Nick’s Lime Tree
Although this is the 103rd commemorative tree planted in the Gardens, it is a particularly significant one. This is the first commemorative planting in decades - and one of the very few - that isn't by a close associate of the Botanic Gardens or a governor-general, Queen, Duke, Countess or Marquis, etc. Nick joins the likes of Dame Nellie Melba (although her tree planted in 1903 has died) and the Polish composer Ignacy Paderewski (1904).
Nick Cave's music has moved and influenced lives for decades, his songs capturing the zeitgeist of the time, from Zoo Music Girl back in the 1980s to Higgs Boson Blues last year. Nick started performing in Melbourne but soon became a musician of the world. His lyrics and novels have been the subject of workshops and academic scrutiny. Earlier this year Gerard Elson, in the magazone Island, compared him to Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and the American poet John Berryman. In The Monthly, Robert Forster places Nick Cave at the top of his list of Australian 'rock stars', ever.
Our Director and Chief Executive, Professor Tim Entwisle says "While there are plenty of plant references dotted through Nick’s lyrics it’s his contribution to art, culture and Melbourne we are celebrating. Having Nick plant a tree is about the Royal Botanic Gardens being a part of Melbourne and the world today, not just a relic of the past."
The tree is a Lime Tree, a connection to one of Nick's most moving songs where he says 'I put my hand over hers, down in the Lime Tree Arbour'. This particular lime is called Henry's Lime - Tilia henryana, another nod to one of Nick's creations, the 1992 album Henry's Dream.
In this case the Henry is Augustine Henry a nineteenth century collector who brought this species back from China. It is described as perhaps the most beautiful lime in China.
You can find the tree planted on Picnic Point in the Winter Garden or ask for directions at the Visitor Centre.