My Jurassic Christmas Tree

Wollemi Pine. Mount Tomah Botanic Garden. NSW
Image by amandabhslater via Flickr
Now for some time I have been feeling extremely guilty about the way my bush garden has been going to pot. And it’s all down to the ongoing drought here in Australia, my lack of time. I’ve been assuaging the guilt by telling myself that I would be away for some of the hottest weeks of the year, and so this year, there was no need to plant, and it’s true. The drought is wreaking havoc; everything seems dry and lethargic, and I’ve been in no mood to pour what rainwater I have harvested onto ground that is not going to do much with it–which is why I have taken to pot gardening in a big way. At least I can control the feeding and watering.
One of the native trees I’ve been hearing about for some time now is the Wollomi Pine, the fabled “dinosaur tree.” It was long thought to be extinct, but was actually growing away very happily and secretly in a national park outside Sydney. An abseiling botanist discovered the last stand of these beautiful trees from which seeds and cuttings have since been taken. The trees are now available for sale in Australia, but the original location remains a secret as it should. Feeling a bit flush with my Christmas leave loading, I decided that this year, I would get one for our Christmas tree. I went hunting this morning, and found a little stash at a local nursery. $99.95 later, with certificate of authentication, a very smart wrapping around a 1m high specimen in biodegrable pot, I now have a Jurassic Christmas tree of my own. It is a beautiful specimen, delicate and robust at one and the same time: the young growth is soft and lime green, the mature leaves blue-green and tougher, and apparently the bark gets “bubbles” as the tree matures. Wollomis do equally well in pots and as specimens in the ground, but for now, mine is going to be potted and live on the deck for a while.

You can read all about them at the official site of the Wollomi Pine.