Recently I bought a new pear tree which my grandson and I planted in the school holidays. What does it need to thrive? We chose a spot that would get enough sunlight, dug a good-sized hole, putting in several spadefuls of compost and some fertiliser. I carefully unwrapped the roots and fitted them into the hole. My grandson held the trunk vertical while I shovelled in the soil and some more compost. He stamped the soil firm with his boots and we made a stone edging so that the compost wouldn't be washed away. We finished off our work with water and some straw mulch.
Lately we are becoming familiar with the term 'deferred maintenance', meaning, basically, that our built environment has been neglected and is deteriorating. We see the results all around us: yellow stickered buildings that do not reach building standards, even in towns that have not had severe earthquakes. Cold, damp rental housing. Schools where classrooms are shabby and crowded. Hospital wards ditto. Sewage overflows and flooding from poor drainage, drinking water polluted, roads too narrow and crowded for the growing amounts of traffic. Minimal public transport in most regions. It all speaks of a failure of stewardship.