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A Tree Grows in Bali

Local Australian Businessman Gives His Favorite Frangipani Tree a New Lease on Life and Moves our Editor to Poetry.

(1/28/2004) Rotted Trunk Replaced by Stainless Steel Core Mr. Nigel Mason, the well known and environmentally active owner of Bali Adventure Tours clearly has "a thing" for trees.

Over his many years in Bali he has been a major force in mangrove preservations and is credited with having planted in excess of 100,000 mangrove trees in the wetlands surrounding his South Bali office and home. As you might expect, trees are nurtured and lovingly cared for at his Elephant Safari Park in Central Bali with special efforts made to ensure the elephants can't denude and destroy the trees living in the Park.

That Nigel is a man who will go to almost any length to save a tree was aptly demonstrated when he recently discovered that a favorite white frangipani tree hanging over his swimming pool was about to collapse, its trunk eaten away by dry rot.

Frangipani trees at various stages of growth are readily sold by garden shops across the Island and replacing the tree near his pool should not have been a problem. The tree, however, was a family friend and Nigel wasn't going to give up the fight so easily.

After cleaning away the decayed portions of the trees trunk, Nigel installed stainless steel poles, driven two meters into the ground, then welded stainless steel rods to 'cantilever' and support the tree through holes bored into the tree's residual trunk. Finally, a frame was welded on and a mesh wire frame was added. Cement was then used to fill up the two thirds of the tree that had rotted away and fashioned by local artists to resemble the trunk that was missing.

Not prepared to be outdone by nature's handiwork, Nigel then brought in an air brush artist to paint in the original colors and texture of the old frangipani tree's bark.

Nigel and his wife, Yanni, are understandably proud that their "old" frangipani tree still graces their poolside. Nigel says that he hopes the tree will now outlive him and that his family can continue to enjoy it's beauty for many years to come.

Nigel's heroic efforts to save the tree are truly remarkable and have moved our Editor to poetry. Accordingly, with full apologies to the late Joyce Kilmer, we offer the following ode to Nigel and his tree:

An Ode to Nigel's Frangipani



I thought that I would never see

Aluminum inside a tree.



A tree whose trunk stands firm and true

Made fast and strong by bolts and screws.



A tree that wears its bark as art

Confusing dogs who pause to mark.



A tree whose heart entombed by cement,

Art? Or Nature's breach with fraudulent intent?



A tree once doomed to wither and die,

Whose perennial flowers do now death defy.



While Only God can make a tree,

It's Nigel who does the surgery.



First Stage Cement FinishedSecond Stage Cement Finished

Finished TreeThe Completely Bionic Tree