Clive’s secret valley

Clive’s secret valley

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Clive Glands has spent 45 years creating and creating a rare tree sanctuary in the heart of Jarrahdale. Photograph – Richard Polden.

Jarrahdale’s town-site is known across the state for its settlement history and the stunningly beautiful natural environment in which it was established.
In a secret valley just off a main road, a local man has been building on these elements, creating a rare tree sanctuary at the site of one of Jarrahdale’s first schools, with the goal of creating a space for future generations of nature-lovers to enjoy.
Described as a “giant of horticulture in the district” by local conservation groups, Clive Glands, 85, has spent the past 45 years sourcing and planting exotic trees in the creation of an astonishing arboretum in his own back yard, on a property that was first settled in 1844.
“If you said to me, ‘Clive, build me the Taj Mahal,’ I’ll get stuck into it, I’m that type of character,” Clive said, leaning his wheeled-walking frame over the gravel path from his tiny bungalow towards the thick, lush woodland that he has raised from seed.
“I was born in 1937 and lived on the outskirts of London near the Epping Forest, which was King Henry VIII’s hunting grounds of old.
“My family all had businesses that went down the drain with the 1935 depression and with the war we ended up downright poor.
“My eldest brother and I used to eat out of the forest for survival, we would pick all the fruit trees, all the nuts, we would live off the forest.
“It’s left an indelible print on my brain, so I grow trees down here so all the animals come. This is my Epping Forest,” he said.
We wound our way down the path towards a creek, dwarfed by an embankment of trees spreading their canopies some 45-metres above us, to a concrete bridge over a creek bed.
Looking across the small valley from the bridge, Clive proudly pointed to different trees, many of which have been listed on the SJ Shire’s Significant Trees Register.
“There’s a lot of rare trees in this thicket – I grew that from seed, would you believe, and this one here is a Macadamia.
“Have you ever been to see the Tingle Trees in Walpole? Well, I have over there a massive Red Tingle, I’ve been told it’s the most northern Tingle Tree in WA,” Clive said.
He continued, sweeping his arm towards different spots, pointing out Spanish Cork Oak, Stringybarks, Horse Chestnut, Claret Ash, South American Pepper, Canadian Sugar Maple, Swedish Plane, Moreton Bay Fig and a gnarled and fruiting Olive tree – believed to be the oldest WA.
We made our way past an old well to an enclosure with a group of about 10, mostly black-headed sheep who greeted their old carer.
“Over there is a Karri from Pemberton, look at how they grow in this valley,” Clive said.
“There are rare animals living here too,” he said, referring to the long-necked tortoise, marron, herons, spotted pardalote, dugite and tiger snakes, racehorse goanna, geckos, King’s skink, freshwater mussels, microbats, and a red Phascogale that have been spotted at the property.
“I would like to think, when I fall off my perch, that people who love nature can come down and enjoy what I enjoy,” said Clive.
“I would for this all to be a botanical park, I only hope in the future that people can come and love what I love,” he said.
Clive is still planting, currently awaiting delivery of about a dozen trees from all corners of the world, which he hopes to find outside help to plant.
“I just want to finish off my valley,” Clive said.
“I don’t want money, I don’t want a commercial gain, but I need some help.
“It’s the love of my life; animals, trees, nature – and I only hope other people will enjoy it, too.”