Arbor Day 2016

tree planting dream closer
Arbor Day it’s a word that has dropped off our annual calendar.

Who knew that Arbor Day was celebrated over this weekend in New Zealand? Until I was reminded about it earlier in the week I had completely overlooked it. Technically Arbor Day marks the beginning of the planting season and a time to celebrate the unique biodiversity of our country. This means that with the autumn rains the soils, the soils will be in great condition, so that the plants will be well established before the hot summer winds start blowing.

Anybody who can remember the day John F Kennedy was assassinated can also probably remember Arbor day plantings. They were a lot of fun, and I know that trees I planted as a kid are still growing strong. It’s a great feeling to drive past a rather large tree and think – well I planted that. It is a real shame that we are no longer celebrating the opportunity to have a special day to plant trees

Last year one of my dreams was to re-instate Arbor day in Marlborough – to celebrate and plant a tree – but sadly it’s come around again and has almost passed by without a wimp. Come on Marlborough, why can’t we re-instate the day again. Unless we do something, nothing will be done, and our children’s grandchildren will be the ones who miss out. There is nothing new in what I am advocating - the Holdaway’s started this planting concept about 60 years ago. It’s called the Opoua Forest Reserve, off Marshall Place. What would the Marlborough landscape look like if more plantings like that were developed?

A couple of years ago my eldest daughter brought her three kids along to a student revegetation planting day. They were really interested in how to plant a tree, so I got them each to plant a rimu. I realised it was all a bit ho–hum, until I pointed out the nearest largest tree I could see, and said to them, “When you are as old as granddad, this little tree will be that big.” In unison the three of them looked at the tree, and their jaws dropped as they remarked, “Wow granddad!!” At that point I realised that planting the tree was only part of the story. Understanding that one day, their trees will stand tall is the real story – and that they are part of that story.


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