sexta-feira, 12 de janeiro de 2018

In praise of our silent giants

(...) The Department of Gardens and Green Areas, under Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau of Macao (IACM), collaborated with experts from South China Botanical Garden to conduct a thorough assessment of Macao’s old trees in 2012, determining their ages based on respective growing speed, growing history, and its physical features such as tree girth, height, and crown width.
The investigation identified 795 old and valuable trees, belonging to 63 species, in both the public and private areas of the city. Around 98 per cent of them fell within the category of Third-Class Ancient Trees, or trees between 100 and 299 years old. The most common species include longans and camphor trees, as well as mock buddha trees and other ficus.
The department turned their research into The Charm of Old Trees, published in March 2013, providing the public an extensive record of the old and valuable trees in Macao. According to the book, while Coloane has the largest number of old trees, many old trees on Macao Peninsula can be found in Guia Hill and Camões Garden, largely due to historical reasons.
“Take a look at the old photos of Macao, and you will find that Guia Hill used to be quite barren with stunted vegetation. It only began to flourish when the Portuguese government started greening the area in the 19th century,” said Ung Sio Wai, chief of the Division for the Greening of the City under Department of Gardens and Green Areas.
Camões Garden, he explained, was originally a luxurious suite with garden leased to the British East India Company in the late 18th century. The company turned it into a nursery for Southeast Asian plants to be transported to Kew Gardens in England. After the Portuguese government purchased the property in 1885, the garden was opened to the public. Religious sites, such as temples, churches and cemeteries, have nurtured a number of old trees with religious significance. Notable examples include the towering Michelia Champaca and much smaller Mexican frangipani, two flowering trees commonly planted in Buddhist temple gardens. Even busy streets like Avenida da República are home to a great number of impressive mock buddha trees. (...)
Excerto do artigo In praise of our silent giants - Macao Magazine, Janeiro 2018.
Text Cathy Lai. Photos António Sanmarful and courtesy of IACM.
A propósito, sugiro a leitura da história da árvore dos amantes no templo de Kun Iam Tong.

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