PLANTING: Gardening guru Phil Dudman helped John and Declan plant the flame tree seedling at Wilson Park School.
PLANTING: Gardening guru Phil Dudman helped John and Declan plant the flame tree seedling at Wilson Park School. Jackie Munro

The tiny school involved in Lismore's flame tree revolution

IN JUST a few years, East Lismore will be flourishing with flame trees, after yet another seedling was planted in the area.

In 2017, Lismore's own Gardening Australia presenter, Phil Dudman, publicly advocated for the colourful flame tree, the Brachychiton acerifolius, to be adopted by Lismore City Council as its signature flora.

But after two years of deliberations, the council deferred the matter, so Mr Dudman decided to take it into his own hands.

Since then he's been working to establish a community-driven planting and maintenance project.

Mr Dudman planted eight new flame trees at Wade Park in East Lismore in June, and now Wilson Park School has stepped forward and offered to plant a tree of its own.

Mr Dudman visited the senior students last week to plant the tree on Schools Tree Day, part of National Tree Day celebrations.

"I'm really hoping to see a bit of a flame tree revolution start, and this school wants to be a part of it. It's the first step," he said.

"In spring I want to see these stunning flame trees, these little dots of colour spread right across the city. It will be a wonderful sight."

Mr Dudman said Wilson Park was the first school to volunteer to plant a tree on their grounds, and he hoped other schools would get involved.

"Not only are the flame trees a truly beautiful native tree, but they also provide shade and habitats for wildlife and birds as well as many other wonderful benefits," he said.

Wilson Park teacher Gail Allan said the school was thrilled to be able to host a flame tree, and being able to plant a tree had given students a valuable experience.

"We love flame trees and there's a real significance in being part of the community," she said.

"We wanted to be a part of spreading the flame tree, and with Schools Tree Day it was perfect timing."

Daley's Fruit Tree Nursery donated the grafted seedling and Mr Dudman said because it has been grafted, the tree was guaranteed to flower well and in a short period of time.

Mr Dudman said within the next three years, students will be able to see the tree flower and produce the tree's signature crimson blossoms.



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