I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The mortality of elm trees

I don't know if we'd plant them now, in this era of climate change and the move away from European "exotic" plantings, but in the front of our house, there are several "stands" of elm trees. They are probably over a hundred years old. Like other elms in Melbourne, they are part of an ageing population. They also have regular infestations of elm-leaf beetle, and so every few years we have them injected with stuff that kills the beetles. Last year we left it rather late, and so by midsummer, when the air was burning, our normally dark green canopy was riddled with lacy holes in the desiccated leaves. It was a sad and grim sight, but we trusted that the next season, our trees would recover.

(Not my photo, but this is what the leaves looked like.)

This week I've seen elms elsewhere in Melbourne coming into bright green leaf, while ours remain bare. They normally produce millions of flaky dry seeds that fall all over the car and the roof and the paths. We were starting to fear our trees would not make it; that somehow the drought and the extreme temperatures of last summer and the beetles might have combined to bring about their end. It was dreadful to contemplate: presiding over the death of these magnificent creatures. The house itself was starting to feel denuded; the bare trunks and branches a sign of our shame.

You can tell from the tenses in that paragraph that I haven't given up all hope yet. Today was warm and beautiful, and I can now see little buds and tiny flashes of delicate green leaves. Don't know what's happened to the seeds, but it looks as if our beautiful trees might be ok.

This is not my photo either, and not our trees, but this picture shows you how beautifully these trees sit in Melbourne's European style parks. Read about Melbourne's elms here.

1 comment:

frog said...

In the same way that trams are a part of Melbourne's soundscape, the elms are a part of our landscape. For me, they say Melbourne in the same way the rose gums say Sydney.