From Little Trees Big Trees Grow

By Gisela Horner | Volunteer Bella Vista Farm
Graham Rawstron is not only President of the Friends of Bella Vista Farm and been a volunteer with them approaching 10 years; but he has also been a keen member of the local Bushcare group for eight years. Trees Grow

The Hills Shire Council received a grant some years ago to fence off one area of remnant Cumberland Forest on the western side of the Park and Graham’s Bushcare group helped clear the area of weeds, which aided the natural regrowth of trees and native grasses. Even with this valuable work, Graham is increasingly concerned about the loss of mature trees in Bella Vista Farm Park.

The trees are exposed to damage from storms, winds, drought and park usage. These open spaces are also used by picnickers and walkers and are regularly mown. Most “treelings” don’t survive to reach sapling size and even capturing seeds for propagation becomes difficult.

1 From Little Trees Big Trees GrowGraham says “Because their numbers are threatened and continue to diminish, I was spurred on to plant more trees. Beginning three or four years ago, with the support of Council Bushcare staff providing seedlings from the Bidjiwong Nursery, I started planting within the Farm grounds and then extended my forays into the Park beyond the Farm’s fence. With Covid closing most activities, I began collecting seedlings from the gully areas and replanting them in areas requiring new growth.

“I jokingly say that I want to plant 1000 trees and so far, I have probably managed around 180, so there is a long way to go. I don’t imagine most of the large trees today will be around in 50 years, so planting their replacements now is the best way to ensure that we have trees to provide shade and shelter for us and also for the local wildlife that depend upon them for food and a place to live”.

The Park and Bella Vista Farm are probably most recognisable by the long driveway flanked by the majestic Bunya Pines and the Hills Shire Council is making efforts to protect and preserve them as well.

The Park also contains small areas of remnant Cumberland Forest woodland and a smattering of large mature hardwood eucalypts. These little eco-systems are damper and more protected so seedlings can thrive.

With one man’s determination to protect our environment and with the help of volunteers from Bella Vista Farm, more trees will flourish, grow strong and protect the beauty and health of the Farm’s surrounds.

Come and visit this gracious homestead the first Sunday of each month. The next Open Day will be on Sunday, 3rd April from 0900-1400.

Enjoy a little piece of history, the tranquillity of the gardens, enjoy a Devonshire Tea and listen to the beautiful music played by the Hills Shire Symphony Orchestra. There are other delights to behold. We look forward to welcoming you.

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