Sidmouth Arboretum joined with the new community group Friends of Higher Brook Meadow on Saturday to plant trees and a hedge as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The trees are a mix of ornamental and fruit trees with a focus on supporting pollinating insects, and the hedge will grow to screen an unsightly fence around the children’s play area.
The project began when Higher Brook Meadow resident Margaret Bullock saw a Herald story where Waitrose was handing over a cheque to Sidmouth Arboretum to plant trees and celebrate this year’s Jubilee. Margaret approached the Arboretum with a suggestion to plant a tree on the amenity green in Higher Brook Meadow. The Arboretum volunteers were delighted to be able to help.
Other residents joined with Margaret, and they built a strong team to take the project beyond just planting a tree. Local garden design company Natural Habitat Design donated their time to produce a professional plan that looks to enhance the whole area over a number of years.
The green is an EDDC play area but the responsibility of the housing department. Ward Councillor Marianne Rixson gave her enthusiastic support and was able to ease the negotiations to make the plan acceptable. She was also able to use her local community fund to pay for some of the trees. The Arboretum was able to secure the 300 hedging plants from Tree Appeal, an organisation that donates trees to schools and community groups. The residents of Higher Brook Meadow have taken a leaf out of the Arboretum’s book and have formed their own community group, Friends of Higher Brook Meadow, so that they can make their own plans and grant applications.
The whole thing came together last weekend, beginning with EDDC Horticultural and Green Space Officers Paul Fealey and Russell Giblett helping residents prepare the site on the Thursday and Friday. One job involved Paul stripping turf with a cutter loaned free of charge by Bradfords. On the Saturday, 37 volunteers came together to plant 13 trees and the 300 hedging whips. The whole job was completed in only two hours which was remarkable.
Arboretum Chair, Jon Ball said, “It has been such a marvellous project to be a part of, and not just because of the tree planting. The most significant thing has to be the way the residents have come together. We wish the new group, Friends of HBM all success in the future, and we look forward to working with them as they plan other environmental projects.”
If other groups are interested in planting for the Queen’s Green Canopy, the Arboretum is happy to give advice, but people could start by visiting the Friends of HBM website http://www.friendsofhigherbrookmeadow.co.uk.