Fitting Father's Day tribute - tree with strong roots

(From left) Gardens by the Bay deputy chief executive Peggy Chong; Australian High Commission second secretary Clele White; Mrs Finette Psarianos, and her son, Andrew, who adopted the tree (right).
(From left) Gardens by the Bay deputy chief executive Peggy Chong; Australian High Commission second secretary Clele White; Mrs Finette Psarianos, and her son, Andrew, who adopted the tree .PHOTOS: MIKE LEE FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

AUSTRALIAN expatriate Andrew Psarianos wanted to do something special to remember his late dad on Father's Day this Sunday.

This week marks two years since the 88-year-old died and Mr Psarianos recalls him as a proud and strong man who enjoyed gardening. It gave him the idea of adopting a tree and he approached Gardens by the Bay.

"My father gave us shelter and strong family roots. In a way, that's similar to what a tree does," said Mr Psarianos, 49, who works for a video production house. He chose a Brachychiton acerifolius specimen - commonly known as the illawarra flame tree - native to sub-tropical regions on Australia's east coast.

(From left) Gardens by the Bay deputy chief executive Peggy Chong; Australian High Commission second secretary Clele White; Mrs Finette Psarianos, and her son, Andrew, who adopted the tree (right).
The adopted tree. PHOTO: MIKE LEE FOR THE STRAITS TIMES


The former Sydney resident, who has lived here since 2011, said: "The illawarra flame tree is dear to my heart because I grew up with one in my garden, and every time I see one, it reminds me of the many happy childhood memories I shared with my late father."

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

It also marked Gardens by the Bay's first tree adoption. Individuals and organisations can adopt a tree, artwork or even bench.

Deputy chief executive of Gardens by the Bay Peggy Chong 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."

ngilaine@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2015, with the headline 'Fitting Father's Day tribute - tree with strong roots'. Print Edition | Subscribe