When a sugar gum at the Melton Botanic Garden died at the start of the year, the Friends of the Garden saw a chance to do something different.

Instead of chopping it down, they decided to paint the tree a vibrant red, something that has not gone unnoticed to visitors to the garden as the year has rolled on.

Friends of the Melton Botanic Garden president John Bentley said it had created a talking point, and an extra attraction for the garden.

“We painted it aloe red, and it’s in the Southern African Garden in the aloe and succulents section, so it fits in nicely,” Mr Bentley said.

“Most of the aloes flower this same red colour so we thought it would make a nice feature piece.

“It’s a bit of a talking point, a good meeting point, and when you drive down Lakewood Boulevard it really does stand out. It’s become a favourite part of the garden now.”

The next stage will see the lower parts of the tree painted with Southern African animals by the Artist Collective of Melton.

“It’s a good conversational point, especially with kids,” Mr Bentley said.

“It also lends a bit of artwork to the garden so that’s nice. I’m not sure if we’ll do something similar down the track, but you never know.”