Saturday, December 2, 2017

"Save water elsewhere"

This is one of the best pieces of advice I got from an old boss.

He was referring to CBD gardens.

"Save water on your parks, not in the CBD. We need gardens in the city and gardens need water." 

Like this one.

It's a tiny public garden right in the heart of Manhattan. The busy traffic was literally 10m away to the left but what a sanctuary for city workers to come in their lunch breaks and chill out.

Cities are man-made things that need inputs to keep going.

So are/do gardens.

Water them.

Save your water elsewhere.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Where are they now?

I'm talking about the opponents of the hugely popular Hilarys Boat Harbour development (scroll halfway down the article).

Coastal POS can be so much more than this

Or the now booming City Beach surf club / cafe development.

There should be a new rule in Perth:

If you're going to oppose/harass/obstruct a development, you're not allowed to use it once it's built. 

It's about to happen again in Scarborough.

When are we going to learn?

Everyone wants to go to heaven but no-one wants to die.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Suffering in silence

In Perth we have an abundance of this fantastic public open space but we're not getting the most out of it.

Because we don't provide shelters that let people get out of the wind

It's not hard. You just put slats on the south and (partial) west sides of your structures. 

It's incredibly effective. Check out the ones at Trigg beach to see what I mean.

The beach visit becomes a whole new experience.

Pleasant :)

I should explain

Reader Ben was asking after the "Trees for Perth" list. I still have all the posts from when the blog was called Perth Street Tree but I'll 'fess up: I tried to improve the look of the blog and made such a pig's ear of it I had to archive all the material and start afresh(!) So, like Ben, if there's anything you particularly want, just email me at and I'll send it to you. Maybe one day I'll get around to sorting out the mess I made and put all the posts up again :)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Become the tree

Some people get upset when I critique how they're managing their trees. I think that's the wrong reaction. 

If what I've said is wrong, attest to the wrong.

But no-one ever does.

And that's because when it comes to trees I know what I'm talking about.

That's not a boast, it's the truth. I've spent my entire working life (35years) growing them. I know what works and what doesn't.

In Perth.

In this unforgiving sand and heat.

One of the most important things I did in 1982 (apart from get married :)) was walk into the City of Nedlands and ask for a job. The Manager Parks and Gardens there was a man called Jim Elliot. He said to me "go and get your truck licence and I'll give you a job".

So I did.

And he did.

And that was important because it was Jim who taught me to have a feel for trees. You see, growing them is a craft, an art. You have to empathise with them. You have to become them.

Sadly, Big Jim isn't too well these days. His body is letting him down. But he still has that burning in his soul to do the right thing by his trees.

I'm just forever grateful he put it in me too.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Try as I may...

I just can't get away from trees.

I mean look at this nonsense. And it's everywhere you look these days.

PARKS GUYS: CREATE BIGGER HOLES IN THE GRASS WHEN YOU PLANT A TREE! This is useless. If the tree is still alive in two years it will at best be stunted. And you will have wasted two years of watering. YOUNG TREES CANNOT COMPETE WITH GRASS. The grass takes all the water and nutrients. The tree misses out. And you just wasted a whole lot of your own time and your ratepayers' money. MY money.

I know why you do this. Because you want it to look "nice" and "neat" on the day the tree goes in. NO. You have to think of the welfare of the tree, not your idea of what looks good. And while I'm at it, what's with this dumb elliptical shape increasingly being used now? Tree roots grow out in a circle. Create a (minimum) one metre diameter circle in the grass when you plant the tree and maintain it at that diameter. That last bit's really important. KEEP the grass away from the tree. It not only lets the tree thrive, it ensures the other great tree killer, the whippersnipper, doesn't get near  it.

Basic Parks 101 is being lost from our Parks and Gardens Departments. We'll all pay the price - figuratively AND literally.

Seeing as we're critiquing, look at the turf. Newly-laid in winter and no-one's figured out yet that the season's changed.


Come on folks, lift your game.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Street verges are valuable PUBLIC open space

I remember reading years ago that "future wars will be fought over water."

As the world's population grows and its climate changes, it's starting to sound more and more feasible. Access to bountiful, clean water will be a precious thing indeed.

You wouldn't think so here in Perth though. We're still allowed to pour world-class drinking water on the ground to water grass that no-one uses.

I'm referring primarily to street verges. It's time to recognise them as public open space, not the property of the adjacent land owner. They belong to all of us. They are a fantastic resource and should be used to grow trees (with no irrigation) rather than swathes of useless, water-guzzling grass that require constant fertilising and mowing*.

Councils: TAKE BACK YOUR VERGES. They're yours. They're part of the road reserve. You can no longer allow the public to do with them as they wish. You need to manage them for the common good.

For the planet's good.

* This is such a no-brainer. It solves the water problem AND the tree canopy problem. Councils just need the intestinal fortitude to make a stand.