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London Victoria installation finds new forever home

The Tree Council

June 28, 2024

The Tree Council’s tree installation at London Victoria was peppered with pledges after visitors placed more than one thousand promises to make a small green change in their lives, hanging their dedications in and among the foliage.

Each pledge placed will see a tree planted by The Tree Council, through Network Rail Southern Region’s Community Tree Planting Fund.

The pledges were gathered after The Tree Council installed a 20 foot beech tree, surrounded by silver birches, a yew and other species native to southern England, for the week around World Environment Day.

Travellers were invited to rest beneath the beech and enjoy being close to nature in a busy, urban environment. The grove was such a success, it was extended for a second week.

The Tree Council CEO Sara Lom said: “What a brilliant green experience at London Victoria!

“As well as the many commuters coming over to talk and share their joy at the change to their regular journey, we had international travellers, a visitor singing an ode to the trees and a nearby nursery school and their wonderful children and teachers enjoyed it so much they came back twice!”

And at the end of the week following the careful dismantling of the installation, the accompanying plants – including silver birch, elderflower, foxgloves, ferns and grasses – were taken by Hortus Loci plant nursery to the Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS) Church Grove project in Lewisham, not far from The Tree Council HQ, to be returned to the soil and brighten the environment for residents and visitors for years to come.

Church Grove resident, Olly Bishop-Young said: “I was delighted we were offered plants from The Tree Council’s London Victoria display. Many of us have just moved into our new affordable homes and have been focusing on getting the interiors ready. The garden was full of potential, but little had been planted yet.

“Knowing we had a wonderful selection of plants and trees to re-home was very exciting. We organised a weekend of gardening by residents and volunteers to prepare the ground, receive the plants, lay out the planting scheme (with thanks to advice from from The Tree Council), plant and water – sustained by much tea and ice cream to see us through the sunshine.

“The planting transformed the entrance to our 36 homes into a green welcoming space almost overnight. The garden and outdoor space has always been such an important part of RUSS’s aims, for residents to socialise in and enjoy. It was wonderful to see that coming to fruition, these plants really got things started for us, so a massive thank you!”

The RUSS project is a volunteer-led Community Land Trust, founded in 2009 with the mission of creating sustainable neighbourhoods and genuinely affordable homes. It aims to bring together people and nature to build a more mutually beneficial world. RUSS has just completed 36 permanently affordable flats, ranging from rooms in shared flats to four-bed family homes, on a previously derelict site alongside the railway and the river Ravensbourne.

The new community garden around the flats will include around 40 new trees, an edible hedge, raised beds for food growing and a play area. The planting and gardening is being carried out by residents and other local volunteers.

MORE: A glade of trees to green London Victoria for World Environment Day

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