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The Duke of Kent marks National Tree Week by planting commemorative tree at Lancaster West Estate

The Tree Council

November 30, 2022

HRH The Duke of Kent marked National Tree Week this morning by planting a new variety of plum tree especially cultivated to commemorate the late Queen Elizabeth’s 70-year reign.

The Duke, who is Patron of The Tree Council, the charity that launched National Tree Week more than 30 years ago, will plant the plum tree in the community garden space between Barandon Walk and Testerton Walk on the Lancaster West Estate in west London.

Community gardeners and residents from the estate assisted with the planting, which was staged as part of the week which is an annual celebration marking the start of the winter tree planting season.

Cultivated in the village of East Malling in Kent, the new tree is named ‘Plum Malling Elizabeth’ in honour of The Queen’s lifelong dedication to the nation. The new, early-season variety was specially chosen for its red-purple, Victoria-like fruit, with firm, sweet and succulent, yellow-orange flesh. The tree will bloom in mid-April, with a harvest in early July.

The new planting is part of Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team’s commitment to creating a garden estate to support residents to grow, eat and share food together. This innovative programme is enabling residents to gain gardening training, experience and confidence to volunteer and find employment.

Earlier this year, Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team community gardening team planted a 30-metre, double-row fruiting hedgerow on Lancaster West Estate, close to where the plum tree is being planted, with support from The Tree Council.

The curving hedge features wild plum, hazel, redcurrants, raspberries and hawthorn, and acts as a natural break between the grassed areas and The Secret Garden, a small plot that has become a vegetable garden for residents. Local volunteers from LWNT’s gardening team will continue to care for the trees and hedgerow as they establish.

The creation of this hedgerow has contributed to the greening of Lancaster West Estate, which has seen 2000m2 of grey space turned green in the last 3 years. In 2022, in recognition of the work that volunteers and residents put into their green spaces, Lancaster West Estate was awarded a Green Flag, an international mark of excellence in green space management.

Abbas Dadou, Chair of the Lancaster West Residents’ Association said:Our residents are passionate about leading the transformation of Lancaster West to become a 21st century model estate.

“This has become a way for residents to tackle isolation and build confidence, with many going on to secure full-time employment.  We’re delighted that the Duke of Kent has chosen to visit and recognise the work of our local community.”

Deputy Leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, Cllr Kim Taylor Smith, says: “We want to make Lancaster West one of the greenest neighbourhoods in London, help nature thrive and become a carbon neutral borough by 2040.

“Thanks to residents who work hard to maintain the gardens, along with this lovely donation from the Tree Council and the Duke of Kent, we’re well on our way. The gardening projects here are an important part of Grenfell recovery for the community, providing a way for residents to connect with nature and speak with our teams in a relaxed setting, so they can get advice on housing, health, training and employment.”

The Tree Council CEO, Sara Lom says: ‘It has been wonderful working with the Lancaster West community gardeners to help plant for the future benefit of local residents.

“Trees and hedgerows tackle climate change, provide homes for wildlife, National Tree Week is all about everyone coming together to plant and care for trees and we are delighted to welcome our Royal Patron to plant a commemorative tree, celebrating The Queen’s lifelong dedication, and the community at Lancaster West.’

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