Oct 22, 2012

Everyday Beauty: Gum Trees and Tea Trees

These two types of tree are so essentially Australian, and on the south-east coast are found everywhere. These ones are at our local park at the end of my street.

Eucalyptus trees (gum trees) to me are like California Redwoods in the way they are so majestic and convey such stability, calm and peace. Gum trees can grow 80 feet and higher, and can live for 400 years (though more commonly far fewer).

They do have a disconcerting habit of shedding branches so are not deemed safe for backyards. Some backyards do have them and you need to get council permission to cut them down. 

One in our park overhangs a bench thoughtfully placed there, and I admit I'm a little nervous sometimes sitting under this - though it is so beautiful:

I love the dappled bark on gum trees, and the way it catches and plays with the light - so awesomely beautiful in the Dandenong Ranges or the bush.

Gum trees near Glenrowan, Victoria

A Paperbark somewhere in Melbourne -
courtesy of Wikipedia Creative  Commons

I love the "folds" made by the joints of branches, and the way some are reminiscent of knees or elbows

And I love looking up and seeing the branches and spare foliage against the gunmetal sky, and the native birds that flock there


Tea trees, or ti trees (melaleuca) always remind me of the Mornington Peninsula, where they are everywhere, and where we used to spend summers when I was a child visiting or staying with my grandparents. Beautiful, twisted tea trees were on every street in Blairgowrie back then, and still line the beach foreshore.

This one at our park is our girls' playhouse, and even I feel the magic when I step inside during one of their games. (It is usually a cafe, but is sometimes a house or a hairdressers' or a tent).

I love the branches and the overhanging leaves - it's the perfect playspot at the park and a thing of beauty as well.

Both eucalyptus and melaleuca trees produce useful oil. Eucalyptus oil is a handy cleanser and disinfectant as is tea tree oil, which may also have some medicinal properties. Those little concentrated bottles we buy at the supermarket are also very handy for wiping away the sticky residue of labels from glasses, plates and new books.

Beauty - and power!

19th century Melaleuca illustration
courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons

What everyday beauty caught your eye this week?


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