Tuesday, August 13, 2013


E is for ...
There are literally hundreds of varieties of EUCALYPTUS trees and sometimes it feels like they are all located in San Diego County.

We probably all know that the leaves of this tree are the food of choice for Koala Bears but that's not why they can be found around here.  They are native to Australia, where they are sometimes called gum trees -- not to be confused with chewing gum, but were imported here to San Diego County because many varieties grow extremely tall and straight trunks.  Some bright people thought that they would be ideal for making railroad ties.  Unfortunately they were wrong. When they dry out, they split and crack too easily to be used for that purpose.  Unfortunately too, they are full of oil and in our fire season they are a real danger.  I have actually seen them explode into hundred foot flaming torches.  Scary!  Even so, the oil is used in soap and candles and even ointments.  It can have a pungent menthol smell.

However there is one variety that to me is both intriguing and beautiful. The Rainbow Eucalyptus looks like this:

I've looked at a number of these on the web and they can't all be photo shopped -- can they?  Anyway I have never seen one as bright as this but the ones in our park are definitely multi-colored, only the colors are rather more attractively, a pastel shade.

The other thing I like about them is that they shed large strips of bark.  I probably wouldn't like that factor if they were in my yard because they do make quite a mess.  Even so the bark looks like it would be an interesting media to draw or paint on.  I haven't tried that yet.  Maybe you know someone who has.

When they have shed all their bark the trunks are a very pretty, smooth, pale yellowish pink.

Even since I was a child, I have had a very keen interest in trees, shrubs, flowers, birds and animals -- sorry not too much in reptiles and insects -- and now in my retirement and new home, I have the opportunity to spend more time following this interest. English literature is my field, but my English teachers always scorned Enid Blyton, (a very popular British children's writer) yet it was she who sparked my interest in nature through her book "Enid Blyton's Nature Lover's Diary". So since this is E week I guess I can include Enid Blyton as one of my E's.

Incidentally, I have written a full length children's adventure story, based on my beautiful village of Flamborough, and written in a style quite similar to Enid Blyton's. A major publisher held it for a full year before returning it to me personally, by of one of their editors. Their top man said it was too British, too much like Enid Blyton! I should have resubmitted it but by that time I was snowed under with teaching full time and two teenage boys. Now I figure the only thing that sells for children today is science fiction or fantasy, so there it languishes in one of my manuscript drawers. Sad!

This is my submission for ABC WEDNESDAY round 13, letter E.  ENTHUSIASTIC support for Mrs. Nesbitt and Roger Owen Green for their ENDURING work on this EXCELLENT and EDUCATIONAL project.  Please go visit the ABC Wednesday HERE to see all the other contributions.


Nanka said...

Always loved Enid Blyton and her style and language too!! It is the publishers loss Chris and if he said too much like Enid Blyton take it as a compliment!! Personally I grew up on Enid Blyton books and don't really care for science fiction or fantasy!!

"My Post Is Here"

Roger Owen Green said...

Send out your mss again!

Interesting stuff. You point out the unfortunate danger of introducing non-native species to an ENVIRONMENT.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Carver said...

Great shots and an interesting post. Carver, ABC Wed. Team

Janet said...

What a beautiful tree. I love the smell of eucalyptus leaves.

photowannabe said...

The rainbow tree is pretty. I haven't seen them quite that vivid though.
I really dislike how messy they are. We had them around our last house and were constantly cleaning up after them.
Chris..go for it and try to get published again. It's a new batch of kids. You never know.

Wanda said...

Since photo shop is hard to know what is real and not. But love the rainbow colors.

Ann said...

The rainbow tree is so striking--can't believe how pretty bark can be. So interesting.

Leslie: said...

Is it possible to make your book into a graphic novel? They're apparently big sellers right now. Love your photos of the eucalyptus trees - I had no idea about the rainbow variety!

abcw team

Reader Wil said...

I like gumtrees! In Australia the bark was used for clothes by the Aborigines. They beat the bark until it is soft and easy to handle.
Such a pity that your book was not accepted by the publisher. Their excuse that is was too English is strange.
I also liked Enid Blyton. My children read all her books.
Btw I didn't know about the rainbow trees! They are very exquisite!
Wil, ABCW Team

snafu said...

I have never come across a rainbow eucalyptus tree, fascinating. Three of our near neighbours planted some other kind against the boundaries to our house and we were constantly getting rid of bark. They grow fast so soon dominated the skyline. Thankfully all three have since realised they are not suitable for the crowded British housing estates we have here and they have all been removed.
If you only have hard copy, you could scan your manuscripts and turn them into text files, then maybe you could self publish through Amazon or Barnes and Nobel as an e-book. They usually let writers publish for a small percentage and are less likely to reject an e-book, since there is very low publishing cost to them. The comic strip idea is interesting and you are a good artist, but you need to know comic strip techniques.

Alan Burnett said...

What wonderful trees. Eucalyptus trees always sound so exotic to me. I was in your (old) neck of the woods earlier this week - visiting relatives in Scarborough. We went to both Burniston Rocks and Ravenscar : beautiful places.

Gattina said...

That happens when human interfere in nature ! It happened with palm trees in some southern regions where they originally weren't growing. Many of them got sick after years and died no way to save them.

kaybee said...

Aaaah...sweet memories, Chris! I loved our walks by these beautiful trees...thanks for the interesting details about them. I wish I could have read your book while I was with you there. I think it's a great idea to have it published as an e-book...I hear that it is a relatively inexpensive and easy process.

Suzy said...

I enjoyed Enid Blyton when I was little. Nothing wrong with the EB books - they were great. The rainbow Eucalyptus looks very interesting. My grandmother used to give us a dab of Eucalyptus oil when we got a cold. Loved your post.
Dropping by from the ABC Wed linkup
Suzy at Someday Somewhere

Black Jack's Carol said...

I agree with Roger. That manuscript may just be waiting for a more astute publisher. Love the Rainbow Eucalyptus. I'm thinking the photos you took may portray the true colours.