More than 400 trees grown from seed by Suffolk’s Bishop Martin Seeley will help serve as a memorial to the late Queen Elizabeth.
The hornbeam trees will be planted in nearly all of the parishes of the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese.
Bishop Martin had planned the planting as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative to celebrate her late Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee – as a fitting response to the climate crisis. But now the trees will also serve as a memorial to the country’s longest-serving monarch.
The Queen planted the first tree in the grounds of Windsor Castle in March 2021 with the then Prince of Wales and now more than one million trees have begun growing as a lasting tribute to her 70-years’ service on the throne.
Bishop Martin said: "I wanted to do something that would be a lasting celebration of Her Majesty's reign, which now also, sadly, becomes a memorial. I am hugely grateful to the network of Suffolk Tree Nurses who have guided me in the art and science of growing trees from seed".
Bishop Martin selected hornbeam as the species to grow, a species native to Suffolk, and collected seeds from trees in Christ Church Park in Ipswich, near his home, last Autumn.
"In fact I tried this in 2020, wanting the trees to be ready for the Platinum Jubilee, but despite planting a few hundred seeds only a dozen ever germinated. The Suffolk Tree Nurses provided me with advice that has ensured that this last year more than 400 germinated, nearly enough for one in each of the parishes in the diocese," he said.
The seeds have to be 'stratified', which involves mixing up in soil and then keeping in large pots over winter so that they experience the cold necessary to enable germination.
Bishop Martin added: "In March I started carefully to tip the soil and seed mixture out and gently remove ones that had germinated pot them up, and repeated the process every weekend for several weeks until no more were germinating".
The Chancellor has granted a Section 78 Order for the planting of one of Bishop Martin’s saplings in contribution to the Queen’s Green Canopy. A copy of the order is available here. The Order is ‘blanket permission’ for parishes to proceed with the planting without further ado from yourselves or the DAC. The planting of trees usually requires List B approval, and still does for any trees not planted in line with the Order.
If you require further information please email Charlotte Hodgeson,
Bishop Martin is arranging to deliver trees to deaneries, and Lorna Todd will be contacting Clergy to make arrangements over the coming months.
Photography by Paul Nixon.