Jess Massucco, Community Engagement Manager at Trees for Cities writes:
Trees for Cities (TfC) worked in partnership with the Council to plant new trees, plants and bulbs at Furze Green with the local community. The planting took place through school planting workshops, followed by a community planting day on Saturday 23 October.
The community planting day was part of The Queen’s Green Canopy, a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, which invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.
TfC spent one day at the park in July 2021 to introduce the project and consult park users on the locations and potential species of the trees and plants. Nineteen people took part in consultation activities and all accessible residencies overlooking the site received a flyer. Posters were put up on site directing to our webpage with an online feedback form and more information.
Following further in-person and phone conversations with residents, a design was finalised and six residents responded to the design (all positive).
The planting scheme
Twenty-four heavy standard trees were planted. These included four native species: Wild Service-tree, Field Maple, Rowan and Small-leaved Lime. Sections of mixed native hedge and a wide variety of shrubs, perennials and bulbs were planted in the long bed on the eastern edge of the park. These included lots of nectar-rich flowers to provide food for bees and other pollinating insects. The shrubs included Gorse, the species that gave the park its name – “furze” is an old English name for Gorse.
The native trees, hedge and nectar-rich planting all contribute to objectives in the Local Biodiversity Action Plan.
Five school planting workshops were delivered with Clara Grant Primary school and St Paul’s and St Luke’s Primary school. Sixty-eight school children and 10 teaching staff took part in the workshops.
We were joined by 69 volunteers from the community on the Saturday. Most volunteers were residents living around Furze Green although some had heard about the opportunity through friends and lived elsewhere in Tower Hamlets. Ten New City College students joined through a Friends of the Earth initiative.
Attending VIPs included the Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Leslie Morgan OBE DL, young conservationist Kabir Kaul, and Katrina Ramsey, Principal Policy & Programmes Officer for Green Infrastructure at the Greater London Authority. Five TfC Volunteer Planting Supervisors also supported our staff throughout the day.
Quotes from volunteers
- “Very friendly. I had been feeling a bit down before this event but it was so positive and great to see all ages and various nationalities joining in – delicious food! So purposeful :)”
- “I loved every bit thank you so much for lunch. Everyone was so lovely and kind.”
- “I feel uplifted that so many local residents care about trees and their environment.”
- “Everyone was excellent, kind, polite, friendly. A++ would plant again.”
- “Really fun and informative – really enjoyed my experience.”
All photos by Chris Owens/Trees for Cities – click to enlarge