Today I read: About a beautiful garden

Sometimes it is so difficult to give an appropriate title to a post that I reluctantly write.

The draft session of my blog is full of unfinished stories. I am currently writing about the ancient banyan trees of old Clifton. My speed is slow. I can be easily distracted by thousands of things in my surroundings.

I am also getting timely inspiration from Quora groups. There’s recently in Quora I happened to stumble upon a question that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The question was unique in that sense it was about a beautiful garden…

In a beautiful garden, there is a lonely tree that produces very tasty fruit. Can you guess the fruit?

That’s a very poetic question and the person who asked this also happens to give a stunning explanation.

Here’s a screenshot that I manage to take for reviewing it here.

A pomegrante tree illustration by Walter Crane

I am not good at narrating a story but my quick response was something like…

If I have to illustrate a garden where there is only a lonely tree that tastes heavenly then I would like to take you back to my childhood days where I have left so many memories of beautiful trees behind.

Here, I would like to mention that I am from a South Asian background. And the climate was very hot where I used to live.

This means there was plenty of sunlight and the soil was also good in those old times. In summer with the arrival of the monsoon season, it used to rain a lot continuously for days. (Plenty of water as well)

We used to have a small garden in our house. My father is an ardent lover of fruit trees and he used to plant a variety of plants and vegetables in our old house.

There was right in the middle of our courtyard lies a lonely tree. Sometimes it came into my dreams and put me in a nostalgic state for days. It was a white variety of the pomegranate tree. They tasted very sweet and juicy. It was a very tall and shady tree.

Birds of all kinds were regular visitors of that tree. I remembered a pair of parrots frequently visiting this tree. Not to forget about bees with their buzzing sounds always defending their territory. They had built a hive there and considered the pomegranate tree as their home. I dread to go near that tree because of them. I was just a little school girl back then.

It was lonely in that sense there were no other pomegranate trees nearby to give him company.

Life goes on and we moved to another house but the love for pomegranate trees never dies. We also planted a pair of pomegranates in our new house. Hope I didn’t bore you lol.

That’s it for now. Thank you for reading and enjoying this post.


Also read: It’s a pomegranate time


Sources:

Quora post

Pomegranate illustration

Walter Crane
1845-1915
A Pomegranate Tree. Verso: Fragmentary sketches of two figures
1872
Watercolor and opaque watercolor, over black chalk, on paper; verso: black chalk.


The survival of an heritage tree

This picture recently receives my attention on the social media platform. It happens when a person by the name Hamayun Mughal shared this image with a local gardening group on Facebook and it awestruck me since then.

The battle of the survival of the heritage and tree

I was stunned to find this kind of tree that has embedded its roots deep in the walls of a neglected building. Out of curiosity, a little research on it reveals that it is a Haveli (mansion) Sujan Singh which is located in the overcrowded market of Bhabhra Bazar, Rawalpindi.

It was built in the early 1890s by a wealthy businessman Rai Bahadur Sujan Singh in the Colonial era.

The haveli was built to resemble a royal palace with a majestic golden throne and bedrooms with original ivory furniture. In the various courtyards dancing peacocks were kept to dance during the evening and a pet tiger was kept which regularly walked the corridors.

Wikipedia

It might be a spell-binding place in the olden days but now some parts of the haveli have been badly demolished, with collapsed roofs and termite-ridden walls further damaging the place. Hence, the building has been left to crumble and rot with time.

But then this happened…

But then this happened, nature decided to take over the entire place with its own leafy interwoven pattern.

Can you see the place craftily overtaken by self-grown plants and trees of different sizes and types!
It is recognized as a heritage site by the government of Pakistan.

This is presuming a heritage tree because it has ecological and cultural value. It has beautifully embedded itself in a place that is recognized as a heritage site by the government of Pakistan.


This kind of tree takes pleasure in its transformations. It looks familiar, quiet, and consistent in its appearances, but few of us know how much wisdom and insight this kind of tree endures inside its roots. It is freaking sober and relaxes where it is supposed to be.


Here let us redefined a heritage tree:

  • A heritage tree is defined as a tree of cultural, biological, ecological, or historical concern depending upon its age, size, or condition.
  • They are often among the oldest living things in the country.
  • They are found in native forests, historic parks, farms, and estates of a country.
  • They are usually along roadsides and in agricultural fields and sometimes find in the middle of residential areas or development sites.
  • There is a need to preserve these trees for ecological and economic reasons.

What kind of tree it is?

This is a peepal tree which is one of the most beloved trees in the South Asian community.

There is a need to understand that native trees are highly aggressive and invasive while having an innate ability to spread almost anywhere.

This tree might be 10-20 years old or younger. It’s spread slowly but steadily when given ideal surroundings.

It’s a symbol of strength, morale, resistance and knowledge.

Throughout history, the peepal tree has been represented in different mythologies and sometimes linked to powerful gods. The peepal tree is considered a cosmic storehouse of wisdom comprised of tremendous strength. It grows slowly, but surely at its rate.

Are you wondering from where this tree is obtaining nourishment and overall strength?

  • Many factors are responsible for its growth such as an abundance of light is essential for photosynthesis, a process by which a plant manufactures its food.
  • The tree roots are well anchored and ingrained deeply requiring both organic and inorganic nutrients from the building.
  • The bricks are mostly wet and damp. So, you can see that the tree is receiving moisture from the rainwater and the structure itself.

Final thoughts:

I have heard that restoration work is in progress to revive this old-time architectural wonder. My only concern is that they don’t cut down this tree. I understand it must be a challenging task for them to preserve this historical site. Let’s hope for the best.

Sources:

Image courtesy: Facebook group post by Humayun Mughal

Haveli Sujan Singh


Thank you for reading. Please like, share and follow my blog.

This 150 years old banyan tree in Sialkot on the verge of being cut down!

I recently came to know about a magnificent banyan tree standing alone in a middle of a densely populated area that is recently on the brink of getting extinct in her own country of origin.

Today, my efforts are about saving a tree from the dire consequences of the pure stubbornness of her people. The problem is when the tree is cut off there will be none left. It will never be replaced. People need to understand why there is always a need to save such century-old trees.

Today, I am going to document the story of a banyan tree in Sialkot which is on the verge of being cut down by the local community.

Due to a very ridiculous reason that it yielded too much foliage which is unbearable for the neighbours and the passers-by alike.

They gave an improper justification to prove their point that it is very tiresome for the residents of that area to clear the mess of the fallen leaves especially for those neighbours who park their cars under the shade of this thriving tree.

It is a bitter reality that every year thousands of trees are being chopped off for the sake of development work. It is a very gruesome and barbaric act to destroy such national heritage.

The life span of banyan tree

The minimum life span of such a banyan tree is approximately 300-500 years. But if you allow the aerial roots and branches of banyan trees to expand in favourable conditions then the chances of survival of such trees are maximum. It is not an assumption but a fact that the banyan tree can easily survive for thousands of years.


This screenshot is obtained from a Facebook group by the name of Desi Gardening

Citizen’s role in saving this tree

It should be kept in mind that this modest-looking tree is probably 150 year’s old according to a concerned citizen by the name of Yasir Mirza who first highlight this issue by talking about it on various social media platforms.

According to him, this tree was planted by his paternal grand-uncle Munshi Nizam din in the era of British colonial rule in India.

Yeh tau hamare dada k bhai ne Munshi Nizam din ne angrez daur may lagaya tha”

Yasir Mirza

“Furthermore, its home to hundreds of birds”

Yasir Mirza

In most traditional villages of Pakistan, a banyan tree serves as an ideal meeting place for the entire village community but the problem with this specific tree is that it lies in the middle of an urban area with cemented paths and alleys.


The definition of an heritage tree

Before ending this post, here I would like to briefly define heritage trees and why there is a need to preserve such trees. An heritage tree is any kind of tree that is more than 50 years old and is of both cultural and ecological significance. It should be of some historical importance as well and provide food, medicine and shelter to the entire ecosystem.

Now I left this question for you to think about which measurements we should take to save this national heritage?

Thank you for reading. Please like, share and comment to let me know what do you thing about this post.

Sources:

Desi Gardening Facebook Group post by Yasir Mirza

Giant banyan tree in our street by Yasir Mirza


15 incredible photos of the trees around the world!

Today, I am not going to talk anything about bridges or mountains or the sky full of showery clouds. There is always hope at the beginning of cultivating new things. I am talking about trees in their most glorifying form. Let’s talk about the most spectacular living component of our natural world.

Trees, trees, and trees everywhere of different shapes and sizes to maintain a balance in the ecosystem.

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds.  A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy
reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”
–   Basil

I recently came to know about a very heartbreaking story shared by a concerned citizen from my home country that people in his neighbourhood are intended to kill a 150 years old banyan tree because it produced too much foliage and hence creating a mess of fallen leaves everywhere. It’s shocking to hear such ridiculous stories where people are mercilessly killing trees for some extra amount of cash.

(Here, a link to this Facebook post)

Trees help to strengthen a balance in the ecosystem. It is rightly said that trees are sanctuaries and have the power to enrich our souls throughout the year. They reassure and calm us down by the mere rustling of their leaves.

“Trees are sanctuaries.  Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.  They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.” –  Hermann Hesse,  Wandering  

Unfortunately, the rate at which these trees are being cut down is very frightening in my country of origin. I don’t like tragic endings but chopping down an old tree that is also more than 150 years old is a crime in itself.

However, some of the giant old trees are difficult to forget or hard to go unnoticed. Here, I am compiling a list of 15 different types of trees around the world for you to cherish and admire.

“Follow the wisdom provided by nature. Everything in moderation – sunlight, water, nutrients. Too much of a good thing will topple your structure.  You can’t harvest what you don’t sow. So plant your desires, gently nurture them, and they will be rewarded with abundance.”

–  Vivian Elisabeth Glyck, 1997

These are the 15 most seen photos of the trees online that have been continually been shared on various social media platforms. Some people have personally visited these places to take us back to the wilderness.

The first on my list is a tree from Pakistan which has beautifully embedded herself on the wall of a neglected building.

1. That one tree struggles to revive the old heritage


2. Yes, we are talking about the roots here!


3. When mother nature thrives back


4. The Bristlecone pine tree on the rim of the Crater lake, National park, Oregon, USA


5. One of the oldest living beings in Portugal


6. This happens when the tree decides to start a new life


7. The Dragon blood tree as photographed by Daniel Kordan


8. Desert Rose is pink in colour!


9. The world oldest Olive tree, estimated to be over 3000 years old. It is still producing olives on the isle of Crete.


10. The world-famous tree house (Believe it or not). Let’s go there!


11. Arashiyama Bamboo forest is breathtaking!


12. The woods are full of fairies!
The trees are all alive!


13: Elephant paw tree in bloom


14. The daisugi technique – an ancient Japanese pruning method from the 14th century that allows lumber production without cutting down trees


15: 1400-year-old Ginkgo tree


Source: I took these images from various Facebook groups which are mostly focused on trees.


Thank you for reading. Please like, share and comment if you like this post of 15 incredible photos of the trees around the world.


Old Banyan tree located in Karachi Zoological and Botanical Garden

I am a huge admirer of native trees. This is a story of an Indian fig tree that has been on this planet for as long as one can imagine. For some indigenous people, this tree is 100 years old and according to some old folk, this banian tree is more than 200 years ago.

(The banyan in old days was usually spelt as banian or banius because of its reference to the trader’s community who used to sit and sold their precious products under the mighty shade of these trees.)

Image Courtesy: Suleman Sajjad

From a historical perspective, it has been rumoured that Mahatama Gandhi used to sit beneath the green shade of this tree. The Zoo was known as a Mahatama Gandhi Garden in those unforgettable times.

This is a little known fact that the Karachi zoo came into existence in the year 1878. Because of his immense fondness for that botanical garden, it was initially called a Mahatama Gandhi Garden. It was turned into the zoo after the partition in 1947 and hence the name was mercilessly changed for the generations to come.

Image Courtesy: Suleman Sajjad

The banyan tree is a popular Pakistani village tree and in the native language, it is commonly known as the Barghad ka darakht. According to the local community, a banyan is a tree that makes wishes comes true.

It is a fig tree that has happily begun its life as an epiphyte. If you are not familiar with the term epiphyte then I would like to describe it as a kind of plant that usually grows on another plant but not as a parasite.

It grows on a host plant but unlike a parasitic plant, it takes no nutrients from the host tree but mostly relies on nutrients from other resources such as from the air, rainwater etc.

I am an ardent lover of three kinds of trees and their names are as per excellence. These are Naeem, peepal and banyan tree because my childhood was mostly spent under the shade of these beautiful trees. Native trees are usually aggressive and invasive in their behaviour and they have that innate ability to grow almost everywhere in a very short period.

Image Courtesy: Suleman Sajjad

The leaves of the tree as can be seen in these pictures are large, green, and elliptical. Some leaves are glossy, bright in appearance where there is sufficient sunlight and some leaves are dusty and thick, leathery in texture.

The trunks are painted white to signify that it is government property and hence, it is protected by law. In my opinion, old trees should not be painted white or in any colour possible so that people should respect and protect all old trees equally in their vicinity.

The fallen leaves are yellow and noticeably, there is no trace of grass under the shade of this tree. It is quite proverbial that nothing ever grows under the Banyan tree. The banyan tree does not let any grass or weed grow under it and believe me the reason for this is quite alluring and satisfying. As you can see that banyan leaves are quite thick and leathery and the entire tree looks like a huge mushroom type. Therefore the foliage of thick leaves doesn’t allow anything to flourish or sprout on its own. Only the plants that lacks chlorophyll can survive under a huge banyan tree.

Sources:

Why Write For Trees?

I love encouraging people to write for trees. And there is only one valid reason for writing about trees is that they reconnect us with nature.

This image is designed by using Canva app

After nourishment, protection, and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world. Philip Pullman.

We tend to facilitate each other through the art of storytelling. So, what happens when we don’t tell stories? We die or simply lose interest in a story when it didn’t take us to an interesting place.

Trees reconnect us with nature. The problem that happened in today’s world is that we have lost the mindset of respecting trees, let alone tell stories about them.

Do you ever wonder, how can we respect trees?

It is the same as hugging a tree or not harming them in any physical way possible.

Unfortunately, trees are no longer viewed as the precious heritage of mankind.

In ancient times, there was the concept of growing trees near roadsides, or around the cottage to bring prosperity and wealth to the local community.

This credit of loving trees goes to our ancestors because of their undying respect for this planet on which we are currently living.

They displayed a tremendous amount of wisdom for trees that we don’t have. They respect trees by worshipping them. They respect trees by planting them in abundance wherever they go. They respect trees by documenting them. They respect trees by praising them and the list goes on.

A change in mindset is needed to preserve our native trees otherwise we will keep losing these trees just for our materialistic gains.

If you want to tell interesting stories about trees then the first thing you have to do is to give them due respect and credit. Here, are 14 incredible reasons why we should respect trees and adore them.

14 incredible reasons to respect trees

1. Trees play a vital role in capturing rainwater

Trees play a vital role in capturing rainwater and decreasing the risk of natural disasters like floods and landslides.

2. Trees communicate with each other

Trees communicate with each other and shared nutrients through an intricate underground web of fungi.

3. Old vs New

Scientists have found that older trees share nutrients with younger trees, which later repay them when they have evolved.

4. A mature evergreen tree

Do you know a mature evergreen tree can stop more than 15,000 liters of water every year?

5. An incredible fact about trees

It’s not a myth but an incredible fact that hospital patients with rooms close to trees happened to recover faster than those without the same view with trees.

6. Reduce stress and anxiety by connecting with trees

Trees help reduce stress and anxiety when we walk through a calm, quiet forest with a stream passing nearby.

7. Native trees help stabilize the environment

Native trees help us reconnect with nature. This is an amazing reason to love trees. Protect native trees by not cutting them down.

8. Keep alive the art of storytelling through trees

Trees have long been interlinked with the art of storytelling. Keep old ways alive by telling tales about trees.

9. An ideal backrest for reading

Trees provide the ideal backrest for reading a book or a magazine.

10. Native trees purify the air

Native trees purify the air we breathe. New research indicates that planting non-native trees hasten the rate of carbon released into the atmosphere. This is why I am in favor of planting native trees.

11. Native trees filter the water

Native trees filter the water we drink.

12. Native trees support us

Native trees take longer to grow since their tissue is denser, but they support a wide range of fauna and flora in the community.

13. Trees are an integral part of our food chain

Most native trees are also fruit-bearing and form an integral part of the food, culture, and customs of the region.

14. The history and mythology of the world revolved around trees

The history and mythology related to trees had inspired works of fiction for thousands of years. (I have read somewhere that Sara Maitland in her fascinating book, Gossip from the Forest, proposes that in ancient times the forests were both the background and the source of fairytales. Because of their mysterious secrets and silences, gifts and threats, forests were regarded as the background plot for stories such as Little red riding hood, Hansel and Gretel, and the seven dwarves)


Thank you for reading and highlighting my work. I frequently write for trees and think about them in my happy time. Please visit my blog and do comment on my posts for giving me a little dose of encouragement that I rarely receive.