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Soldiers Memorial Park Plantings :: 1921 Lime Trees

The section on O'Connor's Bush describes how the people of Greytown raised enough money to purchase the land for sixteen hundred pounds, that became the Memorial Park after the end of the First World War.

The second phase was then to plant trees to further commemorate those who had fought and died in the war from the Greytown district.

The most important planting was the avenue of lime trees along what is now the southern boundary of the cricket field.  The avenue runs parallel to Kuratawhiti Street.  The avenue originally consisted of 117 trees in remembrance of those who died.  Unfortunately the trees were planted too close together within the lines and in 2006 only 57 remained.

The choice of lime trees could not have been better.  They are deciduous and in spring the avenue becomes a mass of light green foliage.  In autumn the colour changes to orange and red, which is striking, and almost 'poppy-like'.

The trees are not large, although now ninety years old, because of the closeness of the original planting, but look reasonably healthy.  Drought and root competition for water could be cause for concern at the present time. A plus though is that plentiful flowers produce nectar and pollen for bees.

Professional care and attention to the pruning of lower branches has not been good in the past and this should be rectified, to give the trees good shape and form.

There is a plaque at the eastern end of the avenue giving historic details but this needs refurbishing as it is difficult to read the details.

The Memorial Lime trees were first protected in the 1988 Greytown Borough Council schedule.  They were categorised as Class 1, and are registered No. 20 in the schedule.  In the Combined District Plan, as amended in 2008, trees are allocated a "Notable Tree(s) Number", which for the Memorial Limes is Ts017 (with an added comment "and various others" under the heading "Tree Type").  See later for "various others".

Otherwise there appears to be little, either in print or in writing, on the Memorial Park lime trees.  Where did the seeds originate and where were the seedlings raised?  Who planted the trees and on what date in 1921?

A very small pamphlet headed "Soldiers Memorial Park, Greytown" states that "The magnificent avenue of lime trees along the edge of the playing field commemorates the servicemen lost in the First World War."  The pamphlet was the work of the "Friends of the Park" and financially supported by the Greytown Community Board in 2000. 

A written record referring to the Memorial Park limes appears in a discourse on Greytown trees by Mr B H Bull in 1989.  Mr Bull was replying to a request from Mr Ross Miller, Town Clerk of the Borough Council. Mr Bull stated early in his letter that "my association with the Memorial Park started as a youth in 1921 when I had the honour of planting one of the lime trees in the Memorial Grove in memory of a close relative of ours." (See Greytown Beautifying Society section)

Mr Bull also wrote a book on "The History of Greytown" and it is possible that more information may be found.  The book is difficult to obtain however.

The following is an extract from the book "The Years Between - Greytown Borough Centennial 1878-1978" by R H Bull.  Published by the Roydhouse Publishing for the Greytown Borough Council 1986.

Chapter heading "After the Great War", page 65.

"While the ladies' committee organised an Avenue of Remembrance of Lime trees.  For the payment of one pound ($2) a relative of a fallen serviceman could plant a tree of remembrance, and 117 trees were so planted.  As a youth the author had the privilege of planting one of these lime trees to the memory of Lieut. Ken Tait.  Each tree bore, at its foot, a small wooden plaque with the name of the serviceman.  These plaques deteriorated over the years and were later removed.  In the original planting the trees were on the south and west side of the playing field and another row ran down the playing field from east to west, but these trees were later replanted on the south side making a double row there, but leaving the playing field unrestricted."

Thanks to Warren and Rachel Thompson of Greytown for the loan of the above book.

 

 


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