Trees surround us and fill our gardens, for the most part, but we often ignore them. Read any article about gardening and you will see that many of us focus downwards to the smaller annuals and perennials in our gardens. Yet, it is the trees that bring the structure — the bones — the foundations of most gardens. Too often, though, trees are relegated to the edges, the fringes of our garden. One look at the photo below and I think you will see the importance of trees in our landscapes. Just as you might place a piece of sculpture, a garden folly or a bench where you want to draw attention in your garden, a tree can establish an amazing focal point — especially a beautiful tree like this one. You could also opt for a flowering tree of some sort, if you wanted an even more dramatic impact, at least for part of the season.

Of course, one reason we don’t think of trees as focal points in our garden is that they don’t provide the immediate gratification of smaller, prettier plants and flowers. Trees take time and patience, two things that seem in short supply these days. It takes a patient gardener to plant a tree that won’t mature until their children or grandchildren are around to see them. That is just one more aspect that makes them so special, though. Trees bring beauty into our garden, but also store memories. They watch over our lives and help us recall the special moments that have passed beneath its branches.

Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Botanic Garden, Sydney

Format: Glass plate negative.

Rights Info: No known restrictions on publication.

Repository: Tyrrell Photographic Collection, Powerhouse otographic

Part Of: Powerhouse Museum Collection

General information about the Powerhouse Museum Collection is available at

Persistent URL:

Acquisition credit line: Gift of Australian Consolidated Press under the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme, 1985

Previously in Garden History:

Garden History is a blog series for A Gardener’s Notebook with Douglas E. Welch, using the photos available from the Flickr Commons.