The Duke of Devonshire visits Merseyside

The Duke of Devonshire was today, Nov 10th, in Merseyside to plant trees in both Princes Park in Liverpool and in Birkenhead Park. Earlier this year a suggestion was put to the Friends of Princes Park and the Friends of Birkenhead Park, that as the parks were celebrating their 180th and 175th anniversary this year something should be done to recognise the parks' designer, Joseph Paxton. Some form of art installation was considered but after careful discussion the planting of a tree was thought more appropriate. One of the many things Paxton was famous for was his moving of mature and semi mature trees and there is well documented evidence that the tree which visitors to Chatsworth House in Derbyshire pass before entering was moved there by Paxton and until recently was the very tree he planted. We felt that it would be a great idea to plant trees of the same kind as that which Paxton placed outside the Chatsworth entrance when he was head gardener there. The tree, a weeping ash had sadly succumbed to the awful ash dieback disease and in consultation with Steve Porter the current head of gardens at Chatsworth, it was questioned that if Paxton were here today what type of tree would he choose? The Chinese Tulip tree was the eventual specimen chosen as it is an unusual, though attractive tree and would grace any park or garden. The two Friends' groups asked if the Duke would be willing to come over to Merseyside to plant our trees and not only did he agree to do this, but he generously donated the new trees along with the Derbyshire Gritstone plaques which commemorate Paxton and are placed close to the trees in each park. Strengthening our links with Chatsworth, we are very pleased to say that the tree outside the Chatsworth House entrance is to be replaced with a third Chinese Tulip tree which makes our Merseyside two trees very special. We thank the Duke, his head of gardens Steve Porter, our own Chair Graham Arnold and Chair of Friends of Princes Park Katy Gardener for all their hard work in bring today's tree planting to such a success, thank you all. Many thanks to Tracey Dunn, Katy Gardener and Marie Ledevehat for the following pictures.