Aussie Life Blog

The Nothing Tree

For the past four months, I have been renting a little cottage east of Adelaide’s city centre in the suburb of Dulwich. Much of the suburb’s residential properties date back to the 19th century and are heritage-listed. The streets are shaded by avenues of jacaranda trees making it a rather pleasant place to live.

My landlords have owned the cottage since the mid-70s, raising their family and establishing a glorious garden they still maintain to this day (as part of the rental agreement). The little patch of front garden is full of roses, hollyhocks, lavender and geraniums which attract various birds, including honey-eaters. The rear garden is dominated by a square patch of lawn, with a bed of iceberg roses, agapanthus and daisies. In one corner, there is a large umbrella tree which started life as a houseplant and in the other corner a 30 ft tree that no one seems to know what it is – possibly ash. It is a peaceful little sanctuary away from the suburban hustle and bustle.

30ft tree no one seems to know what it is

The unidentified tree provides a sanctuary for a variety of birds including rosellas, pigeons, minor birds, magpie larks and lorikeets to name just a few. Not only that, it provides shade for anyone who is sitting in the garden during the hot summer afternoon sun, it’s delightful. One slightly odd feature of the lower trunk is damaged bark which looks like something tight has been tied around it for a long time.

The landlords maintain the garden every other week. I’m already at work and miss their visits. After one particular visit, I noticed that the unidentified tree had additional chunks taken out of the bark and over the next week it started to shed more leaves than usual.

Mum and Dad are living with me too having immigrated from the UK at the ripe old age of 80! On the next garden visit, Dad approached the landlord and asked them why they were taking an axe to the tree. They informed him that they are killing the tree because they don’t like it and wanted to replace it with something more exciting. This news was worrying to me. I love trees and to watch one slowly dying in front of me was going to be distressing.

During the Christmas break, I was home for a particular landlord’s visit and decided to approach them to let them know how disappointed I was that they had decided to kill the tree. I explained that they hadn’t considered the impact on wildlife as well as on us by taking away our shade. I couldn’t hide my surprise when I was told that ‘it’s just a nothing tree’ and basically a case of tough luck to you. JUST A NOTHING TREE.

The ‘Nothing Tree’ dying

Over the next few weeks the tree continued to shed leaves and as a deciduous tree, will continue to do so for the next few weeks as we head into Autumn. I don’t know if that will be the death of it and fortunately won’t be around to find out as I have just bought my own house and will be moving out within the next 12 weeks. I can hardly contain my excitement!

By Waking the Wombat

Life - part two; Australia. Having spent the first 39 years of my life in England, with two adult children who don't need me so much, a workaholic husband and a head full of stuff waiting to be unleashed, Waking the Wombat is my place to share life's experiences with you.

6 replies on “The Nothing Tree”

“A nothing tree” the words should not even be put together 😢 how sad , I’d feel like you Lucy . Wishing you happiness and joy in your new home x


How lovely to hear from you, Lucy. But how sad for a ‘nothing tree’ that looks like it belongs to the Elm family. Congratulations on the purchase of your new home, and good luck with moving.

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