Free trees boost inner-city happiness

Newtown’s Eleanor Ryan starts every day with a meditation session next to her beloved Maple tree, one of 1,000 trees given away as part of the City of Sydney’s free tree giveaway.

The next free tree giveaway event will take place on Saturday 12 March at Sydney Park at 10am. Bottlebrushes, lemon-scented tea trees and mock-orange shrubs are just some of the many species that will be given away.

A local Reiki practitioner and massage therapist, Eleanor said her tree takes pride of place in her tranquil garden, a secluded spot in the heart of the inner west.

“The City’s free giveaway is great – there’s something very special about nurturing your own tree and watching it grow. There’s nothing I love more than having a potter around my garden – and then I’ll just sit quietly next to my tree and breathe,” Ms Ryan said.

“The chaos of inner city life can become overwhelming and it’s important to have your own little sanctuary away from it all.

“I’m very into ‘mind, body and spirit’ and there’s no better place to harness that than your own little green oasis. I’ve spent a lot of time getting my garden just right and spend time every day doing yoga and meditation next to my tree.”

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the popular program had been running since 2014, encouraging everyone to green their communities.

“The City already has over 31,000 street trees and 12,000 park trees to improve air quality, provide habitat for birds and wildlife and beautify our city,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We’d like to see this number grow even further, and that’s why we’re giving our residents another 1,000 free trees to help green our city. Our target is to increase the City’s urban forest by 50 per cent by 2030 to help tackle climate change and cool our city.

“Trees can also help promote health and well-being by encouraging relaxation and improving moods. We hope our community will enjoy planting and caring for their trees while helping us create a greener, healthier and more liveable Sydney.”

Residents can sign up for a small, medium or large tree and choice of native, exotic, deciduous or evergreen species. There is a limit of two trees per household and up to five trees for strata properties, schools, communities and public housing developments.

Species choices include bottlebrush, suitable for courtyard gardens and lemon-scented tea tree, which flowers in early summer and has leaves that release a beautiful citrus scent. Mock orange – a fast growing bushy shrub with fragrant white flowers that blossom throughout the year – will also be available.

The trees can be picked up at the Sydney Park Road entrance to Sydney Park, where City staff will be on hand with a free barbecue, advice on planting the trees and general maintenance tips.

The event applies to City of Sydney residents only and people are asked to bring a rates notice or driver licence as proof of address on the day.