In episode four of Matthew Hayden’s Home Ground he introduces three beautiful bottle trees into his garden.
The bottle tree stands out as one of the most unique trees of the Australian natives. Like people, bottle trees demonstrate a high degree of individuality, with each tree different in shape and character.
Bottle trees vary in size. When grown in urban areas they can reach four to seven metres in height, however in natural bush they compete for light and grow taller. On four-metre high trees the canopy spread can range from three to four metres so if you are thinking of planting one you need to make sure you give them enough room to grow.
The leaves are smooth and green on young trees and rough and grey on adult trees. The flowers are cream but the bottle tree may not flower every year.
Bottle trees are steadfast and can withstand cold temperatures and long periods without water. They can live up to 120 years old and it is this longevity of life which makes them so popular in Australia.
Matthew Hayden’s bottle trees
Bottle trees are native to Queensland which is why Matthew Hayden feels such an affinity to them. There is one on his parent’s farm in Kingaroy which is nearly 100-years -old.
“The bottle tree reminds me of the bush and in particular my uncle’s property out in Gartmore in Tambo where we used to have the droughts because the used to be cut down and cubed for the stock to feed on,” remembers Matt. “They’re a classic, iconic Queensland tree and what I love about them more than anything is how long they take to grow.”
Matt’s children’s children will probably get the benefits of the 11-year-old Queensland bottle trees that are planted on his property. Each of Matt’s three children have laid claim to one of the trees. “I reckon that’s, that’s what home is about,” he adds. “It’s actually claiming things within it that you love. It’s not dissimilar to us as boys claiming the cricket wicket, staking it out, marking it up and the playing on it until we couldn’t move.”