Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Where are they now?

I'm talking about the opponents of the hugely popular Hilarys Boat Harbour development (scroll halfway down the article).

Coastal POS can be so much more than this

Or the now booming City Beach surf club / cafe development.

There should be a new rule in Perth:

If you're going to oppose/harass/obstruct a development, you're not allowed to use it once it's built. 

It's about to happen again in Scarborough.

When are we going to learn?

Everyone wants to go to heaven but no-one wants to die.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Suffering in silence

In Perth we have an abundance of this fantastic public open space but we're not getting the most out of it.

Because we don't provide shelters that let people get out of the wind

It's not hard. You just put slats on the south and (partial) west sides of your structures. 

It's incredibly effective. Check out the ones at Trigg beach to see what I mean.

The beach visit becomes a whole new experience.

Pleasant :)

I should explain

Reader Ben was asking after the "Trees for Perth" list. I still have all the posts from when the blog was called Perth Street Tree but I'll 'fess up: I tried to improve the look of the blog and made such a pig's ear of it I had to archive all the material and start afresh(!) So, like Ben, if there's anything you particularly want, just email me at graydenprovis1@gmail.com and I'll send it to you. Maybe one day I'll get around to sorting out the mess I made and put all the posts up again :)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Become the tree

Some people get upset when I critique how they're managing their trees. I think that's the wrong reaction. 

If what I've said is wrong, attest to the wrong.

But no-one ever does.

And that's because when it comes to trees I know what I'm talking about.

That's not a boast, it's the truth. I've spent my entire working life (35years) growing them. I know what works and what doesn't.

In Perth.

In this unforgiving sand and heat.

One of the most important things I did in 1982 (apart from get married :)) was walk into the City of Nedlands and ask for a job. The Manager Parks and Gardens there was a man called Jim Elliot. He said to me "go and get your truck licence and I'll give you a job".

So I did.

And he did.

And that was important because it was Jim who taught me to have a feel for trees. You see, growing them is a craft, an art. You have to empathise with them. You have to become them.

Sadly, Big Jim isn't too well these days. His body is letting him down. But he still has that burning in his soul to do the right thing by his trees.

I'm just forever grateful he put it in me too.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Try as I may...

I just can't get away from trees.

I mean look at this nonsense. And it's everywhere you look these days.

PARKS GUYS: CREATE BIGGER HOLES IN THE GRASS WHEN YOU PLANT A TREE! This is useless. If the tree is still alive in two years it will at best be stunted. And you will have wasted two years of watering. YOUNG TREES CANNOT COMPETE WITH GRASS. The grass takes all the water and nutrients. The tree misses out. And you just wasted a whole lot of your own time and your ratepayers' money. MY money.

I know why you do this. Because you want it to look "nice" and "neat" on the day the tree goes in. NO. You have to think of the welfare of the tree, not your idea of what looks good. And while I'm at it, what's with this dumb elliptical shape increasingly being used now? Tree roots grow out in a circle. Create a (minimum) one metre diameter circle in the grass when you plant the tree and maintain it at that diameter. That last bit's really important. KEEP the grass away from the tree. It not only lets the tree thrive, it ensures the other great tree killer, the whippersnipper, doesn't get near  it.

Basic Parks 101 is being lost from our Parks and Gardens Departments. We'll all pay the price - figuratively AND literally.

Seeing as we're critiquing, look at the turf. Newly-laid in winter and no-one's figured out yet that the season's changed.


Come on folks, lift your game.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Street verges are valuable PUBLIC open space

I remember reading years ago that "future wars will be fought over water."

As the world's population grows and its climate changes, it's starting to sound more and more feasible. Access to bountiful, clean water will be a precious thing indeed.

You wouldn't think so here in Perth though. We're still allowed to pour world-class drinking water on the ground to water grass that no-one uses.

I'm referring primarily to street verges. It's time to recognise them as public open space, not the property of the adjacent land owner. They belong to all of us. They are a fantastic resource and should be used to grow trees (with no irrigation) rather than swathes of useless, water-guzzling grass that require constant fertilising and mowing*.

Councils: TAKE BACK YOUR VERGES. They're yours. They're part of the road reserve. You can no longer allow the public to do with them as they wish. You need to manage them for the common good.

For the planet's good.

* This such a no-brainer. It solves the water problem AND the tree canopy problem. Councils just need the intestinal fortitude to make a stand.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Wash up

About to start heading home so a good time to reflect on what I got out of this trip.

Firstly, I LOVE THE BEACH! Apparently the negative ions the sea gives off lifts our mood. Don't know about that, I just know that something about it works. If you're Australian you don't live far from a beach (sure, I know some do, but work with me here). It's something we take for granted but travelling always makes you appreciate how blessed we are in that respect. It's what I most enjoyed about Helsinki. It's basically on a promontory and has water all around. And man, do they love their boats! I wouldn't have thought the climate particularly lent itself to recreational maritime pursuits but it obviously doesn't bother them. This is a country by the way that gets to 17 C max in summer, minus 20 C in winter and has an annual average of around minus 4C!!

Madrid: I related a lot to the Spanish. They are kind of what Aussies used to be but are slowly losing in our relentless push to make life "safe".

Berlin: cool place. You can be whatever you want it seems and no-one cares. Sort of the New York of Europe.

As far as public open space goes?


Definitely lots to like there and something Australia should study. Millennia of living in a hot, dry climate has allowed them to figure out exactly how to do it. We've still got a long way to go. We're still too tied to our English heritage in that sense. It has only been a couple of hundred years I guess so in a way not surprising. But we need to start learning fast. And it's actually not hard:

1. Lose the irrigated turf (except for playing fields)

2. Plant MEGA more trees - like really close-spaced

3. Break wind - well, make that break the wind. I notice this every time I go away. Perth is so windy it makes living outside very unpleasant a lot of the time. If it's not howling from one direction it's howling from the other. WE NEED TO DESIGN OUR PUBLIC OPEN SPACE ACCORDINGLY. And we're still not. Elizabeth Quay is a classic example. It's all oriented the wrong way. Unbelievable that this wasn't taken into account. As a result the place is virtually uninhabitable. We are the third windiest capital city on the planet after Chicago and Wellington. Our outdoor design needs to reflect that.

When all's said and done, I'm pretty happy that my passport has "Australia" on the front. But we have to grow. We can't trade off past glories. Places like Finland (and even Estonia where we went for a day) are surging ahead in terms of developing new, 21st century economies. We have unlimited potential in Australia to do the same but we seem still too content to just dig stuff out of the ground and sell it. I think we're waking up but, heck, pretty slowly it seems to me. I just hope it's not too slowly and we miss the ferry.