It’s not often that you hear about one person who has single-handedly planted & nurtured a woodland as service to fellow human beings & wildlife. But Saalumarada Thimmakka is one such woman & still going strong at 105 years old!
Her woodland of native Ficus benghalensis (Banyan) trees in Karnataka, India bestows an invaluable gift for all her fellow villagers to benefit from & a legacy for future generations of all sentient life.
Saalumarada Thimmakkka – a Foundation has been created in her name to continue the inspirational work she started.
It never ceases to amaze me just how smart plants truly are. I marvel at their complexity, their feats of engineering & effortless artistry. Much can be learnt from these noble ancient lifeforms. The above, seemingly simple seed holds such complexity & potentiality for life is staggering.
Because, not only does this tree bear a spectacular autumnal display of golden heart-shaped leaves but it also gives off the most gorgeous distinctive ‘candy floss’ fragrance as you pass by these Japanese beauties.
I was fortunate enough to be in the presence of several Cercidiphyllum japonicum in the walled garden at Dunskey, all shimmering golden delight on a bright sunny autumnal day.
Subject of a poem by Pablo Neruda the Araucaria araucana trees hold their crowns way up high in the sky. So a recent trip with my fellow students to Castle Kennedy Gardens & Monreith provided us the perfect opportunity to sample nuts from these living relics that preceded dinosaurs in their native land of Patagonia.
Once you manage to peel off the tough leathery outer armoury & papery inner skin a cream coloured floury textured nut awaits, similar to a pine nut but larger.
Packed full of goodness it was a staple food for the Native Indians of Chile. The Pehuenche, People of the araucarias, revered this tree – it was central to their lives & used these beautiful large edible nuts or Piñones to make bread & a nutritious drink amongst other things.
Sampling my first ever Araucaria araucana nut in Castle Kennedy Araucaria araucana Tree Avenue.
Arucaria forest at Monreith. Photo credit Deák Gergő.