Sunday, October 7, 2012


Sins and Virtues by Trixie Delicious - if you google her website please be aware it has adult content

The nature of a tree is different to the nature of a human being, but we may use the image of a tree to illustrate some people's behaviour, or appearance. A young woman in her early twenties may be said to look like a spring peach in blossom, slender, pretty and full of promise. The muscular ropes of supplejack looped around trees in the dense bushland of New Zealand could represent the complicated links we have with others, relaxed between friends but strong nevertheless, and dense with meaning. More extreme or abstract behaviour like sadistic tendencies, or greed and selfishness, or prudence and charity for that matter, are harder to illustrate in  the world of flora. What tree or plant pretends to be attracted to someone else, then proceeds to create arguments and trouble in order to feel some kind of pleasure? Lush greenery refuses, in my mind, to represent the more difficult actions and motives of people, but when we've been hurt or disappointed then it could be a positive action to plant a tree to do something to change life for the better, and for a long time to come.

A tree is a long-term symbol of growth, health, goodness and investment in the future.

Imagine if in every case, when we are let down or put upon by someone else, when we believe we've been caught up in the manipulations of people who are unable to truly care for others, and they've hurt us, we plant a tree to show we're determined to stay positive. How often would a tree be planted on Earth? We could replace the missing half of present trees taken away since homo sapiens appeared, in no time.


Planting trees can only be a positive action however, realistically, if we've made sure the tree is planted correctly, in a place where it is allowed to flourish for decades or even centuries. Check before planting any tree or other plant the position is best for it, and also there are no wires or pipes below where you are digging. In New Zealand the contact is on the link below to ask about wires underground. There are also some handy tips, like always digging by hand. Please google your own country's safety organisation, google - 'underground wires digging safety name of country here'

For underground pipes you need to check your property's plan or ask your landlord.

I never cease to wonder at how many ways there are to make our actions on Earth for the best, and this is a new one for me.  Lately, life has been extremely difficult and it's a welcome challenge to find ways to stay happy, healthy and working in a decent frame of mind. Therapy every week has assisted me a great deal to find ways to stay well, along with my own work, learning to focus on fruitful ways to live and behave. 

Trees have stood for benefiting the family, loving nature, determination, investment and beauty in my family. When my father's grandfather sailed over here from England on a sailing ship, in the late 19th century with his wife and six children they landed in Wellington. He then rode a horse north, for days, weeks, and looked for some good land, found some near Cambridge and they all moved there. The oaks they planted are now enormous. It is called The Oaks, that property and another family live there lately.

When one of his daughters, a painter, (her friends called her Gyp, because she was so like a gypsy riding her horse into the wilderness and so on), married my grandfather and later moved to Hamilton on a high property overlooking the Waikato River, she planted trees all down the long, narrow, private road the people on the corner had made for easier access. Ma, as we called her, also planted trees on their property and across the road near where my parents eventually lived.

At the back of the property behind the house my father built on weekends, (with friends and family wielding a hammer sometimes too), there was a pussy willow tree I admired, which Ma had planted. My mother explained Ma loved nature. I could imagine Ma chose this tree for its soft buds. This variety of willow has silky buds like cat's fur. I liked to think she could imagine me picking the stems and arranging them indoors once a year, to remember her. She died when I was two.

Then my father planted various fruit trees at the back of the old property when we moved over there after my grandfather died, and my Aunty who inherited the place had married and moved to the country. Already a guava tree and feijoa stood there, then later we had peaches, pears, apples, with a Kiwifruit vine, (male and female) around the side of the garage. It grew on a huge metal frame Dad made, (he was a welder and owned a business making farm machinery). The quiet behind the garage and those mysterious, brown hairy fruit which were Chinese Gooseberries in those days, all held on a galvanised steel, grey frame, the whole arrangement somehow as strange as something from outer space.

My mother had a green thumb and kept a flourishing, beautiful garden. Her ancestor, my great-great grandfather Francois Leleivre took cuttings from Napolean's grave when he sailed to New Zealand from France in 1840.  The willows along the Avon River in Christchurch are from Napolean's grave and they're enormous today. My ancestor planted those willows there.

I imagine Francois on board ship with his weeping willow cuttings wrapped in sacking or kept in soil, in pots perhaps. He'd water them with precious water every day or so, I suppose. It took three months to sail over here, they took French navy ships, he was on the Comte de Paris. Francois worked as a merchant seaman to get here and then became a schoolteacher. His cottage is still at the historic village of Akaroa, just outside Christchurch.

I plan to go there one day and stay a week or so, to see where my ancestor who loved trees, (and Napoleon) lived with his wife from Malmanche, Justine Rose, in Akaroa.


Anyone in Tamaki Makaurau Auckland, New Zealand who'd like a kowhai tree around the middle of next year to replant from a pot, by the way, please let me know. I have a number of seedlings here. They have to be replanted in the middle of the year around April.

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