Mayor digs in to plant a Jubilee cherry tree at Mayday

The local NHS Trust and the Mayor of Croydon staged a joint ceremony yesterday to dig in and contribute to the Queen’s Green Canopy – a tree-planting initiative being run to coincide with celebrations around the 70th anniversary of the royal reign.

Cherry on top: Mayor of Croydon Sherwan Chowdhury and NHS chief Matthew Kershaw at the planting ceremony

The Queen’s Green Canopy was created to mark 2022’s Platinum Jubilee, inviting individuals, community groups and organisations from across the country to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.

Croydon Health Services NHS Trust hosted yesterday’s event attended by Councillor Sherwan Chowdhury, Croydon’s ceremonial mayor, and representatives from across the health, care and voluntary sector, as well as pupils from Elmwood Infant School and Harris Invictus Academy.

The cherry tree saplings have taken pride of place outside Mayday Hospital.

An interactive map has been created to track the Jubilee tree plantings on the QGC website, so that everyone can share and inspire others, as well as creating a green canopy of projects to cover the country.

Jubilant for the Jubilee: care and health workers were joined by school pupils for the tree-planting ceremony outside Mayday Hospital

Matthew Kershaw, the NHS Trust CEO, said, “Her Majesty The Queen’s celebration of the Platinum Jubilee is an unprecedented milestone and cause for celebration. The Queen’s Green Canopy offers a lasting legacy in honour of The Queen’s leadership of the nation, which will benefit future generations.

“Here in Croydon, it also offers us an exciting opportunity to celebrate the Jubilee but also to advance our plans to create a more environmentally friendly, sustainable health and care system and further our plans to support a healthier, happier future for the people of Croydon.

“Last year, Her Majesty marked the contribution of NHS staff, past and present, for their efforts for more than seven decades, noting the courage, compassion and dedication of all throughout the pandemic.

“Today we have the opportunity to recognise that contribution once again and the impact of the covid-19 pandemic as we also mark the National Day of Reflection, a day dedicated to supporting the millions of people affected by the pandemic and remembering the family, friends, neighbours and colleagues we’ve lost.”

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1 Response to Mayor digs in to plant a Jubilee cherry tree at Mayday

  1. Lewis White says:

    Lovely trees, a fitting response by NHS and Croydon to honour the Queen’s Platinum Jubillee, and provide a new planting that will contribute to cleaner and fresher air and provide a much-needed “blossom time boost” to anyone who sees these beautiful cherries and drinks in their fragrance.

    Planting a tree is an early chapter in the story of the tree in question….. a bit like a child starting at school. In the life of a cherry, planted at this size, it is probably at year 5 of a life of 50 to 70 years

    I really hope that someone is lined up to water and nurture the tree through the crucial 1st and 2nd years after planting, the time when the tree has left the relative shelter and regular watering of the tree nursery, and is now planted out into the real world, with its drying winds and very little rainfall.

    Its roots will need to be able to extract from the soil – and pump it up to every leaf and twig- quite a large quantity of water every day– ideally much more than the bare minimum needed to keep the trees alive, but enough to allow them to thrive, and for the root sytems to expand grow strongly outwards into the surrounding soil.

    That person will need to keep an eye on the ties and and loosen them if needs be. After 4 or so years , to take off the plastic ties and remove the stake, as by then, the tree should be self-suporting with a strong stem and root sytem. It should be growing happily, be a metre (or more) higher and wider, and developing a thicker “stem- becoming-a-trunk”, and — the really important and invisible bit – have a strong root system that fans out all around, to anchor the tree firmly in any wind.

    Having planted many trees myself since the 1970’s, and having been rewsponsble for planting and maintaining trees in various settings, I have come to the realisation several years ago that Trees are just like people– they need someone to look over them, and some TLC, particularly in their childhood. Water- protection – food (but not too much) – and, overall, sunlight, and freedom to thrive and grow to become well-balanced adults. They need support in early years and then become self-supporting.

    Sadly, as we know, many children do not get that support and care, and never get the right conditions to live well and grow up strongly and happily….. they suffer neglect.

    With trees, the equivalent is “Plant and forget”.

    Tree lovers will know the signs of young tree neglect only too well………. not just the obvious– the dead tree. Some newly planted trees manage to survive, but end up being strangled five years later by their own tree ties, when these should be removed as the tree’s stem gets thicker. Others just about limp on, disfigured, or the original stem dies and disease sets in, so the tree dies a lingering death. Metal welded mesh or fancy wrought iron tree guards , if not removed, end up as a straightjacket , which the tree grows to fill and then grow through. Results? 10 or so years later, the trees look like waffles with patterned bark, hiding the embedded guard inside. Tree grilles on the ground which end up similarly embedded in the tree base. Appalling, a danger to anyone cutting the tree down in the future, and a future weak spot where deacy sets in.

    Considering that all Council trees–and I am not referring to Croydon’s trees alone– are meant to be inspected every year or two, it seems amazing that there are so many sad specimens bearing such terrible , albeit semi-hidden wounds. Damaged trees can snap off at the points of restriction.

    Let us hope that this NHS croydon tree grows on to maturity, in the meantime pleasing Croydonians over the next 50 years or so with heart-lifting spring blossom. I hope it does not meet the fate of a ceremonial planting I saw in Wales, where a brass plaque set in the ground recorded the planting of a cherry tree by the Mayor of the town’s German “Twin”.

    Nice plaque, almost as good as the day it was installed some 15 years earlier. The cherry tree was not. It had died about 10 years earlier. A stump remained. No one had bothered to replace it. Or even remove the dead original. That so eloquently but silently expressed the sad, abysmal level of tree care in many parts of the UK.

    The answer is proper funding, and proper staffing, with gardeners, parks and groundcare staff and tree people who know how to look after the trees in their care. That means staff training !

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