Arbor Month: City of Cape Town opens memorial garden in honour of those lost to Covid-19

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The City’s Recreation and Parks Department has dedicated the launch of its Arbor Month festivities to the families of residents who lost their loved ones due to Covid-19.
The City’s Recreation and Parks Department has dedicated the launch of its Arbor Month festivities to the families of residents who lost their loved ones due to Covid-19.
  • The City of Cape Town dedicated the launch of Arbor Month to those who lost loved ones due to Covid-19.
  • Tall liquidamber styraciflua trees were planted at the memorial garden in Maynardville Park.
  • The trees have been placed in various parks and cemeteries across the city.

The City of Cape Town's recreation and parks department dedicated the launch of its Arbor Month festivities to people who lost their loved ones due to Covid-19.

Mayor Dan Plato and mayoral committee member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien, assisted with the planting of tall liquidamber styraciflua trees in a memorial garden at Maynardville Park.

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"These trees represent life and will remind us of the contribution made by our residents and staff to our neighbourhoods. It also creates awareness around the value of caring for nature and how it beautifies our surroundings," Plato said.

"We will honour them through nurturing these trees and I look forward to seeing these plants mature to serve as a reminder of the beauty around us, even in difficult times."

Badroodien said the trees were planted in a circle, and it symbolised the circle of life.

The city said the trees that were planted today create a circle symbolising the circle of life.
Forest Restoration is The theme for this year’s Arbor Month.

"Today, we held six Covid-19 remembrance ceremonies at the gardens, that are living memorials to the many loved ones we've lost. We remember them not only today - but, as these trees grow and thrive, it will be a testimony to their lives," said Badroodien.

According to the City, 18 new trees were added to the established gardens.

The theme for this year's Arbor Month is Forest Restoration: A path to recovery and well-being.

"It is a call to action for communities to become aware of and to value the critical role that trees play in sustainable development, as well as the contribution that trees make to livelihoods and the environment."

The tree of the year is Spekboom, which is found in the eastern parts of South Africa.

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This evergreen succulent has medicinal properties, is high in Vitamin C, and has small, round leaves, with a zesty flavour, which can be eaten raw in salads.

The tree can reach up to 5m in height, in its shrubbery form, and beautifies many urban sidewalks.

In spring, the leaves turn yellow when exposed to full sun, sometimes bearing star-shaped, pink flowers.

The trees can be seen in various parks and cemeteries across the city.

There are memorial garden sites at Maitland Cemetery, Jack Muller Park, Mandela Park, Westridge, Princess Vlei and Maynardville Park.

"Green is the colour of renewal and life. It also symbolises growth, prosperity and new beginnings," said Badroodien. 

Residents can also participate in Arbor Month by tying a green bow to a tree at home, so as to remember a loved one, or planting a tree against climate change.

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