Please attend with friends and see the tree diversity in this crowded part of the city.
The Tree Walk- Thiruvananthapuram organises its tenth walk – The Green Giants- From Thanni- Mahogany on 11th May 2013 from the College of Fine Arts Gate at 6.30 am.
The towering Thanni tree (Terminalia bellirica) or Myrobalan with its straight bole and green canopy that grows in the War Memorial island opposite The College of Fine Arts is a sight that anyone living in the capital city should not miss. Its solitary presence spreading shade and refuge to many birds has been witness to the rapidly changing face of Thiruvananthapuram. The buttress roots at the base indicate how old this tree could be. Grown commonly as an avenue tree, the Thanni is found all over South East Asia in plains and low hills. Its deciduous nature makes it an inhabitant of many regions. The medicinal properties associated with its seeds has made it a much needed tree but rarely propagated widely.
The Njaval ( Syzygium ) in the College of Fine Arts campus that overhangs the gate is a green presence that anyone waiting for the signal should look out for. The path also has some magnificient Rain trees along its way that give its generous shade and green canopy to the road.
The Car parking space outside the Connemara Market in Palayam is a better example of how trees can be planted to provide shade to the road and vehicles. The round of bird cherries planted in there has grown well and is home to many birds and bees. But the road and the footpath could do with some more plants. The need to cover the hot asphalt with greenery is felt most as you get out of Palayam market and walk towards the Saphalyam complex. The small trees and shrubs that can be planted on both sides of the road needs to be studied.
The solitary Millingtonia ( Maramalli) tree outside the Saphalyam complex stands towering over the shopping complex. When in bloom, the wind shakes the branches and a shower of the white tubular flowers with mild fragrance is a treat for the discerning eye.
The VJT hall Campus has many trees, the rarest being the twin Diaspyros in the backyard that stands in all evergreen glory. The Lagerstromeas and the Xmas tree by the wall are also to be noted.
The 9 Mahogany trees which were once inside the University College campus and which has faced the axe many times in the name of road development are still part of the land scape of the city, thanks to the constant vigil of many. Their changing forms with the seasons adds to the cityscape. The lone Chandana vembu with its seasonal bare look also adorns the University college campus.
We cannot pass this route without remembering the huge Rain tree in the Sanskrit College campus which was cut more than a decade ago and for which a group of citizens in Trivandrum staged a resistance. Nor can we forget the Spathodea which threw its boat shaped pods on the road each year that grew at the entrance to the Sanskrit College gate and under which a lone shoe- repair man worked for many years. Now the road is bare with no shoe- repair, no shade and no Spathodea blooms or pods.
The Church at the turning still has a huge wild Polyalthea tree that has shed its domesticated avenue tree look and spread its branches wide. The Pisonia in the compound is also a welcome assuring presence on a warm day.
The road beyond after this is a sight for the sore eye, especially if you remember the trees in the AGs Office that were cut for Road development. The foot path is bare and hot. There is need to grow some small trees and flowering shrubs in this segment too.
This walk from one giant to another reveals
- Three segments of the road which could do with some more planting.
- The example of the Parking lot in Palayam where tree cover has been made.
- The story of saving the Magnificient row of Mahogany trees.
- The rare sight of the Diaspyros in VJT Hall
- The huge Ficus and Neem outside the VJT Hall which was saved from the axe by many eminent citizens of Trivandrum including Laurie Baker.
- The Road Fund Board’s stone carving in the island opp VJT hall which proclaims their vow to green the city.
Please do think about all this and come up with ideas on planting more and less cutting in the city.
“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers….Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree…” –Hermann Hesse
Tree Walk- Thiruvananthapuram
This article is written by Prakash P Gopinath