If Melbourne has been declared the most liveable city in the world for the second year in a row, surely this has something to do with its abundance of beautiful greenery and trees.
This might be something that Melbournians are used to and don’t always notice, but is a sure feature of the city’s character for most foreigners visiting for the first time.
Besides the number of them or their size, trees can tell us many things about the place they grow their roots into. Some of these trees are the oldest living beings in Melbourne, like the River Red Rums in Royal Park or the Botanical Gardens. Having been here even before European settlement, some of them are counting more than 300 years of age. They are also cultural landmarks, like the Separation Tree or the Corroboree tree, an old Red Gum between 400 and 700 years old near Albert Park, where Aboriginals of early settlement days congregated and held their ceremonies. In other cases, trees stand alone as world survivors; Dutch Elm disease killed almost all Elms in Europe and North America during the last century, giving Melbourne and its 7000 Elms an important conservation role of the species.
But over all and in a daily basis, urban trees are for city dwellers as a reminder of a world with less concrete and changing colours. They give us shade and protection when we need it, and help us not to forget that we are still somehow linked with nature.
Soundtrack by Andrew Bird “Souverian”