No protection = death …

download slave treeAt the George Heritage Trust meeting of 11 February 2015 the decision was made to declare 2015 the year of the George Champion trees. We are looking for the finest and best Heritage Trees of George, to be included in an inventory. The main purpose of this is to aid the newly founded ‘Tree Committee’ (an initiative by Radie Laubscher of the Parks and Gardens department of the George Municipality) Trees will fall naturally, but we have to make sure that our George Champion trees are protected for the next generations.

If you share the love for a special tree the way that this descendant of the famous Old Nectar garden in Jonkershoek tells the story of a mighty old Oak the came down at Old Nectar does, then contact us and tell us about your favourite tree in George.e-mail us at or contact Radie Laubscher at the Municipality –  telephone number 044-8022900 or Philda Benkenstein 0714419132.


I had just gone to sleep and was woken by lying  high in the air, the gigantic body lying prone and the massive branches spreading across the entire parking area to beyond the door of the cellar and draped over the roof of the cellar and the elm tree. I have no idea what the damage is to the elm tree or the cellar – though it is full moon it is dark under the canopy of the other trees.  I am shattered, and have helped myself to a whisky and soda while I gather my thoughts and pen this note. I just cannot believe it.  This mighty giant, looking so healthy.  Also I cannot believe the good fortune. It now lies where we all park; it is where we all stand and chat, it is where the building workmen gather for their lunch break and there are almost always people during the daytime in the area now covered by this fallen giant. It is where Anthony and Graham Parker and his partner and I stood chatting this afternoon for some time. The southeaster has been blowing today, but not particularly ferociously and it had eased off this evening. Clearly the time of this giant had come and it was without warning of any kind whatsoever. And clearly providence has played a hand ina shattering explosion; I leapt out of my bed (and Hot Dog out of his), grabbed the big torch and went to the front door in trepidation – something inside me forewarned me of what had happened and then I saw it; the night sky an open void and the massive 250-year giant and healthy oak tree lying on its side, its enormous root bole with the fiery orange azalea plants tangled amongst its snapped roots  this tragic event happening when it did, resulting in no harm to any humans or animals. But I remain shattered by the fact, and the suddenness of it, and the vast empty space in the sky that now exists, and the thought of this magnificent specimen of Quercus robur now reduced to firewood sufficient for the next ten years I cannot bear the thought of that, even though it be the reality.  In my lifetime and in my years of association with Old Nectar the last time I witnessed such a traumatic tree event was when I was about five, when the oak beyond the cellar fell – its trunk is still there and at the time it became my fairy garden (yes, I did believe in fairies then and I am not disclosing my position on fairies now, just in case anyone asks). Writing these thoughts helps me but it does not change the reality of the extent of the change here. Yes, a tree will be planted, in memory of this venerable and beautiful giant, and for those who are here in 2250 hopefully they will see what we have been privileged to have seen and have had as a part of our lives and  have appreciated – a beautifully sculpted specimen of oak that looked as though it was going to weather the storms of the next quarter of a millennium.  Not to be and RIP. Peter, Old Nectar.

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