ti­cul­ture.

The ar­bore­tum was Ralph’s idea which con­tin­ued to flour­ish af­ter his death in 2015 at the age of 99-years-old. His daugh­ter, He­len Ballinger, is an ac­tive mem­ber of the land­scape group.

Co-or­di­na­tor Bev Doole says the long-term plan will see trees planted all the way along the pop­u­lar Tay­lor River site.

‘‘Peo­ple seem to have quite a strong con­nec­tion to the river and like that they can see a tree they planted progress over time.

‘‘There’s usu­ally a good turn- out of peo­ple across the age ranges. Grand­par­ents bring their grand­chil­dren along and lots of ages in be­tween,’’ she says.

Ralph was born in 1915 in North Can­ter­bury where he grew up. He stud­ied at Lin­coln Univer­sity in Christchurch where he was awarded a Bach­e­lor of Agri- cul­tural Sci­ence be­fore join­ing the Royal Navy in 1940.

Ralph then car­ried out crop tri­als for seed com­pany Yates for 25 years.

Bev says Ralph planted the first tree in the ar­bore­tum, a Ja­panese cherry tree.

Around 300 na­tive plants, grown from lo­cal seed sources, in­clud­ing co­prosma, kowhai, flax and carex grasses will be planted next to the river.

‘‘At the mo­ment we are head­ing up to the Burleigh bridge from High St but in years to come we hope to have trees planted all the way up to the Tay­lor Dam,’’ she says.

Any­one in­ter­ested in at­tend­ing the event should meet at the Monro Street car park in Blen­heim at 10am. A spade per fam­ily and a sturdy pair of boots are re­quired.

If wet, the plant­ing will be post­poned un­til Oc­to­ber 1.

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Chil­dren joined in at the Tay­lor River plant­ing event last year.

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