I love the idea of this, but I’m in a quandary. My favourite gum tree is actually not a Eucalyptus, it’s an Angophora! So where does that leave me? I feel “genusist”!
Who could not love the Sydney Red Gum? It’s stunning salmon coloured trunks look so stunning, especially when they have just shed their old bark and are showing off their new pinkish skin. Known as “decorticating”, this process is like the exfoliation version of the plant world!
Ok, so if that gum’s out, the what about the fabulous West Australian flowering red gums of which there are no so many stunning cultivars, including this marvellous pink one called ‘Summertime Pink’. I am yet again snookered. It’s not a Eucalyptus anymore and has suffered from “rebranding” – now being a Corymbia botanically.
Fear not, there is always the garden writers favourite tree; thank goodness for the Scribbly Gum, Eucalyptus haemastoma, whose pale creamy trunks have been graffitied by a mysterious grub and leave indecipherable messages to each other.
But National Eucalyptus Day is supposed to be about what this tree means to us as a Nation. Who could of said it better than Harold Cazneaux when he photographed a red gum in South Australia and titled it The Spirit of Endurance. This Eucalyptus became one of the most recognisable images of its time.
The accompanying prose written in May 1941 by Cazneaux always gives me shivers.
This giant gum tree stands in solitary grandeur on a lonely plateau in the arid Flinders Ranges, South Australia, where it has grown up from a sapling through the years, and long before the shade from its giant limbs ever gave shelter from heat to white men. The passing of the years has left it scarred and marked by the elements – storm, fire, water, – unconquered, it speaks to us from a Spirit of Endurance. Although aged, its widespread limbs speak of a vitality that will carry on for many more years. One day, when the sun shone hot and strong, I stood before this giant in silent wonder and admiration. The hot wind stirred its leafy boughs, and some of the living elements of this tree passed to me in understanding and friendliness expressing The Spirit of Australia
Happy National Eucalyptus Day in any way, shape of form you choose!