A total of 420 cherry trees were donated by the Woodland Trust’s Free Trees for Schools and Communities programme after the village society successfully applied for them, working with Langton Green School to involve more children in the project.
The cherry trees were part of the Woodland Trust’s own Big Climate Fightback campaign, sending out over 600,000 trees to be planted across the UK.
Separately, the local branch of Friends of the Earth donated over 100 more trees to plant a thick hedge along the far end of the Langton Green Recreation Ground to provide a mixture of year round colour.
“Approximately 1,300 homes in Langton Green have been provided with a tree”, said village representative Nicci Levy. “After all the plantings, the village will look absolutely stunning this spring.
“We started Greenleaf in 2019 and then came up with Operation Cherry Blossom, and it all happens to coincide with the Queen’s Green Canopy idea.”
With the slogan ‘Plant a tree for the Jubilee’, the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative was launched to mark the royal celebration in June, and to create a legacy in The Queen’s honour to benefit future generations.
“The response from the village has been overwhelmingly positive,” continued Nicci Levy.
“It generated some real community spirit and brought together villagers from all walks of life as they volunteered to help with packaging and delivering the trees. There has been much interest in the contribution to climate change as well as support for our vision of a village full of blossoming trees!”
Operation Cherry Blossom was the brainchild of Langton Green Village Society committee member James Bowdidge, who told the Prince of Wales about the project when he met him at Sandringham in November in his role as Vice President of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust.
Carried out from November, Operation Cherry Blossom was the latest stage in the village’s Greenleaf tree planting project, which the society said was ‘conceived as a way of making our lovely village even greener and to engage with younger people as we work to protect our environment and to help combat climate change’.
The gift of the trees was also supported by a £4,000 grant to the village from Sussex Lund, a collaboration between the High Weald Area of Natural Beauty Partnership and the charitable fund The Lund Trust, who have also funded other projects in and around Tunbridge Wells, including construction of a new pond at St James’ Primary School and some tree planting at Calverley Grounds.
Thanks to all the donations, Langton Green has now been able to help out a couple of neighbouring villages with their own planting projects.
“We have also given some to villagers in Rusthall,” said Nicci Levy.
And in December, Fordcombe Village thanked Langton Green after they planted an avenue of Wild Bird Cherry Trees along a path to the playground named ‘Jubilee Walk’.
The village’s Facebook page said: “Many thanks to our village planters Cordellia, Colin and Robin… The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations should see them in full blossom.
“We’d like to say a big thank you to the Langton Green Village Society, High Weald ANOB partnership and the Lund trust for gifting these beautiful trees to Fordcombe Village. We are grateful to them all for their kind generosity.”
Leading environmental charity the Woodland Trust added that the trees are ‘a fantastic symbol of hope and regeneration, our biggest natural weapons in the fight against climate change, locking up carbon, converting it to oxygen, providing shade and shelter for wildlife and providing us with places to relax and to breathe’.