Gardens by the Bay marks first tree adoption

Mr Andrew Psarianos hugging his mother Finette during the ceremony as (from left) Gardens by the Bay deputy CEO Peggy Chong and Australian High Commission second secretary Clele White look on.
Mr Andrew Psarianos hugging his mother Finette during the ceremony as (from left) Gardens by the Bay deputy CEO Peggy Chong and Australian High Commission second secretary Clele White look on.PHOTO: MIKE LEE FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Gardens by the Bay marked its first tree adoption on Wednesday morning, when Mr Andrew Psarianos dedicated a tree to the memory of his late father.

The Brachychiton Acerifolius specimen, commonly known as the Illawara Flame Tree, is native to subtropical regions on the east cost of Australia.

It is also a tree that Mr Psarianos - an Australian expatriate who has called Singapore home since 2011 - grew up with, in his own backyard.

He said: "The Illawara Flame Tree is dear to my heart because I grew up with one in my garden. Every time I see one, it reminds me of the many happy childhood memories I shared with my late father."

Mr Psarianos was joined by his 78-year-old mother, who travelled out of Australia for the first time in 62 years to share in the special occasion.

"Bringing us up, my father gave us shelter and strong family roots - in a way, that's similar to what a tree does."

The 12-year-old tree was planted in the World of Plants area at Gardens by the Bay, among younger specimens of the same species.

Mr Psarianos' donation will support the maintenance of the tree and the operation of the gardens.

Peggy Chong, deputy CEO of Gardens by the Bay, said: "Tributes such as Andrew's are especially heartening, because they reaffirm the strength of family relationships and reflect a growing affinity between our community and Gardens by the Bay.

"We hope what Andrew has done today will inspire more individuals and companies to come forward in their own special way, to help us create a world of gardens for all to own, enjoy and cherish."

ngilaine@sph.com.sg