27 May 2006

Hibiscus or digger intersection

On a busy intersection of Manly (Cnr. Wentworth/ Darley) is a large old Cottonwood tree in a tiny patch of soil. The tree and a large sandstone monument of the public school provide the much needed shade in the hot cement desert of this crossing. When there is a market on the school premises many people gather in the shade of this large Australian Hibiscus. Often the freshly planted small plants underneath got trampled.
Now, most of the earth has been removed and a statue erected on a cemented patch. Most bottom branches of the old tree have been shaved off (as it is a new Manly convention to turn public trees into toothpicks, irrespective of species).

The hero to be unveiled is a digger of the so much loved 'bygone area' providing the young with nourishment for their days in East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq. In the absence of a concept for a sustainable future and a lack of providing contemporary direction, one just models the old paradigm.

The Cotton tree (Hibiscus titialceus) is salt tolerant and flourishes on sandy beaches. A known shade tree of many Australian holiday locations it sprouts large yellow hibiscus flowers. As part of the 'natural heritage' the young could be informed how the Aboriginal people utilised this resource. Weapons, rope, fire-sticks, fishing nets, weavings, medicines and other artistic artefacts were gained from this dense and bushy tree.

Some councils seem to be aware to increase their natural canopy cover, but Manly gets further cemented out. There is no concept/planning of greening the CBD or even retaining existing endemic/native vegetation.

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