Type of tree:
Girton is a village of about 1,600 households north-west of the city of Cambridge. It has a long history, with people living here since pre-Saxon times. Its old name was Gretton, meaning “village on the gravel”, because it grew up along a gravel ridge.
On a sunny afternoon on 8th April 2013, over 40 Girton residents of all ages joined in with the Queen’s Jubilee Diamond oak tree planting event on the Hibbert-Ware Garden, opposite St Andrew’s Church in the heart of the village.
The garden, named after naturalist Alice Hibbert-Ware, was a most suitable location for such an important heritage tree.
We were very grateful to the 1st/2nd Cambridgeshire Cubs & Scouts and their Akela, Karen Alsop, for digging the hole and planting the tree, supervised by Girton Tree Warden Derek Cull, whose wife Libby provided tea, squash and homemade cakes for everyone to enjoy.
The 10-year-old, 3 metre-tall English oak (Quercus robur) was chosen for Girton’s Jubilee tree because of its association with the British monarchy and its importance as a habitat for wildlife.
The species became known as the Royal Oak when Charles II hid in one in Shropshire to avoid capture by Oliver Cromwell in 1651. The oak was also important in the construction of some of our most famous warships, such as Henry VIII’s Mary Rose and George III’s HMS Victory, which required some 6,000 oak trees to construct.
However, the oak can survive in excess of 1,000 years and mature oaks can support many hundreds of species of insect, bird, mammal, fungus and plant. Even our immature tree already has brown oak galls, home to the common oak gall wasp.
Evening events followed the planting so that all the Cubs, Scouts and Brownies could appreciate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and take ownership of their tree. We hope it will become a heritage tree for all the young people of Girton.
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